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Perken, Son & Rayment - Optimus 10*8 lens

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Peter Ruotsalainen, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Peter Ruotsalainen

    Peter Ruotsalainen New Member

    Hello good folks,

    New member here, i went to a flea market today, and found this seen equipment below, it´s some kind of field camera,i think, but as i am no expert i thought i´d ask the more knowledgable people here.

    Asking also for possible history, age and valuation.. i have no clue about these things, seems victorian perhaps?

    Cam1.JPG Cam2.JPG

    thanks in advance all!

  2. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Welcome Peter, sorry not a clue about your “find” but it looks interesting I shall be watching this thread to see what it really is, I hope.
  3. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    The lens certainly looks Victorian/Edwardian - I think the tab sticking out of the top might be for a Waterhouse Stop - which is literally a hole punched in a metal sheet as a means of varying the aperture. Whether the rest of the camera is that age I'm afraid I have no idea.

    ETA - see here: https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Perken,_Son_and_Rayment

    A swift Gurgle suggests they also made magic lanterns, so whether the lens was intended for the camera who knows?
  4. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    It's certainly not Victorian , Uncle Victor or Aunty Vicky maybe !
    It's not a field camera , and as it is it's not even a 10"x8" camera .

    What you have here looks to be a home made camera cobbled out of bits and pieces that someone found .

    No doubt perfectly functionable , but not especially well made .
    Starting from the front the lens has it's details engraved on it .
    It's probably off an old plate camera , it's coverage is 10"x8" which is about 25.4cm x 19.8cm .
    It wouldn't fasten to a camera as it is with just some screwheads overlapping the rim of its screw mount .
    The whole lens should screw into a brass flange which is a brass ring with several holes drilled and countersunk with a thread on it is how it would be secured to a lens board .
    The lens would have come off a tailboard camera and would have come with a set of water house stops to control depth of field and how much light can get past to adjust exposure time needed .
    Exposure would be by either removing and replacing a lens cap ( timed by counting in seconds) , or if briefer shutter speeds were needed ( with film ) something like a Thornton Pickard shutter would be used , a Guillotine shutter or just two pieces of card held as a "V" and rotated by hand in front of it .
    The camera it would have been fitted to would have been a tailboard camera , see here ; https://www.bing.com/images/search?...rst=1&scenario=ImageBasicHover&cw=1117&ch=608

    The bellows used are off a Mono-rail camera and have been stuck to the lens board at one end and a box at the other .
    It appears to have a couple of rods ( possibly aluminium ) underneath it to slide the lens board or box together for focussing .

    The box at the back is probably there as the bellows fitted probably weren't long enough to allow them to focus close enough to whatever they were photographing .
    The film holder is sticking out at the back and there should be a ground glass focus screen .
    It looks like its a 5"x4" DDS .

    Looking at how it's put together and the dimensions , I would guess it was made for photographing still life such as flowers or glassware .
    Just a guess mind you .

    Regards to value , you would have to do a search on the lens .
    Start by looking on ebay . It doesn't have great value , but more than ones that only cover 7x5 or 5x4 ( or half plate and quarter plate )

    The camera side of things you'd be lucky to get anything much for .
    It's hard to tell from the two pictures if it's likely to function very well , it was most likely made to do a specific type of job and once set up might have been left like that for use one day to the next .

    A lens that covers 10x8 would be of interest to me as I'm about to make my own 10x8 camera when I get time .
    And it won't be much more sophisticated than this one !
    I have a few lenses that cover that size already , but I'm always interested in more .
    Let me know if you do list it on ebay .

    Hope this helps .

    Neil .

  5. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I wonder if this is the same firm ?

    Though this lens doesn't seem to have rack and pinion focussing and has a smaller diameter .
  6. Peter Ruotsalainen

    Peter Ruotsalainen New Member

    morning folks,

    Thanks for the very detailed answer Neil, much appreciated. I paid 10 euros for it, so the price was pretty good i´d say :)

    Yes, looking at the "house" of it, is something homemade for sure, and newer than the lens. what i´d want to do, is to try to remove the lens from the housing, as the housing is not really well made.

    added some additional pics here from the back of it, and the small looking--glass/lens on the back.

    The lens also has a removable metal-part, "waterhouse stop?" It has the marking F44 on it.

    camback.JPG camback1.jpg camback2.jpg

    I am fascinated by this, i wonder who used it, who bought it at the very first time... history is amazing.
    neilt3 and steveandthedogs like this.
  7. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Well , that's some interesting shots of it .
    You can see how the rails are fastened to the box end , so yes , they are rails for focussing .

    With the back flap open , is that a glass focus screen on the back if the box ? and does it lift forward to put a film holder in front of it ?

    The flap with the additional lens on baffles me .
    A long shot is that's it's a holder for the users viewing loupe , that folds over to protect the glass .
    It might be a built in viewing loupe designed so a dark cloth isn't needed .
    If the screen is bright enough where the camera was used to compose the image , then the back could be closed and looked through the loupe for critical focussing .
    It looks more like another lens than a loupe though .

    It could also be like this because whoever made it had been eating too much strong cheese late at night .
    That or taking stronger hallucinogenic drugs . o_O
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    That's the back of the taking lens. It's a rapid rectilinear, which means a symmetrical design of 4 elements in 2 groups, with symmetry around the aperture stop - so from the first picture, it was clear that some portion had to protrude into the body.
  9. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Yes that is a taking lens , but look at the pictures of the "other" end of the camera in the first post .
    That's a much bigger taking lens !!
    Note this is just one camera , not two !
    It has a lens at each end , hence the confusion .

    Note also the board it's mounted on is hinged to the body and folds flat against what appears to be the focus screen , which , it would appear , the film holder is placed behind that .
    With the "Optimus" 10x8 lens at the opposite end of the camera screwed directly to a non removable lens board .
  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    They're both the same lens - the first pic shows the bit sticking out of the front, the other pic shows the bit that protrudes into the body.
  11. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member


    How can it be the same lens ?
    The big one is screwed to a square board covered in red vinyl at one end attached to the bellows .

    This second lens is pushed through a hole in a rectangular board painted / covered in a black finish .
    On the "box" end of the camera .
  12. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    Steampunk, anyone?
  13. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    Definitely not. Not enough cogs on it ;)

    (speaking as a Steampunk and applying the general Steampunk joke comment)
    John Farrell likes this.

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