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very BIG Portrait Petzval Lens 900mm F5.5

€15000.00 EUR

From time to time you will see a lens appearing here, which is rarely offered or sold at all. You can look up ebay history and i doubt that you will find a Petzval of similar size and focal lenght beeing sold in the recent couple of years.

Boulanger & Schmidt wasnt a large photographic lens manufacturer, it was rather more a small but very specific workshop, which specialized on making lenses in exceptional sizes and focal lenght. I looked up many books and archives and the most info can be found in the french 'A.F.R. A Boutrais Opticiens' Booklet No.7 by Le Reve Edition. It is said that there is only one known ULF petzval lens made by Boulanger & Schmidt was archived so far. They dont say what focal lenght it had, but judging from the picture it was somewhere in the same neighbourhood as this lens. It is also obvious that its not the same lens as offered here. This one has a waterhouse opening alongside the outer seleeve, and also the engraving shows some differences.

Condition: Speaking of condition is not that easy with this lens. It is so big and impressive, that one cant help but just stare at it for a while before looking for any details. Believe me, i have seen many large lenses (including a Leitz 1000mm F3.5 Triplet and many others), but when i first so this lens in reality i was just stunned for a while. We re speaking about a petzval which stands abour 50cm  (or 20") in height. The flange alone weights more then many lenses that im offering here and its outer diameter is 28cm. The massive glass elements are almost 160mm (or 6 1/3") in diameter. Their condition is great for most part, they are clear and show no haze, cloudness or any big damage, which is the most important stuff. Yes, there are cleaning marks, and even a large cleaning swipe along the front element, but thats nothing that affects the optical quality here. We all should feel lucky enaugh, that something like that not only suirvived the time, but is also out there, to be used again.

As mentioned above the lens features a focal lenght of around 900mm. It took me some time but i was able to focus the lens on my 14x17 with some extension bellows in the front standard (otherwise my bellows draw was not enaugh). The image is fantastically sharp! It did cover that format with ease, and will cover 50cm x 50cm for sure also. The image circle was around 70cm (27"). I dont know anyone who is doing 20x24 plates with a petzval today. I know a handfull of people who use other lenses, like Triplets or Tessar designs for such formats, but not petzval. Imagine a 20x24 portrait plate with the typical petzval character to it. I dont know about you, but i would love to see that one day. I thought about keeping this one, and using it on my own for a couple of months now, but with recent development in my live i cant say for sure, when or if this will happen one day. Thats why i decided to put this gem out in the open.

The lens will be on this site for sale (untill i decide rather to keep it again). Im not to keep on shipping this lens, therefor a personal pickup is prefered for both sides. Still i understand thats not always possible, thats why i wont put any shipping rates or service in this listing, rather if youre really really interested in getting this lens, you might want to contact me via this site and we work something out.

One more thing, i would like to include a 'portrait option' into that deal. That means, whoever ends up buying it, i would ask for a portrait made with it, should i ever come to visit that person one day.

The lens comes with the original flange and brass lenshood.

height: 50cm
width: 18.5cm
weight: 11000gr

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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