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Lens choice for Series C

 
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john wilton



Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject: Lens choice for Series C Reply with quote

I have a Series C on the way, unfortunately minus its 2.5/6.5" Cooke. I have a small Ultragon 8/150 that I could try out...the rear element is .5" aft of its mounting thread shoulder so perhaps it might fit and give infinity focus (perhaps not).

Would appreciate ideas on inexpensive, appropriate lens choices.

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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I'd jump in with a list of lenses I would wait until the camera showed up and find what the ground glass to lens board distance is and then go from there.

an f8 lens will be an eye strain to focus with unless you show up with some magnesium flares to help increase the overall illumination.

A pat simple answer to your question would be a 152mm or "4x5" B&L or Carl Zeiss Tessar Ic f4.5. With the recessed lensboard you may be able to get to 135mm but the 152 went on the 3x4 Super D. so you'll be sure to get infinity focus (maybe a bit beyond) and probably fairly close up (3-5') a nice clear lens will be very sharp, easy to focus and relatively cheap in barrel.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one of those Ultragons. It seems to me to be quite a bit brighter than most f/8 lenses. Try it and see what you get. There are a lot of barrel lenses out there for not that much money.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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john wilton



Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ultragon is a good lens, I used it on my Korona 5x7 until I got a shuttered 150 g-claron. But...

A nice old Tessar 165/3.5 ex-Dagor77 came up tonight so I thought I'd better grab it as it is as close in aperture and focal length to the original lens as I am likely to find (and afford). It was all of $21.50.

Now if I were Glenn, I would be thinking about how to add a little forward tilt.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! Forward tilt. Never use it. That old Tessar will serve you well. I think you got a really good deal if the lens is okay. Dagor 77 does not like Tessars at all, not even a little. :)
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ex-Dagor lens is in a helical mount and may be a...er.. challenge to mount, but once you do, you'll have great close up capability (well a whole lot more than the average Graflex user)
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john wilton



Joined: 26 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Les, thanks for looking it up! If I'd known you'd take so much trouble I'dve posted the pix. Mounting will be the debut of newly acquired Dremel drill press. Should be doable.

Andrew's intense dislike of things Zeiss is indeed strange. The seller mentioned 'you may know how Dagor77 feels about Tessars.' I didn't, and I looked it up. Much as I admire him, I won't let anything get between me and a nice Tessar.

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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 165 Tessar very similar to that. It came off an Erneman Klap Reflex or something like that. Mine is in mint condition, so it must have had a short and easy life on that Erneman. I mounted it on a 4X5 box camera I made, using Speed Graphic parts I had laying around. A 4X5 box camera with a focal plane shutter - you don't see that every day.
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Glenn

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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
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Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Truth be told, I didn't look it up I was watching it. But I couldn't come up with a reason to buy it, so I didn't (wish I could do that more often!)

I've known Andrew through ebay for nearly as long as he's been online and sometimes I think there's more showmanship in his distaste for a Zeiss than true hatred. Then again we all have are biases. Personally I can't stand anything Leica or Leitz (can't even bring myself to spell it correctly) Not that there's anything wrong with the equipment, just the attitude of most of the collectors.

Glad to see the lens going to some positive use.
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 96
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Les-
The irony is that the classic Leica lens-the 50 mm/f3.5 Elmar-is a Tessar copy. E. Leitz, Inc. always describes it as a "Tessar-type".
Can't agree more about attitude of Leica collectors. Overpriced cameras, inflated values. Most Leica collectors aren't photographers-they're investors!
By comparison, no one collects Graflex/Graphic cameras to get rich (I hope). Members of Graflex.org are concerned with photography, using their cameras to create more interesting photos.
BTW-What is the secret to posting pictures with our messages? Do you have to have your own website?
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john wilton



Joined: 26 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Camera arrived, it is in exceptionally nice shape, solid mechanically and looks as though it's never been used. Just a bit fusty-smelling. Am I right in thinking that the sole raison d'etre of the Series C was to be a platform for the Cooke f/2.5 lens, and the camera a special-purpose, available light light machine?

Mounting the Tessar 3.5 is as Les said going to be a lot more --er -- challenging than I'd planned. To acieve infinity focus, and to close the front door, the barrel will have to be removed from its helicoid, and somehow mounted in such a way that about 1.5" of its 2" length projects back from a lensboard. Luckily the aperture ring is near the front. Once I figure out how to remove the barrel (all I can see are two screws at the root of the helicoid that travel in guide slots in the focusing sleeve) I'm thinking of glueing the barrel to a perspex lensboard. In an ideal world I'd have it done by SKG, but it makes no sense to spend big bucks on an uncoated lens the marketplace (and Dagor77) considers valueless.

When I saw how huge and heavy the Tessar is (2lb in helicoid) I ordered up an Ilex 4.5 6-3/8 lens as an alternative. Its not here yet, but should be less challenging. May need to be recessed a little.

Before embarking on this, I'd appreciate advice on the collectibility of my camera. The few references to the Series C that I can find say it is rare; it's certainly a fine machine. Minus the Cooke lens it may have zero collectible value. A Super D with its auto diaphragm would be more useful to me. For now I have temporarily taped an Ilex 6.3/210 Acuton on a Pacemaker board to try out the camera.

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sevo



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

john wilton wrote:
Camera arrived, it is in exceptionally nice shape, solid mechanically and looks as though it's never been used. Just a bit fusty-smelling. Am I right in thinking that the sole raison d'etre of the Series C was to be a platform for the Cooke f/2.5 lens, and the camera a special-purpose, available light light machine?


It seems to have turned out that way - whether that was intended is another question. In terms of collectibility, Frankencameras which weren't put together in remote historical times are worthless - but if you bought it for a user rather than collector price, you could care less.

john wilton wrote:

When I saw how huge and heavy the Tessar is (2lb in helicoid) I ordered up an Ilex 4.5 6-3/8 lens as an alternative. Its not here yet, but should be less challenging. May need to be recessed a little.


Well, if you decide against remounting the Tessar, I would be in the market for a helical mounted one - I have a folding reflex that could do with a replacement.

Sevo
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 96
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Series C lens Reply with quote

John-
Camera was built around the high-speed lens. Lens was permanently mounted. Series C went out of production after only a few years. It resembled the interchangeable-lens Series D, which replaced it. You don't see Series C Graflex around. Research shows it's a low volume model-a very rare bird. I think altering it permanently is a bad idea.
IMHO: If a camera takes interchangeable boards, use any lens you want. Lens boards are expendable. But don't hack up a rare, mint condition camera just to use a lens it wasn't built for. Sell it and buy a more common Series D or RB Auto to experiment with.
There's collectors out there who'd jump at the chance to get a nice example of this camera. Or find the right lens and use it as a single-lens camera, as it was intended.
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john wilton



Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Passing along what Bert Saunders told me about Series C:

" The "C" is a hard to find camera, but the only thing special or as a "collectible" was the Cooke lens combination....the camera body was a normal F & S production older 3x4 RB "D" model (wide focus rails, never updated as far as I know), the lens is worth more that the body in most cases.....but there were drawbacks on the lens also, many lens barrels on the Cooke, "locked up" and could not be reset, due to poor selection of material of magnesium alloy....dont remember the details except what was in the Paine Review, only that many of the lenses gave up long before the bodies died!"
I asked Bert if I could post his answer here:
"No I dont mind, you will probably get opposing viewpoints from other members, which will also be helpfull! Any comments I make are strictly my personal opinion, and some members (often with more expertise than I have) sometimes, disagree with me!
Does your C have the Cooke lens, be sure to mention this answer on the helpboard? You say below that you mounted a Tessar on it?? [it came without lens]
Curious to know what the condition of the cloth shutter in the camera is, if the rubberized side is getting stiff, suggest that the higher speeds will eventually do it in, (maybe sooner than later) and also......you need to check for pinholes....I do that by removing the lens and looking at the sun thru the bellows end, release each slot, one at a time to the closed position to find the pinholes, this method finds holes you cannot see with bulbs often times!
(be sure to close your eyes when you release the shutter)"


The shutter cloth seems to be OK. Couldn't see any pinholes; it seems to be flexible. There are some horizontal discolorations (not creases tho.)

I succeeded in stripping the Tessar out of its helicoid and attaching it non-destructively to my C. Removing two screws in the helicoid guide slots at the base allowed the lens barrel plus male helicoid sleeve (photo) to be unscrewed from the outer mount; two screws on the sleeve allow the male helicoid sleeve to be unscrewed from the lens barrel, leaving a rotating inner sleeve with flange that operates the iris. This flange drops into a hole in new perspex lensboard; rotating the rim of the mounted lens works the iris. Nice bright image on the groundglass! Infinity focus with 1/4" bellows extension.

The shutter seemed to have developed an issue: curtain would no longer drop from O position at 1-2-3 tension numbers. I tried following Bert's instructions for increasing tension...curtain would drop "with authority"; then with cover plate screwed down down issue would be back. I did several iterations of increasing tension. Finally, I discovered that if the screw next to the hex nut was backed off by 1/8 turn from fullly tightened down, the problem went away. I then backed the tension off to where the curtain drops with very little authority (I want to stress the ancient curtain as little as possible). Problem suffiently solved, but I wonder what the explanation is? I peered under the cover plate, and took the base cover off, but couldn't see anything untoward.

The torsion that needs to be applied to the winding key (in normal operation) is a lot greater than that required by my Pacemaker Speed. Is that usual?

Took the Tessar out for a spin. Quite sharp: http://ragarecords.com/photo/imagesextra/graflexC/HotelKellerLockSm.jpg

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