So, Friday AM early I picked up a large box with an
Ilexpo Shutter complete with a really large
Bausch & Lomb lens attached.  It's one of those
sales where you're not quite sure why you pushed
the button and spend a couple hundred bucks
that is getting harder and harder to replace.

I really thought perhaps the lens would be a
14X17 Tessar as the seller didn't have a clue
and his listing lacked the info.  Not so, it is
an 11X14 Tessar 1C which means it is a
15 3/4 inch lens (400mm) f4.5.  The aperture
is boogered and upon trying to gently repair,
it promptly falls to pieces.  Hmmm.  A 400mm
permanent f4.5 lens.

two Christmas Coke bottles

I took the elements out and apart for a soak
in detergent.  They cleaned up OK but the
front lens has more than a few cleaning sleaks.
So for the record, for 200++ bucks I've got
an old lens with no aperture, cleaning sleaks
and at least a decent Ilexpo.  Not much of
a bargain.

porcelain pot and tea things

The B&L Tessars are under loved.  Why is
that.  No one seems to like them much.  Not
so for their nearest competition from a hundred
years ago, the Wolly Velostigmat.  I noted this
weekend that a 9 1/2" Velostigmat finished at
$261 while an 8 1/4" Heliar, coated, finished
at $248.  That's ludicrous.  That's idiotic.  That's
a 1955 Ford Fairlane finishing ahead of a 1964
Mercedes 250.  Crazy.

tulips i

Back to the Tessar.  The one I bought is worth
maybe $80.  It would be hard to get that with
the scuffy front and no aperture.   I wanted to
make some pictures with it.  I re-assembled it
as a soft focus lens.  The Wolly has an adjustment
that moves the front light away from the 2nd
element to create softness.   I simply accomplished
the same thing by only partially tightening the
2 elements in the front group.  I left perhaps
1/8 inch gap that is non standard.  The photos
here were done with it in that mode.

tulips ii

My point if any is that spending crazy $$$
for "big name" antique portrait lenses is not
completely necessary for a fine vintage look.