A couple of old lenses

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I aquired a couple of old lenses and wonder if anyone knows anything about them. The first: "The Ideal Series B, 6 1/2 X 8 1/2, Burke+James Chicago"

The second has some missing shutter blades it is: "Tessar Ic 164mm E.F. F4.5 Bausch+Lomb Rochester NY USA"

Are these worth getting fixed? Thank you all for your help

-- Eric william (gldn@hotmail.com), June 18, 2001



From your description, the first lens was made for a full-plate (6.5x8.5) camera. The lens should cover 5x7 but not 8x10. B&J made camera equipment but I believe that their lenses were made by other manufacturers and stampted with the B&J name. These manufacturers included Bausch&Lomb, Carl Meyer, and Carl Zeiss Jena.

The second lens is a B&L Tessar with four elements in three groups. The Tessar design was produced by Zeiss from roughly 1902 to about 1920. After that, Zeiss lost it's exclusive control of the Tessar and numerous other companies produced lenses of similar design. The most famous these Tessars include the Kodak Ektar and the Scneider Xenar. According to Wooden's Large Format Reference Manual, the 6.5" (165mm) B&L Series 1c Tessar will cover 5x7.

Are these lenses worth fixing? That depends what needs to be repaired, the condition of the glass, your budget, and the ultimate usage of the lens. Remounting the lenses in new shutters seems like a costly proposition, particularly if the lenses are hazy, scratched, or show signs of fungus, decementing, etc. Even mounting in a used shutter will likely cost more than the current value of the lens. (see SK Grimes' web site for cost information on remounting etc.) You could purchase a new or used Packard shutter which would allow you to make timed exposures starting from about 1/4 second. A new Packard will cost about $125 complete with bulb, hose, fittings, etc. Used Packards are also available. You might also try using the lenses in conjuction with a lenscap and a neutral density filter. Shoot for longer exposures of 2-4 seconds and use the lenscap or a hat as the shutter. This will cost next to nothing unless you have to buy a ND filter. (Even that will only add $30-40). This last approach will also allow you to decide whether or not the lenses produce images of sufficient quality. I hope this helps.


-- Dave Willison (dwillisart@aol.com), June 19, 2001.

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