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- Rapid Rectilinear= Rapid Aplanat.
- F. J. Mortimer (1874-1944)
- J. O. Echague.(1950 Edition).
- Ravilious, J. (1939-1999)
- Date of aquisition Original maker Trade name of lens design Serial number Maximum aperture (and minimum perhaps)
- Purchase price (and present value if known!)
- Neu Combinar
- Combinar Series 11
- A. Hch. Rietzschel Gmbh.
- Older Type Designs Periscop ] Rapid Aplanat
- Portrait Lenses Portrait
Radix, (Bilora), Germany
The maker was Kürbi & Niggeloh, Radevormwald, Germany. The Biloxar anastigmat may be bought in but has
their name. It was sold in the UK in large numbers in the 1950's on the Radix camera for 24x24mm in at least
two apertures. Other lenses were Radionar f3.5.
Rank Audiovisual/Rank Photographic Ltd.
The Rank organization were agents for several Japanese brands into the 1970's. These included Nikon,
Pentax, Mamiya, beginning with the take over of Pullin Optical, who were the Nikon agents in 1964 with Neville
Brown, its subsidiary. With Sankyo cine cameras this made Rank the biggest importer of photographic goods
in the UK. The name occurs on lenses listed as Rank/Taylor, Taylor and Hobson Ltd listed under TTH below.
Fig 021 008 Rank/TTH Sopelem f1.3/15mm CCTV lens. (Made in France).
Rapid Rectilinear= Rapid Aplanat.
This was the standard 19 Century lens when the greater speed of the Petzval Portrait was not needed. For the
origin, see Dallmeyer and Steinheil, and the almost complete coincidence of their discoveries. Both seem to
have used various types of flint glass exclusively, but books often refer to the use of crown+flint- surely not
always in error, though Traill Taylor says it is impossible to produce with ordinary flint and crown. Unusually
dense crown is acceptable however. But there are some points to note. Firstly, the Steinheil seems to be
drawn with rather thicker glasses and secondly it seems to be often an f7.0 rather than the f7.7 of the
Dallmeyer. Also that the choice available today is quite wide. (1) Originally, they were issued as a wide angle
RR at f16 maximum aperture, and extended (2) to a normal angle lens at f7.7. But two other types were sold.
(3) The portrait RR was slowly extended from about f5.0 to f4.0 and provided a lens nearly as fast as the
Petzval but with more even sharpness over the image. And the weight of the f7.7 in the larger sizes forced
makers to consider an answer, and the result was (4) the Portable RR working at about f11, which was the
answer for many outdoor workers. Often, the cells were of slightly different focus though there was an opinion
then that ones of equal focus were preferable. Lastly (5) there were also sets of cells sold as casket sets, to
offer a range of focal lengths. (6) Another type was the Detective Aplanat, typically at about f6.
The original RR's were poorly corrected for astigmatism, though the designs certainly improved with time.
However the sale of Jena glass from about 1886 allowed the introduction of new designs with better
corrections, while the old glasses were still used on cheaper, often anonymous lenses. Thus the above 6
types can be imagined as doubled since most of them could be in old glass or use new. Most of these will be
in brass finish, though later types are in shutters and may be in black enamel. And finally there was a
tendency for the German and other optical companies to continue the RR or Aplanat for projection well after
they had ceased to use it for taking lenses. This has produced some exotica as the existence of a real Zeiss
Aplanat is otherwise unlikely, but note that these were designed for use over a narrower angle rather than for in
The RR is actually a really viable lens today provided it is not pushed too hard- use small apertures, and not
the full angle illuminated,- and it was made well into the 20Century, though sales after 1920 must have
dwindled to a trickle. It is noticeable that both American Annuals of Photography for 1939 and 1947 have
articles on users of RR's:
One was William H. Jackson (1843- 1937?) who pioneered photography over the West of USA and lived well
into the modern period, and made still impressive pictures on formats up to 20x24in, on wet plate before
enlarging was normal. (1868-1880). The camera was transported on a mule, and there is a shot of his
horsedrawn darkroom on wheels also. Lenses included Ross Symmetricals, Portable Symmetricals, and a
(Voigtlaender?) Euryscope- he preferred the Ross lenses, but this may be due to the focal length available as
he notes using a single cell as a long lens, eg at f50 for 3 or 4 min exposure, also f32 and even f16 with the
Portable Symmetrical.(Annual 1939, p216).
A later user was F. J. Mortimer (1874-1944) who made many of his well known negatives as a young man
working on the beach or small boats off the South of England (Southsea) and used them for many years while
the respected Assistant Editor of the Amateur Photographer, The Photographic News and editor of the
Amateur Photographer (1908-1944) and influential in the R.P.S., untill killed by a flying bomb in 1944. He used
a camera fitted inside an outer box to keep off spray, with RR and a focal plane shutter, often at f16, the
choice being to limit the cost of what was really nearly a disposable camera.
Note also Eidoscop used by J. O. Echague.(1950 Edition).
The RR was available on new cameras as late as 1926 or probably even 1930. Some late users were the
O.Sichel camera in B.J.A. 1926, p312 and the Kodak folders of the same dates. It was still a fully viable
design, but not too cheap to make; in fact, probably the cost was little less than a triplet of the same speed
and the term Anastigmat was valuable. So the RR came to the end of the road. A Kodak Series III of this date
(B.J.A. 1926, p317) seems only to have an anastigmat, with a very sharp image -- right to the edge.
Today, RR prices tend to be low or scrap, except for the Portrait lenses or where there is a definite connexion
with some particular camera. The anonymous versions are nearly valueless and often of makeshift quality.
One feature is the very large number engraved apparently with the names of the shops which originally sold
them in the 19C, so that the number of names here can be very large. These are themselves a fascinating
aspect if a minor one.
We thank R. Watson (UK) and H. Schrauf (Germany) for additional information on Rathenau and its
companies. Information would still be useful on the dates during which Busch traded as ROIA rather than as
Busch as this could be a good way of dating lenses about 1900.
Rau, Wetzlar, Germany.
They are noted for one lens only: there may be others.
20mm (c.1955) for Fotal 8x12mm.
(The trade name is much better known in the Graphic connotation.)
Ravilious, J. (1939-1999)
In 1996, he published a book 'A Corner of England' pub Devon Books, (Tel 01884 243242) based on negatives
shot with old uncoated lenses and tended to prefer these, both as Elmars in 35mm and Tessars in large
formats. Also 'The heart of the Country' and 'An English Eye'. (See 'Country Life' by P.Hamilton in B.J.P.
30/10/1996 p20) Sadly, he did not detail which lenses were used in 'Corner', merely saying he used Leica
rangefinder cameras often with 35mm lenses, especially the earlier uncoated ones. His books are a fine
example of what can be done with them today on modern materials.
The lenses were listed for Pentax M42 and Minolta only as follows.
f3.5, 25mm; f2.8, 28mm; f2.8, 35mm; f2.8, 135mm; f3.5, 200mm; f4.0 Zoom, 90-210mm.
There are very real advantages in keeping good records of a collection. At the least, these can help with an
insurance claim in the event of a loss by theft or fire, but actually much more is possible in recording the
development of a collection and the prices paid or thought to apply. And in time this can develop real historical
value. Many of the serial numbers in the Vademecum have been made available from collectors lists of items.
Normally the record might contain for each item:
Date of aquisition
Trade name of lens design
Maximum aperture (and minimum perhaps)
Finish such as brass or enamel or chrome
Any short note such as "fits Korelle"
Purchase price (and present value if known!)
Note that the price of a lens is less well defined than the price of a camera, which can be fairly indeterminate
itself. Thus there is a less active market in lenses with fewer items and less publicity than with cameras,
where there are well regarded price guides to form a basis for a deal. In general, prices are often lowest
between private individuals and increase in order for purchases from Fairs, from Auctions and finally from
dealers. But note that a dealer may offer a worthwhile warranty and have to pay taxes on his sale where the
others are able to avoid this.
Prices also can vary quite unpredictably when an item may suddenly become fashionable and the limited
supply means the price quickly rises. This has occurred recently with older movie lenses and before that with
Voigtlaender ApoLanthar lenses, and some soft focus lenses. But long term the fact is that prices have tended
to rise on most items due to the limited number of lenses available and the increasing numbers of collectors.
Examples from one collection (now dispersed), which looked for non-Leitz lenses in M39x26TPI for the Leica
1985? Den Oude
1983 National Optical No354,19x
1977 Taylor, Hobson Speed Panchro
f2/75 ?? £40
There is no doubt that today such as list is best kept on a computer in one of the database or spreadsheet
programmes. These are able to store large amounts of data compactly, even though the print-out can be
clumsy. And the record can be also kept on floppy or compact disc as a copy in a secure place, which would
be wise for a keen collector. It is very desirable that the programme should allow machine searching under
"Find" or similar for forgotten items, and "Sort" to allow the arrangement of items in the different columns in
different heirarchies (orders) for different purposes- such as put in order of date, or alphabetically or even in
increasing price. They can also be used to print out a card index if this is wanted.
This was a firm formed by an important amalgamation, probably of agents and dealers to form Beroflex (H.
Mandermann) in 1969, and the lenses originated from Germany, (35mm) and the Far East (probably Japan).
They were as follows:
200mm Auto iris.
Reichert, Wien V111, Bennogasse, 24-26, Austria.
They were an important camera lens maker earlier this century, but seem later to have concentrated more on
microscopes from laboratory experience with hot- and cold-stage microscopes in the 1960's. They possibly
stopped photographic lens production during WW1 and never restarted after it. Their lenses are scarce in the
UK as a result.
This seems to be the main symmetrical anastigmat and was made in several types. A typical
layout may be that in Rei 010 from a 1908 list. But some do also seem to be of Q9 type. The spelling can also
be Kombinar or with a "C" as here.
This is a portrait lens with a 3+3 symmetrical layout.
This seems to have a 4+4 layout.
This was made in 6.0-30cm.This wide version was noted in 180mm for 100°
and was of Q9 type. Thus there do seem to be two types here, and this was the only wide angle listed in
1908. It may be complicated by the ending of Patent cover on the Q9 at about this time.
This was a 4+4 symmetrical anastigmat, and sold as a lens for general use.
It was made in 9-24cm. It was this that Frerk mainly featured in 1926, and the other versions may have been
closed off by then. The f6.3 was covered under D.R.P. 153,525 and Oest. P. 14,154. The 4+4 design was fully
separable, the cells working at f12, so they seem to both be the same focus.
Combinar Series 11
There is no information here- it may be a single cell of the f6.3 pair or a wide
Combinar Casket set
This was sold for 9x12, also f6.8, for 13x18, 18x24cm sizes. One list in
1908 gives these caskets as all having 3 cells, as Alpha, for 9x12; Beta for 13x18, Gamma, for 13x18, Delta
This was made in 3.0-10cm in a pre-1908 list, but there may also be another
version as it has been shown as an air-spaced Q9 type layout. The example seen at No249x was a 50mm
f4.0 in brass, and it was probably a low power microscope lens. Frerk seems to say a 6glass Gauss design
Fig 031 032 C.Reichert, Wien Polar f4.0 as 50mm and 75mm lenses.
This was a 4-glass air-spaced design, and a lens for general use. It was
made in 12-21cm. Frerk comments on the similarity to the Goerz Syntor, which might just suggest a licence
arrangment between the firms.
Some WW2 items were apparently coded: pvf.
The Reid camera was made by Reid, who at the B.I.Fair May 1947 showed a prototype Leica 111b copy, later
sold as the Reid with a TTH f2 Reid lens- see TTH. There were some delays before production began, and
this lowered the overall sales potential.
This name was noted on a brass daguerrotype period lens with a brass pivoting cover and no provision for
stops. (NB It just might be a later projector lens.....but these can be hard to date.)
c/o Agfa Kamerawerk, Tegernseer Landstr. 161; 81,539 Munchen, Germany.
Lenses engraved with this name have come on the used lens market with the increased use of scanning
techniques, and seem to be from Agfa Repromaster copying units. They are said to be very high quality
process lenses, but the glasses are set in a barrel mount and are not transferable to shutters. The design
seems to be air-spaced type Q20 and the iris scales may be missing or incomplete, but there is a click-in
setting and the rear flange sizes seem to be Compur sizes. They seems to have been mounted on a rotating
plate to carry 2 lenses.
150, 210mm. also in USA at least f9.5, 240mm.
80mm Tentatively, this seems to be a 6g/4c gauss design.
Research and Development Ltd.
Zoomar A for 17-53mm or 35-106mm This was a cine lens
Zoomar B for 17-53mm This was a cine lens.
These seem to be notable early zooms from the pre-1950 period. See also sections on Kilfitt and
Cine camera maker, using Revar f2.8/12.7mm lenses about 1951.
This maker of 6x9cm folders, used a Rex-Luxia lens, probably about f8/100mm, on a 6x9cm Rex folder in
Lens brand carried by Talbot & Eamer of Blackburn in a 1901 advert. but without further details.
Richmond RR lens for 1/4 plate Miral box camera.
Richter Cine Equipment, Essex, New York, USA.
They are makers of 'Reflex Auto Collimator' units to check the focus of lenses in situ on cameras, especially
movie and cine cameras, where the focus can be checked while film is running. The unit projects the image of
a test pattern (illuminated with a 110V or 220V light) with a collimator lens set to form an image at infinity:
when this passes through the camera lens, it is focused on the film if it is correctly set for infinity. The image
on the film is now viewed through the collimator lens using a part silvered mirror and eyepiece. It was also
used for still cameras such as Leica, Exacta etc. But a major feature was that field sets were sold for
cameras such as Mitchell, Eymo, Arriflex, C-mount and D-mount so that photographers could check all was
well in the field. Price was some $500 in 01/1976.
This was an old firm, dating from 1896, and making or supplying cameras as well as lenses. It seems to have
traded steadily until in the 1920's it was absorbed into the Agfa company who initially sold their products as
'Rietzschel' (B.J.A. 1926, p349) with Rietzschel f6.8 and f7.5 lenses. It is thought that the trade names were
valued and kept in use, and were slowly transferred to updated products, but continued for many years, and
that the large format lenses were sold on the continent of Europe while Agfa concentrated on developing new
markets outside it. Rietzschel do not seem to have themselves sold in the UK as the lenses are scarce here
and little known.
Older Type Designs
] These were options on the 'Tip' rollfilm in 1903.
Rietzschel Anastigmat f8/14cm, or f9.0/21cm
This was the low price option in 1903, the 14cm covering 5x4 and the 21cm 13x18cm.
This seems to be an early product but no details are available.
f8.0 This was made in 6.0-12in. 3-glass.
This layout, Rie002, is unusual as it uses only 3 glasses, for a 'simplified RR'. It may be the same as the lens
above on the Tip.
This may merely be the French trade name for the above.
Extra Rapid Aplanat
6-24in This was designed to cover 70°, this was a rather normal RR (Rie001).
It may be the same as on the Tip above.
4.75-16.5in Triplet type (Layout Rie009)
6.0-16.5in Petzval type portrait lens.
Linear This was the first Rietzschel symmetrical anastigmat, with an expensive 4+4 design, and later the 3+3
Apotar was added, possibly as patents became available. Apotar may have been noted as an f6.3/90mm lens
at No91,11x in a dialset Compur on a 9x12cm camera, ie a moderate wide angle lens. The units of 4 glasses
seem to be made up of pairs with a flat interface which may have helped the production.
Many of the names have the LINEAR letter group in them, not just this particular group.
Linear Type A
f4.5 or f4.8
1.675-16.5inThis was a 4+4 symmetrical anastigmat shown in
Layout 006 and was used on the Cosmo Clack Stereo in 1903 in 2x65mm. This also was used in 12cm on the
Clack 1 in 1905, and 12cm was suggested for 5x4in and was suggested to use 10.75in for 10x8. It was the
most expensive version, and performs well today over moderate angles at f4.8 and the good image then
spreads out as it is stopped down till it has really good cover at small apertures. (Rie006)
In use, an f4.5/9cm example No 117,38x in a dialset Compur (of about 1924-5) illuminated 5x4 and the 6x9
area was well resolved, the sharp area spreading out on closing down and at f16 it was a very decent semi-
wide angle lens as a 9cm covers 5x4in with movements, with really good contrast and sharpness, which
makes the design worthwhile as it does have that touch of speed in the centre. It does not show a "Type"
code on it. The layout (Rie006) can be regarded as a Q11 with one glass split to allow more correction, but it
is unwise to carry the analogy too far. It was covered by D.R.P. 118,466.
No1a is a 135mm lens. Stops were f4.8, f6.3, f7.7, f11, f15.5, f22, f31. This one was in S.I.M. probably for a
big S.L.R.One use was portraiture. The balsam in the Series 1a was badly damaged at G2/G3 in both cells
and it was noted that the glasses were mounted with a metal jacket (alloy) round the full depth of the glass
and this was spun over at the back to retain the glass- and also in the middle to form a sort of waist- this waist
may have been unwise as it seems to have tended to force the glasses apart long term leading to balsam
failure and was/is very hard to rectify! The glasses at this point do seem to be truly flat surfaces as in Rie006.
One point that Frerk makes is that it can be regarded as two cemented doublets with a common flat surface,
which helped alignment when the lens was asembled. [This is worth noting as 4+4 lenses are often said to
suffer poor centration, and in fact the makers often had a trick to help minimize the problem.]
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