"Bad" lens help needed

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ethan_sprague, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Good day. I shoot 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" polaroid peel apart film.
    A friend is building a camera for me. But I need a "Bad" lens for it.
    It wouldn't necessarily need to "cover" the whole film, just most of it.
    What I need is a bad lens that will give me-
    Vignetting, soft focus, and flare are what I am after.
    A lens with no coating would be a plus. If you can think of one that comes with
    helicoid focusing, I'd be your best friend forever!
    Thanks very much, and yes, I am serious.
  2. Why not just go for a pinhole ... you won't need the helicoid then ;-)

    Seriously though, if you can make other focussing arrangements, No.3 Kodaks took 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" negs, Six-16 Kodaks took 2 1/2" x 4 1/4" negs, both ranges had fairly basic models which may have the lens characteristics you require.
  3. Cannibalizing a naughty, misbehaving lens, especially a cheapo, good fer nuthin' zoom, can often yield all kinds of useful bits such as helicoids and lens elements.

    You can generally rig up a simple meniscus lens from a single appropriate element often found in the center or rear element group of many zooms. Or combine two or three elements to make a semi-corrected, yet still delightfully bad complex lens.

    Also, do a web search (or photo.net search) for "Plungercam." This'll eventually point you toward a dirt simple lens made from a loupe, which will probably suit your expressed preferences.

    You'll need some sort of focusing arrangement but, again, cannibalizing a bad lens may help there.

    Also, simple, inexpensive close-up diopters used for macrophotography can also be used for focusing to infinity when combined with a focusing tube. Some folks will attach the diopter to a bellows. Others will make a simple telescoping tube arrangement from pipe, such as black plastic PVC plumbing pipe.

    Good luck.
  4. All good suggestions. I think the easiest would be to find an old folding camera in an obsolete format. Don't pay more than $20 for it, just to be sure you're not ruining something good. Most of the cheap ones had simple meniscus lenses or triplets at best.
  5. Find a focusing way to mount a 75mm Wollensak Oscilla-Raptar. It's perfect for what you need. Designed for 3 1/4 x 4 1/4, designed for flat field focusing (an oscillascope screen, and the focus on these things is such that one point almost is in focus and everything else wanders off into varying degrees of blur. About 25 bucks on EBay.

    tim in san jose
  6. You might be interested in this, too - taken with a home-made camera using a Carl Zeiss Jena 1:4.5 135mm lens from 1930. I picked up the lens and shutter in a second-hand shop and it's kinda special - it's never seen any coating at all. It's taken using a 3"x3" b+w paper negative, scanned and inverted: f5.6 at 5 secs.

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