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Piersker 400 mm f/4.5 Tele-Picon for UV

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#1 nfoto

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 18:20

On a recent trip to the Netherlands and PhotoKina (Cologne, Germany), I teamed up with my Nikongear friends Erik Lund, Jakov Minic, and Jan Anne Offereins. We had a splendid and enjoyable time and it all came to a maximum when Erik pulled out his Dremel and set to work modifying various lenses. Amongst these, the Tele-Picon Piersker 400 mm f/4.5, hailing from early '50s and being made for the obscure and obsolete Praktina mount. Being ever so curious about exotic lenses, I considered this to be a viable alternative for UV shooting against the Nikkor-Q 400 mm f/4.5 which incidentally is "much younger" (from the mid '60s).

We did a rough, but workable conversion of the Piersker with an aim of getting it to focus towards infinity in UV. That goal wasn't entirely achieved, but it will focus to 200-300 m distance and if I deem it to be a success for the next field season, I'll refine the mount to make it focus even further away. Do note that there is a massive focus change from visible to UV, thus the modified lens is pretty much near-sighted in visible light. So it is to be regarded only for UV use.

The 400 on my modified Nikon D3200 (internal Baader U),

Attached Image: U201810020516.jpg

Attached Image: U201810020514.jpg


Not much interesting in terms of UV subjects these days plus the rain bucketed down to increase the inclemency.

Some nearby shrubs had to offer their services ... the lens lets a lot of UV through ... only 1 to 1.5 stops below the exposure given by such specialist lenses as UV-Nikkor or Coastal 60. Thus, availing myself of intermittent lulls in the wind, I made test shots with apertures ranging from 4.5 to 22. Apparently there is axial colour and spherical aberration that clear up by stopping the lens well down. The example here is f/16 at 5 sec, ISO 800.

Attached Image: T201810023602.jpg

The unprocessed NEFs had the same orange hue as given with the specialist lenses, which is quite promising. Must test the lens on flowers or similar with known UV response.
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
Just call me Birna

#2 Cadmium

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:56

Birna, Cool looking lens, good looking photo.
I don't suppose it would be easy to use with a Nikon...?
Here is my old Petri/Lentar 400mm for comparison, but different lighting situation, being back-lit afternoon sunshine.

Attached Image: 400mm_Petri_Lentar_Sparticle_9.jpg

#3 nfoto

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 08:05

The long obsoleted Praktina mount has a very long register distance (50mm), thus the F mount is easily achieved since it is 46.5mm. However, the lens is intended for UV use and there is a massive focus change vis-UV, thus we needed to shorten the register (flange to film plane) distance even further to correct for the discrepancy. With the tools at hand we managed around 45mm register, which suffices to give UV focus to about 300m. I managed to squeeze in a CPU as well. Very handy as the exposure data is complete in the EXIF.

Further experience will indicate whether it is worthwhile to rework the mount once again to provide more distant focus. This is feasible, but involves substantial metal working.

I do own the Petri 400mm f/6.3 and it is so-so for UV.
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
Just call me Birna

#4 Andy Perrin

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 15:51

What do you use such long lenses for in UV?

#5 nfoto

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 16:10

View PostAndy Perrin, on 03 October 2018 - 15:51, said:

What do you use such long lenses for in UV?

To get an alternative visual expression. Long focal lengths, fisheyes, wide angles, whatever is required.
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
Just call me Birna

#6 Andy Perrin

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 16:57

Hah, ok, I had that coming. The emphasis was meant to be on "you." I mostly see you posting flowers!

#7 nfoto

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 17:36

Flowers are important to me as after all, I'm a trained botanist. However, for UV photography, virtually any subject goes. I like to use medium to long focal lengths for landscapes, for example, in visible as well as in UV.

I've used the 1000 mm f/11 Reflex-Nikkor intensively in periods. The Piersker simply augments my UV lens arsenal. If I make it to the wonderful dandelion bloom time on the Western coast of Norway next year, it will accompany me there.

Attached Image: B1205014703.jpg
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
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#8 Reed F. Curry

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 21:41

Hi Birna,

About five years ago I did some testing on Pieskers. I didn't, and still don't, have any way to use objective metrics for transmission and none of my Piesker lenses fit in my spectrophotometers. :)

All of the Pieskers I have are triplets except the 250mm f4.5-22, which has two elements in two groups. You might enjoy the 250mm for its size, build quality, and 58mm filter thread.

Piesker made most of its lenses in both M42 and Exakta mounts. This is fine for me, now, as I use adapters on a Lumix; but when I used the Pieskers years ago, I had to do some work with a Dremel to mount an M42 flange on a Nikon.

Anyway, Piesker made quality lenses that perform well in UV, IMO. I wish they had produced some short triplets, but I haven't anything shorter than a 100mm for a Piesker bellows.

Cheers,

Reed
Best regards,
Reed
http://www.uvroptics.com

#9 nfoto

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 21:48

I might have got the initial attention to the Piesker lenses from you, Reed.

They are indeed surprisingly well made, and robust as well. By accident my 400 dropped from a work table directly onto the stone tiled floor at Jan Anne's place, and the thud produced was alarmingly loud. The lens shade was severely warped, but Erik simply applied his great muscular strength and pulled it into shape again. No other damage was observed. Most modern lenses would have broken by such an impact.
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
Just call me Birna