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

Re: dreamy Nikon lenses

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jack Brubaker" <jack@jackbrubaker.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2008 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: dreamy Nikon lenses

To the lens experts out there...

I have a question about using an old lens as soft focus. Someone
mentioned that an old triplet could be made to give that soft halo
effect by moving the front element out a bit to introduce spherical
aberration. Do I remember that right? If so can this be done with some
of those old lenses I have laying around that have what I take to be a
front pair and a rear pair each mounted in a brass ring and threaded
into a brass tube. Can the space between the front and rear elements
be varied by screwing them out a bit and get any of these effects, or
by seperating the front pair and placing a shim between them in the
brass mounting ring?

Hopeful and expectant,


A couple of famous soft focus lenses work on this principal, for instance the Cooke soft focus lens which is again being made (but very expensive). These were orginally made by Taylor Taylor and Hobson. My memory is that this lens works by moving the center element.
Triplets are very sensitive to element spacing but there are sucessful front element focusing Triplets so that may not work for getting a good soft focus effect. Some experimenting can be done by shimming the various elements to vary them. Unscrewing the front cell will move both front and center elememts together in most, if not all, Triplets, nonetheless, its very simple to do and won't hurt the lens.
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA