Can you identify a large Leitz lens. : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have found a "Ernest Leitz Wetzlar" lens in a black barrel with a flange mount and engraved on the barrel is "Epis f=32.5 1:36" there is no iris, no shutter. The glass appears to be two large coated elements and by turning a lever on the barrel the front element telescopes out an additional 2 inches (?). It was in a box with a set of 4condensor lens of unknown origin. Does anyone know what this lens is and what it was used for? I doubt I can use it on my camera but if possible would like to try it. I'm guessing its some sort of copy lens but really have no clue. I looked on some Leica sites but found nothing. thanks.

-- bill zelinski (, May 22, 2000


Bill: Could it be a condenser lens for a Leitz enlarger? It seems that years ago I had a Leitz Valoy enlarger with a similar condenser, but it was years ago and I am getting senile. Just a guess. Good luck with it, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (, May 22, 2000.

Possible, but the condensors and lens were each mounted on seperate metal plates, there were some strange things in the box with them. The lens is bigger than any lens for any enlarger I've ever seen and would'nt it have an iris? If for an enlarger it must have been one heck of a big enlarger. Could it be for arial photogaphy? Copy work?

-- bill zelinski (, May 22, 2000.

An aerial lens would have more than two elements and they're usually a bit faster than f36. My guess is that you have the lens and condensor set from a large format projector. These were used for classroom teaching from lantern slides and large format transparencies, and lived on longest in the military world where they were used for projecting aerial reconnaisance slides and other briefing materials. Some projectors had different stages for LF and smaller format slides, and the telescoping element is probably to focus on a different stage with a different magnification.

I don't know for sure if Leitz made this type of projector, but it's not unlikely.

-- Struan Gray (, May 22, 2000.

Ah, that may explain why one of the other bits looks like a big reflector that held a large lightbulb. A 4x5 slide projector? Geez,I guess I could could have the biggest slide shows on the block,:)..thanks. .

-- bill zelinski (, May 22, 2000.

That sounds conclusive. Finding replacement bulbs for these things is no easy task. The originals could up to 1 kW monsters and would automatically dim all your neighbours' lights so they didn't interfere with your slide shows :-)

You could build a new projector chassis with a modern lamp fitting, but it's probably not worth the effort. Bessler made similar projectors for the US Army, so if you want to project LF slides you could jury rig your lens onto one of those - they turn up fairly regularly on eBay and, I'm told, in surplus stores.

In general it won't be a good lens for imaging purposes, and is too weak to be used as an effective loupe. You could have fun building a wide-field telescope using it as the primary objective. Or, one of the nicest things I've seen done with a similar lens was to make a highly directional reading-in-bed light using a modern halogen fitting at the centre of focal plane.

-- Struan Gray (, May 22, 2000.

You have some interesting flea markets around your area. First a Kodak contact printer, now the makings of a ... hmmm.

-- Tony Brent (, May 23, 2000.

The name "epis" and the size suggest an episcope lens.

This kind of projectors works for frosted (non transparent documents like a typed sheet, a book ..). They were used some time ago, when xeroxing documents on transparent sheets to project them was uncommon.

-- Dominique Cesari (, May 23, 2000.

Eureka! Thank you Mr Cesari. After a searh on Episcope I have found that an Episcope is a device for photographing closeups of skin lesions (yuck!) I found a military issue DUX Episcope at a NZ collecters site, he has some very unusual cameras but the best hit was on where else, EBAY! Yes, I found a listing for a "Zeiss Super Episcope" and thats the lens and the other bits that are in the box. Does everyting show up on EBAY? Since I have no desire to photograph skin leisions (at least for now) it will stay in the box. Thanks everyone, you guys are great.

-- bill zelinski (, May 23, 2000.

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