Tim Layton Fine ArtTim Layton Fine Art Large Format Photography Vintage Lens Project

Large Format Photography Vintage Lens Project by Tim LaytonLarge Format Photography Vintage Lens Project by Tim Layton I am actively working on a project to create large format contact prints with each of my vintage lenses so you can see the optical characteristics and learn a little about the history and technical details of each lens. 

For the first phase of the project I am shooting the lenses wide open at maximum aperture in my darkroom studio using the scene that you see to the left of this text. 

I am currently using Arista EDU Ultra 100/Fomapan 100 B&W sheet film tray developed in my version of D-23 and I am making large format silver gelatin contact prints developed in my version of D-72. 

In the next phase, I will be creating a variety of different images ranging from stopping down for sharper images, to dialing in soft focus effects, both in the studio and outdoors so you can get a good sense of how each lens performs in different scenarios. I am surrounded by over one million acres of the Mark Twain National Forest in the rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks that is full of freshwater springs, rivers, mills, barns, and epic landscapes, so finding new subjects is never an issue.

Cooke Series II Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonCooke Series II Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton Cooke Series II Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonCooke Series II Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton Arista.EDU Ultra 100 Negative With Cooke Series II F4.5 Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonArista.EDU Ultra 100 Negative With Cooke Series II F4.5 Variable Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton Cooke Series II @ F4.5 Contact Print by Tim LaytonCooke Series II @ F4.5 Contact Print by Tim Layton
 

Free Analog Photography Journal by Tim LaytonFree Analog Photography Journal by Tim Layton I was originally drawn to vintage lenses because of Pictorialism photography.  I felt like photographers during this era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries  were creating highly emotional art versus simply "taking" a photograph or documenting something.  I am sure this comment makes Alfred Stieglitz very happy as he worked tirelessly to elevate photography to the same level of other art.  

To a large degree, I still feel the same way today, nearly 40 years later and this is one of the core reasons I continue to make silver and platinum prints in the darkroom and use vintage lenses from the 19th century.

Once I understood vintage lens designs better, I really embraced the errors "aberrations" from each period even more.  Over the years, I have acquired a variety of large format lenses ranging from the mid-1800s to modern-day 21st-century lenses and I have included some of them on this page.  Cooke Series II F4.5 Soft Focus 13 Inch Large Format Vintage Lens by Tim LaytonCooke Series II F4.5 Soft Focus 13 Inch Large Format Vintage Lens by Tim Layton The vintage lenses are very special to me for a couple of different reasons.

First, when compared to modern-day razor-sharp lenses the vintage glass helps me stand out from the crowd and create unique photographs that help me portray my true inner feelings about my subjects.

Any lens from 1900 and forward is capable of making very sharp images, so I am most interested in lenses from 1840's to 1899.  These lenses can range in price from reasonable to increasingly expensive.

It really isn't about being unique for the sake of being unique for me, it is about realizing a vision that I have in my mind's eye. While I can appreciate the razor-sharp images of today, whether they be digital or analog, it just isn't my style.  This is probably why I make my own silver gelatin emulsions by hand and pour my own glass plates, paper negatives, and film.

I seek out the so-called errors in the various lens designs within each period and find ways to exploit that within my artistic expression in a positive way. 

The Wiki page History For Photographic Lens Design provides a nice summary overview of the many different optical designs since the beginning of modern photography.  

Tim Layton with 8x10 Large Format View CameraTim Layton with 8x10 Large Format View Camera It is easy to get caught up in pleasing other people, especially when you are trying to sell your work and generate an income through your photography. 

I had my phase of doing that only to realize that it will never work.  Every creative person needs to follow their true vision and everything else will fall into place over time.  

Secondly, I simply love anything that is old.  I quite possibly could have been born 100 years too late. 

If they only had air conditioning in the mid 19th century, I would transport back in a second.

My personal preference is to use plain (only sensitive to UV and blue/violet light) or orthochromatic type emulsions (insensitive to red) that is hand poured on dry plates or paper negatives.  Because that workflow is so slow, I elected to use modern panchromatic sheet film and commercial silver gelatin paper in order to be able to work though this project a little faster.  Once I make complete a full pass through my vintage lens inventory, I will select the lenses that I like the most and then use those with my handmade emulsions, dry plates, and papers. 

Most of the photographs on this page are taken with my Chamonix 8x10 View Camera or my 100+ year-old Eastman View No. 2 8x10 View Camera.  I have several reducing backs that I use for my Chamonix view camera to include the 5x7, 4x10, and 4x5 formats, making it very versatile with a variety of different lenses and I have a 5x7 reducing back for my Eastman camera.  I have a Sinar Copal Shutter that allows me to have a shutter for my barrel lenses.


MY LARGE FORMAT VINTAGE LENSES


Cooke 13" F4.5 Series II Variable Soft Focus Lens

Cooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus LensCooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus Lens Cooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus LensCooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus Lens Cooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus LensCooke 13" F4.5 Series II Anastigmat Variable Soft Focus Lens


Cooke/TTH 12.37 Inch F8 RVP Soft Focus Portrait Lens
Cooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonCooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton Cooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonCooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton Cooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim LaytonCooke TTH RVP F8 19th Century Soft Focus Lens by Tim Layton


UPCOMING LENSES  

I am actively photographing with the vintage lenses listed below as well as researching the history of each lens.  If you have information about any of the lenses, connect with me.


Kodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro Shutter

Kodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro ShutterKodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro Shutter Kodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro ShutterKodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro Shutter Kodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro ShutterKodak Portrait Lens 305mm (12 in.) F4.8 in No. 5 Universal Synchro Shutter


Rodenstock Imagon F5.8 200mm in Copal 3

  Rodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 ShutterRodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 Shutter Rodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 ShutterRodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 Shutter Rodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 ShutterRodenstock Imagon F:5.8 200mm Lens in Copal No 3 Shutter


Zeiss 135mm F/4.5 Jena Tessar Compur BT  

Zeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-FrontZeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-Front Zeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-RearZeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-Rear Zeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-sideZeiss Jena Tessar F4.5 13.5cm No 2548831-side


Goerz Red Dot Artar 12 inch 300mm F9 Apochromat Barrel Lens

Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-FrontGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-Front Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-RearGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-Rear Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-SideGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 12 in No 824343-Side


Goerz Red Dot 240mm(9.5") F9 APO-Artar Barrel Lens
Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-SideGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-Side Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-FrontGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-Front Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-RearGoerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 in No 827358-Rear


Friedo Wiesenhaven, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid Lens
 

Friedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid LensFriedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid Lens Friedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid LensFriedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid Lens Friedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid LensFriedo Wiesenhavern, Hamburg, F8 Effwee Aplanat Extra Rapid Lens


JH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778
JH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-SideJH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-Side JH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-DetailJH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-Detail JH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-RearJH Dallmeyer London 8 inch F5 (Modified) Triple Achromatic Lens No 8778-Rear


Cooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens

Cooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-SideCooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-Side Cooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-FrontCooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-Front Cooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-Side2Cooke Series V F8 5x8 9.2 inch Lens No 11916-Side2


Nikon Nikkor 240mm APO F9 Process Lens

Nikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-SideNikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-Side Nikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-BoxNikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-Box Nikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-FrontNikon Nikkor 240mm F9 APO No 254326-Front


Voigtlander Heliar 30cm/300mm F4.5 Barrel Lens


Bausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens

Bausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-SideBausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-Side Bausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-RearBausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-Rear Bausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-FrontBausch & Lomb 20 inch 508mm Lens-Front


Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1C
Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - Front 2Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - Front 2 Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - RearBausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - Rear Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - Front 1Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Tessar 1c No 3236674 - Front 1


Rodenstock Monar F3.5 Lens

Brass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - Front 1Brass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - Front 1 Brass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - EngravingBrass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - Engraving Brass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - Front ElementBrass Rodenstock Monar F3.5 - Front Element


Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm
Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - Front 1Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - Front 1 Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - Front 2Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - Front 2 Voigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - RearVoigtlander Braunschweig Heliar F4.5 15cm No 2761144 - Rear


Wollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch Lens
Wollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - FrontWollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - Front Wollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - SideWollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - Side Wollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - BackWollenak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 6 3/8 inch No 451923 - Back


Wollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch Lens

Wollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - Front 2Wollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - Front 2 Wollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - SideWollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - Side Wollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - RearWollensak Velostigmat Series II F4.5 7 1/2 inch No 259955 - Rear


Wollensak Verito 14 1/2 F4 Soft Focus Lens  

 Coming Soon...


SINAR COPAL SHUTTER

Sinar Copal ShutterSinar Copal Shutter Sinar Copal ShutterSinar Copal Shutter Sinar Copal ShutterSinar Copal Shutter