Dallmeyer Quick Acting Portrait Petzval 8" f4


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Dec 19, 2007
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Turkey or West Midlnads UK
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A few weeks ago I bought a nice Taylor, Taylor, & Hobson. Rapid Rectilinear lens a 16" f8 lens that is marked 12x10in, I was also offered a dirty older brass lens cheap. At first, I said no it's too dirty, but relented deciding it was worth a risk.

On getting home I had a better look ath the dirty lens, and spotted the J H Dallmeyer engraving and a serial number. The kens wouldn't come apart, I had a phone chat with someone who'd worked at TT&H. then Cooke, he made some suggestions, which worked. After a few hours the lens parts all unscrewed, the glass cleaned easily.


The Rapid Rectilinear lens is on the left, the Dallmeyer Pettzval on the right.



The DAllmeyer has had a light clean, and will be re-lacquered once a friend has straightened the lens hood. I already have a 20" Rapid Rectilinear lens that fits my 12x10" camera, I managed to modify the lens boards of these two lenses to fit the camera. I'd already made an adapter board to allow these boards to be used on my 10x8 Agfa Ansco cameras. I have front mounting Thornton Pickardshutters that fit these lenses, also a single speed front mounting Gitzo leaf shutter, with flash sync, that will fit as well.

This Dallmeyer Rapid Acting Portrait Petzval was the first design John Dallmeyer produced in 1860 after leaving Roos, this one was made around 1864, unlike other Petzval lenses this has improved spherical correction, so none of the heavy swirl of typical Petzval lenses. Coverage is Half Plate/7x5 at a push, I'll use it with a reducing back either Half Plate or 5x4 on my Agfa Ansco. Similar Dallmeyer Petzvals are selling for around 30x more than I paid for it, in worse condition.

I will post some images made with the lenses in due course. I've only one Waterhouse stop for the Petzval, so I need to make some more.

Holy crap!! This is so cool! I can't wait to see what you get from these. They appear to have cleaned up very well.

Will these be the oldest lenses you've used?

I just love seeing older gear back in use. :586:Curious about seeing whatever artifacts they may impart.
I have another 8" Petzval that could be older, it's unbranded, and its optical performance is quite different as it has the classic swirly look that people associate with Petzvals.

I just need to get some Waterhouse stops made then I'll use the lens.

Nice. Not just LF either:

Nice. Not just LF either:

I have a small projection Petzval if needs be :D



Downsizing loses the hints of sharpness. This was on my Canon EOS 5D MkIV. It

The Dallmeyer Petzval lenses are quite different to other Petzval lenses as they have spherical correction, this was the first lens J.H. Dallmeyer designed after the death of Andrew Ross, he was married to Ross' daughter and inherited half the business and began trading separately.


I got one of those Lomography lenses, haven't used it in awhile. It isn't the same as an original antique lens, but still.

I like Waterhouse stops. Probably just easily entertained.

Love the pictures you took with your lens.

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