Goers Dagor: single coated, serial #s ?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jarin Blaschke, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Jarin Blaschke

    Jarin Blaschke Member

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    Hi all:

    I already have a contemporary lens (Sironar-S) for my black and white, deep-focus abstract and landscape work. I'm now looking for something less clinical for my color work and monochrome portraits. I like nuanced colors for the former and improved bokeh for the latter. Thus, I'm considering a single-coated Goerz Dagor, probably in 9 1/2" and 14" focal lengths. Reportedly the Dagor can be an inherently contrasty lens, hence a desire for single-coat.

    A couple questions:

    1. Reduced contrast aside, how do the single-coat versions compare to the later, more famous dotted and rimmed versions in regards to resolution and sharpness? I am still seeking a very sharp lens.

    2. What serial numbers should I be looking for, that would indicate a single-coating? What year did single-coat begin, and when did they move to multi-coating?

    Thanks!
    -Jarin
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have a1940'ish 12" Dagor (Goerz Am Opt - coate after ) and a 1913 uncoated 120mm Goerz Berlin Dagor, even un-coated a Dagor is inherrently high contrast and in all honesty my 120mm is just as good as a modern coated or MC plasmat (in terms of contrast and lack of flare). Both mine are very sharp lenses in use, maybe on an optical bech that may differ buut it's the results that matter.

    Ian
     
  4. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Kodak started soft coating internal lens surfaces in/around 1936 and started hard coating some lens in the early 1940's. Other lens companies were working on and starting to coat some lens in the same time frame.
    ScreenHunter_15 Aug. 31 23.35.jpg
    Dagor lens diagram.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    With only four air to glass interfaces, dagor-design lenses indeed have inherently high contrast. I once used the Kern Swiss multicoated 14in dagor and it was so contrasty that it was almost useless for the chrome films I shot at that time, so I reverted to a slightly older single coated Kern.
     
  6. karl

    karl Subscriber

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    I believe it's somewhere around 770,000.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Jarin Blaschke

    Jarin Blaschke Member

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    ... single coats began at 770,000, or multimcoats?

    J
     
  8. karl

    karl Subscriber

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    I don't think Goerz ever multicoated lenses. Your options are uncoated or single coated.
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Only one model of LF Dagor was ever multi-coated, namely, the very last Kern Swiss 14in in Compur 3, marketed by Schneider in the 80's. After that, Schneider did make a huge expensive ULF lens of MC dagor design, but it was never marketed as a Dagor per se, and very few were made.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    All Goerz lenses after WWII were single coated at the factory. Some earlier lenses will be found with aftermarket coatings.
    A single coated Dagor has better contrast than a multicoated Plasmat, and the Kern MC Dagor has better contrast than any other lens you will ever use.
    Don't poo-poo uncoated Dagors, use a good clean one with a compendium shade and you'll be amazed at what it will do. I used quite a bit of transparency film in 4x5 and 8x10, primarily with uncoated versions, but also with the Kern MC version. That famous tonality translates well on transparencies, and an uncoated Dagor with a compendium is better than a single coated Plasmat.

    I don't know what "bokeh" is, AFAIK Dagors don't have it.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Jarin Blaschke

    Jarin Blaschke Member

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    Thanks, everyone. You nearly have me wondering if I should try an uncoated (pre-40s??) Dagor first.

    So those famous gold dot and gold rim Dagors are single-coated?

    How are various generations of Dagors with aligning the different wavelengths for color work?

    J
     
  12. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    They're not apochromats. They all work well with color. If you want an apochromatic dagor type, get a late Boyer Beryl, which adds a little distortion to gain apochromaticity. I use them, if I hadn't told you you wouldn't notice.

    Its time for you to buy some lenses and test them. If you buy sensibly you'll be able to resell the ones that fail acceptance testing for at worst a small loss.
     
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The multi-coated Kern Dagors had the most accurate hue rendering and saturation of any camera lenses I have ever used, in any format. But they weren't apochromatic.That is a term properly reserved for precise graphics or scientific applications, not for marketing purposes.
     
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  15. David Lindquist

    David Lindquist Subscriber

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    Yes, to be clear the "gold rim Dagors", Goerz called these the Golden Dagor, and the Gold Dot Dagors were single coated EXCEPT for the last batch of multi-coated 355 mm f/8 Gold Dot Dagors.

    In his history of the Dagor published in the January 1972 issue of Popular Photography, Bob Schwalberg states that the Gold Dot Dagor replaced the Golden Dagor in 1963. Oddly Goerz continued to use the term "Golden Dagor" in their literature for some years after this. I don't have a date for the introduction of the Golden Dagor. I have a 1956 U.S. Camera annual with a two page spread for Dowling's Fifth Avenue, a New York City photo store. It includes "Now! Goerz Golden Dagor F:6.8 ...the lens without a peer!"
    David
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think your last sentence is one not really considered, it's not one that bothers me as I've only been shooting B&W (film) for most of the past 30 years, any colour work has been with MC Plasmats, Sironar N, Symmar S. Super Angulons and Grandagons.

    You should try to borrow or test an un-coated Dagor. I was a long term advocate of only using MC lenses after poor results from some 35mm lenses inc MC Hoya (the range was scrapped). Dan Fromm made me question and try coated. I don't use the term Single coated because many/most have 2 or more but aren't Multi-Coated to the standard set by Pentax an Zeiss

    However we have to remember uncoated lenses are old mostly pre WWII and unless in excellent optical condition other factors will play a part, scratches, separation, haze, fungus etc. It's very hard to see differences between coated and MC lenses, but the differences between coated and uncoated lenses is very noticable with designs like Tessars, and even more so with Dialytes, but with Dagor & Protar (and type) lenses it's the opposite even un-coated they are so close to an MC lens.

    Ian
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Since the dagor design goes clear back to 1892, that means there was a lot of potential variation and progressive fine-tuning of the design. But all I can confirm from my own experience is that the MC version is distinctly more contrasty than the single-coated equivalent, which is easily equalled by the latest MC Tessars, namely, the Nikkor M series.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    OP, read this:
    Goerz Dagors are a lot like Nikola Tesla and Jesus in that they are very often ascribed virtues and accomplishments they do/did not possess. Especially on the internet.
    1) Focus shift. As you stop down, most if not all Dagors get longer i.e. the focal length increases, by about 1%. So, refocus at working aperture.
    2) Aberrations. At maximum aperture there is a fair bit of veiling flare due to uncorrected spherical aberrations. As you stop down, the lens grows sharper, gets longer, and gains contrast up to about f:16. f:16 is a real sweet spot for most Dagors, and wider apertures may be good for portraits; I prefer a 161/2" Artar so I don't know for sure.
    3) Coverage. The Dagor is not capable of covering the 80 or so degrees it is reputed to. 55 to 60 degrees is about the limit, depending on vintage and manufacturer. Yes, it will illuminate more, and even a 210 with dark corners on 8x10 will still have contact - printable details in said corners if you hold them back, but if you are enlarging full negatives 55-60 degrees is the limit for real sharpness and detail.
    4) Sharpness. Every Dagor I've ever had, from early Berlin production to the last MC Kern version, was diffraction limited in the center by f:16 to f:22.

    The above information applies only to lenses which are in good condition, properly centered, and properly mounted. Quite a few barrel lenses were put in shutters, and quite a few shutter mounted lenses have been put in newer shutters; this work in not always done well.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You need to separate manufacturers claims from Internet hype but also speak from more practical knowledge of things like actual coverage.

    My experience from using my 1940 12" Dagor for around 10 years, is I've never had an issue with focus shift and it's fine at f22, f32 and even f45, coverage is limited by vignetting not a fall off in sharpness provided the lens is stopped down to f32.

    So yes Dagors do have the coverage claimed by CP Goerz, Berlin and also Goerz AM Opt provided they are used as they suggest. Given the choice of shooting with a 300mm f9 Nikon M (I have one) or my 12" Dagor it's the latter all the time, the only reason I might use the Nikon is with Studio flash as the Dagor's Compound shutter doesn't have flash sync.

    I've yet to film test my 120mm Berlin Dagor on one of my 7x5 cameras, it does cover the format, as stater by CP Goerz.

    Ian
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Depends what you mean by coverage, that is, the quality toward the edges and corners, especially given strong shifts or tilts.
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    (Posted too soon). Point blank, my 14" Dagor easily covers 8X10 film with no focus shift from f/11 down. But at strong tilts (common in landscape work), it is conspicuously inferior to my Fuji A plasmat of similar focal length. So even though the nominal image circle is similar, the real world usage is different. l also have an f/9 Zeiss tessar which needs to be stopped well down for 8X10, but has wonderful "bokeh". Then I've got an Apo Nikkor in that range which is unquestionably the sharpness champ of them all - truly apochromatic - but I reserve it for critical darkroom use, even though I've tested it on an 8X10 camera. The 300 Nikkor M is a wonderfully crisp little lens for 4X5 and 120 roll film, but rather limited in 8x10 coverage. So no web hype. I use all these lenses, and each has a different personality or "look".
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The quality doesn't drop off at the limits with my 12" Dagor, that's right up to the point of vignetting, with shifts & tiltsand I only make enlargements. So that's practical experience not internet hype, plus I'm maybe overly critical about sharpness.

    I'm not saying all Dagors are the same I only have two. My 12" Goerz Am Opt Dagor was thrown in with my Ansco Agfa Commercial View, the second owner (a Professor of Photography from, Portland Maine), said it was useless as it had separation - it didn't he told me he'd never used it, all there was was years of dirt around the edge of the front element and he didn't even realise it was actually coated, He'd used a 300mm Nikon M with the camera (I have the lens board he use with it). I contacted the first owner and that was most enlightening - he bought the best US made camera and lens (for 10x8) in 140 and taught at the Clarence White School of Photography, He wasn't wrong in his choice.

    If I wasn't totally convinced that my 12" Dagor was fully capable of stunning high quality results I'd have bought a300mm Symmar or Symmar S, both far better than my 300mm f9 Nikon M in terms of coverage.

    Months ago I had a visitor, I mounted her Dagpr in a roller blind shutter, she wanted that old fashioned look, I said OK look around the walls which photo was made with a Dagor, she chose the shallow DOF image made with a Yashicamat 124 at a wide-ish aperture.

    Dagor's aren't extra special lenses, just very capable and no contrast loss. Are they as good as they are hyped - well only if you've paid over the odds and want to believe that, they are nice lenses when in good optical condition.


    While the 300mm Nikon M is a nice lens you're right about the tight coverage on 10x8, I bought mine for use with my Wista 45DX also having in mind moving to 10x8 as well. It's a very impractical lens on my Wista as it sits perched on the end of a fully extended camera and needs a very still day with no wind rare here in the UK :D That's the camera/lens combination not specifically the lens as it would be similar with any non telephoto 300mm lens and worse with a heavy Plasmat like a Symmar. but when we talk about hype this impracticality isn't mentioned. The Wista is fine with a 360mm Tele Xenar and the 300mm Nikon M is far better on a metal technical camera like a n MPP MicroTechnical, Linhof etc.

    Ian
     
  23. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The statements in my post #17 are based on practical experience, from ca.1982 to present with: 2 pre WWI 6" Goerz New York Dagors, one in original Compound, one in a botched Rapax remount - the one in Rapax isn't very good, the one in the Compound has a beautiful rich purply-blue bloom on both external surfaces and is just lovely to work with; three 9 1/2", one CPG Berlin (marked 240mm) in barrel ca 1914 and two Goerz New York ca 1910 - one in original Compound and one in original Optimo (an unmechanical device if ever I saw one). The Berlin barrel lens and the one in Compound are about equally excellent, the one in Optimo a bit soft. A late 1930s 10 3/4" Goerz New York in original Ilex, some slight discoloration in the cement but very very good nonetheless; a ca. 1925 30cm CPG Berlin in original Compound that is excellent; and the 355/14" Kern MC version which was incredibly good and displayed the least focus shift of them all; a 1920s 300mm Schneider Doppel Anastigmat Symmar in original Compound that was as good as the 30cm Berlin, and a wee bit sharper at f:6.8; and lastly an 8 1/4"/210mm "mystery" Dagor type lens in an early Goerz sector shutter that is eerily sharp in the central zone, shows dark corners on 8x10" as mentioned above, and is one of my favorites along with the bloomed 6"

    So I think I've used enough of them for long enough to have at least some "practical knowledge".


    Not to mention having designed the damned things...:laugh::laugh:
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    One observation that has been missing so far is the effect of mechanical vignetting on the alleged image circle due to specific shutter size. Older lenses of various designs often came in big 4 and even 5 shutters. The last round of mid-range Dagor scame in 3 Copal then Compur. That inherently reduced the image circle, but also trimmed off the lower performance margins. None of these lenses had apochromatic alignment. Maybe the Blue Dot Trigor did, since it was marketed for process camera use. I was once told to my face by a Schneider engineer that Kern dagors were dropped because they considered G Clarons to be superior optically in every respect, and a lot easier to make. I'd agree, except on the point of contrast, saturation, and that otherwise inexplicable Dagor"look". Fuji A lenses are even higher performance. I realize we're being nitpicky here, mostly for fun, and that all these lenses are capable of superb results. But given the fact that some Dagors have become obscenely overpriced "cult" lenses, while a lens of equal or even better general performance can now be had for a fraction of the cost, setting a few myths aside might be helpful to someone. Right now I'm sitting beside a big framed portrait I made with a 14" mulicoated Kern, and the tonality is exquisite. So yeah, they have their place; but there are other lenses I find way more versatle for landscape use and 8X10 close-ups.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Drew, one problem is US shutter sizes don't match European and here I'd include Compound shutters made in the US. It was the other way around Dagors came in Compounds, then when the Compur #3 was introduced (same manufacturer) they switched, after Deckel or rather by then Prontor ceased Compur shutter production the last DAgors were in Copal shutters.

    I think the hype about G Clarons is down to a massive change in the market, Schneider had over produced and had a lot of G Clarons, the spacing for barrel mounted Repro lenses is slightly wider than when in a shutter, They were sold off cheaply in Copal shutters as budget LF lenses and Schneider's own data at the time made that quite clear, I have posted the companies spiel in the past.

    The most important part is knowing what your lenses are capable of, that comes from use.

    Ian
     
  26. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The last Dagor, the MC Kern, was mounted in a Compur 3 shutter.
    There was a Dagor type G Claron as well.