Lens for 20x20 or 24x24
I'm currently planning a build for a 20x20 or possibly a 20x24 wet plate camera. I would like to acquire a lens before I go to far forward with the planning/ building of the camera. I have an idea of the type/size (900+mm, 30-35") of lens I'm am looking for but ebay is worthless. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good source of vintage lens or used lens. Maybe have one collecting dust from a project that never got off the ground and want to unload. I am also open to specific recommendations on lenses, I've shot a lot on 4x5 so this is a leap into a whole new world.
Thanks for helping out in advance.
For any smaller format my advice would be: "build your camera first, and then look for the lens".
In your case, you are after something that's VERY difficult to find, so patiently waiting for your chance is the only way to go.
From the context (home built camera) i get that it's not exactly the case where money is no object :)
I am afraid that any lens which meets your criteria is either expensive or VERY expensive.
A decent narrow field copy lens in that focal would be expensive. A slightly shorter Dagor (but with far more coverage) would cost even more. Probably a 480mm Plasmat, like a Symmar, would be somewhat cheaper, and on top of that would come in a modern shutter!
I am not positively sure about coverage, you should check Schneider literature. Ptobably the answer is yes, cause the various generations of Symmars cover between 70 and 74 degrees (a 300mm covers 10x12").
Narrow field graphic art lenses have restricted coverage (most under 40 degrees), hence the need for much longer FLs.
Wide field graphic lenses don't go past 355mm (like the G-Claron), and ultra wide angle graphic lenses are either bad for general use (G-Claron WA) or unavailable in longish focals (Apo-Graphigon).
My suggestion is:
check the max coverage of the G-Claron 355mm, and limit yourself to that format.
If you want to save, buy a first generation one in barrel, and then look for a Xenar 210mm on Compound No.3.
The shutter will be a perfect fit for the old G-Claron!
The only other choice would be some oddball graphic lens, like a JML, Ednalite, or something like that, but i've never spotted one in very long focal. Even Copying Ektars, which are not exactly cheap, don't come in such long focals, for what i have seen.
Anyway, the Bay of E is the only likely source.
Trying your luck here, or on other forums, won't do anything bad, but the chances of success are slim.
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I think you should find your lens/lenses first.
'MidWest Photo Exchange' may be a source.
Schneider Fine Art XXL 1100 f/22 Copal #3, only $4,550.00
Put a feeler out to 'Jim's Camera,' Seattle, WA.
Probably couldn't hurt to contact 'Blue Moon,' in Portland, OR.
Originally Posted by Marc B.
4450 USD for a lens that should go to a home made camera, you must be kidding!
I take the use of bold characters as a substitute for a smiley... other way there would be no need to evidence the price in bold.
Better make it clear though.
Usually the people with more money than common sense buy Canon lenses in white, and then spray and prey for a single decent digital pic :)
I know that this forum belongs to a totally different church, but i am always afraid that certain infectious habits could spread so far.
Collecting or being crazy about photographica stuff is one thing, paying silly prices without a rationale, a simple logic of cause and effect, where the solution is commisurated to the entity of the problem... well, that's a totally different thing.
I have no interest (quite the opposite, in fact) in recommending some caution in the purchase of very expensive lenses.
I would be perfectly fine if anybody interested would suddenly run to buy expensive lenses at the silly prices asked by some physical/online/Ebay shops.
Though i feel i have to report a simple truth to those who can't dedicate to their hobby as much time as i do:
good finds are there!
Of course you have to be patient enough, and do your homework before shelling out some hard-earned money.
Just one example, on topic:
some months ago i placed my bid (and lost) on a like-new 480mm Apo Symmar, on Ebay Italy; it sold for less than 500 USD (< €400, IIRC).
It is a truly outstanding lens, with plenty of coverage (at least 11x14" ).
I had the money to fight the auction, but my largest camera is a 24x30cm, and i'm not really into recent super-sharp glasses. With some patience, a little luck, and little money more, i eventually found two nice soft focus lenses with 8x10" coverage :)
Probably most LF amateurs would go the opposite route.
I guess it's just a matter of priorities.
A small advice for the OP:
find a decommisioned reprocamera with good, large bellows, and build your camera around it.
Not super-easy, but somewhat easier.
Sent from my Android tablet
Look for one of the longer Goerz Dagor, Red dot Artar. They are not common and usually come without a shutter (24" was the longest one to leave the factory with a shutter but some have had shutters added later) but they should cover your needs. Lenses that cover 20x24" are not cheap even though the Goerz lenses are not as expensive as the Fine Art XXL.
maybe you can ask reinhold ( here on apug ) to build you one of his wollaston lenses.
it will be beautifully made, with waterhouse stops and render a sweet image.
he doesn't usually make them that big, but he might be able to ;)
and meniscus designs cover huge negatives ...
For a cheaper option, you could get something like a Turner Reich convertible (I don't recall the focal lengths offhand but remember having one that was something like 28"-24"-14") and just use one lens at a time in the rear, with a yellow filter up front. These used to be pretty easy to find and not that expensive.
MCrooks, in the Apo-Nikkor line 900 mm won't cover 20x20. You need a 1210. In Apo-Ronars, a 1000 will just cover 20x20, a 1200 will just cover 20x24. Goerz claims a 42" Apo-Artar will just cover 20x24 at infinity. All info from the makers. AFIK no 900 mm process lens will do what you want. My 900/10 Apo-Saphir certainly won't, according to Boyer it covers 655 mm at infinity. johnielvis highly desired 32" Apo Ronar won't do for you either.
None of these lenses is available off the shelf, the best source is eBay. You'll need a lot of patience and a lot of money and considerable luck.
I'm with CJ. If you want to do it, go for it, but make sure you understand what you're in for. Don't use rule of thumb to determine focal length needed, check the makers' claims. The rule of thumb you used to decide that 900 mm is long enough took you over a cliff.
Shuttering a huge lens shouldn't be a problem for you because wet plate emulsions are so slow. I hang a Compound #5 in front of my little 900, don't think that this solution (or an Ilex #5) will be good on a 1200/9. But it will work on a 1200/14. And Packard will make a huge shutter for you, to be hung at one end of the lens, that will be perfectly good for time exposures.
Wow thanks for all the great information so fast!
@ Marc B. those sites look promising and if I had an extra 4500 I'm sure the wife wouldn't let me spend it on a lens.
@ CJ thanks for the recommendations. Also I have to admit I do have one of those white canon lenses (70-200) but not a fan of the spray for a single good frame.
I don't need the latest greatest most expensive piece of glass. I prefer the old stuff it may not be the sharpest but I love the charteter it imparts in the image. Also I just got a call from my brother who found a Agfa copy camera on the east coast at a swap meet for $60. All he could tell me about the lens was that it said Repromaster 1:9/150mm f9-f44 and made in W.Germany it also has a 210mm not on a board with no markings on it. The bellows looks "ok". Any thoughts on these lenses? I couldn't find much info on them. Now to get it all out to the Rockies.