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View Full Version : Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 - opinions?



Athiril
16-Jun-2009, 04:26
This is the lens thats coming with the 4x5 camera I bought.

Is it worthy of keeping? decent performance?

I like to do model shoots & landscapes mostly.


Just wanted opinions on if the lens is a keeper :)

Mark Sampson
16-Jun-2009, 05:31
It's slightly wide-angle on 4x5; excellent sharpness, limited coverage. Standard issue on 4x5 Speed Graphics back in the day, but really meant for 3.25x4.25 format. I used one for 5 or 6 years before upgrading... a fine lens to start with, I'd suggest a 210mm to go with it. There's a great deal of information on lenses, and Kodak optics especially, on the front page of this site. A keeper? I still have the 1946 version I started with- just don't use it any more.

Athiril
16-Jun-2009, 06:32
Cheers, I'll have to go hunting for images taken with it until it gets here.

Yeah a 210 sounds like a good idea, was also going to supplement with the 65mm Super Angulon f/8, but perhaps a 90 might be a better choice for landscapes.

venchka
16-Jun-2009, 07:02
Use it. Use it a lot. I use my 1953 edition. Great lens.

Michael N. Meyer
16-Jun-2009, 07:17
I had one and used it a lot before loaning it to a friend when he found a free 4x5. It was super sharp in the center but the corners of 4x5 suffered. This worked for the project I was shooting at the time. Now I'm much happier with my 125mm Fujinon--though I do hope to get the 127 back, eventually.

venchka
16-Jun-2009, 07:26
I had one and used it a lot before loaning it to a friend when he found a free 4x5. It was super sharp in the center but the corners of 4x5 suffered. This worked for the project I was shooting at the time. Now I'm much happier with my 125mm Fujinon--though I do hope to get the 127 back, eventually.

:D ;)

I didn't loan my Ektar to anyone. I liked it so much that I also bought the 125mm Fujinon lens. I will never ever loan that lens to anybody. I really like 125mm-127mm lenses on 4x5. I put the 127mm Ektar back on my speed Graphic where it belongs. Hand held. Rangefinder focusing. Awesome! :cool:

Patrick Dixon
16-Jun-2009, 07:26
Cheers, I'll have to go hunting for images taken with it until it gets here.


Here's one:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/3527995465_03b91ef627.jpg

Ernest Purdum
16-Jun-2009, 09:52
The 127mm is a good match for a Graphic. Many years ago, newspaper photographers discovered that it was easier to do their work with a lens really intended for 3 1/4" X 4 1/4' use, which the 127mm was. Fcussing was a little less critical, as was framing.

A problem arises when one of these lenses winds up on a view camera. They barely cover 4" X 5 ", leaving no room for movements at all. With a 120 rollfilm back they can be appropriate, but not on cutfilm.

John Kasaian
16-Jun-2009, 10:10
What Ernest says. I do use mine with sheet film however (with a speeder, movements aren't really an issue) Quality-wise, the results speak for themselves! It is a fine little lens, just be mindful of the coverage limitation and you'll get beautiful images. If swings and tilts etc...are what you're after, you'll likely want to invest in a second lens (FWIW the 203 Ektar or it's Wollensak clone are very fine lower cost alternatives to a 210mm)

arkady n.
16-Jun-2009, 10:53
Wonderful lens. I know it is against rules, but I used it several times to take portraits.

More here :
http://www.nemerovsky.com/arkady/Office-page1
http://www.nemerovsky.com/arkady/photo-id58005
http://www.nemerovsky.com/arkady/photo-id58006
http://www.nemerovsky.com/arkady/photo-id58007



http://www.nemerovsky.com/arkady/photos/people_new/2006_11_27_I_fr03.jpg

Patrick Dixon
16-Jun-2009, 11:11
Gosh they're all very smart in your office.

(Nice shots)

Rudy Ternbach
16-Jun-2009, 11:27
Not counting the lens mount, is the Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 the same as the Mamiya Press 127mm F4.7 P?

Filmnut
16-Jun-2009, 11:30
I have one from a Speed Graphic that my Dad bought in 1951, and then have used it from about 1973 to present. The 127 Etar was only lens I had for on it for many years. Very sharp, especially in the centre, at the smaller apertures, but a bit mushy in the corners at the wider ones. Highly detailed landscape shots that I did with this camera and lens have been displayed at 30X40, and larger, and still look very good, and I received many compliments about that work. Most were amazed when I told what they were shot with.
I added a 203 Ektar a couple of years ago, and it is an outstanding lens, deserving of the reputation it has! A good reasonable cost option for these cameras.
Keith

Dan Fromm
16-Jun-2009, 12:33
Not counting the lens mount, is the Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 the same as the Mamiya Press 127mm F4.7 P?No. Kodak and Mamiya are independent companies. Neither made lenses to be sold with the other's name on them.

Rudy Ternbach
16-Jun-2009, 12:55
No. Kodak and Mamiya are independent companies. Neither made lenses to be sold with the other's name on them.


OK, granted, but were they both copying a third company's previous lens design? Just wondering.

Dan Fromm
16-Jun-2009, 13:46
OK, granted, but were they both copying a third company's previous lens design? Just wondering.No, Kodak's tessar type Ektars were covered by US patents issued to Kodak employees and assigned to Kodak. They are in no sense copies of lenses made by Zeiss. And neither are Mamiya's tessar type lenses.

You are making, I think, the common mistake of confusing a design type, very broadly defined, with a prescription. The broadest definition of the tessar type is a pair of singlets in front of the diaphragm and a cemented doublet behind the diaphragm. In actual prescriptions of tessar type lenses (visit www.dioptrique.info, click on Nombre de Lentilles and look at the prescriptions of the various 4 element lenses Eric presents) curvatures of the various surfaces differ, sometimes changing sign, the elements' thicknesses vary, and so does spacing. The glasses used (refractive index, dispersion) also vary. Not surprisingly, Eric's calculations indicate that the lenses don't all perform equally well; coverage varies and for the same coverage corrections for, e.g., astigmatism and coma, aren't equally good.

cobalt
16-Jun-2009, 17:26
I have the 127 I got with my first Crown Graphic. Years later, the camera (and many others) have come and gone. The 127 Ektar is the lens I've had longer than any other. It is a great lens; I have no intentions of parting with it.

Oddly enough, I bought a nice 4x5 Speed Graphic a few months ago, with yet another 127 Ektar; this one has a different shutter (Supermatic), and is noticeably smaller, i.e. the lens elements are completely different! Same aperture though. The 152 seems to be less common, and I don't use the 127 as much since I've calibrated the rangefinder to work with the 150, an equally great lens.

Athiril
16-Jun-2009, 22:25
Thanks guys, nice to know its good for colour too :)

Not too concerned about movements to start with, just sharp images for now :)

Will def need to get something longer for the kind of portraits I take (id link but theyre digital images, havent dev'ed the 6x7 recent stuff yet ;)).

Yeah getting it with a Speed Graphic.

Sounds like a bargain at $98 US + $56 US shipping for the camera, GG, shade box for the GG, 4 film holders, the ektar lens, shutter release cable and some other kind of cable that I dont know whats for :)

Just itching for it to arrive so I can fiddle.

Dave Loftus
17-Jun-2009, 06:27
I'd call that a good deal. My '47 127 supermatic sits in front of a Crown, and I hacked it for x-synch. When paired with a Vivitar 283, it's a cool-looking press camera that's the center of attention a Little League games. Rangefinder is a boon--calibration steps available on the web somewhere.

cobalt
17-Jun-2009, 06:47
Here are a couple of examples of 127 Ektar images. The first was made the day I got my camera in the mail, before calibrating the rangefinder. Second was made with same set up after I calibrated the rangefinder. Both hand held, first on Plus X, second Tmax.

cobalt
17-Jun-2009, 07:00
... and lastly, a portrait with the 127 Ektar. Tri X, hand held, pushed a couple of stops in very questionable light.

Jim Graves
17-Jun-2009, 22:08
Cobalt ... gorgeous portrait ... Now I'm going to have to get my 127 out.

Was that 4x5, 120, or 3 1/4 x 4 1/4?

And what was the original distance to subject?

Athiril
18-Jun-2009, 01:00
Here are a couple of examples of 127 Ektar images. The first was made the day I got my camera in the mail, before calibrating the rangefinder. Second was made with same set up after I calibrated the rangefinder. Both hand held, first on Plus X, second Tmax.

Cool, is that the depth of field in the upper right corner? or corner fall off?



I'd call that a good deal. My '47 127 supermatic sits in front of a Crown, and I hacked it for x-synch. When paired with a Vivitar 283, it's a cool-looking press camera that's the center of attention a Little League games. Rangefinder is a boon--calibration steps available on the web somewhere.



Ah okay, I think this one has X-sync, hope so, Id like to use 2x Sunpak 433's (manual power) and a Vivitar 370 (with ND gels) with the wireless setup I got (works on RB67 great)



... and lastly, a portrait with the 127 Ektar. Tri X, hand held, pushed a couple of stops in very questionable light.

Pretty cool :)

Ive got 50 sheets of Arista EDU Ultra 100 on the way, and 10 sheets or Fuji Pro 160S

Still have plenty of Kodak Xtol left at home, and a good bit of C41 dev left too... just need a tray or tank to dev... and to get rid of my scanner and get one that handles 4x5 too :)

cobalt
18-Jun-2009, 06:52
Thanks for the kind words. The portrait was done in a gallery with my first Graflex, a Crown Graphic. Unfortunately, the rangefinder was not calibrated, and I didn't know how to adjust it. I focused on the ground glass, closed the lens, inserted the film holder, and used my best estimate for proper framing.

Jim: it is 4x5 film, Tri X, pushed to 1600 if memory serves. The distance to subject was perhaps 2-3 feet, likely closer to 2.

Athiril: That is likely fall off due to the fact that the lens was close to wide open. Plus X does not respond well to push processing (or I don't know how to do it well!), so I had to open the lens up to get a 100th shutter speed.

One of my Ektars looks like it has a modern sync, but upon close inspection, it does not. It takes a hard to find dohickey with a couple of tiny slots on either side to fit. The other is in a shutter that has a two pronged sync. If you have one with a modern x sync, you got lucky. :)

Paul Kierstead
18-Jun-2009, 07:14
Another 127 Ektar; handheld indoor shot on a graphic.

As a side note, this chair "flys" apart and then reassembles itself. Fascinating exhibit.

Dan Fromm
18-Jun-2009, 07:15
"One of my Ektars looks like it has a modern sync, but upon close inspection, it does not. It takes a hard to find dohickey with a couple of tiny slots on either side to fit. The other is in a shutter that has a two pronged sync. If you have one with a modern x sync, you got lucky."

That dohickey is an ASA terminal. All of these shutters have X synch. Some have ASA terminals, other have bi-post terminals. Paramount Cords makes cables that go from bi-post to PC terminals. There are also little ASA-PC adapters.

No need for luck, just go shopping.

Athiril
18-Jun-2009, 07:51
Serious about the chair?.. must be weird to watch

Doubt I'd find myself needing to push the film :)


That's good to know Dan :)

Here's an image of the kit here

http://i.ebayimg.com/18/!BT9cf9QBWk~$(KGrHgoH-DQEjlLlu3hQBKLG5g,y8!~~_1.JPG

cobalt
18-Jun-2009, 08:01
"One of my Ektars looks like it has a modern sync, but upon close inspection, it does not. It takes a hard to find dohickey with a couple of tiny slots on either side to fit. The other is in a shutter that has a two pronged sync. If you have one with a modern x sync, you got lucky."

That dohickey is an ASA terminal. All of these shutters have X synch. Some have ASA terminals, other have bi-post terminals. Paramount Cords makes cables that go from bi-post to PC terminals. There are also little ASA-PC adapters.

No need for luck, just go shopping.

Thanks for the info.

Brian Wallen
24-Jun-2009, 23:54
The 127 Ektar has very limited coverage for 4 x 5, though some of the examples show only some softness of focus, but not falloff of illumination at the limits.

For those shooting rollfilm on their 4 x 5s and for the infinitely smaller group shooting rollfilm on Graphic 23s or Horseman 6x9s, the 127 Ektar makes a terrific longer focus lens. The 152mm Ektar was mounted in a Supermatic #2 and is a little big for the small 6x9 lens boards. Late Ektars were mounted in Compur shutters; I've never seen a 152 of this vintage, so I don't know what size the shutters were. The 203mm Ektars were mounted in the Supermatic #1, so fit the small lens boards nicely.

cobalt
25-Jun-2009, 15:49
Limited, yes, but sufficient for some kinds of shooting, hence its use by pressman for quite a few years.

Paul Kierstead
25-Jun-2009, 17:32
This shot was done on a Crown Graphic with, IIRC, max front rise (and a 127 ektar...). I'll give you that the graphic doesn't have monster rise or anything, but clearly some movements are possible. This is quite minimally cropped (and that was only for composition, none was necessary).

cobalt
25-Jun-2009, 19:59
This shot was done on a Crown Graphic with, IIRC, max front rise (and a 127 ektar...). I'll give you that the graphic doesn't have monster rise or anything, but clearly some movements are possible. This is quite minimally cropped (and that was only for composition, none was necessary).

Nicely done.

Athiril
26-Jun-2009, 00:23
Okay this arrived today (which is my birthday incidentally :D 24 now).

I thought the lens was innaccurate at 1/5th (lagging before closing, much slower than 1/5th) with 1/2 and 1 sec not ever closing, but fine at faster speeds, but after some fiddling with the tension knob on the lens all speeds are working and seem pretty accurate to me :)

Focal plane shutter on the speed graphic is working too.

Came with a cord that appears to be for sync that looks like a prong on the other end, since I have pc-sync ends lying around being unused from multiple cables, I'll wire it up and see if it works.


edit: this camera also feels like a feather, much lighter than I expected, lighter than the RB67 and 30D + lens

Daniel_Buck
28-Jun-2009, 23:31
I've been using it on my speed 4x5, seems to be a good lens :) I like the "slightly wide" view angle, works quite nice on a hand-held 4x5.

Here's a few from this weekend, with the 127/4.7 Ektar

http://www.buckshotsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/HSC_011.jpg

http://www.buckshotsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/HSC_004.jpg

http://www.buckshotsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/HSC_001.jpg

Kuzano
29-Jun-2009, 00:21
Not counting the lens mount, is the Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 the same as the Mamiya Press 127mm F4.7 P?

The Mamiya Sekor 127 was designed to cover Polaroid Pack film (3x4 approx) and predominantly sold on the Polaroid 600 and 600SE cameras in a different breech mount so they could not be used on Mamiya Press cameras. Ultimately they ended up in the Mamiya Press mount as well.

If the 127 Mamiya even covers 4x5... it would likely vignette at the corners, even at infinity.

Wade D
29-Jun-2009, 03:15
I have the Ektar 127 on my old Anni Speed Graphic. Very sharp but don't try any movements.
It covers 4x5 but just barely.

Archphoto
29-Jun-2009, 03:19
Mamiya 127 and 4x5 ? I never figured that one.
Could give it a try in August when I am back in Holland again....
I got the 127 for my RB and LF ofcourse....

Peter