B&L TESSAR Series 1 c #2652872 for 5x7

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I just got this lens with a 5x7 B&J monorail camera. The shutter doesn't work. A repair tech told me that parts were unavailable, that it was unfixable. Can this lens be mounted on a new shutter? Would it be worth it? For some reason the focal length of the lens isn't inscribed on the rim. Is this a complete lemon? What are my options?

-- Benjamin Lord (bbunny@coollink.net), March 18, 2000


Benjamin, This lens is probably not worth the effort unless you are seeking a specific look--the Tessar design was not very sharp. Overall softness was a problem. You have few details, but coverage may also be a problem.

-- fred (fdeaton@hiwaay.net), March 18, 2000.

Benjamin: I must respectfully disagree with Fred about the sharpness of the Tessar lens. The more lenses have been made for large format using the Tessar formula than any other. In recent years the plasmat design has been more popular, but because of increased coverage. The Tessar was the main formula for nearly all of the press lenses and also view camera lenses. The main drawback is lack of coverage to allow movements, not sharpness. The Kodak Ektars, Schnieder Exenars and dozens of othes are Tessar designs. Not many modern lenses are able to match the contrast of even an uncoated Tessar. However, from a personal viewpoint, I do not feel that the lens you have is worth a major shutter repair or the price of a new shutter. If you could find another shutter cheap, you might consider it just to be able to use one of the classic lenses. You might even consider finding a Packard shutter which will mount behind the lens. You will be much better off with a more modern coated lens and a reliable shutter if you intend to pursue LF photography. A good, more modern lens in used condition can probable be found with a bit of searching at a price not too much higher than a new shutter or a major shutter overhaul. Hope this helps, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), March 19, 2000.

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