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TTH Cooke Anastigmat f/4.5 5 1/2"
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:56 pm    Post subject: TTH Cooke Anastigmat f/4.5 5 1/2" Reply with quote

I succeeded in getting cheaply a Taylor, Taylor & Hobson Cooke Anastigmat for 4 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. cameras. The body is rather battered, but the glass is very clear and the aperture works. The lens has no focusing mechanism, and I mounted it using a macro bellows. This is one of the sharp anastigmats (a Cooke triplet), i.e. without the adjustable back element for soft focus. Stopped down it is supposed to be very sharp, but I tested it at the full aperture only.

For an uncoated lens, maybe 80 years old, the contrast is reasonable. Fully open the bokeh is so-so, I'm not entirely happy with it compared to the 105 mm Radionar, but I suppose the bokeh will improve when stopping down, just like with any other lens.

I went my usual round taking photos of my usual targets. Here is a crop from a cathedral shot, quite respectable, sharp with practically no CA in the OOF area:



Here is another crop:



A whole frame:



and another:



More examples and full-size pics at http://galactinus.net/vilva/retro/eos350d_cooke.html

Veijo


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where do you find all these fascinating old lenses?
I haven't even heard of this lens manufacturer and you manage to use them at your DSLR, amazing.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice results...

Seems like this manufacturer made the lens for M42 mount too...

http://m42.povlab.org/lens_detail.php?lid=251

And seems like expensive pieces...

Click here to see on Ebay


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
Where do you find all these fascinating old lenses?
I haven't even heard of this lens manufacturer and you manage to use them at your DSLR, amazing.


Yes, my thoughts too. Our Veijo is amazing.

By the way, this lens seems very sharp already wide open. Except for some expectable flare, I see no big difference from the lenses of today.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
I haven't even heard of this lens manufacturer


I think they are more famous for cinema lenses. The company is still going strong in Leicester, England.
http://www.taylor-hobson.com/thethstory.htm


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
Where do you find all these fascinating old lenses?


On eBay.

Quote:
I haven't even heard of this lens manufacturer and you manage to use them at your DSLR, amazing.


Before WWII, TTH was one of the most famous and significant lens manufacturers. Their Cooke triplet (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooke_triplet and http://www.cookeoptics.com/cooke.nsf/active/0EABFF909955D1E685256E8500295708 ) in various forms was used by many camera manufactures, there was even a version of the Vest Pocket Kodak with a focusing TTH Cooke Anastigmat. TTH made a lot of large format lenses and cine lenses, e.g. all lenses for Technicolor production were custom made by TTH.

Veijo


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of pictures of the setup, still a kind of jury-rig as the lens is fixed only with Blu-Tack for the initial tests. The bellows is M42 at the lens end and Edixa bayonet at the camera end. I fixed a short EOS macro extender to the camera end, first with Blu-Tack in order to allow exact adjustment and then with Plastic Metal. In the picture the lens is at about infinity focus so there is still room for some extra extension when the bellows is fully compressed - this would make it possible to focus perhaps down to about 0.5 m or so.





BTW. the example photos are only rather minimally sharpened, and with some extra sharpening, about normal level for in-camera jpegs, they certainly improve a lot. Here is one of the example crops after sharpening:




Veijo


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an exercise! Thanks for sharing. Is that flare I see in most of the shots? One would expect it in a lens with no coating and no hood.

patrickh


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the info!

BTW, Blu-Tack rocks! Wink


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patrickh wrote:
Is that flare I see in most of the shots? One would expect it in a lens with no coating and no hood.


Quite certainly there is some flare with six uncoated air-to-glass surfaces. However, we must keep in mind that I'm using the lens well beyond spec. Most of the photos taken with the original camera, perhaps all, were contact printed at 3.35" x 4.25" (82.5 mm x 108 mm). At the 350D resolution the original frame would be about 13200 x 17300 pixels, roughly 228 Mpixels, which printed at 300 dpi would be 44" x 57.6", i.e. 112 cm x 144 cm. At a screen resolution of, say 80 dpi, the image size would be 165" x 216", i.e. 419 cm x 549 cm. Taking that into account, I'd say the flare is quite decent -- for a lens manufactured in 1917 or something like that. A little bit of local contrast enhancing sharpening will get rid most of the flare, at least for any print size up to 12" x 18", I'd say. Besides, the white cathedral is a very difficult target in sunshine - for most lenses. That is one of the reasons I try to photograph it with each and everyone of my lenses.

I have added a few sharpened versions of the photos to my site. One thing to be kept in mind when viewing the pics is that the DOF of a 140 mm lens at f/4.5 is pretty thin at pixel peeping resolutions, check the tables or calculators at f/2 or f/1.4 for a somewhat realistic DOF estimate.

Veijo


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the quality of the pics is amazing given the age and technology. I am constantly surprised by the relative slowness of technology improvement in the optics field compared with so many others. How many items in daily use for 30 or 50 years could compare so well with their modern counterparts? I am also blown away by your ingenuity in putting that contraption together to give us this opportunity to see how things were back then.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patrickh wrote:
I think the quality of the pics is amazing given the age and technology.


I agree, if it wasn't for that (controllable) flare this lens would look as good as many modern lenses.
Actually I am convinced that some cheap modern lenses do perform worse than this.

Quote:
I am constantly surprised by the relative slowness of technology improvement in the optics field compared with so many others. How many items in daily use for 30 or 50 years could compare so well with their modern counterparts?


I think this has to do with the available medium. Until only recently, the resolution of commercially available film was not high enough to justify expensive research and development in the photographic optics field. The existing technology, that is almost one century old, venerable optical schemes like Tessar or Sonnar or even the Cooke triplet, were (and in many cases still are) more than enough to outresolve the resolution of all commercially available film.

It was only in the last 20 years or so that the technology could create films that were able to challenge the resolution of some (not all) of the best lenses. While lenses like the 30 years old Contax Makro-Planar 2.8/60 still today outresolve all available film AND even digital sensors!

And for Planar too we are talking of venerable lens schemes.

Where technology progressed more was in the materials, for instance the plastic compounds that allow for the creation of aspherical lenses (which as far as I know are impossible to create with the only use of glass).


PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and all the new technologies coming to bear on the coatings....


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The conditions weren't very good, but I did some lens shading experiments with the Cooke. First a crop from a hand-held shot at 1/125 s, ISO 400, unsharpened:



Then a crop at 1/500 s, ISO 200:



The previous shot alone doesn't tell much, but taking a corresponding shot with the 4/180 APO-Lanthar for a comparison will set things into perspective:



There is a slight difference due to the differing focal lengths, but otherwise it would be very hard to tell the results apart even at the screen resolution, which shows much more than a 300 dpi print - the 350D resolution is the limiting factor.

It seems I have to construct a proper lens hood and do some more testing at the Cathedral and my other standard test targets.

Veijo


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, at the cost of sounding blasphemous, I'd say that in the direct comparison I maybe prefer the triplet Cooke! I am of the impression that it resolves more detail than the Apo-Lanthar (although the Lanthar is obviously more contrasted).
Maybe it's just an illusion, but that's how it feels to me on a first-impression, quick comparison.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Well, at the cost of sounding blasphemous, I'd say that in the direct comparison I maybe prefer the triplet Cooke! I am of the impression that it resolves more detail than the Apo-Lanthar (although the Lanthar is obviously more contrasted).
Maybe it's just an illusion, but that's how it feels to me on a first-impression, quick comparison.


Well, the focusing is really critical so the APO may always be a wee bit off the optimum. It would take more shots to tell for sure. Anyway, as far as this single comparison is concerned, the Cooke sure is giving the APO a run for its money.
Besides, also Ansel Adams did use TTH Cookes for quite many of his famous shots - of course, LF is a completely different territory.

Veijo


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont want to put my views in word.. but telling, this is lens I am going to follow every where..


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK.. I have to write a comment... I really not able to find any plus in Lanthar...
About the low contrast.. I have stopped caring about that... Its just taste... No one can beat L lens is contrast... but I dont want 100+ comments on Flickr pic...

Orio, You wrote about contrast difference... I am not into trees photography that much.. But if you look into the yellows on the right side, to me, triplet Cooke is more natural and better in contrast (pleasing)... or its just my current love with old lenses is speaking...

Veijo, I want to be a "real" blasphemous, and asking for the market price of this lens....


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patrickh wrote:
I am constantly surprised by the relative slowness of technology improvement in the optics field compared with so many others.


In the consumer market, where selling price is the major factor, I agree technological advances have probably concentrated more on production cost than on optics, for example the development of polycarbonate lenses. But in the military and scientific fields it seems to me there has been a great deal of progress with optics. Just look at Google Earth and see the detail picked up by cameras in space. Also television and film cameras are incredibly better than in the 60's, or how about the incredible pictures from the space shots or from the Hubble telescope. God only knows what the military are up to now! Smile


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Just look at Google Earth and see the detail picked up by cameras in space. Also television and film cameras are incredibly better than in the 60's, or how about the incredible pictures from the space shots or from the Hubble telescope. God only knows what the military are up to now! Smile


You are right about Google shots.. (and if you have looked at the Microsoft Live maps.. those will make you crazy, atleast US maps...)

But Hubble, thats not optical system.. thats all electromagnetic mirror camera, with super computers working as simulators... same with Mars rover... we all are talking about GHz speed... that tiny machine max speed is 8bits per sec.. and check the pics.. beat 12Mp P&S little bricks you get in the market, sold as "latest" camera..

You have a point, technology has improved a lot in this field.. Optics is only one aspect of modern photography... Technology investment has gone alot in reliability, production lines and coming up with new strong but light materials for lenses... I have heard, 70's and 80's environmental laws pushed the optics standards few decades back.. I dont have any concrete proof.. just heard from few people...


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballu wrote:
About the low contrast.. I have stopped caring about that... Its just taste...


Totally agree with you Ballu. Contrasty modern lenses are not my taste at all - you could bracket them with junk food or thumping pop music. The degree of contrast (and saturation) in Veijo's pictures always looks so classy to me, is there a secret? Smile


PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballu wrote:
But Hubble, thats not optical system..


Is this true? I thought I read once that the problem with the Hubble when it was first launched was that one of the lenses hadn't been ground correctly.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Ballu wrote:
But Hubble, thats not optical system..


Is this true? I thought I read once that the problem with the Hubble when it was first launched was that one of the lenses hadn't been ground correctly.


I think its mirror telescope,

http://hubblesite.org/the_telescope/nuts_.and._bolts/
http://hubblesite.org/the_telescope/nuts_.and._bolts/optics/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Space_Telescope

And the issue was related to mirror design. (The wiki site also discuss this issue).


PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballu wrote:
I think its mirror telescope,


Ah, thanks. Nevertheless, it's still an optical instrument (as opposed to a radio telescope) and in the context of the discussion don't you think the HUbble is an example of massive technological advancement in optics over the past 50 years? Even the way the spherical aberrations could be diagnosed and corrected I would guess are way beyond 1950s technology.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Ballu wrote:
I think its mirror telescope,


Ah, thanks. Nevertheless, it's still an optical instrument (as opposed to a radio telescope) and in the context of the discussion don't you think the HUbble is an example of massive technological advancement in optics over the past 50 years? Even the way the spherical aberrations could be diagnosed and corrected I would guess are way beyond 1950s technology.


It surely is..
The most surprising thing to me is, digital nature of this telescope... It was never designed for film like media. It has CCDs and the telescope was sent to space in 1989.... and it was envisioned in mid '40s... down the line, In my opinion, digital communication made this project feasible. Now you can think of, when digital photography became practical.. Although I saw some research paper by Kodak in early '80s.. and whenever I vists the research wing of my company, I see some work done in '60s and '70s (although my company is telecom bussiness)...
Seems like, we (consumers) are very late acceptors.. or other way round, Japanese manufacturer entered the film business very late, and captured most of market.. it took long time to get the whole return from the investment... and one big part of the world, in the meantime, was busy in copying the old design Laughing and rest was busy with noting but great ideological discussions..