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Computar dL Enlarging Lenses


John Jovic


To date very little definitive information about Computar dL lenses has been readily available. The scarcity of original material such as advertising or sales brochures and published technical data makes the information hard to find. Copyright restrictions have made the few articles and reviews published in magazines of the period difficult to access, if not actually scarce. Computar dL enlarging lenses hay day was in the late 1970's, about 35 years ago. The individuals involved in their design, manufacture and distribution are sadly themselves becoming scarce, so sourcing first hand accounts is quickly becoming impossible.

The purpose of this article is to document as much as possible about these unusual and almost mythical lenses and in doing so to make this information readily available. This is an ongoing project and this page will be updated as required.

Computar dL Enlarging Lenses

Computar dL enlarger or enlarging lenses were available in eight fixed focal length and two variable focal length lenses. The variable focal length lenses were available as early as 1979[1] from Burleigh Brooks Optics, Inc. and the full range was available in 1981[4]. The lenses were sold in both Computar and Kowa branding in various parts of the world. The following lenses were available.


Although primarily intended as enlarging lenses Computar dL lenses were also designed to be used for close up and macro photography. All but two of the Computar dL lenses have a common 43x0.75mm front filter thread making them easy to reverse mount if needed. Sixteen Computar accessory adapter rings were available to reverse mount the lenses[3].


The above image shows a collection of Kowa and Computar dL lenses and is reproduced with permission from Ebay seller leica-post.


Computar dL Timeline

This timeline shows various documented events relating to Computar dL enlarging lenses. The dates or 'Year' shown below are the published dates of the relevant source material. These dates establish a timeline of events to help understand the evolution of the Computar dL line of lenses, their manufacture and marketing. This timeline is not complete and will be amended as information comes to hand.

Year Event
1977 Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc. instigated the design and marketing of the lenses. A comprehensive brochure detailing Computar dL lenses was published by Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc. in 1977.
? KYVYX Corp., P.O. Box 1873, South Hackensack, N.J. 07606, President Jack Callahan[8].

Kyvyx Corp. appears to have purchased the Computar Trademark from Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc. when they folded.
Although not from a credible source a letter[9] from Jack Callahan, President of KYVYX Corp, claims to have sold the 'Computar' Trademark to Chugai International Corporation. This suggests that Chugai only became involved in the manufacture of Computar lenses after this transaction and that the earlier Kowa and Computar dL lenses were probably made by Kowa. Optical manufacturers have moved and retooled in other countries (eg Zeiss/Contax moved from Germany to Japan) so it's quite possible that manufacturing changed relatively seamlessly from Kowa to Chugai. It is also possible that Chugai always made the Kowa/Computar lenses and only bought the Computar Trademark at a later date. The original manufacturer of the Computar dL lenses is presently not confirmed.
1980 CBC (Chugai Boyeki (AMERICA) Corp.) introduced a line of high-end professional enlarging lenses under the newly acquired brand name "Computar" [6].
1981 Computar dL lenses were marketed in Australia as Kowa lenses[4]. Based on extensive searches of Australian photographic magazines published during the period from 1981 to 1987 no evidence has been found of Computar dL lenses being marketed under the Computar brand name in Australia.
1984 Computar dL range of lenses was marketed in the U.S.A. by Photronix Marketing Group, Inc., 133 Stockton Lane, Rochester, NY, 14625[2].
1986 Computar dL range of lenses was marketed in the U.S.A. by Goldrich Photo Marketing, Inc., 133 Stockton Lane, Rochester, NY, 14625[5].
1986 Computar dL range of lenses are manufactured in Japan by Chugai International, Inc.[5].
1987/88 Kowa branded lenses still being sold in the Australian market[11]
1989 Computar dL range of lenses was marketed in the U.S.A. by Goldrich Photo Marketing, Inc., 133 Stockton Lane, Rochester, NY, 14625[7]

Computar dL brochures from Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc.
The Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc. brochure for the Computar dL line of enlarging lenses is partially reproduced below. This brochure details the fixed focal length lenses. The Computar dL 2.8/25 which never went into production is listed instead of the Computar dL 2.8/30. The varifocal lenses are not included in the brochure. The scans of the brochure were kindly supplied by Daniel Goodspeed.


The brochure continues to detail each Computar dL fixed focal length lens. These pages are not reproduced here but are reproduced on the respective Computar dL articles on this site; 2.8/30, 2.8/50, 1.9/55, 3.5/65, 4.5/80, 4.5/90, 4.5/105 and 5.6/135

  Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc. Computar brochure published 1977[10].


Computar dL marketing material from KYVYX Corp.

The scans of the KYVYX Corp. marketing pamphlet shown below were kindly supplied by Chuckp from the Analog Photography Users Group forum (APUG). According to the source of the material;

"These are from 2 loose double sided pages I got from KYVYX.  No formally printed brochure.  They may just be double sided Xerox copies.  Received probably in response to a magazine request for information card I sent in.  The envelope is postmarked 1981."

KYVYX Corp. took over the marketing and distribution of the Computar dL when BBOI (Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc.) folded in approx 1980. The pamphlet has KYVYX printed on the first two pages and BBOI (Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc.) on the last two.

This pamphlet also explains the demise of the Computar dL 2.8/25 (described in the original 24 page BBOI brochure) and lists the technical details of the Computar dL 2.8/30 instead.

High resolution versions of each page can be downloaded from the link below each image.

  High res file of the above (opens in a new window)  
  High res file of the above (opens in a new window)  
  High res file of the above (opens in a new window)  

High res file of the above (opens in a new window)



[1] Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc., (1979)
[2] Popular Photography Volume 91, Number 12 (December 1984): 174
[3] Ron Jegerings, “Low-Cost Macro”, Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques Vol. 6, No. 4 (Jul/Aug 1985): 23
[4] "Survey-Enlarger Lenses", Lenses No.3 A Buyers Guide From Photographic World, (1981): 40
[5] Bob Mitchell, "Computar Enlarging Lenses", Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques Vol. 7, No. 2 (Mar/Apr 1986): 42
[6] "CBC Group Global Gateway",, accessed February 22, 2015
[7] Ctein, “Enlarging Lens Buying Guide 1989”, Darkroom Photography, (January 1989): 47
[8] “PMA ’81- address list of manufacturers and distributors”, Popular Photography, (July 1981): 64
[9] "kowa graphic 210/F9",, accessed February 22, 2015
[10] Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc., Computar, (New Jersey, Burleigh Brooks Optics Inc., 1977)
[11] "Survey-Enlarger Lenses", Australian Photoworld Buyers Guide Directory 1987-88, (1987): 119


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