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Thread: goerz hypergon

  1. #1

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    i have some interest with this lense, but i dont know much about it. found some info on the net but nothing about the use of it and the kind of pics it delivers.
    generally i thought that this lense would be something between pinhole fuzy and slow) and the new apograngagons (very sharp and very fast).
    ive seen the prices on it - they cost like a new imagon lense, and the widest of their lenses is 60mm which is ok for 69cm in terms of wideness.
    i will apriciate comments from any one who is femiliar with this lense or the possible alternatives.
    victor

  2. #2
    Ole
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    The Hypergon is one of those "legendary" lenses which are relatively much more expensive today than when they were new - almost a century ago. In terms of "real money" - average worker hourly pay, or something, the price is about the same now... The fully equipped 60mm cost 120 Mark in 1910, which was a considerable sum.

    They were made in 60mm, 75mm, 90mm, 120mm, 150mm and 200mm focal lengths. Two versions were available: with or without the "star shutter". This was a rotating star-shaped aperture thingy which when used for part of the exposure worked as a center grad - to combat the light falloff towards the corners.

    Without the starshutter, the lens gave good results over a 110° field of coverage; with the starshutter in use this was extended to 135°. that mens that the 60mm was designed to cover a 300mm field - or 8x10" film size.

    Since the lens is completely symmetrical, there is no geometric distortion. The construction is fairly simple with only two deeply curved elements, so resolution won't be as good as more complex modern lenses. But no modern lens has a 135° coverage, so there isn't really any alternative if that's what you need.

    Without the star aperture the coverage is similar to that of the Zeiss Protar f:18 wiedeangle of the same time. In 1910 the price of this was half of that of the Hypergon, today the difference is a factor of ten. And they're sharper.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  3. #3
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    Since the lens is completely symmetrical, there is no geometric distortion.
    Uh ... please activate the "quiet" -- very quiet -- key.

    You know ... it *IS* possible for a "symmetrical" lens to have a LOT of distortion ... In fact, distortions are quite a bit harder to deal with than in asymmetical designs..
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #4

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    thanks ole...
    i hope i will have some oportunity to try this lense some time in the new future, though i hardly belive i can find it in israel. im really intrigued to see what it makes. i would not say that the super coverage of this lense is the prime concern since 69 format not recuerze so big coverage as 810 as u say. also - the sharpness is not a concern (for that , there are the modern lenses) - i kust want some pictorial with it and lots of character.
    as soon as i will have the ability to see the results from this lense i will post some thoughts on it.
    and thanks for this zeiss protar comment, i will take it into my concidirations as well.
    do u know any place on the net that has a good info about it?
    victor

  5. #5
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by victor
    ...
    and thanks for this zeiss protar comment, i will take it into my concidirations as well.
    do u know any place on the net that has a good info about it?
    Curiously, I do not! Most of my info on old lenses is culled from my copy of "Photographisches Hilfsbuch für ernste Arbeit" by Hans Schmidt, published in Berlin 1910. A little bit comes from "Tascenbuch der Praktischen Photographie", Dr. Ernst Vogel, Berlin 1904; as well as advertisments in "Der Satrap" 1934.

    I have one 14cm Protar right next to me here now, but that's on its way to a new home as of this moment. I know where I can put my hands on another one - but still a 14cm one. You would need the smallest one, the 6cm version...


    Ed: Urm... Yes. Up to a point it's easy to avoid distortions, but when they do come in they're impossible to get rid of. An asymmetric design has inherent distortion which somehow is easier to minimize. It all comes down to complexity; and most older lenses are less complex than more modern ones. Optically speaking the Hypergon is one of the simplest ones ever made; the Protar is a lot more complicated - and may not be entirely symmetrical. My sources disagree somewhat where they are not silent on that...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
    Ole
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    Just a second thought -

    60mm was generlly the shortest focal length made in wide-angles around 1910. Later on, with the increasing popularity of rollfilm, shotrer lenses were made as well (but not to my knowledge Hypergons or WA Protars, although B&L may have made some. Zeiss at least didn't, I think).

    But for 60mm on 6x9 you need only about 80° of coverage, which is well withing the range of many other lenses when well stopped down. Since you're after "fuzziness", there should be no need for a $1000+ lens? Most 75-80mm lenses for old 6x6-6x4.5 folders will give fuzzy images on 6x9 at f:22 or so if you avoid the "better" ones - a Tessar will not cover, but an Eurynar should. In general the slowest lenses have the biggest coverage - an f:3.5 lens will probably not cover, a f:6.8 most likely will. So look for cheap old cameras (with slower, softer lenses) in smaller sizes - you could buy a lot of these for even the price of a Protar.
    I'm not certain of the coverage of triplet lenses - they weren't very common in Germany at the beginning of last century. I have reason to believe the coverage may be markedly less than the anastigmats?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  7. #7

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    ole... thanks, u are really helpful to me. i dont know too much about the old lenses - im too young..lol, but i will start studing it a bit. realy would like to work sometimes with soft wide angle, dont understand, why rodenstok doesnt make such a thing..lol.
    u tige a good starting point to study the history of lenses - i understand that in old days there were a slightly different paradigms about it.
    victor

  8. #8
    Ole
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    A curious fact about large format lenses is that they have changed a lot less than other optics over the last century. So except for the prices and brand names, everything about lenses in a century-old book is still to a certain extent relevant - tessars and dialytes are not going to disappear. The larger negative also leads to greater tolerance in sharpness and focus, so the original old lenses are still usable - and being used. My oldest lens is a 1911 Xenar 180mm/f:4.5; it was produced by Jos. Schneider & Sohn under a special agreement with Carl Zeiss who owned the rights to the Tessar design. The lens is still fully usable, and the shutter runs like - clockwork. When new, a Tessar of the same specifications cost 160 Mark, even more than the Hypergon...

    I wouldn't say that there was a different paradigm in lens construction: The prices of lenses were significantly higher than today (with a very few exceptions), at least in terms of "real money". So photographers learned to work with what they had, and that often meant soft corners on the larger plates. Cameras were comparatively cheaper, as any decent cabinet maker could build one.

    The "evolution" of lenses over the past century has mostly been driven by the "miniature format" (35mm) which led to a demand for smaller, faster lenses. Rather - since a 50mm lens will weigh 1/27th of a 150mm lens of the same construction and aperture, there was a market for faster lenses. That is understandable when you consider that ISO 25 was considered "Ultra-Rapid" (Agfa's "Ultrarapidplatten" were ISO 25, if Dr. Vogel's exposure tables are to be trusted. I tend to believe them).

    Since I happen to read German as well as English, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian I have accumulated a number of very informative books from pre-WWII (and WWI) Germany. Since Goerz, Schneider, Rodenstock, Zeiss, Leitz and Voigtländer were all German, much of the basics of modern LF lenses is described in these books. And then you get to the chemistry: Vogel (first orthochromatig plates), Beutler and Windisch are som of the first names to spring to mind.

    So I guess it all boils down to this: I help, because I can. Besides, the Hypergon is an interesting subject
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway



 

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