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Voigländer in Wien Portrait Petzval 290mm F3.6 very early (!!)

€3500.00 EUR

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This update features a couple of lenses that you rarelly find on the market today or in the future. This is definetly one of those lenses.

A very early Portrait Petzval made by one of the most famous optical makers of all times. The engraving on the lens reads:

'No 3415 - Voigtländer & Sohn - in Wien'

Yes, you're reading that correctly, there is no 'and Braunschweig'. Looking up the serial number, you will find that the lens was made in the very early year 1850. At that time Voigtländer was still a small scale manufacturer in Wien. Sure he was famous for beeing the first optical manufacturer to introduce the Portrait Petzval lens to the photographic community, but his workshop featured around 80 people and they produced only around 400 lenses each year. This is one of those very few.

Only two years later he would move his firm to Braunschweig, almost doubling his workers and with time scaling up the production to a couple of thousands lenses per year.

Looking at this time capsule one has to think about the times it was produced. In 1850 photography was still quite an exclusive and expensive endeavor. The main proccess that was used was Daguerrotypes. It was expensive, not without danger and the exposure times were hardly useable for portraiture. Most of the studios used small formats like Carte de Visite, or Medallion formats since those could be made with a shorter exposure time. A lens like this 290mm, which was probably used for 5x7 plates, was quite a large one compared to the most lenses in use.

Only one year later, in 1851, Frederick Scott Archer would introduce the wetplate collodion process and change the photographic world forever.

There are probably only a handfull of lenses left in the world, which still bear the engraving 'Voigtländer & Sohn in Wien' and which can tell the story of the pre wetplate era. In the last 10 years i had only two other in the shop, and both were smaller in size.

Condition: the lens is in a nice and authentic condition. The brass of the lens comes with a warm golden tone, which shows light wear.  The lens was carefully cleaned and not polished to leave the patina intact but still seal it for future decades. The lens was made before the waterhouse era (1858), but it was retrofitted with a waterhouse slot later on (a service that was mostly done by Voigtländer themselves). The glass is in a great condition, it shows a minimal cleaning marks and specs here and there but is overall crispy clear.

This lens has about 290mm focal lenght (11.5") and an open aperture of F3.6. It will work best for 5x7 and 8x10 format with a nice petzval character especially at portrait distance. But be carefull since this is a very early lens, it still might have chemical focus.

Lens comes with a fitting flange.

height: 21cm
width: 9.5cm
weight: 1900gr

Insured and tracked shipping cost:

Germany - 20 eur
EU* - 60 eur
Worldwide - 120 eur

*(the site offers only 2 shipping variations, DE and worldwide. buyers from EU please either contact me beforehand for a reduced EU cost, or after buying so i can send a refund over the difference)

Importent Note: This item comes from my private collection and is around 100 years old (antique). I try my best to describe all the faults and major damage which are relevant for the function of this item. But the actuall item can show signs of wear and also some cosmetic blemishes/damage which is not described in the auction text! When buying this item the buyer agrees to this terms.

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