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Pinkham & Smith Semi-Achromatic Doublet, Ser. III, No III-Polaroid 804-'Goggles'

Happy 4th of July Everybody

 While I was at the drugstore, I saw some clear ligtbulbs and this translucent/transparent set of goggles that screamed 'take me home and shoot me', so I bought 'em and strarted brainstorming a shot.  This is the result.

 The goggles begged to be illuminated from below, so I busted out my transparency lightbox, got a straw, sprayed that w/black paint, and slipped it over my thermometer so its metal stem  wouldn't 'blare out'  and distract, and used it with the base/dial sitting on the lightbox to hold up the goggles. 

I'm getting a little better at focusing this thing, and maybe that was because I was shooting these goggles and not a round globe.  I didn't get a headache focusing this shot, but it was still work.  

I think this shot shows how crisp one image can be while being inside of a very soft version of that same image.  

When it came to my portrait/soft focus lenses, I was going to save experimenting w/my Ser. III for last figuring that the practice from stretching out the other ones would get me in shape for Ser. III, but I guess there's been a change in plans.

A word about the very old Polaroid 804-809 film I'm lucky to still have, much of it gets better at it ages, because of  the creation of  patina and texture from partial exhaustion of the chemicals in the receptor pod which spreads unevenly after it's gotten so old.  I didn't do anything to this image, the area above the googles was just how it came out, and I like it.   It's gonna be a sad day when I run out of this stuff.

Ilumination of the goggles was from the lighbox below it, I had fainter ilumination on the background.  Exposure was at F6, which seems to be a 'sweet spot' for this lens.  Going from F6 in the direction of F4.5 gradually dials in more glow/the soft part of the image, and dials out the sharp part.  

Whether by intent or by accident, and I'm sure it was by intent, you open up or close down to emphasize/de-emphaisize either the soft or sharp part of the image while they are superimposed over each other, which is a very diff proposition than a lens that produces one image that goes from sharp to soft.  Incredible from a lens created so long ago.

I've been humbled by this lens, and feel very lucky to be able to find a way forward with it.




googlesSerIII4Walt.jpg





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Reader Comments (3)

Congratulations, Jonathan !
Absolute breathtaking shoot, go on this way, it is fantastic.
All the best
stefan d

July 5, 2008 | Registered CommenterStefan D

Well done. Really shows the sharp/soft nature of the lens. Very liquid.

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Nicholls


Thanks folks, it's greatly appreciated.

While I was having this restored, I was questioning myself about whether I was being childish in spending money for a lens that I may not be able to figure out and/or just may not have anything diff to add to what my other lenses had.

My hat is now off to Pinkham & Smith, becuase now I'm beginning to get a peek at what the users of this lens meant by 'roundness', and 'fullness, and all the other descriptors referring to what the Semi-Achromat can do. I'm in awe that these guys could conceive of and produce this thing, for getting close to what's gotta be 100 yrs ago.

The Visual Quality IV can handle bright light that the Semi-Achromat has trouble with, it's obvious the VQ is at about half the strength of the SA softness wise and a great deal easier to focus.

The VQ is flexible, easy to focus, and is everything the SA isn't. The Semi-Achromatic is an exotic, and double the trouble.

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohnathan Brewer

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