Boyer Paris Saphir 1: 1.9 F = 75. Review of the lens from a technical film camera from Rodion Eshmakov

Material by Boyer Paris Saphir 1: 1.9 F = 75 specially for Radozhiva prepared Rodion Eshmakov (subscribe to Instagram!).

A rare "sapphire" made of glass and metal.

A rare "sapphire" made of glass and metal. increase.

The optics that can usually be found at flea markets are either German or Japanese, or, if everything is really bad, Korean. Nowadays you can find a lot of Chinese manufacturers. But few people have ever dealt with real French optics, especially on the territory of the CIS - even on Radozhiv there was only one lens viewmade in France. French manufacturers in the twentieth century were inferior to German ones in terms of production, mostly they were relatively small firms, not comparable to the giant Zeiss conglomerate, for example. But in the XNUMXth century, the French, I recall, were noted for the fact that, generally speaking, they invented photography as such.
This article is dedicated to a very rare example of the French optical industry, and not to any one, but to a representative of an almost "top" line of photographic lenses - 75 / 1.9 "Sapphire" by the Parisian firm Boyer.

Technical specifications

Optical design - 6 lenses in 4 groups, Planar;
Focal length - 75 mm;
Aperture ratio - 1: 1.9;
Aperture - 10 blades, stepless;
Aperture limits - F / 1.9 - F / 150 (within F / 1.0 - F / 1.9 idle);
Features - does not have a focusing mechanism, non-standard mount, has a five-leaf central shutter (1/125 - 1 s, V, T).

history of the company

This fragment is a translation of a part of the article, the original of which can be found at link.

Boyer was founded in 1895 by Antoine Boyer. Initially it only made lenses and was very small with only 4 employees. When Antoine was replaced by his sons André and Marcel, the name of the company changed to Boyer Freres, and already had 6 employees. After his brother's death in 1925, Marcel did not want to run the company alone and sold it to André Levy and Suzanne Levi-Bloch.

André Levy (1890-1965) was the son of Abraham Levy, an optician from Orleans. André worked in the sales department of Lacour-Berthiot until 1914, and at the time of the purchase of Boyer was director of the photographic production department at Baille-Lemaire.

Suzanne Levy-Bloch (1894-1974) was the daughter of Paul Bloch, an Alsatian architect who settled in Paris in 1871. She graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and was an engineer at the Graduate School of Optics and the Institute for Theoretical and Applied Optics. Her teacher was Henri Chretien... From 1925 until her husband's death in 1965, she was Boyer's sole employer. According to her granddaughter, Isabelle, Suzanne Bloch was the first female optical engineer in France.

According to Isabelle's recollections, grandfather and grandmother always acted as one. André was an entrepreneur, and Suzanne was a talented and passionate mathematician who cared little for anything other than the equations she had in her head. After Andre's death, the management of the company passed to his son Robert, and Madame Levi-Bloch was hospitalized, where she lay until her death.

Like many other European manufacturers of photographic equipment, Boyer crashed in 1970 due to technological and economic problems. Robert Levy may not have been the kind of executive the company needed, but given the overall decline in the industry, that's far from the reason. After the closure of the company, it was acquired by CEDIS, owned by M. Kiritsis and the former owner of Roussel, another French company that had been closed a few years earlier. Production was resumed under the CEDIS-Boyer brand. It was a rather small company that was engaged in the calculation of lenses and the final assembly from components, which were purchased from outside, except for the bodies. The lens production was transferred to former employees. The firm was finally closed in 1982 after the death of M. Kiritsis.

Characteristics of Boyer lenses. Saphir F / 1.9 circuit analysis

Sources: 1; 2; 3.

Boyer lenses, with the exception of the meniscus monoclays that came with Photax cameras, are very rare, little known, and poorly documented. All Boyer lenses were named after famous minerals: Topaz (family of triplets), Saphir (tesars, planars and plasmates), Beryl (Dagor-type anastigmat, 6/2 plasmates), Jade (petzvali and triplets for movie projectors), Onyx (projection triplets), Zircon (6/4 plasmas) b Corail (Petzval lenses and triplets for cinema projectors), Emeraude (Dagor), Opale (soft lens for black and white photographic materials, Tessar), Perle (Topogon type); Rubis (high-aperture portrait triplets). It is worth noting that among the developments of this small company you can find ultra-wide-angle orthoscopic optics, and especially high-aperture lenses (F / 1.4 - F / 1.0), and apochromats.

The Saphir F / 1.9 (15-100 mm) lenses were all made according to the classic planar scheme (6 lenses in 4 groups) with a rear focal length ratio of ~ 0.74 (the usual FFO value for planars). The lenses were positioned as small-sized analogs of the Saphir F / 1.4 line, not inferior in quality. Indeed, Saphir F / 1.9 FR lenses are themselves very compact despite a 45 ° field of view, since they use a reduced rear lens group (geometric vignetting is introduced).

Although we could not find documentation for Saphir 75 / 1.9, it is publicly available for 100 / 1.9 lens.

Optical design parameters of Saphir 100 / 1.9 (1962).

Optical design parameters of Saphir 100 / 1.9 (1962).

I was amused by the nomenclature of optical glass used in this lens: it is calculated on conventional heavy crowns (TK brand) and flints (F brand). only 2 types of optical glass are used, but different brands. In other words, the lens is rather low-tech and outdated at the time of calculation. Even in the Soviet Industar-26m of 1946 used 4 types of glass (TC, F, LF and BF), among which there are "advanced" barite flints (BF). And many more Industar lenses (22, 51, 55 ...) are famous for the use of OF type glass with a special course of partial dispersions. In the Soviet Helios-40, the BF is also added lead TF-1 (nd ~ 1,64). In general, high-aperture optics require the use of heavy glasses of various brands to correct aberrations, while Sapphire uses a limited set of relatively light glasses with a refractive index of no more than 1.62. In a word, it's even interesting to see what's with the image quality, right? But first, it's worth taking a closer look at the hero of the article.

Lens construction and adaptation

This Saphir 75 / 1.9 stood on some kind of large-sized ancient video camera (it looks like it was video, not film) for technical purposes. The camera itself, fortunately, did not get to me. The lens was rigidly attached to it with screws, focusing, apparently, was not implied. But the lens was supplied with a native cover with the company logo.

The original Boyer logo lens cap is a valuable item in itself.

The original Boyer logo lens cap is a valuable item in itself.

Interestingly, Boyer lenses, even for use with film or video cameras, were supplied in a body with a central shutter. Strictly speaking, they were never intended for a specific device and were universal - hence the large field of view, the presence of a shutter and, in general, a simple design.

Lens "at rest" with the shutter released.

Lens "at rest" with the shutter released.

The lens shutter allows you to work out excerpts 1/125 s to 1 s, also present excerpt In and, most importantly, useful to us excerpt T: when using it, the cocked shutter is open until the next press of the lever. I used the lens on my camera in this particular mode.

Behind the shutter blades is the iris diaphragm mechanism. There are only 10 petals, they form an almost perfectly round hole. The petals, however, have a lot of glare, which is a big disadvantage. However, the matting quality of this lens is generally not very good, which does not benefit the image.

The 10 shiny aperture blades can reduce backlit contrast but provide beautiful bokeh.

The 10 shiny aperture blades can reduce backlit contrast but provide beautiful bokeh.

The pupil shape of the lens at any aperture is almost perfectly round.

The pupil shape of the lens at any aperture is almost perfectly round.

Sapphire's optics have a single-layer coating of blue shades, typical for optics of the 50-60s. Therefore, the light transmission is the best in the yellow-green part of the spectrum - the lens is slightly yellow in the light.

The yellowness of "blue optics" is a consequence of the use of a single-layer enlightenment of blue-violet shades.

Yellowness "blue optics"- a consequence of the use of a single-layer enlightenment of blue-violet shades.

The lens units both carry the same serial number.

The number on the rear spline nut matches the number on the front.

The number on the rear spline nut matches the number on the front.

On the lens you can find the inscription "Made in France". Oh, this is not for you DJ OPTICAL.

"Made in France"!

"Made in France"!

To use the lens with modern cameras, I reversibly screwed it to the M42-M42 17-35 mm macrogelcoid without interfering with the construction. This allowed the Saphir 75 / 1.9 to be used via an adapter from the M42 on any camera.

Lens when focusing on infinity.

Lens when focusing on infinity.

Lens when focusing on MDF.

Lens when focusing on MDF.

The compactness of the rear lens group played an important role in the ease of adaptation of the lens.

The workmanship of the Saphir 75 / 1.9 is not bad: the case is made reliably, it is easy to maintain. The multi-leaf diaphragm pleases me, I was surprised by the lively central shutter. But the manufacturer did not pay enough attention to matting and blackening of the internal parts of the lens unit, which does not increase the contrast at all.

Optical properties

There is nothing surprising here. This lens is probably the worst six-lens planar I've ever seen. Helios-40 in comparison with him, the very superiority. Sapphire suffers greatly from spherical aberration and chromatism at F / 1.9-F / 4, and along the edges of the image, a monstrous coma persists, it seems, up to F / 11 within the full frame. The lens provides a 45 ° field of view - the Saphir 75 / 1.9 works excellently with the shift adapter on a full-frame camera, but it is not difficult to notice severe curvature of the image field. There is also noticeable pincushion distortion. Because of this bunch of aberrations, the Saphir 75 / 1.9 has a bright swirling bokeh that will probably love heliosophiles... However, in fact, the bokeh of the lens is not at all Helios: the discs in the center of the frame do not have a bright edging, the discs along the edges are flattened into asymmetric lemon, similar to what happens with biometars.

The lens works more or less with ~ F / 2.8. Fortunately, with such aberrations, the bokeh at this aperture is quite impressive.
The image contrast is not bad, but not impressive either. It is at the level of optics of those years. Veiling appears in the backlight, but, again, it can be worse.

Below are sample photos taken with the full-frame Sony A7s. Part of the photo was made as shift panoramas using the Fotodiox Shift EOS-NEX adapter (2.33: 1 or 4: 5 format).


French optics is interesting as part of the stories told in a cozy conversation by the fireplace by the descendants of the founders of those companies that collapsed in the middle of the XNUMXth century under the onslaught of cheap products from "banana" Japan, which is rapidly getting rid of this unflattering epithet. But this optics is as bad technically as it is rare - therefore it is not of interest as an instrument (with a few exceptions, such as Kinoptik Paris, for example), but it is of great value to collectors. However, if possible, you should definitely not deny yourself the pleasure of trying such completely extraordinary things, in which there is a special spirit.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here... All Rodion reviews in one place here.

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Comments: 6, on the topic: Boyer Paris Saphir 1: 1.9 F = 75. Review of the lens from a technical film camera from Rodion Eshmakov

  • Sergei

    The French had similar lenses, but with a sexier name.
    Maybe some of the photographers will do ...

  • Jea reth

    I wonder what format does this thing cover? Painfully, the photographs obtained are similar to the experience of landing Ortagoz from my once Photocor - I also remembered the G-40 with a kind word. And at the same time, the contact prints from the plates, exposed through the same ortagoz in the photocorder, cannot be called unsharp.

    • Rodion

      Well, it is written there - the angle of the field of view is 45 degrees. With a FR of 75 mm, this gives a frame angle of ~ 53x53 mm, in fact, I suppose it will cover 6x6.

  • Dim

    As for me, the blur is quite pleasant - not very bright, there is no special mess, objects in the background are quite distinguishable. Another thing is that it probably costs a lot. It's easier to take a Chinese for an interesting background.

  • spitzer

    In the early 70s, a dozen well-known German companies did not survive the Japanese :(

  • Alexander

    F / 150? I would like to see it.

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