18" Kodak Wide Field Copying Lens

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Hi there, I recently bought an 18" Kodak Wide Field Copying lens in near mint condition. Like most process lenses, it is in barrel. I've read about the quality of process lenses and its usability for general landscape photography. I haven't mount the lens on a board yet, can anybody tell me how well this particular lens performs? The lens is "Luminized" or multicoated, and has an aperture setting of f16-f64. The only information I was able to find was that this lens will cover 20"x24". Would it be worth it to get a shutter mounted to it? Any additional information regarding its history, market price, performance, etc, would be greatly appreciated. Henry

-- Henry Suryo (henrysuryo@coopercarry.com), October 02, 2000


The performance and worth of the lens are very much coupled to its condition. In mint optical condition the results you get will be indistinguishable from any top quality general-purpose camera lens that you can buy.
Monetary value is something else. If the paint is chipped and the engraving worn, then you won't get much for it, no matter how well it performs. (Thank goodness for this. It means that great glass can be picked up cheap.)
I've a collection of 5 process lenses now, from 150mm to 14". I paid no more than #25 ($40US) for any of them, and 4 of them are in mint condition. The 14" is a bit rough, but then I only paid #5 ($8US) for it!

Putting these lenses in shutters is a costly business. Mostly they need a #3 shutter which doesn't come cheap. See S.K.Grimes website for prices in US dollars.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), October 03, 2000.

I tested one of these lenses, and I'm beginning to think that I should have kept it. At the time, I was thinking of 14"x17" format. Also, I'm very curious about the lens being "Luminized". So, this is a form of multi-coating?

At any rate, my checking indicated that this lens would do a decent job of covering 11x14, would cover 14x17 with minimal movements, but would be hard pressed to cover 20x24. I checked by mounting the lens on my 4x5, and then adjusted both the rise on the front and the shift on both the front and back. By placing a "spot" in the corner of my ground glass, and then siting through the front of the lens, I would determine the rise/shift combination at which I could no longer see the spot through the full aperture. I did this at various f-stops in order to determine the advantage of stopping down the lens. Ron Wisner said that this would be a good approach to check coverage for contact printing. Since you have the lens, you could conduct the same test.

I also took photos of a test pattern straight-on at about 10ft. The results were a little sharper, and I thought a trifle cooler, when compared to a Schneider S 360mm lens. I believe the lens is a double-gauss design, but I'm not certain. To check for the year the lens was made, take a look at the first two letters of the serial number, and use the code CAMEROSITY to correspond to the digits 1234567890. (e.g. an RS would correspond to 1957.)

The lens I checked had been mounted in a new Copal or Compur #3 by Steve Grimes. He did a beautiful job of mounting this lens.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), October 03, 2000.

I am pretty sure Kodak stopped making lenses before multi-coating came into practice. "Luminized" Ektars are single coated.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), October 03, 2000.

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