The Rank Family

Founded by its namesake in 1937, the J. Arthur Rank Organisation rapidly grew to dominate the British film and photographic landscape. ‘Rank’ products encompassed projection screens, lenses, cameras, darkroom equipment, technical instruments and a diverse range of accessories previously designed and made by a roster of independent makers. By 1968 Rank had completed a program …

Meopta Projector Lenses

Lenses for 8mm & 16mm Film Projection: CORRIGON for 8mm: Only available in a 28mm mount for Meopta’s Super AM8, the original Corrigon 25/1.3 (Catalogue 806 50) was a five element / three group design. In 1972 the Meolux 2 was offered with Corrigon 15/1.2 and 20/1.3 lenses. In 1977 the Meopta Meos Duo was …

• Delta Lens Grading

Introduction The Delta Hall of Fame grades for sharpness 200 enlarger, projector and industrial lenses at two working distances. Lenses that score 90%+ are awarded Gold – reference-quality.Lenses that score 80-90% are awarded Silver – serviceable for professional use.Lenses that score 70-80% are awarded Bronze – borderline suitable or obviously compromised.Lenses that score below 70% …

Taylor-Hobson / Cooke Lenses

NB: This is a draft (incomplete) article. If you have any in-depth information, or original manufacturer manuals, catalogues or period advertisements that might be relevant, please email Mark here. Peer review and contributors welcome, and will be credited. Similarly, if you have any memorable images shot with these lenses, we’re happy to show them in …

The Isco Story

NB: This is a draft article with a number of omissions and content to be added. If you have any in-depth information, or original manufacturer manuals, catalogues or period advertisements that might be relevant, please email Mark here. Peer review and contributors welcome, and will be credited. Similarly, if you have any memorable images shot …

The Leitz Story

A quartet of German powerhouses stands tall among car manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. Among lens makers, Leica, Rodenstock, Schneider and Zeiss have similar stature – but perhaps Leica above all embodies the purest ideals of Teutonic modernism most diligently executed – and valued accordingly by the market. However, only relatively recently have Leica …

Leica Projector Lenses

Dust long having settled on the carcass of the industry, it seems in hindsight that Leica treated the production of domestic slide projectors more seriously than the Zeiss / Zett / Voigtlander combine. Leica’s catalogue of projector lenses represents the acme of the craft, matched by none for breadth and few for depth: for image …

The Bender Story

The Bender Optical Works in Strawberry House, Leazes Park (Newcastle Upon Tyne) is noted in the 1960 edition of ‘The Instrument Manual’* as the operating premises of the company formerly known as M. Bender (Northern) Ltd – makers of analytical instruments. Several 1963 catalogues show B.O.W (Bender Optical Works Ltd) as the manufacturer of at …

Meopta Enlarger Lenses

Přerov, in the former Czech Republic, has been the production base of Meopta since 1933, when it was founded by Alois Mazurek, an enterprising professor at a local industrial school. Prior to nationalisation and re-branding in 1946 the company was known as Optikotechna Přerov. It is testimony to their build quality that a surprising number …

The Agfa-Gevaert Story

Colour and Collaboration The Agfa story begins in 1867 in Rummelsburger See, on the outskirts of Berlin, when chemists Paul Mendelssohn Bartoldy and Carl Alexander von Martius founded the Gesellschaft Für Anilin-Fabrikation mbH. For the next 120 years, this expertise cast the die for Agfa’s successes and failures: aniline is a base ingredient in dyes, …