View Single Post
Old 4th February 2019
drmarkf's Avatar
drmarkf drmarkf is offline
Full member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Cambridge, UK
Posts: 5,613
Thanks: 357
Thanked 503 Times in 417 Posts
Likes: 2,200
Liked 1,277 Times in 726 Posts
Re: Thornton Pickard 5x4" half-plate view camera?

Originally Posted by Mark_R2 View Post
The Lens Collectorís Vade Mecum has a short entry for Thornton-Pickard. They were based in Altrincham (a stoneís throw from me in Sale!). Dates are roughly 1890 to 1930.

They didnít make lenses themselves. Beck is given as one supplier of their lenses. Some were actually marked TP-Beck. Some of their lenses had odd imperial focal lengths (eg 5.375-inch) suggesting they were rebranded European lenses.

I canít cut and paste from the pdf document as it is protected and copyrighted.

They used names like Ruby Anastigmat (Series I to III), Panoptic, Pantoplanat, Rectoplanat, as well as simply Rapid Rectilinear and Wide Angle Rectilinear.

Rapid Rectilinear: f8.0. FL 5.5, 9.0, 11, 13.5in. Sold with iris, 1900-1905. 5.5in recommended for 5x4. Two grades. Ruby higher price and Amber lower priced.

Ruby Anastigmat: f6.8. FL 5.0, 6., 7.5, 8.0, 10in. 1910.

Ruby Anastigmat series II: f4.5. FL 5.375, 6.0, 7.125, 8.25, 9.5in. 6-inch is recommended for 5x4.

Ruby Anastigmat series III: f6.5. 6in for 1/4 plate and 5x4

Pantoplanat: f8.0. 5.5in RR probably by Beck

Most of their lenses would seem to be of the Rapid Rectilinear (RR) type. This was a very common lens type before the days of the Cooke Triplet.

From Kingslake:
The RR or Aplanat is a type of symmetrical lens in which each half consists of a cemented doublet with all three surface curved towards a central stop.

The symmetry gives correction of spherical aberration. By modern standards performance is mediocre, but they were much much better than meniscus lenses. Also, with only 4 air-glass interfaces the losses from reflections are not too horrendous.

I have a few RRs, mostly in shutters from folding cameras. A couple are seriously bad performers due to decentring of one of the doublets. I guess built down to a price.

I do have two old brass lenses of the type you are looking for. Both are RRs and have irises. One is unbranded and would seem to be very primitive as I donít believe it uses doublets.

The other is much nicer. It is a G Houghton and Son 'Holborn Special Rapid Rectilinear'. It is marked for 7x5. The FL is not given but I have noted it as about 10-in, so too long for your 5x4. The thread OD is 1.75in. I have not attempted to measure the tpi.

I picked up both these on ebay years ago. They did not cost much, but they were scruffy, badly listed with really bad pictures, so it was hard to tell what they were. Because they are uncoated, they cleaned up quite well, though the iris in the unbranded one does not close properly.

You will find that the best large format lenses command very high prices now. Anything like a real Petzval or anything made by Ross or Zeiss will be super expensive. If you are just looking for a lens to display with the camera (and not use), your best bet is to go for a RR type or scour listings for something hiding.
Fantastic information, many thanks. Iíll send it on to my friend.

As ever, Iím amazed and grateful for the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience on this forum!

Too much Oly gear.
Panasonic 12-32, 12-35, 15. Laowa 7.5.
Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70 & a Sony A7S.
Reply With Quote