Antediluvian Lenses - Some Were Incredible

Started Nov 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Antediluvian Lenses - Some Were Incredible
Nov 21, 2012

Having lately begun to succumb to a degree of pixel-peep creep, I've started paying closer attention to old black and white prints when I come across them. I'm talking about pre-1940 or even decades earlier. The contrast and resolution of some of these photos are nothing short of outstanding- truly remarkable stuff - as good as anything I've ever seen (though I realize color photography places additional demands on glass).

I'm guessing the lenses were relatively simple, prime affairs. Surely they couldn't have been prohibitively expensive and I don't believe coatings appeared until much later. Being all-but totally ignorant beyond that, can anyone weigh-in briefly on the main reason or two why the very same lenses or designs haven't simply been carried over into the now?

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