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  1. #1
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Need advice on vintage view camera lenses

    I'm interested in buying an old lens to cover 4x5. A lens that will vignette and lose sharpness to the edges. I have no idea what I'm looking for on ebay. Does anyone know of a certain manufacturer or time period I should be looking for?

    Also, I'm looking for something in the 120mm-150mm range (in 4x5). From what I've researched, that's around a 5" or 6" lens? Is this correct? Thanks for all help!

  2. #2

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    Do you want it to cover or to vignette? Pick one-)

    Maybe a lens aimed at 2x3 would be your best choice if you want it to vignette

  3. #3
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Nick,

    Good point. I don't want complete falloff. Just subtle vignetting. Similar to a Holga. I thought very old lenses naturally vignetted. I would imagine that a 2x3 lens would vignette too much, although a 2x3 lens with decent coverage (for 2x3) might be good. Am I getting too picky now? lol.

  4. #4
    semeuse's Avatar
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    check out the classifieds here at APUG - there's usually some great stuff being offered and the people here can be a lot more helpful than on eBay.

  5. #5
    JLP
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    Look for a 4" Wollensak Velostigmat series II i think it will give you what you are looking fore.
    I sold one a while back. Quite sharp in the center and very mushy in the corners. At infinity corners would be dark.


    jan


    Could have been a 4.5"

  6. #6

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    you could also look for a rapid rectilinaer,
    sharp in the center and soft on the edges.
    if it doesn't fall off enough for you, you could
    always tape a skylight filter on the front as an "obstruction"

    good luck!

    john

  7. #7
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    I have a 3 3/4" (about 96mm) brass petzval that was made for a motion picture camera. Check out my page here done with a similar 4" lens. Sharp in the middle then lovely bokeh, then falls off to black in the corners. No aperture, you use it wide open.

    $85 bucks plus some shipping. The picture shows a threaded piece that would hold it to a lens board. I don't have that for this one. Just the lens / tube.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  8. #8

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    Hello Jim,

    I have that same Gundlach lens. Does it alter/improve the vignetting at all by removing the lens hood? I don't have a flange for mine either, so I have not tested it. Best research I could do indicated that Gundlach fits a Simplex 35mm motion picture projector, probably from the early 1910s or so.

    To the OP, doing a search for Petzval will yield some results, but rarely any bargains. Another search for Magic Lantern, which is an early type of projector for glass plates, might get you a few other lenses, though it will take some alteration to make those work. The biggest problem can often be the lack of a mounting flange. If you want to look for more specific lenses, you can try the following terms: Ross, Holmes, Petzval, Derogy, Suter, Dallmeyer, Hermagis, Auzoux, and Busch. Those are not the only Petzval, old, or rare lens makers, but a search for those can yield some interesting results.

    A 1/4 plate lens would vignette, except at closer (head shot) distances. My Homes, Booth & Haydens works fine for head shots, though would slightly vignette at full body distance. However, I like the focus fall off away from the main in focus area, like in this example:

    http://gordonmoat.com/life_20.html

    Biggest problem I have using this is the lack of a shutter, though I now have a Packard shutter that I will adapt to my Shen-Hao. Second biggest problem is shooting wide open at close distance, because people tend to move just slightly. It might be easier to have someone sitting, instead of standing. Anyway, Jim Galli is much more of an expert on this than I am; I only got my H, B & H through a bit of odd luck: it was included in a large pile of camera gear, and I happened to clean it and try it out.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  9. #9
    Ole
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    some of the Kodak Autographics had nice little Rectilinar lenses in the focal length range you mentioned, which should not only show a nice blur at the edges of 4x6" (at least wide open), but also come in shutters. See what you can find in a flea market?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  10. #10
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrBremerhaven View Post
    Hello Jim,

    I have that same Gundlach lens. Does it alter/improve the vignetting at all by removing the lens hood? I don't have a flange for mine either, so I have not tested it. Best research I could do indicated that Gundlach fits a Simplex 35mm motion picture projector, probably from the early 1910s or so.
    Yes, I remove the hood when I use one of these. The hood was for projecting an image from 35mm film. We're after something entirely different using them on large format. They are pretty light, so I just bore a perfect hole and hold it steady with some black paper gaffers tape. The Efke 25 asa film helps with the very large aperture / exposure situation.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com



 

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