Voigtlander & Sohn Petzval Lens C.1869 Excellent Condition

  • 2800.00 £
  • Published date: February 15, 2023
    • Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Voigtlander & Sohn Petzval Lens C.1869 Excellent Condition

⭕ A remarkable find. This is the largest Petzval type lens ever made by Voigtlander & Sohn. It is massive, measuring 22 inches in length, including hood, and weighing 22 lbs. One can only imagine dimensions of the camera this served. The inscription says Voigtlander & Sohn, in Wein und Braunschweig No. 15729. This serial number coresponds with a fabrication date of 1869. This really is a piece of history. The brass is in relatively good condition. A Waterhouse slot is present near the flange. No Waterhouse stops are with the item. The glass is also in good condition and the central focus image is sharp. I have included some images of a primitive camera obscura device with the image projected on a piece of white paper. The detail is phenomenal, even with plenty of surrounding ambient light, considering the lens was made the same year as the Transcontinental Railroad. The outer surfaces are clean and free of marks. I am not going to dismantle the item to get to the inner surfaces even though it can be done by unscrewing and separating the lens at the flange where the lens board is mounted. I have tried to capture any flaws on the internal surfaces using some creative lighting with flashlights and slave strobes to create some internal surface reflection. One image shows that there was some of what appears to be mycelial tendril growth long ago. This is on the objective doublet and about 1 cm in length. The lens has the opening for the Waterhouse stops and a spider got inside years ago and made a web of about an inch near the rear doublet. This did not mar the lens. Also at the rear doublet is what appears old residue from a cleaning job. There was no coating back then, so the lens surface should not be effected. This is an assumption on my part. There is a uniform dust layer on the rear internal doublet.

The image that this lens creates is till tack sharp at the center. Petzval lenses are known for their spherical aberration, and this effect is one of their desirable characteristics, particularly with portraits. The depth of field wide open is quite shallow. Another feature is the swirling bokeh effect. I can see only a partial image, but the effect is there. To be fully noticed, you would need an image at least 20 inches square.
I have had many people see this lens over the years and everyone is startled at both how big it is and how good the image is. Id love to see this in a camera again, but that just is not going to happen if I own it.

Phone number ✆ 01522 837907
Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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