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Greg
4-Sep-2017, 16:43
Since the 1980s, I have been using a 508mm f/7 Caltar lens on my 11x14. I have consistently been amazed at the quality and contrast of the negatives I have shot with it. It blows away the front 18 7/8 cell of my f/7.7 BL Protar V11 in contrast and sharpness.

I've used several (borrowed) shorter focal length Caltars on my 4x5 over the years, but was never impressed by their images when compared to comparable Schneider optics.

Have repeatably read that Caltars were made by Rodenstock which I believe is true. Also read that Caltars were the Rodenstock optics that Rodenstock rejected to put their name brand on... who's to believe what....

So is my 508mm Caltar an anomaly?
Are Caltar lenses underrated?

Interested in other opinions on the Caltar line of lenses.

thanks...

Kevin Crisp
4-Sep-2017, 16:46
The later ones were either Rodenstock or Schneiders so you shouldn't be surprised. They weren't seconds.

Dan Fromm
4-Sep-2017, 17:14
Ilex made the 508/7 Caltar. See http://www.galerie-photo.com/ilex-lenses.html

xkaes
4-Sep-2017, 17:22
Many -- perhaps most -- Caltar and Caltar II lenses were made by Rodenstock. And, of course, some people are going to suggest that they were Rodenstock rejects -- especially those who paid more for the same lens with the Rodenstock name on it. Back in the 70's, Minolta designed and made a great 80-200mm f4.5 zoom lens -- and sold it for $400. Leica liked it so much, they bought it, slapped on a Leica nameplate and mount, and sold it for $1,200. What do you think the Leica owners of the same lens had to say? "My Leica lens is better than the Minolta lens!", of course. Minolta made lots of Leica's lenses -- SLR and rangefinder.

It's pretty easy to tell if a Caltar is a Rodenstock, by comparing the lens specs -- filter thread, weight, coverage, etc. Or just look at a picture of the lenses.

Alan Gales
4-Sep-2017, 18:29
Topcon also made Caltar lenses at one time. Some Caltar lenses are marked HR for Horseman. I read that Topcon made both the Horseman and Caltar HR lenses.

Clear as mud, right?

Mark Sampson
4-Sep-2017, 19:05
Calumet, being an OEM purchaser, sold what the manufacturers made available for private-label sales at any given time. Ilex, Topcon, Schneider, and Rodenstock, from the '60s through, I guess, the '00's. I suppose most of the Caltars you see these days were made by Rodenstock, as that relationship lasted the longest.
The Ilex-Caltar 14" lens I used at Kodak, (which was made in the '70s) was of very high quality. Remember that they were selling these lenses to a demanding professional market. Never heard yet of anyone complaining about their Caltar lenses, even on this forum, until now.

EdSawyer
5-Sep-2017, 10:58
Yamasaki also made lenses for calumet (Caltar-Y).

-Ed

AJ Edmondson
5-Sep-2017, 13:18
I used a 20" Caltar for a lot of years with the same results... no complaints. Also used a 90mm, 150mm, 165mm and a 210mm - all with no complaints.

Joel

Jim Galli
5-Sep-2017, 13:36
Never had a Caltar I didn't like. I started in LF with an "SII" 210mm which was a Symmar S and it was fantastic. A benchmark I've only beaten rarely. I've read that the early 508mm Caltar's were iffy but they fixed it. Forgot where I read that. But a coated triplet on 11X14 contact printed should be pretty sweet.

Bob Salomon
5-Sep-2017, 14:03
Since the 1980s, I have been using a 508mm f/7 Caltar lens on my 11x14. I have consistently been amazed at the quality and contrast of the negatives I have shot with it. It blows away the front 18 7/8” cell of my f/7.7 BL Protar V11 in contrast and sharpness.

I've used several (borrowed) shorter focal length Caltars on my 4x5 over the years, but was never impressed by their images when compared to comparable Schneider optics.

Have repeatably read that Caltars were made by Rodenstock which I believe is true. Also read that Caltars were the Rodenstock optics that Rodenstock rejected to put their name brand on... who's to believe what....

So is my 508mm Caltar an anomaly?
Are Caltar lenses underrated?

Interested in other opinions on the Caltar line of lenses.

thanks...

There were two major companies that private labeled Rodenstock lenses, Calumet with their Caltar versions and Sinar with their Sinaron versions. None were seconds. It is also important to note that a third company, Alpa has and currently is, selling private labeled Rodenstock lenses.

David Karp
5-Sep-2017, 21:29
Kerry Thalmann wrote an article for View Camera Magazine years ago that summarized all of the different Caltar Series, gave specs for each lens, and indicated which manufacturer built which series. Very helpful if you can get your hands on it.

I am happy that there are people out there who think Caltars are seconds. That helps keep the price down in the event I need to purchase one.

Bernice Loui
6-Sep-2017, 09:29
Last version of Calument Caltar are top quality Rodenstock with the Caltar label, nothing more-nothing less.
Caltars typically have lower market value due to perception rather than content.

Another example of perceived value due to branding-marketing.


If there is issue with image quality, the issue would be equal with any similar focal length-design Rodenstock view camera lens.



Bernice

mdarnton
6-Sep-2017, 09:48
I have a particular fondness for Tessars, and the earlier Caltars are Ilex Paragon Tessar-formula lenses, which themselves are excellent, so I have and enjoy a couple of the Calument versions as well as the original Ilex. They don't write like modern lenses, so they probably aren't for everyone, but that doesn't mean they aren't good.

Dan Fromm
6-Sep-2017, 12:34
I have a particular fondness for Tessars, and the earlier Caltars are Ilex Paragon Tessar-formula lenses, which themselves are excellent, so I have and enjoy a couple of the Calument versions as well as the original Ilex. They don't write like modern lenses, so they probably aren't for everyone, but that doesn't mean they aren't good.

Michael, early Caltars include rebaged Acutars (= f/6.3 tessar types intended to replace Commercial Ektars), Acutons (6/4 plasmat types) and Acugons (6/4 Super Angulon types). Open your little mind to all of the possibilities, don't concentrate on only one. Oh, and by the way, Acutars aren't at all the earlier f/4.5 tessar type Paragons. Newer computations, ...

See http://www.galerie-photo.com/ilex-lenses.html