Focussing Aids in the 1800s

Brass magnifiers to aid in focussing view cameras in wet & dry plate era.

Toronto. Those of us who predate digital cameras and smartphones may recall a nifty little 8x magnifier, the Agfa Lupe. It was used to look at 35mm negatives and slides on a light table. Instead, you could use the 5x magnification of the LVFOO vertical magnifier Leitz made for its screw mount series mirror boxes and focoslides.

Similar little gadgets came on the photography scene in the mid 1800s – long before 35mm film – or film of any sort.

Here I show two brass and glass magnifiers, one (right) by C.P.Goerz of Berlin and the other a no-name variety. They were used on the view cameras of the day to aid the photographer in creating a sharp image in the desired plane of the subject. The base of the magnifier was  placed on the ground glass over the desired plane and the camera focussing was slightly adjusted to bring the ground glass image into sharp focus to the eye looking down the little brass magnifier.

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