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Helios lens

The evolution of photo optics in 130 years

The Gallery of Classical Photography presents the largest private collection of photo lenses in Russia. The exposition has about 230 exhibits, most of which are rare and unique items. The oldest lenses that remember the facial expressions of the royals and the first settlers of America belong to the 19th century.

The exhibition presents lenses for amateur and professional shooting, released in Europe and the United States from 1840 to 1973. Among the main exhibits is one of the first CHEVALIER FAB Paris photo lenses, developed by French physicist and optician Chevalier Charles Louis.

A special place in the exhibition is occupied by Rapid Rectilinear lenses. The first device was patented by the British telescope manufacturer John Dallmeier in 1866. However, the costs of its production turned out to be so high that just a few pieces were produced of the lenses of this model.

Among the exhibits is the Apochromat Collinear lens, which was used by the famous Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, who realized a grandiose photo project at the beginning of the 20th century - the first color shooting of the Russian Empire. The lens was manufactured by the German company Voigtlander & Sohn in 1910.

Master of Soviet Photography Boris Ignatovich (1899-1976) experimented extensively with different types of optics, using lenses for shooting in various genres and conditions. In the studio, among others, he used the legendary portrait lens Nicola Perscheid, named after the famous portrait painter of the XX century. And for work in the field I used a Leica camera equipped with an Elmar lens. With the help of Elmar, Ignatovich’s famous works such as “On the Battlefield” (1941) and “Field Kitchen. Front Weekdays ”(1944).

The basis of the collection is made up of true masterpieces of artistic optics, including Schneider-Kreuznach, Dallmeyer, Zeiss, Wollensak, Berthiot and others. The exhibition presents the developments of about 30 leading manufacturers of photographic equipment of the second half of the XIX - mid XX centuries, including such grandees as the Carl Zeiss factory and the American company Eastman Kodak Company.

Despite their venerable age, all the lenses are still in good condition: they can even be installed on the camera and take high-quality pictures.

The exhibition is addressed not only to professional photographers, but also to amateurs who are interested in the history of photography and the development of photographic equipment. The exposition is open to visitors every day, except Mondays and Tuesdays, from 12 to 21 hours. Everyone can take photographs of exhibits without coordination with the administration. Guided tours are available for groups of 25 or more, upon prior request. Ticket price includes visiting current exhibitions.
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