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  1. #1

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    What to expect from a pre-war Voigtländer 10.5cm/3.5 Skopar lens?

    Hi all,

    I purchased a pre-war Bessa RF (E-messer) 6x9 - in a very good condition cosmetically and mechanically - a couple of months ago and I also had it CLA'd by a proficient technician.

    After some practical field tests, I found it doesn't give me enough sharpness and resolution. I would guess the resolution is around 20-25 lp/mm; a magnitude less then what I was expecting. (I was expecting at least 40-45 lp/mm or better - at F16, on a tripod in calm weather, using a cable release...)

    Am I daydreaming? Am I expecting too much?

    What are your results with similar equipment?

    Thanks in advance,
    Loris.

  2. #2

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    don't mesure lpm or such, I look at the negatives, and I have a 1938 bessa 66, the baby bessa, with a viogtar lens, stopped down to 11 or 16 it is sharp, reasonable contrast and just nice photographs, you can't compare these old lenses to a modern lens,Mine is a triplet, these are uncoated lenses ans are of their time, What lens have you got,is it the Skoper,which is one of the best lens of its type? My advice is not to worry about resolving power, but just to enjoy using a 70+ year old camera and don't expect to get the same results as you would get from 50 year old lens, they were simpler times, and as long as you got a good photograph that is all that was asked, and that is all you can ask,Richard

  3. #3

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    R gould,

    I have a Yashica 124G which has a severely fungus infected taking lens that performs better than this particular Skopar when stopped down to F11 and above... My the question is to learn if I have a lemon (or maladjusted sample) on hands or not, therefore asking for your experience. The question isn't "Can I take beautiful photographs with this camera?" at all! I can do that (err, did - and continue to do...) with a pinhole camera when appropriate... Anyway, thanks for the feedback even if it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

    Regards,
    Loris.
    Last edited by Loris Medici; 10-19-2010 at 03:07 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Fixed few typos...

  4. #4

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    Almost all the old folders suffered from bad film flatness. To really test this lens you need to take it off the old folder and put it on a decent 2x3 or 4x5 camera.

  5. #5

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    domaz, not an option; I'm interested in the performance of the whole system - actually. Sorry, it wasn't clear in my original post...

    OTOH, I have wound the film right before taking the shots; that should have taken care of the possibility of film sagging, no?

    Thanks,
    Loris.

  6. #6

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    You need to design a whole new pressure plate I think to really make it better. Take a look at Chris Perez's MF lens test- he doesn't list your particular camera but he tests one pretty similar (Zeiss Super Ikonta C, another 6x9) and it to gets <20 lpm.

  7. #7

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    See, see... That was helpful indeed. It seems I was expecting too much from this system, in fact!

    Leaving bitching mode and switching on shooting mode back now!

    Thanks & regards,
    Loris.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by domaz View Post
    You need to design a whole new pressure plate I think to really make it better. Take a look at Chris Perez's MF lens test- he doesn't list your particular camera but he tests one pretty similar (Zeiss Super Ikonta C, another 6x9) and it to gets <20 lpm.
    That page confuses me---the camera says "Zeiss Super Ikonta C", but the manufacturer says "Muscova" and there's no lens name (I think all Zeiss cameras would have identified the lens by name). Did he test a "real" Super Ikonta or a Moskva-5? He also has a note at the bottom that the rangefinder may have been off.

    Looking at the last line in the same table, I would be really surprised if a Skopar (which is a Tessar type) couldn't outperform the Vaskar triplet, even allowing for the format difference! I haven't done my own lpmm tests, but based on those test results and my eye's experience of Skopars vs. triplets, I would at least look at other possible sources of trouble like the rangefinder before giving up.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I think you'll find Chris Perez tested a Russian KMZ Moskva, they made a series of Super Ikonta copies, the Soviets took equipment & tooling from the Zeiss factories at the end of WWII. It's possible the camera Chris tested had the Cyrillic rather than Latin lettering.

    It may be you were unlucky with this lens Loris, some don't seem to age well. I have a Ikonta with a Novar and it's a terrible lens soft in terms of sharpness & low contrast yet it looks very clean, it's only a triplet design but usually they are quite good performers. I had a Triotar (again a Triplet) on an early Rollei and that was a good sharp lens once stopped down. It's a bit hit and miss with some 1930's lenses.

    Ian

  10. #10

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    See visuals below

    Ok, maybe it's better to provide few visuals. See below:


    1. Screen version of full frame scan:




    2. 100% crop of scan:




    It's the first time my beloved Epson Perfection 2450 "outresolves" a negative...


    EDIT: BTW, looking to the 100% crop "in my screen" is the equivalent of sniffing a print sized 37 x 55 1/2" (~ 94 x 141cm), actually... Maybe the lens / system isn't bad at all! Probably I was - somehow - being in a state of delirium, yesterday...!???
    Last edited by Loris Medici; 10-20-2010 at 01:32 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added a note...

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