1850s Charles Chevalier 'Photograph a Verres Combines' 250mmf5.6(est) 

Lens Data

Lens Unit

Lens Photo

製造年 : 1850年代前半
レンズ構成 : 3種類の貼り合わせレンズによる可変焦点レンズ
製造番号 : なし。通常は記載されている住所で年代を判断する。

Production : early 1850s
Lens composition : evariable focal length in accordance with the combination of 3 kinds of dublet lenses
Serial number : nil. production years shall be identified from the address engraved on the lens.


Lens Impression


ジョゼフ・ニセフォール・ニエプス(Joseph Nicephore Niepce 、1765年3月7日 - 1833年7月5日)によって開発された「写真」の技術は、共同研究者でありニエプスの遺志を継いだLouis Jacques Mande Daguerre(ルイ・ジャック・マンデ・ダゲール)によって完成され、、1839年8月19日にフランス学士院で発表された。そして市販された世界初の市販カメラが「ジルー商会のダゲレオタイプ銀板写真カメラ」である。

シュバリエ一家は代々の光学技術者で、シャルルの父親のヴァンサン・シュバリエ(Vincent Chevalier)は精力的に望遠鏡や顕微鏡、カメラ・オブスクラ用のレンズを製造していたし、シャルルの息子のアルトゥールも後にレンズ設計者として活躍する。



  ヴァンサン  1818-1841 69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris 
息子    シャルル    1818-1832 69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris
1832-1851  163 Gal. de Valois, Palais Royal, Paris
1851-1852  158 Gal. de Valois, Palais National, Paris
1853-1859  158 Gal. de Valois, Palais Royal, Paris
 弟子   リシュブール  1841-1856  69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris
1856-???  29 quai de l’Horloge, Paris



ただし、彼の初期の単玉(2枚貼り合せ)のレンズは非常に暗かった(レンズ自体はf4であったが、球面収差を抑えるためf17にしていた)ことから、早々に改良が求められ、その結果貼り合わせレンズを、撮影用途によって複数組み合わせて使用し、より明るいレンズの開発に成功したのが、今回取り上げたレンズ「Photograph a Verres Combines Foyer Variable レンズ」である。



The King of vintage lenses, Charles Chevalier Photograph a Verres Combines foyer variable.

In 1839, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre invented the historical method of photography, Daguerreotype. And the lens which was equipped on the world’s first commercial camera from Giroux was a single doublet achromatic lens by Charles Chevalier. The focal length is approx. 340mm and f17.

The Chevalier family had been engaged in optical technology in generations. Vincent Chevalier, the father of Charles, manufactured telescopes, microscopes and camera obscuras, and also Arthur, the son of Charles, was an active optical designer.

At the period of Vincent Chevalier, the father, Louis Daguerre, who was still the promotor of Diorama vision, visited the shop of Chevalier family and bought some lenses. At that time it was said that Vincent mentioned the lenses were made by his son and he himself was a salesman. The relations between them continued afterward also which made naturally the first lens appointed to the Daguerreotype Camera was Chevalier’s.

Vincent might be a sociable person, but the relation between him and his son Charles became worse after several argument came from the difference of opinion. In 1932 Charles left the home and started his individual shop.

Their address in such period were as follows,

Father   Vincent 1818-1841 69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris 
Son    Charles     1818-1832 69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris
1832-1851 163 Gal. de Valois, Palais Royal, Paris
1851-1852 158 Gal. de Valois, Palais National, Paris
1853-1859 158 Gal. de Valois, Palais Royal, Paris
Disciple   Richebourg  1841-1856 69 quai de l’Horloge, Paris
1856-??? 29 quai de l’Horloge, Paris

Very confusing. However, it makes easier to identify the age of each lens from this engraved address on the lens and from the type of character.

Vincent appointed his successor to his disciple Richebourg instead of his son, but he died in 1841 which was among such important years in the development the early history of photographic cameras and lenses. The name of the first camera lens came to Charles eventually also because of his positive and sociable characteristic.

However, because his first lens was dark and slow aperture (the lens has originally f4 but limited at f17 with aperture diaphragm to prevent strong spherical aberrations), he got immediate request to improve the performance of the lens. He had succeeded to develop a new type of lens which became much more faster and usable against multiple objects of photographer by changing the front lenses in turns and mixing them. This is the ’ Photograph a Verres Combines Foyer Variable lens’.

Chevalier lens obtained several top awards (gold and platinum medals) at the contests in 1834,1841 of Societe d’Encouragement and others, but the history proved that Petzval lens which was inferior reputation at the contest dominated the market and Chevalier lens faded out rather sooner.

This might come from that photographer appreciated the description of ‘systeme allemande’ Petzval lens with very sharp image at center and strong curvature of field at peripheral area because they had been using mainly the center part of image circle to the limited size of Dagurreotype plates than the tender taste of whole image of Chevalier lens. However Chevalier lens could express sharper description when using diaphragm inside, so I think the other reason is that Charles Chevalier almost monopolized the production of prized lens at his hand, Petzval lens ,on the other hand, could be copied in many optical company in Europe and USA without strict patent protections.ery

Photos with Charles Chevalier a Verres Combines

Cherry Blossoms in Shinagawa kaijo koen

4x5のB&W用現像タンクJOBO3010を導入しましたので、さっそくChevalierレンズをきちんと4x5シートフィルムで撮影することにしました。テスト撮影でもありますので、経費節約のためにArista EDU Ultra 100という廉価なフィルムを海外から仕入れましたが、果たしてどのように写るのか心配でした。


I introduced 4x5 B&W development tank JOBO 3010 recently , so I decided to shoot properly with 4x5 sheet film with Chevalier lens. As it is also a test shoot, so I bought a cost saving Arista EDU Ultra 100 from abroad, but I was worried about how it would work.
The result is as shown on the left pictures. Well, it seems to be usable normally.

Although the first photo was cut into Square, I think that you can distinguish the unique description of Chevalier lens with tender blur and bokek on each piece of falling cherry blossoms.
When I print it out in larger format, I am looking forward to further enjoy the historical depiction of this lens.

Nakano Studio








I wanted to take 4x5 photo with Chevalier lens, so I used Sinar Zoom Back at 6x12cm mode taking 2 continuous photos with rising Speed Graphic camera lens board. And I merged 2 in 1 resulting almost 4x5 inch sized image.

Of course, it is impossible to take photo of moving subject, it might not be problem in such model photo which I can ask them not to move for a while.

I recognized the difference of the description between Chevalier lens and Petzval lens very well.

Chevalier lens remains rather strong spherical aberration which express tender image from the center of the field. This does not change at the edge of the field and curvature of field or astigmatism had never become dominant.

On the other hand, Petzval lens express very sharp image at the center which might be almost equal to that of modern lens, but curvature of field appears stronger and stronger to the edge of the field showing swirling bokeh.

I think it was no problem to use only the center part of Petzval lens at the age of Daguerreotype because the size of silver plate was very limited.

However, I liked the description of this Chevalier lens with tender flare on the main subject and other field of image very much.Even this lens is so heavy to bring, I would like to use more often.The