October 20, 2014, 11:56:26 PM

Author Topic: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses  (Read 2131 times)

NormanBates

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Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« on: January 20, 2013, 07:02:46 PM »


I've got a nice collection of very old cameras:
* Kodak 3 Folding Pocket Model G (USA, 1910)
* Kodak Vest Pocket (USA, 1913)
* Ernemann BOB OO (Germany, 1917)
* Kodak Retina 1 A (Germany, 1951)
* Taisei Koki Welmy SIX E (Japan, 1952)
* Kershaw King Penguin (England, 1953)

And I've done some lens whacking with a DSLR: you hold the lens in front of the camera, without attaching it, and shoot video like that, moving the lens forward and backards to focus, and tilting/shifting it by hand, letting light leak in through the sides, etc.

So, why not mix those two? I took the two cameras that will allow me to put my NEX-5N where the film usually goes (that would be the Kodak 3 G -pictured above- and the Ernemann BOB OO), took away the back side, and placed them safely on a bench or similar. Then I took my Sony NEX-5N, took the lens away, and manually held it inside the bellows camera, looking at the screen while moving around the NEX in order to get good focus and take a still.

You can see the results here:
http://www.similaar.com/foto/oldcam/oldcam.html

My take: they look so good that it doesn't even feel that they were shot with such old lenses! (specially the Kodak: click on the first image to see it at full resolution: that 100-years-old f/4 prime is surprisingly sharp!)

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Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« on: January 20, 2013, 07:02:46 PM »

rchalfan

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Re: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 07:22:25 PM »
It is interesting to use old lenses like that.  That particular lens is a "Rapid Rectilinear" and was common on middle grade consumer cameras of the day. But the aperture is not calibrated in f/stops.  It is calibrated in what was called the "Uniform System".  In US stops US 16 equals f/16. US 8 is f/11; US 4 (your lens) is f/8 etc.

The system was adopted as a standard by the Photographic Society of Great Britain in the 1880's. Many less expensive Kodak lenses used the system until somewhere in the 1920's. 


NormanBates

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Re: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 04:31:17 AM »
It is interesting to use old lenses like that.  That particular lens is a "Rapid Rectilinear" and was common on middle grade consumer cameras of the day. But the aperture is not calibrated in f/stops.  It is calibrated in what was called the "Uniform System".  In US stops US 16 equals f/16. US 8 is f/11; US 4 (your lens) is f/8 etc.

The system was adopted as a standard by the Photographic Society of Great Britain in the 1880's. Many less expensive Kodak lenses used the system until somewhere in the 1920's.

Thanks for the info!

Still impressive at f/8. Consider that this would be the center of a 4¼" x 3¼" piece of film. If it was a sensor with the pixel density of my NEX-5N, it would be a 108mm x 803mm sensor with nearly 400 Mpix! Take a picture with *that* and crop the center, and you get the image that I posted. Impressively sharp I say!

sandymandy

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Re: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 06:24:20 AM »
Old but gold literally :)

NormanBates

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Re: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 05:02:52 PM »
quick video about two of the cameras:
https://vimeo.com/57879637

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Re: Having fun with a couple of 100-years-old lenses
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 05:02:52 PM »