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The Front Lens Group of the Taylor-Hobson 5 inch F1.5 Projection Lens



This image is the first representative image of what will be my third project, using the front lens group of one of the rarest lenses I know of, the Taylor-Hobson 5 inch projection lens.


I’ve come across some very vague anecdotal statements that this lens was somehow connected w/early TV experiments, and wondered how that ‘jibes’ w/ the fact that it’s a projection lens.  I don’t know anything about the lens formula, but w/its F1.5 capability, I knew as soon as I saw this lens on ebay that I would 'bite'.


‘Biting’ on this lens wasn’t difficult because despite not knowing anything about this lens and or even what I could do w/it, I only had to shell out $25.00 plus shipping for this thing, and it was mine.  I unscrewed this thing and was amazed at how much glass was in it, it, almost all glass from front to back, and really put together, and I was struck at how it must’ve cost a fortune to create this thing, and how it ended up in my hands for $25.00.


The front lens group comes out of the barrel and you can then unsrew the front and back elements.  There’s a threaded cover plate protecting the back of the front lens group, which I had mated to a pacemaker lensboard and I only had to screw the front lens group into this and I was ‘good to go’ to start using this on my Pacemaker.


I’m ‘guestimating’ that in this config. the FLG has a FL of 250-300 mm and F2.8 wideopen.  There's a couple of shots of the Taylor-Hobson FLG on the Pacemaker, it's big, but a bit smaller than the AE.

Looking through the ground glass, the plane of focus w/this is as shallow as the AeroEktar but w/a greater degree of distortion behind the sharpest plane of focus via anything out of focus behind the foreground subject matter.  

The statement I always make about these lenses is the same statement this lens makes, in how it renders the foreground in a fairly representational way, and at the same time transitioning/turning the background into abstraction.   Calling these lenses Soft Focus lenses, and I'm guilty of doing it as much as anybody, just doens't fully describe what they ultimately do, which is gives you two different styles in one image.

This image was shot w/Fuji 100C45 and the combination produced some muted textures as opposed to a lot of contrast.  This was all backlit. 

I love Fuji 100C, and I have to laugh at myself because I always start out exposing my first attempts w/the intent to get the shot right w/the Fuji and then shooting the final exposures w/sheetfilm, and I invariably end up just stopping after I shoot w/the Fuji 100C.  Many of the images I've shot w/100C have a 'feel' of being much more than a painting, but something less that an image exposed on film and for me gives many of my images a 'alternative process' cache.  'Wishful thinking'???  Maybe, but I love the look.

You tell me.







Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 01:43AM by Registered CommenterJonathan Brewer | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

Nice to see you have "it" still :)

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Nicholls

Hey thank you Steve

You may be 'down under', but you're still tops in my book.


February 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

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