U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: dreamy Nikon lenses

Re: dreamy Nikon lenses

----- Original Message ----- From: "Judy Seigel" <jseigel@panix.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: dreamy Nikon lenses

I've enjoyed this thread, while reflecting that these things (duh!) do go in cycles... I remember reading Gernsheim's furious contempt for Julia Margaret Cameron's "dreamy" tableaux, tho he did like her portraits of famous men.

Somehow the matter came up in a class I was teaching in the '90s, I mentioned that Julia Margaret had a lens *specially made* to be "bad," and the class leapt up, almost as one, wanting to know where to get one...

Nobody mentioned smearing vaseline on the lens, tho I've heard about that, and a friend of mine sticks a magnifying glass in front of some camera or other and gets a great "bad" image with that (wracking my brains trying to remember who that was !!!).

But Rudolpho's e-mail makes me wonder what I was wondering already. I happen to have a Goertz Dagor, and even (think I) know where it is. Can I fasten that in front of a digital camera... ? I suppose the answer is "try it," but... any hints?


The Vaseline trick was made famous by Bob Guchione (sp?) of Penthouse magazine although I suspect it is a very old trick. I am not sure I want to do this to any of my lenses.
Tessars will produce just awful images when the front cell is removed. The back cell contains most of the power and most of the correction is in the front. I don't think you would want this effect except for some special effect.
I don't know how to adapt the Dagor to a digital camera because I suspect its focal length may be much too long although Goerz made some short FL versions of the lens. The soft focus effect is small and exists when the lens is wide open, nonetheless it gives a pleasant softness for some types of work. The effect is best when the complete lens is used. A single Dagor cell is useable with about 1.8X the focal length of the combined lens but the most obvious aberration is coma which is not very pleasant. Coma subtracts when two identical lenses are used back to back, as they are in the combined Dagor, but spherical adds so that the complete lens actually has more zonal spherical than a single cell.
You might be able to expeiment with an adaptor as simple as a cardboard tube and some tape.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA