12" Goerz?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just picked up a 12" Goerz lens in an Ilex #3Acme and I am having a heck of a time identifying the exact model.
Here is the exact stamping -
"C. P. Goerz Am. Opt. Co. Apochromat Artar 12in F:9 No.768079". The serial number is repeated on the rear elements.
I cannot find this f-length/aperture combo listed in any resource that I know of.
All of the Apo Artar Goerz I can find are "Red Dots" - but this lens has no dot or text indicating such -
The Dagors are all f/6.8 not f/9.
Any of you lens gurus/historians out there have a clue about the identity of the old boy?

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), January 13, 2002


I believe it's the same formula as the Red Dot Arters, but an earlier version. Some people have suggested that the red dot on the lens was more hype than anything. Is the lens coated? The red dot Arters are f9 lenses, except for the higher focal lengths.

Kingslake said of this lens, " . . . a basic dialyte design in which the positive elements were of dense barium crown and the negative elements were made of telescope flint glass having a favroable partial dispersion, so that the secondary spectrum could indeed be reduced. This lense remained the regular Goerz process lens for some seventy years."

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), January 13, 2002.

It's a pre Red Dot APO Artar. According to the serial number, it was made in about 1946 or 1947. The first Red Dot Artar was serial number 779612 made in October, 1953. Your lens is probably uncoated (I believe Goerz started coating their lenses around serial number 770000). The design is the same as the later Red Dot APO Artars (4 elements in 4 groups). If is is uncoated, it will be lower in contrast and more flare prone than a coated sample, but should otherwise be similar in performance.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), January 13, 2002.

It does not appear to be coated (maybe single?).
I took it apart for cleaning - the construction seems to be one frontal element air-spaced from one at the rear (two cemented?).
This is true at both front and rear groups.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), January 13, 2002.

Thanks Kerry.
Any guesses on coverage, guys? I find that the Red Dot 270mm has an image circle of 231mm, while the 305mm Dagor is 431!
I'm guessing this might be somewhere between -

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), January 13, 2002.


I don't have the official Goerz specs handy for this lens, but Artars were generally listed as having coverage of 46 or 47 degrees. That would yield an image circle in the 260mm range (at infinity) for the 12" Artar. The circle of illumination for an Artar will be larger than the circle of good definition. These lenses did not use mechanical vignetting (field stops) to limit the circle. What this means is you will get a much bigger cricle of light, but it will start to get progressively softer as you move beyond 46 degrees. Unlike the Dagor, the image circle of the Artar does not increase substantially as you stop down. It's pretty much 46 degrees from wide open down to f64. For close-up work, the 12" Artar would be useable on 8x10 (or even 11x14) at 1:1. For infinity use, 5x7 is pretty much the limit (if you want sharpness corner-to-corner).


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), January 13, 2002.

I have an old uncoated 12" Goerz that covers my 12x20 straight on.

-- Emile de Leon (knightpeople@msn.com), January 13, 2002.

12" Goerz dagor that is.

-- Emile de Leon (knightpeople@msn.com), January 13, 2002.

I have some literature form C.P. Goerz American Optical Company from 1960 that lists the 12" Red Dot Artar as covering 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" film size. Just for kicks the list price with the #3 Acme shutter was $325.00.

-- Jeffrey Scott (jscott@datavoice.net), January 13, 2002.

The Artars were designed for copy work, so big coverage at infinity wasn't important. More coverage would have meant more stray light bouncing around inside the camera, and would have reduced contrast.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 13, 2002.

Gee David, you might want to tell that to the folks selling them on eBay. Just today, a 4" Red Dot Artar (in barrel - front mounted on a Copal No. 1 shutter) sold for $600 on eBay. Some "lucky" bidder snapped it up using "Buy It Now!". The seller advertized it as:

"This is a coated wide-angle lens for use with a 4x5 or 5x7 view camera. Perfect for landscape work or architectural work."

eBay truly gives new meaning to the phrase "let the buyer beware". You better know what you're buying, because the seller often doesn't know what he's selling (but will have no probelm pretending he does).


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), January 13, 2002.

The Artar is an astounding lens. I've got a 14" American Optical Artar in a compur dialset. I've also heard three different theories on the red-dot vs. Apo arguement(all artars are Apo I've been told) Difference No. 1:It's a marketing ploy to get more money for the premium red dots(McBroom') Difference No. 2: red dots are coated lenses, Apos aren't coated(View Camera article from Wisner) Difference No.3: Apos are adjusted for best performance at 1:1, red dots are adjusted for best performance at 10:1 to 1:1 depending on focal length and when it was manufactured(John Sparks, More on Classic lenses, an old thread on this forum) They all sound good to me but take your pick! Whoever you agree with, you've got a great piece of glass if it's in good condition. The 14" is the minimum I'd want for an 8x10, so your 12" should cover any of the smaller large formats with plenty of movement. Enjoy!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), January 13, 2002.

Kerry, I didn't say the lenses aren't great for landscapes and other purposes. I have a 19" Apo Artar myself, and it's a sharp, contrasty lens. It just wasn't *designed* for that purpose, hence the small coverage circle. If you are going to use a lens for copy work, as the Artar was originally intended, mostly at short distances and relatively high magnifications, big coverage would be a disadvantage.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 13, 2002.

I just reread your post, Kerry, and realized I responded a bit too quickly.

Someone paid $600 for a front-mounted 4" RD Artar? That is crazy. I think I paid around $80 for my 19" Apo Artar (minus the Red Dot) in barrel, and had an adapter made for around $50 to use it on an Ilex #5, front mounted, and the adapter also works for a 12" GD Dagor I have in barrel.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 13, 2002.

Hi David,

I find the Artars great for landscape photography - as long as you use one that's at least one focal length longer than "normal". They need to be for adequate coverage at infinity. As long lenses, they really shine due to their relatively small size and light weight. I have a 9 1/2" Red Dot Artar in a factory mounted Compur shutter. At 185g, it's even a couple ounces lighter than the 240mm Fujinon A. A great lens for backpacking with my 4x5 Toho. I also have a 14" L.D. Artar that I had Steve Grimes mount in a Compur No. 2 shutter for me. This makes for a very light 14"/360mm lens that I use as a long lens also when backpacking with the 4x5.

My astonishment was initially that the seller claimed this was a wide angle lens for 4x5 and 5x7 landscape and architecture. But that was nothing compared to what someone was willing to pay for this lens. $600 for a lens that barely cover 2x3 at infinity. And it's not like it's a rare lens. Geez, you could get a brand new 100mm APO Symmar for less money. A later 4" Red Dot Artar in a factory original Compur shutter sold about a week ago on eBay for $150. Whoever paid $600 for that lens either REALLY wanted it bad, or had no idea of it's true usefulness.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), January 14, 2002.

Thanks for all the info!
This Goerz came with an old monorail I bought. It was the camera I wanted, and the lens was just thrown in - kind of an afterthought, and I got it for a song.
After dismantling and a good cleaning (and a shutter CLA), it turned out to be spotless under all that grime. Not even a cleaning mark!
I guess it's a keeper.
I plan to use it double-duty on the rail camera as well as my wood field.
Thanks again for all the info- I'll let ya know how it pans out.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), January 14, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ