dirk hr spennemann photography

 

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Antique Camera Simulator

Photographica Collection Dirk Spennemann


 



The Antique Camera Simulator is a concept that tries to simulate the capabilities of historic lenses on modern digital SLR cameras. This is achieved my mounting the lens through a series of spacers, reduction rings and adapters to the DSLR body. The Nikon D800 as a full-frame DSLR allows to emulate the capabilities of historic lenses at their correct focal length. The only difference, of course, is that the coverage of historic lenses is much greater than the 24 x 36mm 'full-frame' sensor. This implies that only the center of the lens is rendered, while any fall off, or aberration at the margins are omitted.See this diagram to illustrate the differences between the coverage of the Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser. IIa 20cm f/3.5 aerial lens as designed and as captured by the Nikon D800 (Diagram here).

      The question can be asked "Why do it? Why add old lenses to DSLRs when the modern lenses have been optimised for the sensors?" The answer to that is, from where I stand, quite simple. It's horses for courses. Of course I will use a Nikon prime lens, such as Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 for low light situations, or the Nikkor 28-300 AF-S Nikkor f/3.5-5.6 28-300mm VR as an every-day as an all round lens, and yes, these modern lenses have either been optimised to the sensors, or the in-camera post-procesing takes care of lens peculiarities thus rendering optimal images. Yes to all that. Yet when you try to shoot portraits with these lenses, they are often brutal in their sharpness and they tend to render the out of focus area often in what my eyes perceive as an aesthetically unpleasing way. The bokeh is often horrible, in part because the diaphragm is only 8-bladed and in part for reasons I cannot fully explain. Good historic lenses can also be sharp, but they tend to be a tad more soft focus. Because they had been destined for medium or large format they often have a flatter depth of field in the center——all qualities that I am looking for in a portrait lens. Moreover, their bokeh is often very creamy. Consequently, some set-ups, such as the Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser IIa 20cm f/3.5 have become a staple lens in my repertoire.

      The Antique Camera Simulator started out primarily as a search for a nice portrait lens and in a secodary fashion as a fun project to be able to shoot with some lenses in my collection. Occasionally one also hears the converse question "Why bother with such a small sensor when the lens was designed for 13x18 or larger formats? Why not go and shoot wet-plate in the first place?" This is quite a valid question, but for me there is a simple, dual answer: I am after a lens for my DSLR for my projects and cannot be bothered with the complexities and the effort required to shoot wet plate. Maybe in the future, but not now. It's horses for courses.

      Emulated have been the following lenses:

French Brass Lenses:
Berthiot Aplanat nº3
Berthiot Paris Olor Nº 6 Serie IIa 20cm f/5.7
Cindo Paris "Series 52.5mm" f=85mm f/2.2
Colmont Paris Anastigmat f/11 8-inch
Hermagis Aplanat nº8
Krauss Tessar 180mm f/4.5
Pipon Panoramique 13cm Foyer 13x18
    Unnamed French Lenses:
French Aplanat f/8
French Wide Angle Rectilinear 4 ¼ X 3 ¼
 

Japanese Lenses:


Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser. IIa 20cm f/3.5
Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser. I 21cm f/4.5
Rokuoh Sha Tele-Hexar 40cm f/5.6 (on Nikon D300)
Konishiroku Hexar 50mm f3/5 Enlarging Lens
     

German Lenses:


Emil Bush Rathenow Neokino 52.5 110mm
CP Goerz (Berlin) Rapid Paraplanat III 280mm f/8.75
C Holtzen (Elberfeld) Aplanastigmat f8
G Rodenstock (München) Doppel-Anastigmat Eurynar 135mm f/4.5
G Rodenstock (München) Doppel-Anastigmat Heligonal 21cm f/5.7
C Tauber (Wiesbaden) Germania Aplanat 9x12 f/8
Unmarked German 21cm f26 double meniscus lens ("Schülerobjektiv")
 

Other Lenses:


„Astra“ Aplanastigmaat F8 nº 2 (Amsterdam)
L Renaux (Basel) Aplanat Grand Angle f12 Nº2
unnamed 5-in projection lens (British?)
     
 
   
Note:
Lenses names that appear white in the above listing have been tested,
but entries have not yet been created

Berthiot Aplanat nº3
(s/n 23001)

(¶¶¶)
on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, 43mm to 52mm step-up ring, 52mm to 42mm step down ring, M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid, M42 to M39 setp-down ring, a M39 to Nikon F adapter, Nikon PN-11 spacer with tripod mount, Meike N-AF 46–68mm focussing helicoid and 20mm DG extension tube.

Berthiot Aplanat nº 3 (sn 23001) on Nikon D800
Desires Roses 2
Leban, Horse Butcher's Meat Van Fountain Wallace at  Blvd Pasteur
Invalides from Duroc Eiffel Tower from Rue Lecourbe Eiffel Tower from École de Garçons (15éme, Paris) 1
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Hermagis Aplanat nº8
(s/n 30953)

(~140mm f/8)
on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, step-up 49-37mm, step-up 52-49mm, M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid, step-down 42-52mm, step-down 39-42mm, M39 to Nikon F adapter.

Nikon D800 with Hermagis Aplanat nº8 (sn 30953) nº 6
Opening the Door to a bright Future Unions Marching...
Red Hot Champs Élysees Christmas Lights with Arc de Triomphe
Rue Mayet dwarfed by La Tour Maine-Montparnasse GoldLeaf Work
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Wide Angle Rectilinear 4 ¼ X 3 ¼
Baker Rouse nº 961

(~f/8 ~105mm) Wide Angle Rectilinear lens, made by unnamed French manufacturer. Inscription: Wide Angle Rectilinear 4 ¼ X 3 ¼. Made in France for Made for Baker & Rouse Propy Lt/d, Melbourne Sydney Adelaide Brisbane, Nº 961.
on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, plastic M42 screw body cap, focussing helicoid, Ø55mm at one and and LTM mount at the other end, Leica LTM to Nikon F mount adapter

Baker Rouse Wide Angle Rectilinear  4 ¼ X 3 ¼  on Nikon D800
Candice  with Baker-Rouse Wide Angle Rectilinear (~f8) SilverEfex Rose as shot wide open (~f8)  with Wide Angle Rectilinear
Bark (~f8) as shot Rose (~f8) D sharpened
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

French Aplanat f8 (unmarked)

~240mm on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid; M39 to Nikon F adapter; Meike N-AF 46–68mm focussing helicoid; 20mm DG extension tube.

French Aplanat f8 (unmarked) on Nikon D800 nº 2
Across the roof tops 4 Not quite right
Across the roof tops 2 Christmas Morning Haste
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Panoramique A J Pipon, Paris 13cm Foyer 13x18

130mm f/26 on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, M42 plastic lens cap (with hole cut); M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid; M39 to Nikon F adapter

AJ Pipon Panoramique f13cm Foyer 13x18 in Nikon D800 nº
Matilda of Flanders Roses
Clean Chaos Red
Jour et Nuit Matilda of Flanders Matilda of Flanders
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Krauss (Paris) Tessar 180mm f/4.5 (s/n 125552) on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, 72-67mm step-down, 67-62mm step-down, 62-55mm step-down, reduction spacer to 55mm, with tripod socket; focussing helicoid, Ø55mm at one and and LTM mount at the other end, Leica LTM to Nikon F mount adapter.

Krauss Tessar 180mm on Nikon D300 nº 2
Bokeh Test with Krauss (Paris) 180mm on Nikon D800 —subject 3m to pines background Bokeh Test with Krauss (Paris) 180mm on Nikon D800
Run ! Waiting III
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Cindo Paris
Projection Lens

Series 52.5mmThe 52.5mm refers diameter of the lens tube. f=85mm f/2.2 on Nikon D800


Sequence:
Set-up nº 1—constructed as a full sleeve around the lens: 49-52mm, 52-55mm, 55-58mm, 58-62mm, 62mm spacer tube, 62-58mm, 58-55mm, 55-52mm, 55-42mm, M42-Nikon F adapter, which had an effective focussing distance of ~90cm.

Cindo 85mm Series 52.5mm (lens in sleeve, M42-Nikon F)
Xmas decorations Hermagis
Door Door
Self HermagisMannequin
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Cindo Paris
Projection Lens

Series 52.5mm The 52.5mm refers diameter of the lens tube. f=85mm f/2.2 on Nikon D800


Sequence:
Set-up nº 2—direct mount: lens inverted, 55-52mm, 52-55mm, 42-52mm, M42-Nikon F adapter with an an effective focussing distance of ~2m. Omitting 55-52mm, 52-55mm (as shown in the image above) does not allow lens to be focussed at all.

Cindo 85mm Series 52.5mm (direct mount, M42-Nikon F)
Moss (Cimitière du Montparnasse) (Cindo Paris Series 52-5mm  f=85mm  f2-2 on Nikon D800) 5 Famille Charles Pigeon (Cimitière du Montparnasse) (Cindo Paris Series 52-5mm  f=85mm  f2-2 on Nikon D800) 1
Grave of Jean-Paul Satre and Simone de Beauvoir in the Cimitière du Montparnasse, Paris Gustave Jundt (Cimitière du Montparnasse) (Cindo Paris Series 52-5mm  f=85mm  f2-2 on Nikon D800) 3
Anna Cimitière du Montparnasse (Cindo Paris Series 52-5mm  f=85mm  f2-2 on Nikon D800) 1Cimitière du Montparnasse
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser IIa 20cm f/3.5 (s/n 3795) on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens,The lens originally came from a SK-100 aerial camera developed by Rokuoh Sha for the Imperial Japanese Army. spacer ring from the 40cm lens version (Tele-Hexar) used on the SK-100 aerial camera, 67-72mm step-up, 62-67mm step-up, 62mm spacer tube, 58-62mm step-up, 55-58mm step-up, and 52-55mm step-up, M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid and a M42 to Nikon F adapter.The later version of the lens uses after the focussing helicoid a 42-39mm step-up and then a LTM (39mm) to Nikon F adapter. This avoids the very srong vignetting caused by the way the M42 adapter had ben made.

Nikon D800 Rokuoh Sha Hexar Ser IIa 20cm f/3.5 lens (s/n 3795)
Eastern Rosella La Trobe (SLV), Melbourne
The Little Man and the Sea Mark Dallinger (PhotosSupplies, Albury) 1
Anna The Incredible Sadness of Being
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination
LINK: Lens Capability Assessment

Rokuoh Sha Hexar Series I 21cm f/4.5 lens (s/n 35257) on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens, 62mm spacer tube, two 62mm spacer rings salvaged from a lens without elements, 58-62mm step-up, 55-58mm step-up, and 52-55mm step-up, M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid and a M42 to Nikon F adapter

Hexar 21cm (s/n 35157) with adapters and focussing helical Nikon Mount
Patterson's Curse with Hexar 21cm f/4.5 (sn 35157) on Nikon D800 shot at f/4.5 Urban Mosaic
Andrew Sergeant (Petherick Room, NLA) 2 Janie@Dookie 2
Ahead of the Pack Zenja
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Konishiroku Hexar 50mm f/3.5 on Nikon D800 Because the Hexar front cell of the actual enlarging lens (s/n 1316693) was a tad cloudy, I swapped it for the Hexar front cell (s/n/ 5213) of this Konica I rangefinder (body s/n 15008).


Sequence:
lens, LTM (M39mm) to Nikon F adapter.

Konishiroku Hexar on Nikon D300
Arboreal Imagination Wattle
Pink Depth of Lichen
Hexar Banksia An Untitled Vertical Hexar Banksia
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Emil Bush A-G Rathenow Neokino 52,5 110 m/m on Nikon D800


Sequence:
lens in a brass projection focus mount, 62-67mm, 55-62mm, 52-55mm, 42-52mm and a M42 to Nikon F adapter.

Emil Bush A-G Rathenow Neokino 52,5 110 mm (sn 342572) on Nikon D800 nº4
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

unnamed, brass-bound 5-inch projection lens. (Petzval design) on a Nikon D800.


Sequence:
lens in a brass focussing mount , 72-67mm step down, 67-72mm step up, 72-67 step-down; 52-67mm step up, M52 to M42 Adjustable Focus Helicoid (12mm-17mm), and a M42 to Nikon F adapter.

5-inch brass projection lens in focussing mount on Nikon D800
Sample Image Sample Image
Light & Darkness Red
Yellow School Morning Invalides Hermagis
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Rodenstock (München) Doppel-Anastigmat Heligonal f/5.7 21cm . on a Nikon D800.


Sequence:
lens, 62mm spacer tube, 58-62mm step up, 55-62mm step up, 42-52mm step up,M42 36–90mm focussing helicoid, M39-M42 step up, a M39 to Nikon F adapter, Nikon PN-11 spacer.

Rodenstock (München) Doppel-Anastigmat Heligonal f/5.7 21cm on Nikon D800
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Rodenstock Doppel-Anastigmat Eurynar 135mm f/4.5 in Gauthier IBSOR shutter on a Nikon D800.


Sequence:
lens in shutter, M39-Nikon F adapter, 20mm DG and 12mm DG extension tube, Meike N-AF 46–68mm focussing helicoid

Rodenstock Doppel-Anastigmat Eurynar (#272484) 135mm f4/5 on Nikon D800
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

L Renaux (Basel) Aplanat Grand Angle f12 Nº2 on a Nikon D800.


Sequence:
lens,44mm to Nikon F bayonet [=T-adapter], the Meike N-AF 46–68mm focussing helicoid and two Nikon-mount extension tubes (20mm DG and a 12mm DG)

L Renaux (Basel) Aplanat Grand Angle f12 Nº2 (sn 1528) on D800—Camera and Lens Set-up
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
Sample Image Sample Image
LINK: Additional Images shot with this combination

Media Coverage

The project has attracted some coverage in the media: