I just bought my first lens for wet plate photography, an f 7 Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear.  According to the engraved serial number (51796), this brass barrel lens with a waterhouse slot was produced in 1891.  The glass is in excellent condition and the mounting flange is intact; but the original aperture stops are missing, which is not unusual for a lens this old.  S.K. Grimes in Rhode Island will machine a set of metal stops for about $150.00 to $200.00 (current turn around time is about four weeks).  An alternative would be to make them myself from cardboard and paint them black.  


S.K. Grimes Waterhouse Stops

S.K. Grimes Waterhouse Stops

My Dallmeyer will cover plate sizes up to 8 x 10.  I plan to use it for landscapes.  The next lens purchase will be a petzval portrait lens for coverage up to 1/2 plate, which could also be used for 8 x 10 with some vignetting.  It would be ideal to have a Darlot petzval; but considering how steep prices have become for those, I am considering a Darlot magic lantern lens, which uses the same petzval formula and is much less expensive.  Some very experienced wet plate photographers have told me that they can tell no difference between images produced with Darlot magic lantern lenses, intended primarily for projection, and Darlot portrait lenses intended for camera use.


Made In London (1891)

Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear: Made In London (1891)