Eckhardt Optics specializes in manufacturing custom optical systems, and we are now applying that expertise to the fascinating world of historical lens reproduction. Our first project was to reproduce a Dallmeyer 3B, and we hope to expand our offerings in the coming years.
The faithful reproduction of this historical lens was our top priority. Gerald Figal worked with us to ensure our design and craftsmanship met the exacting standards of large format photographers, like those found in his community. Below are images shot with our reproduction, more of which can be found here (the first shot is by Gary Samson and the rest are by Gerald Figal).
The specifications of our Dallmeyer 3B:
- The exact functionality of the original
- Glass which closely replicates that found in the originals
- 9cm lens
- 292mm (11.5in) focal length
- 14cm diameter
- Removable flange with seven holes at a diameter of 12.5cm
- Includes the following waterhouse stops: f/3.5, f/4.4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22 (Wide open the lens is f/3)
- Brass and aluminum construction
- Serialized engraving
- Ideal for 5×7 plates, but will shoot up to 8×10 with some aberration
Here’s a comparison test we shot to gather how our reproduction lens compares with the original. The image on the left was shot with the reproduction, and the right with the original. We’re proud of how well our reproduction is performing. These images were shot with a DSLR by way of a diffuser plate onto which the lens projected the image. While this is less precise than a proper large format setup, we think it is informative enough to display.
In 1866 J.H. Dallmeyer began producing his new version of the storied Petzval Portrait lens. We’re taking our lens design and manufacturing expertise and using it to recreate lenses originally designed by Dallmeyer, Voigtländer, Darlot, and Hermagis. Whether it be the original Petzval, the Dallmeyer variation or even a Rapid Rectilinear, we can reproduce it with terrific results.
Below is one of Dallmeyer’s original advertisements touting his new portrait lenses. The only aspect of the lens as described here that we can’t faithfully recreate is the price.
Here are some of our favorite contributors to the world of antique lenses and large format photography: