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Leitz EPIS lenses used for large format wet plate collodion imaging ...


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Yesterday I was assisting Peterborough wet plate specialist Tony Lovell with a large format collodion wet plate project and before we packed up decided to photograph Tony's Leitz EPIS lenses ... modifed for use on LF wet plate cameras,  i.e., the 1000mm f3.5, 600mm f4.5, 400mm f4, ... and a Leitz DIMAR 25cm f4.  Yesterday we used only the 600mm lens to create 10x8 glass wet plate negatives. More about same in due course but here are the lens pics together with the 1000mm lens' 'concentric cake tins' construction lens hood. The 1000mm Epis lens weighs 25kg (without mount and board) and is best lifted by two people when attached to its mount. The Leica M3 gives an idea of its size.

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Leica SL 601 / SL 24-90 image

cont'd ....

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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... to illustrate the 1000mm Epis lens' hood ... constructed using modified concentrically fitting cake tins  

Leica X Vario image

cont'd ...

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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Lens boards (when necessary) are designed by Tony Lovell and machined by his son James 

Leica SL 601 / SL 24-90 image

BW

dunk 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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39 minutes ago, Ambro51 said:

Some years back I built a 10x10  Wet Plate bellows Camera using the Epis lens.  Nice bright image but depth of field  was whisker thin.  

 

Tony Lovell is making 20" x 16" collodion plates using the EPIS 1000mm lens .on a 24" x 20" Hunter Penrose camera ... imaging is possible ... DOF is miniscule ... but initial experiment proved that there is a light leak which is in course of being remedied 

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1 hour ago, luigi bertolotti said:

1000mm ! I saw a catalog with EPIS lenses 250 - 400 - 500 ... but no more : how was the episcope to accomodate such a monster lens ?

Luigi, My 1960s Leitz Projection Lenses catalogue ... French edition 

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Epidiascope with longer focal length lenses, on request

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dunk 

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vor 17 Stunden schrieb dkCambridgeshire:

The 1000mm Epis lens weighs 25kg (without mount and board) and is best lifted by two people when attached to its mount. The Leica M3 gives an idea of its size.

Impressive lens! As an aside, why would you use (as shown) the separate 35mm finder on an M3 when using a goggled 35mm lens ?

Andy

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6 hours ago, wizard said:

Impressive lens! As an aside, why would you use (as shown) the separate 35mm finder on an M3 when using a goggled 35mm lens ?

Andy

Why not? When lens is set to the hyperfocal distance it enables easy composition ... it's a super bright finder ... and it's the only 35mm lens I have.

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vor 7 Minuten schrieb dkCambridgeshire:

Why not?

I was thinking along the lines that, using a googled 35mm lens, the camera's built-in finder will show something quite like the separate finder, in particular approximately the same magnification and unclutteredness, as the camera's finder will also show just a single frameline. The extra finder may be a bit brighter though, depending on the condition of your M3 finder. BTW, the Summaron 35mm is an excellent lens!

Edited by wizard
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  • 8 months later...
Am 19.7.2021 um 20:54 schrieb dkCambridgeshire:

Tony Lovell is making 20" x 16" collodion plates using the EPIS 1000mm lens .on a 24" x 20" Hunter Penrose camera ... imaging is possible ... DOF is miniscule ... but initial experiment proved that there is a light leak which is in course of being remedied 

Most impressive, thank you for sharing! Would you happen to know whether the lens covers the full 24x20"? (Or even more?)

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3 hours ago, kathala said:

Most impressive, thank you for sharing! Would you happen to know whether the lens covers the full 24x20"? (Or even more?)

Fairly sure the lens covers 24x20 ... will confirm next time I see Tony Lovell ... still a work in progress

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Of interest: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?68906-Leitz-lens-Epis-f-3-5

It sounds as though they were designed for use in Epidiascopes to project A4 and A5 flat copy onto very large screens from significant distances in lecture theatres, so their central coverage is probably quite good. Presumeably they are optimised for shorter distances. But I'd guess if they are used photographically for larger coverage then the image quality will quickly fall off. A web search for Leitz Epidiascope will reveal photos of the units that the lenses came from.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, pgk said:

Of interest: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?68906-Leitz-lens-Epis-f-3-5

It sounds as though they were designed for use in Epidiascopes to project A4 and A5 flat copy onto very large screens from significant distances in lecture theatres, so their central coverage is probably quite good. Presumeably they are optimised for shorter distances. But I'd guess if they are used photographically for larger coverage then the image quality will quickly fall off. A web search for Leitz Epidiascope will reveal photos of the units that the lenses came from.

Image quality at shorter distances eg when used for portraiture is OK ... but DOF is tiny ... No lens diaphragm ... Following pics show polystyrene head focus test on the Hunter Penrose 20x24 camera ... pix taken with Leica X Vario

Experiment is a work in progress ... initial July 2021 results using 20 x 16 wet plates showed only minimal detail due to a 'light leak' which has since been remedied 

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ULF Wet Plate enthusiast Tony Lovell ... Hunter Penrose 20x 24 camera fitted with Leitz EPIS 1000mm epidiascope lens 

 

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Polystyrene head 'model' used for focus test 

 

 

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Focusing screen image ... illustrating shallow DOF ... custom (home made) focusing screen fitted 

dunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ambro51 said:

He’s going to find that whisker thin DOF a nightmare to work with.  There’s NO reason why the lens cannot be slotted for Waterhouse stops.  Not of course brutally with a hacksaw but by a competent worker.  That lens needs to be at F8 or F11 to do real portraiture.   

Note UV dependent Wet Plate ASA Ratings ... Tony Lovell knows what he's doing ... He makes Waterhouse stops and would use them if feasible ... portrait exposures are in seconds (using a head support) ... not fractions of a second. Studio is fitted with UV transmitting glass, windows and roof.

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Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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I’m not going to argue with you. (My credentials ;   I learned Wet Plate from Mark Osterman, in 1995, made about 10,000 plates, taught dozens of people the process and built 465 cameras.)  *****. He’s going to struggle with -zero- depth of field. (Period)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have 3 epidiascopes and 10 lenses, but no lens larger than 400mm/f4. This May 1937 Brochure show many larger, including whole patient, epidiascopes. As also shown below, a 1000mm/f6 is listed. But that would be nearly half the size of the lens shown in the OP (1000mm/f3.5).  The comprehensive 1929 catalog lists projection lenses up to 800mm/f4.8.  In 1966, the Epidiascope III (revised model) is listed with an 800mm/f3.5 lens, for $2846, more than most automobiles.  As all the longer Epi  lenses listed in that period were f3.5,( the 325mm and 400mm were f3.6) I would assume the OP lens was by special order from about that time. The 1937 catalog includes a questionnaire from the Mortimer St. London office to assist in selecting your new projector.

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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)
On 3/27/2022 at 11:28 PM, Ambro51 said:

I’m not going to argue with you. (My credentials ;   I learned Wet Plate from Mark Osterman, in 1995, made about 10,000 plates, taught dozens of people the process and built 465 cameras.)  *****. He’s going to struggle with -zero- depth of field. (Period)

Just seen a 20x16 wet plate produced 27 August with the 1000mm Epis lens — it's posted on Tony Lovell's FB page and is a REAL full length portrait ... and lens used at full aperture. Tony Lovell's 'credentials' are pretty good too ... he's created hundreds of wet plates on all formats and he also 'teaches' ... and organises wet plate practitioners' GTGs 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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