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Kodak 5-1/2" Anastigmat
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1887
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I've been watching it, wonder how high it will go. There's sure to be a bidding frenzy a few seconds before the auction closes.

About "Berthas." Classic 4x5 and 5x7 Graflex-based "Big Bertha" rigs are heavy and not all that portable. Since I'm having trouble justifying moving up from 2x3, my ideal would be a 6x9 Arca-Swiss Reflex with a long rail. I'm doodling designs that cobble up something similar from a 2x3 Graflex and 1.5" x 1.5" T-slotted aluminum extrusion. My tandem sits on a piece of 1.5x1.5 T-slotted so I know that the stuff is more than strong enough.

But this is all in the intermediate fantasy stage. It took my tandem rig a couple or four years to move from intermediate fantasy to working camera.

Cheers,

Dan
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Big Berthas Reply with quote

Dan- Why an Arca-Swiss Reflex? Why not a 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 RB Series B Graflex as a starting point? There's so many reasons why it's great for a Mini-Bertha project. If you have access to a 2x3 RB Series B, check out it's simple, easily modified design. Plus, your Mini-Bertha would still be a Graflex.
BTW, lots of cameras were referred to as Big Berthas; but in my mind, 'classic' Big Berthas of the late 1930's-early 40's, were made in the Graflex factory, from Home Portrait Graflexes. By 'classic', I mean camera has shift-lever focusing, a huge, cannon-like lens barrel traveling on a pair of rails, and a 40 or 60 inch Dallmeyer tele.
That's just my viewpoint. For many years, any camera, even a 35 mm with a huge, long telephoto, got called a Big Bertha (until our society forgot our history-no one younger than 45 is likely to know why a camera was called Big Bertha) .
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1887
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I'm sorry I wasn't clearer. If I could afford to get a 6x9 Arca-Swiss Reflex with a long rail, I would. It is a cleaner design than the official and unofficial -- I believe some were made by newspapers -- Berthas from the '30s.

You're right, the AS doesn't have the soul that a Graflex-based long camera would have. But it has its charms too, including that the maker is still in business. And I have a friend who's an AS user, even has a 6x9 Reflex, in Besancon where they're located.

But if I had to make a camera I'd start from a 2x3 Graflex. And like the originals, unlike the AS, mine would focus by moving the body, not the front standard. For what I have in mind to do a focusing lever with presets is considerable overkill but rear focusing is a must. My arms aren't long enough for focusing by moving the front standard.

Enthusiasm is wonderful. Me, I design very slowly, try to find all of the improvements possible before making. It took something like five years from the time I had the tandem idea until I had SKGrimes do the accurate machining that I'm not equipped to do.

As is, the Mk. I tandem works so well that I've found only one improvement, and that's a negative one. It allows a short and a long configuration but I haven't yet found a need for the short. That's two accurately located holes I didn't need. I keep thinking about replacing the side bracket, which is wood molding, with 1.5x1.5 T-slotted to make using portrait format easier, but that would add weight and a little ease without changing function at all, if you see what I mean.

Cheers,

Dan

PM me your e-mail and I'll send you a few lousy shots of the tandem.
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BrianShaw



Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 65
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

troublemaker wrote:
The GG image of the 5-1/2" is super good, but one can see with the naked eye that it certainly wont cover 4x5 at all wide open and is probably a stretch to say it would stopped down. One thing I noticed is that the lens has a really nice background out of focus look for selective focussing and shallow DOF, which I like about my other uncoated vintage lenses.


t.

Are you sure? Mine covers 4x5. I shoot it mostly at infinity and can't say about much else... but the coverage is OK. I'm not sure if barrel vs shutter makes a much of a difference on coverage, nor if the design changed much between the making of yours and mine. I tend to doubt either, but open to learning new stuff.

I also like the OOF background look!
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BrianShaw



Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 65
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DHF845 wrote:
BrianShaw-The 5-1/2 in. Kodak Anastigmat I described is in barrel, not leaf shutter. Internal refraction is affected by internal surface of lens barrel, spacing of lens elements/groups, and variables in batches of glass. Rolling production changes made to lens design also affect the results you get. Your 1940 lens will probably be sharper. It may have some internal coating to reduce refractivity.
"Individual results may vary". Results from your lens will probably be different.
I interpret troublemaker's info to mean his lens is an uncoated, barrel-mounted, earlier version of a No.31 Kodak Anastigmat, 5-1/2" E.F.. If the focal length is indicated by format (i.e. 4x5, 5x7) instead of inches, it's an early version of the K.A..


Sure, can't disagree with much in your first paragraph... definite possiblilities WRT production variances!

I understand that you and t. are talking about barrel lenses. I am definitely talking about one mounted in a shutter. Do you think that there is a design difference between a KA 5-1/2 or a No.31 mounted in barrel vs one of same era mounted in shutter? Kodak sold them both ways. I always assumed that the lens of same design had same specs, including spacing of lense elements/groups, no matter how the lens was mounted. Otherwise performance could vary in a rather unpredicatable way.

Mine is definitely uncoated. I don't know about internal coating, though.
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:47 am    Post subject: 5-1/2 in. K.A. Reply with quote

BrianShaw- I think Kodak intended uniformity, but was limited based on pragmatic production economics. Each batch of glass had slightly different characteristics. Variances were introduced by adapter rings used to fit lens elements into a barrel or 2 to 3 different types of leaf shutters (In 1939-40, you had a choice of 3 when ordering new S.G.). I think Kodak did the best they could for the price.
I've read coatings came in as rolling design changes before, during, and after the war, starting with single-layer internal coatings. I think a late version of the 5-1/2 inch lens would be sharper, with or without coatings. I only have personal experience with barrel-mounted 5-1/2 in. lenses.
I use a 4-3/8 in. K.A. in Compur-Rapid on my 1938 Miniature Speed Graphic. It's sharper all-around than the lens on my Graflex (but that's apples to oranges). I do have a 5-1/2 in. K.A. in dial-set Compur on a brand-new 1940 4x5 Anny (its never been used). Since you've sparked curiosity, I'll have to do a side-by-side and see if there's any diff.
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:15 pm    Post subject: How to use a Graflex Reply with quote

A new post on the Reflex Help board shows Paul Strand using his Home Portrait Graflex. He uses a dark cloth over his head, and the camera's always on a tripod. He's using it like a view camera. The Graflex LF SLR lends itself to a methodical approach, artistic composition, and slow, patient shooting. Which is what I've been saying here...
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got my hands on a GG viewing panel and it workswell on the RB Graflex 4x5.
Brian, yes I certainly can see that the corners are not sharp and things are distorted out there also. When I have more time I'll get this sucker out and have some fun with it. I figure it would do 4x5 OK stopped down, but I did not get this lens for coverage. If I want big coverage I'll use my older than dirt Cooke 7".
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