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1880s Brass: Taylor, Taylor & Hobson - Rapid Rectilinear
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: 1880s Brass: Taylor, Taylor & Hobson - Rapid Rectilinear Reply with quote

Lightning strikes twice? Shocked

Just a month after finding my 1940's era large-format Dallmeyer with the homemade brass M42 adapter (thread here), I have come across another vintage homebrew monster. Surprised

My latest treasure is a brass lens made by Taylor, Taylor & Hobson in Leicester, England. It is marked "R.R.", designating it as a Rapid Rectilinear design, and the engravings specify "8 1/2 x 6 1/2" and "EQ. FOC. 11.31 IN." It also has the word "PATENT" and a small upward arrow engraved through the center of the word, but there is no reference to a patent number. The glass is fungus free.





The interesting part of this particular lens is that it has a long thin metal tube soldered to it.. right over the rear threads. Confused The tube has a square plate on the end, with a small strip soldered to one end at a right angle, and a gentle bend (towards the lens) on the opposite side. There is a ridged flange where the tube meets the plate, so I suspect that only the tube portion is homemade - perhaps just an extension? The ends and joints of the tube are nicely rolled, so I would guess that it was a production can (food or some other product) that had the ends cut out.




I had to disassemble the lens to fix the aperture mechanism, which turned out to be as simple as adjusting the retaining collar so that the aperture ring engaged the pin that operated the iris diaphragm. The lens opened easily, so I took it apart a bit more than I needed to, but I didn't press my luck to take it fully apart. Wink The aperture is stepless, but has markings for f/8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45, and 64. Only f/8 is marked with the "f/" notation, and only f/8 through 32 have notches filed in the aperture ring. The front filter threads are 43mm or 1 11/16", and this lens came with a very short brass lens hood, so I would assume that the field of view is pretty wide.



And finally, here is a closeup of the front element up against the rear element. I suppose that I will have to use a small jewelers torch to un-solder the tube and clean up the threads underneath, although I am hesitant to apply too much heat as the glass elements cannot be removed first. Sad If I can't safely remove the tube, I will have to figure out the focal length and make an adapter to hold it by the rear plate...




Now, if you are like me, my first question was "How old is it?" Question

I did some research, and found the "Taylor, Taylor & Hobson" entry in the Lens Collector's Vade Mecum (07/05/2001 edition). There is some interesting information in there, such as this being one of TTH's first lenses, about how iris diaphragms were optional extras (the standard lenses having Waterhouse stops), and about TTH's transition to be called "Cooke Optics" - a name many here will recognize. Here are a few excerpts:
Vade Mecum wrote:
Production initially could not have been large and the brass RR series has real scarcity in this field.

Vade Mecum wrote:
Rapid Rectilinear (RR) with iris diaphragm f8.0 to cover 40-50.
It was offered in 1/4, 1/2, 1/1 plate sizes and was seen at No 1,28x with Waterhouse stops.
Sharp & Hitchmough in 1889 listed it as 5.0in for 1/4plate, 7.0in for 1/2plate, 9.0in for 8x5in, 11in for 1/1plate,
13in for 10x8in, 16in for 12x10in, 18in for 15x12, 24in for 18x16in, and 30in for 22x20in. and suggested 13in for
10x8, and show lens serial No730 in the engraving. They were made with either Waterhouse stops or iris as
an extra, and the iris had a black band enamelled in the control ring. The iris design has not been examined
but at No580x it uses a raised band very like the Beck design of the period.
Serial numbers noted include: No 580x, 11,37x.
Some seem to be engraved "Landscape Lens".
Fig 019 002 TTH RR's (l) 7in for 1/2pl with stops at No1287; (r) 9.2in for 8x5in No5800 with iris.


The VM also has this text:
Vade Mecum wrote:
A rather imaginative Table of chronology might be:
1886 onwards, RR lenses from possibly No100- at least No16,858 and more likely to 20,000 or so by a statement in 1892. (See 'threads' below.)
1895 say No100 for Cooke lenses: ie. a new series was begun.
...etc...

The serial number of mine is 73xx, where the "xx" appears to be "06", but is only partially engraved on the left side of each digit. So it could be "7306", or it could be something else... Either way, a 73xx serial number would put it less than half way through the production range bounded by 1886 and 1892, so this is probably a late 1880s lens! Shocked 120+ years old! Shocked Shocked

I also found a post here on the forum, where Klaus (kds315*) was showing a similar lens. While there are a few passing references to the TTH RR lenses on the internet, Klaus is pretty much the only person to have posted photos. Shocked
http://forum.mflenses.com/taylor-7-rapid-rectilinear-lens-on-a-dslr-t22838.html



So now that we know a bit more, does anyone have any ideas as to the purpose of the homemade addition? Question My first guess would be for a magic lantern adaptation... but I don't have any strong reasons to think this, other than that it is appropriately old, and the small mount plate doesn't seem sturdy enough for general purpose camera use. Wink


Last edited by Scheimpflug on Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:41 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deduct the length of the extension tube from the stated focal length and see what's left - it might be a clue as to what class of camera (if any) it was adapted to fit.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farside wrote:
Deduct the length of the extension tube from the stated focal length and see what's left - it might be a clue as to what class of camera (if any) it was adapted to fit.


From the square flange to the place where the tube & lens join measures at 124mm (4 7/8") in length. So we have 11.31 - 4.875 = 6.435 inches (163.449 mm). That's still a considerable distance! Shocked


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful, wonderful, excellent, I love it! Thank you for the vicarious adventure!


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scheimpflug wrote:
Farside wrote:
Deduct the length of the extension tube from the stated focal length and see what's left - it might be a clue as to what class of camera (if any) it was adapted to fit.


From the square flange to the place where the tube & lens join measures at 124mm (4 7/8") in length. So we have 11.31 - 4.875 = 6.435 inches (163.449 mm). That's still a considerable distance! Shocked

Ahah. Ignoring that it might be a human telescope contraption, that 163mm is within the standard lens range for 9x12cm, 4x5, and half-plate sizes. Depending on the maximum spread you could get from the rear of the tube, it might illuminate the above sizes on an early 20th C folder. It's possible it was somebody's attempt to get themselves a telephoto lens on a more basic, non-extension camera.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you've got it, its a long lens mounted for a smaller camera.

Smaller cameras, such as the usual 1900's 4x5 folders would likely not have the extension for such a long FL. Even now people sell extension tube mountings or extension bellows for view cameras for exactly this purpose.

The only problem I see is the lack of a shutter, which may not be much of a hardship as this thing was probably used at small stops with long exposures.

It could also have been intended for a focal-plane shutter reflex camera like the Graphics.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I alone in imagining a forum similar to our own (but conducted via mail or telegraph) discussing a member's home-brew success at 'rescuing' a 20 year old 1880s lens and putting it to good use on their equivalent of a Canon 5D MKll, boasting how 'old lenses can be put to good uses even in this modern age'?

lol

Doug.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Doug,

You don't need to imagine, people have been doing this stuff since photgraphy began.

We have seen plenty of remounted LF lenses for Leicas and Exaktas for instance.

There were plenty of articles on old photo magazines on remounting lenses on different equipment.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your lens is pretty similar to mine (but mine has 6.94" = 176mm focal length). On your lens it reads focal length equals 11.31" = 287mm focal length, so at infinity you need your sensor to away from the center of the lens by that amount. If your lens is say 100mm long, that would then be roughly 287mm - 50mm = 237mm. If you want to use it on a Nikon DSLR, the register is 46.5mm, so you would need a tube of 237mm - 46.5mm = 190.5mm length. Obviously that camera your lens was used on was a larger format camera which much larger register length since your tube is about 124mm long. So it you want to bring it to good use, you would even need a longer tube - but you don't have focusing yet! Focusing closer than infinity needs and even longer tube, so it would be best to fit between your lens+tube a suitable focusing helicoid. There is a long focus helicoid with front and rear M42 threads, which extends between 35 and 95mm if I remember correctly, so for infinity you would need 237mm - 124mm - 35mm = 78mm additional tube (for that Nikon example). It is a bit incoirrect as you would have to remove that square flange at the end, thus losing some length or leave it and use it to attach a suitable long tube with rear M42 mount, that would fit the focusing helicoid. I hope that was clear to understand the principle... Wink


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farside wrote:
Ahah. Ignoring that it might be a human telescope contraption, that 163mm is within the standard lens range for 9x12cm, 4x5, and half-plate sizes. Depending on the maximum spread you could get from the rear of the tube, it might illuminate the above sizes on an early 20th C folder. It's possible it was somebody's attempt to get themselves a telephoto lens on a more basic, non-extension camera.

luisalegria wrote:
I think you've got it, its a long lens mounted for a smaller camera.

Smaller cameras, such as the usual 1900's 4x5 folders would likely not have the extension for such a long FL. Even now people sell extension tube mountings or extension bellows for view cameras for exactly this purpose.


Thanks Dave & Luis, that's an interesting thought!

Using a sheet of paper and a window with the curtains drawn around the lens, I made a rough measure of the image circle produced when focused on infinity and found it to be ~115mm (4.5") in diameter where the vignetting starts. Solving for an isosceles right triangle with a hypotenuse of 115mm, we end up with an 81.32x81.32mm (3 1/4" x 3 1/4") square as the largest coverage area without vignetting.

Granted, we can't necessarily assume that the experiment "worked"... or that it didn't vignette on its transplanted camera. Wink On a related note, once an intended format is determined, I suppose we have no real way of knowing whether it was used for a camera, or an enlarger - perhaps even the oil-burning horizontal type? This lens and tube combination doesn't have any slip joints, rack&pinions, or helicoids to focus it, so I can only assume that it was bellows mounted or that the focusing mechanism was part of the unit it attached to.


Do either of you happen to have any photos of these early folding cameras, perhaps even ones with the extension tubes or extension bellows you have mentioned? Also, do you know if any of these cameras had lenses mounting via removable plates? Question


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nemesis101 wrote:
Am I alone in imagining a forum similar to our own (but conducted via mail or telegraph) discussing a member's home-brew success at 'rescuing' a 20 year old 1880s lens and putting it to good use on their equivalent of a Canon 5D MKll, boasting how 'old lenses can be put to good uses even in this modern age'?

lol

Haha! Laughing If I lived in that age, I would be one of those guys, that's for sure. Mr. Green

I wonder what these lenses cost when new, and I wonder how much of their value they retained over time, before they started becoming collectors items? Say in the 1920s?


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
Your lens is pretty similar to mine (but mine has 6.94" = 176mm focal length). On your lens it reads focal length equals 11.31" = 287mm focal length, so at infinity you need your sensor to away from the center of the lens by that amount. If your lens is say 100mm long, that would then be roughly 287mm - 50mm = 237mm. If you want to use it on a Nikon DSLR, the register is 46.5mm, so you would need a tube of 237mm - 46.5mm = 190.5mm length. Obviously that camera your lens was used on was a larger format camera which much larger register length since your tube is about 124mm long. So it you want to bring it to good use, you would even need a longer tube - but you don't have focusing yet! Focusing closer than infinity needs and even longer tube, so it would be best to fit between your lens+tube a suitable focusing helicoid. There is a long focus helicoid with front and rear M42 threads, which extends between 35 and 95mm if I remember correctly, so for infinity you would need 237mm - 124mm - 35mm = 78mm additional tube (for that Nikon example). It is a bit incoirrect as you would have to remove that square flange at the end, thus losing some length or leave it and use it to attach a suitable long tube with rear M42 mount, that would fit the focusing helicoid. I hope that was clear to understand the principle... Wink


Perfectly clear, and thanks for the thorough explanation! Cool

The focusing helicoids are beyond my budget, but I do have a Nikon PB-3 bellows to use for testing. It has an extension range of 33 to 142mm, so based on your calculations, that should be an adequate length. I could even add additional extension tubes if necessary to bring the focus points into a more usable range. 78mm - 33mm = 45mm, and I have a pair of "Nikon E" and "Nikon PK-3" extension tubes here which measure at 41mm when stacked. Cool

Also, if your lens is 6.94" (176mm) focal length, I suppose yours is quite a bit less awkward to mount on a modern camera? Do you happen to have any pictures of yours and the extension/focusing method you used?

Thanks again. Cool


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys are making my head hurt ... Crying or Very sad


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something like this maybe -

http://www.stronghorses.com/bstrong/cameras/cam_premo3.htm

or this -

http://members.papadocs.com/buttons49/cameramuseum/code/subpages/666.htm

or maybe even this -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/89864432@N00/4274453901/in/pool-camerapedia

There were versions these that took lensboards.

Its also possible that the rear flange may have been intended to be hooked over a square lens mount and not necessarily used as a lens board.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting old lens, for sure, and I'd love to see some large format shots taken with it.

Sounds to me like you have quite a bit of data as to format size. Whenever I've had a question about the size of a lens's image circle, I just hold the lens up to a white wall and point it toward a well-lit window, then move it back and forth toward the wall until the projected image is sharp. At that point, you can either guestimate or measure the image circle. Adjust your estimates as necessary if you think you'll need room for movements. No high-falutin' theoretical calculatin' necessary.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scheimpflug wrote:
kds315* wrote:
Your lens is pretty similar to mine (but mine has 6.94" = 176mm focal length). On your lens it reads focal length equals 11.31" = 287mm focal length, so at infinity you need your sensor to away from the center of the lens by that amount. If your lens is say 100mm long, that would then be roughly 287mm - 50mm = 237mm. If you want to use it on a Nikon DSLR, the register is 46.5mm, so you would need a tube of 237mm - 46.5mm = 190.5mm length. Obviously that camera your lens was used on was a larger format camera which much larger register length since your tube is about 124mm long. So it you want to bring it to good use, you would even need a longer tube - but you don't have focusing yet! Focusing closer than infinity needs and even longer tube, so it would be best to fit between your lens+tube a suitable focusing helicoid. There is a long focus helicoid with front and rear M42 threads, which extends between 35 and 95mm if I remember correctly, so for infinity you would need 237mm - 124mm - 35mm = 78mm additional tube (for that Nikon example). It is a bit incoirrect as you would have to remove that square flange at the end, thus losing some length or leave it and use it to attach a suitable long tube with rear M42 mount, that would fit the focusing helicoid. I hope that was clear to understand the principle... Wink


Perfectly clear, and thanks for the thorough explanation! Cool

The focusing helicoids are beyond my budget, but I do have a Nikon PB-3 bellows to use for testing. It has an extension range of 33 to 142mm, so based on your calculations, that should be an adequate length. I could even add additional extension tubes if necessary to bring the focus points into a more usable range. 78mm - 33mm = 45mm, and I have a pair of "Nikon E" and "Nikon PK-3" extension tubes here which measure at 41mm when stacked. Cool

Also, if your lens is 6.94" (176mm) focal length, I suppose yours is quite a bit less awkward to mount on a modern camera? Do you happen to have any pictures of yours and the extension/focusing method you used?

Thanks again. Cool


Well, a bellows will serve you well for sure to try it out.

I had a look but only found two other shots from that series I made, straight from the cam uncropped...

Flower bouquet close up


Castle detail night shot



PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The castle shot is fabulous! Very impressive.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
Scheimpflug wrote:
The focusing helicoids are beyond my budget, but I do have a Nikon PB-3 bellows to use for testing. It has an extension range of 33 to 142mm, so based on your calculations, that should be an adequate length. I could even add additional extension tubes if necessary to bring the focus points into a more usable range. 78mm - 33mm = 45mm, and I have a pair of "Nikon E" and "Nikon PK-3" extension tubes here which measure at 41mm when stacked. Cool

Well, a bellows will serve you well for sure to try it out.


So I dug through my box of parts to figure out a temporary mount, and ended up with this: Mr. Green


From right to left, we have:
* D40
* Nikon "E" short extension tube
* Nikon PB-3 Bellows
* Nikon T-mount shell, with the M42x0.75 insert replaced with a M42x1.00 insert that was removed from a M42 Vivitar 2x TC
* The remainder of the Vivitar 2x TC, with the optics removed, pieces swapped around, setscrews reversed to lock outward instead of inward, etc. With a single layer of tape around it, this assembly fits snugly into the end of the lens extension tube. Cool
* Some rubber bands for safety / peace-of-mind Very Happy
* The TTH RR lens on its extension tube


It's certainly not ideal, but it should be enough to get me by for a bit to do some basic testing. I will have to think some more about what I want to do with regards to removing the soldered on tube, as it has become apparent that even if I remove it, I will just have to add its equivalent back on. Neutral And if I have to add 160+mm of "real" extension tubes, the weight is going to add up in a hurry! Shocked

If anything, I suppose the best setup would be to have all of the extensions up against the camera body, with the bellows right at the back of the lens. This would keep the lens weight down, making it easier to focus and also less susceptible to creep when pointing up or down. It would also put the focus control close to the aperture, and further out where you could better steady the assembly when using it. Cool


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woo-hoo! Tilt shift and everything! Shocked

Hope you have some grand fun, and we get to look at the results.
Thanks for your shots, too, kds.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't poke the persons eye out if you take a portrait... Laughing awesome ingenuity!!...bravo.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fish4570 wrote:
Woo-hoo! Tilt shift and everything! Shocked

Hope you have some grand fun, and we get to look at the results.
Thanks for your shots, too, kds.

Oh, it's definitely not tilt/shift! It looks a bit that way in the photo because of the perspective, as I was pretty close to it with my DP1's 28mm lens. In reality, it's quite sturdy and very straight. There's no "give" anywhere except for a tiny bit of play in the bellows track. Cool In fact, it is sturdy enough that I've given some thought to just attaching a mount to the back of the tube semi-permanently.


Samples are coming. Cool


mo wrote:
Don't poke the persons eye out if you take a portrait... Laughing awesome ingenuity!!...bravo.

Haha. Yeah, that might actually be a possibility! With the bellows at full extension, the close focus point is just a bit short of 1 meter! Surprised

It looks really funny off the camera though, with the brass and the rings at the front and the bellows at the rear, it's almost like a steampunk sci-fi martian ray gun. Mr. Green


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, here's a challenge for those of you with trained eyes... or who like guessing. Very Happy


Three sample pictures, all taken with lenses which can be found in my signature, within minutes of each other using identical camera settings (aside from white balance, which I forgot to lock Embarassed). An aperture of f/8 was used for each lens, which is wide open for the TTH RR and stopped down for the rest. They were then all cropped to the same approximate view and scaled by differing amounts to make the subjects equivalent sizes. No other adjustments or post processing was performed.

I made these shots handheld, so focus points are close, but probably not exact. These pictures were also taken though a window, so for what it is worth, they don't quite represent the "best possible" from each lens. Wink



Can anyone correctly identify the lens for each of the three pictures? Question Feel free to elaborate with your answers, I would be interesting to hear the reasoning behind your choices. Wink



Sample A:



Sample B:



Sample C:


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is the 3rd one - this one seems to be more saturated to my eye. From your post showing the disassemble lens, some of the glass element appears to have a yellow/brownish tint to it, I think the saturated look is a result of the tint. the lack of WB treatment for the three sample is a good hint in this case ( ok.. at least in my head)

cheers,


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I know it's not tilt/shift, but it sure looks like it can boogy ... Laughing


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool set up !

Extension tubes and bellows work harmoniously with old brass lenses !