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Dallmeyer Septac 50/1.5 on "grail" camera
Old 06-02-2007   #1
Dunk
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Dallmeyer Septac 50/1.5 on "grail" camera

Just acquired a Septac 50/1.5 and wish to add a lens hood, lens cap and a UV filter ... can anyone tell me the exact sizes?? The filter thread could be 40mm or maybe 40.5mm... the lens front diameter seems to be approx 45mm

Thanks

Dunk

Last edited by Dunk : 06-17-2007 at 22:39.
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Old 06-02-2007   #2
laptoprob
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Welcome... A what? can you post a pic?
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Old 06-02-2007   #3
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Don't have a picture of my own yet... but this link has several

http://kevincameras.com/gallery/album3667?page=1

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Last edited by Dunk : 06-17-2007 at 22:40.
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Old 06-03-2007   #4
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Can't help you with your question, I'm afraid. But I just want to say that I hope that you can share with us some photos that you take with this lens in future. Perhaps if you email Kevin Li at KevinCameras.com he may be able to tell you since he has one for sale.
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Old 06-03-2007   #5
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I have no knowledge of the things you want, but I want to say congradulations. Dallmeyer lenses are supposed to wonderful. It would be great if you could post some photos once you use it.
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Old 06-04-2007   #6
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Did not mention ... it is fitted to an Ilford Witness ... my grail camera :-)

The Ilford Witness was initially a design exercise in 1945/47 by two German-Jewish refugees ... ex-Leitz employee Robert Sternberg and ex-Zeiss employee D.A. Rothschild ... thus it had attributes of both Leica and Zeiss Ikon Contax rangefinder cameras ... at the time the Leica IIIC and Contax IIa cameras were just resuming production after WW2 ... and all new cameras were very scarce and expensive. In the late 1940's SLR cameras were still under development and not in general use thus 1930's/40's Leica and Contax rangefinder designs and Rolleiflex/Rolleicord TLR's, and 5x4 Speed Graphics were the tools of serious photo-journalists. Sternberg and Rothschild approached Ilford in 1947 .... Ilford wanted to develop a range of cameras after the war and thus agreed to manufacture the Witness.

The Witness was manufactured for Ilford by Peto Scott in Weybridge, Surrey. Postwar difficulties delayed production and the first 250 cameras ordered were not produced until 1951. They sold for 112 complete with a 2 inch f1.9 Dallmeyer Super Six lens ... that was a considerable sum of money probably equivalent to at least 10 weeks average UK wages.

Sales were slow and Ilford decided to concentrate on less complex cameras eg the Advocate ... thus production of the Witness ceased in 1953. The last of the cameras were 'remaindered' via Dollands and sold off at 80 each. The camera was not a commercial success partly because of poor marketing and partly because of under-development eg lack of lenses and accessories compared to Zeiss and Leitz cameras ... and partly due to the lack of in people's pockets.

But, it was a landmark quality camera equal and in some respects better than the equivalent Leica and Contax models. The few that now survive are amongst the very most collectible, and usable postwar cameras. The shutter is just as quiet as a Leica and the rangefinder has a wider base thus is more accurate.

This particular camera is fitted with a very scarce British "Dallmeyer" f1.5 2 inch 'SEPTAC' lens with the unique Witness 'interrupted thread' screw fitting. This was a very fast lens at that time and matched the equivalent fast Leitz and Zeiss designs ... but the normal lens supplied for the Witness was the Dallmeyer 2 inch f1.9 Super Six. The 'interrupted thread' is just visible in the lens picture .. the 39mm screw thread has 3 'gaps' or 'slots' cut into it enabling the thread to be 'bayoneted' onto the body ... but the similarly interrupted body thread will also accept normal L39mm thread lenses. The Septac lens focuses down to 3 feet in normal use but can also be 'tripped' to extend and focus to 1.8 feet ... but the extension is not rangefinder coupled.

I acquired the camera two weeks ago and will be putting a film through it asap .. the shutter and rangefinder were serviced prior to purchase. The serial number is 5025 and I have traced serial numbers for six other Witness cameras sold since 1997 up to S/N 5329 ... the accepted total production is circa 350 cameras but probably only a few survive in full working order after 55 years. When sold originally many would have had a hard professional life. The camera has an Ilford fitted leather case which has helped to protect it over the years but the case is currently under repair by a saddler. Yesterday (16 June) I bid on Ebay in USA for an original Witness instruction manual ... but my last minute bid of $60 was already beaten and did not even appear ... the manual sold for $80 .. so now will have to be content with a photocopy from Oldtimer Cameras.



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Last edited by Dunk : 06-17-2007 at 15:33.
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Old 06-17-2007   #7
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Last edited by Dunk : 06-17-2007 at 15:31. Reason: additional icture
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Old 06-17-2007   #8
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Dear me, an Ilford Witness. I've actually laid hands on a Kodak Ektra, but I've never even clapped eyes on a Witness. Congrats on finding one. I hope it brings you much pleasure.
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Old 06-17-2007   #9
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What a gorgeous camera.
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Old 06-17-2007   #10
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Where on earth did you ever find such a gorgeous camera? And dare I ask the price tag?
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Old 06-17-2007   #11
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It is made of purest unobtainium, one dare not ask the price tag. I am sure I would love to have one, and my family could sleep in a box by the side of the road.
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Old 06-17-2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmattock
It is made of purest unobtainium, one dare not ask the price tag. I am sure I would love to have one, and my family could sleep in a box by the side of the road.
I know that Arsenal has one on evilbay for well over $6K, though considering the seller I'm not quite sure of the accuracy of said price. However, it does give a ballpark figure.

How does the VF compare to a Contax or LTM Leica?
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Old 06-17-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhaugsby
Where on earth did you ever find such a gorgeous camera? And dare I ask the price tag?
It was advertised by a UK dealer as a commission sale and I made an offer on it after much thought over a couple of days ... eventually decided that with this particular lens it was a good buy.

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Old 06-18-2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhaugsby
I know that Arsenal has one on evilbay for well over $6K, though considering the seller I'm not quite sure of the accuracy of said price. However, it does give a ballpark figure.

How does the VF compare to a Contax or LTM Leica?



I have not used the camera yet ... will post more details after putting a film through it which should be next weekend time permitting ... have some other R/F cameras to try out as well ie M5 and a Leica 1 Model C ... and today acquired an EOS 10D for 50 from a pawnbroker which needs testing when can borrow a battery (battery is missing) ... busy weekend ahead.

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Septac lens
Old 07-05-2007   #15
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Septac lens

The book on the histor of Ilford by Holliman states that some Septac lenses were assembled in the 1980s to fit Witness cameras assembled from spare parts. It says that although they fit, some of them do not have the correct point of focus. It might be worth checking before you put a film through the camera.
I was the buyer of the incomplete Witness on e-bay as I have a Dallmeyer Super Six lens to fit and I have access to a person who can make up the missing items. I also purchased the instruction book so if anyone wants a copy I would be haapy to oblige
James
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Old 07-07-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersix
The book on the histor of Ilford by Holliman states that some Septac lenses were assembled in the 1980s to fit Witness cameras assembled from spare parts. It says that although they fit, some of them do not have the correct point of focus. It might be worth checking before you put a film through the camera.
I was the buyer of the incomplete Witness on e-bay as I have a Dallmeyer Super Six lens to fit and I have access to a person who can make up the missing items. I also purchased the instruction book so if anyone wants a copy I would be haapy to oblige
James
Interesting information ... I will have to buy the book . I was also bidding on the Ebay Witness with a view to having it restored using my working model as a pattern for the missing parts ... but the bidding went too high. Have not put a film through my Witness yet as has been too wet every time planned using it. . I made a note of the serial No. of yours from the Ebay description ie 522'X' ... can you pleae advise the actual last digit? I'm compiling a list of known Witness serial numbers that have been sold in recent years ... so far have traced 8 cameras. most of which are in old Christies auction catalogues. Lowest serial number so far is 5025 (my own camera) and highest is 5329. This 'span' seems to suggest that the actual sequence might start at 5000 and maybe end at 5350 if there were in fact 350 models made . I am trying to get hold of David Todd's article published in Photographica World a few years back but so far PCCI [formerly PCCGB] (I'm a member) has not responded to my request. Let us know when your Witness is restored and functioning .

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