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Shen45
27-Sep-2011, 17:55
If you had a choice between an Ektar 203 7.7 and a commercial Ektar 8 1/2" 6.3 which one would you choose and why? Both are very close in focal length.

Do they handle the same subjects equally as well or does one have advantages over the other. I appreciate the size difference but that is not an issue for me.

Interested to hear comments.

Paul Fitzgerald
27-Sep-2011, 18:31
the 203/7.7 will fit and close up into a SpeedGraphic, the 8.5"/6.3 CE will but JUST barely, not comfortable with that.

the 203/7.7 should be better closer than 3 ft, the 8.5"/6.3 CE should be better for general use to inf.

The performance difference is too small to gauge. There would be a larger sample by sample difference than model by model.

Mark Sampson
27-Sep-2011, 18:34
I used an 8-1/2"/6.3 Commercial Ektar on the job for some years. A fine lens on 4x5. Much later I bought a 203/7.7 Ektar from this forum for personal use. Another fine lens; I regret selling it. Both lenses are among the best of their time, that is 1940s-60s. Contrast with either will not be up to modern multicoated lenses, but you probably know that already. Resolution is enough for all but the most critical applications.
I'd say you can't go wrong either way, assuming the lens is in top condition.

Jim Galli
27-Sep-2011, 19:58
Hi Steve.

This is so obvious. A 203 f7.7 has sex appeal, and an 8 1/2" f6.3 Ektar..........is boring.

Shen45
27-Sep-2011, 20:54
Thanks guys. I'm interested to hear the 203 is not as good for general work but better at close up work. Was the lens not originally designed as an infinity use lens?

Sexy Jim :) must be coming up to winter where you are. They are a nice tiny lens.
I've ended up with both in near mint condition but was curious if others had preferences for one or the other. Actually Jim I think the #3 Ilex looks pretty "sexy" on the front of a 5x4 Korona.

Any other comments would be appreciated.

Jim Galli
27-Sep-2011, 21:02
5X4 Steve? What's that? Actually I'm having a love affair with a Wolly 1a 222mm just now, in a rakish Alphax shutter.

Shen45
27-Sep-2011, 21:28
Is that the protar style convertible? If so I've often wondered about them. Any images your have shot with it?

Jim Galli
27-Sep-2011, 21:36
Is that the protar style convertible? If so I've often wondered about them. Any images your have shot with it?

Yes. 5th image on this page (http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/Campbells/4X5/4X5MeniscusShuttered.html) was done with that lens.

jim out.

Jim Jones
27-Sep-2011, 21:45
I've never used the 8.5"/6.3 CE, but a 203mm f/7.7 has been my favorite lens on 5x7 and 4x5 for 35 years for the reasons Paul mentioned.

John Kasaian
27-Sep-2011, 22:21
The cheapest one in the best operating shutter (unless I want a chick magnet, then its gotta be the 203;) )

E. von Hoegh
28-Sep-2011, 08:04
The 203 is a Dialyt, the 8 1/4 is a Tessar. The Dialyt (symmetrical) will be slightly better over a wider range of reproduction ratios, and has a bit more coverage, but has more air-to-glass surfaces. Both are single coated.

I'd take the 203, it's a bit smaller and better for closeup work. But I wouldn't turn down an 8 1/4, either.

Dan Fromm
28-Sep-2011, 09:37
Thanks guys. I'm interested to hear the 203 is not as good for general work but better at close up work. Was the lens not originally designed as an infinity use lens?Steve, I have an uncoated 203/7.7 Kodak Anastigmat in a barrel that attaches to a prism or mirror box; its front is threaded externally. It has to be a process lens. The 203/7.7 KA is supposed to be identical to the later 203/7.7 Ektar. I haven't managed to open mine for cleaning, which it needs, and haven't tried it out.

I checked Brian Wallen's site to see what EKCo says about the two lenses' coverage. The 8"/7.7 Ektar covers 216 mm, the 8.5"/6.3 CE 270 mm. See http://www.bnphoto.org/bnphoto/KodakEktarsDB2.htm

If 216 mm is enough, the only way to know which lens will work better for you is to try both. EKCo quality control is supposed to have been outstanding, but all of these lenses are now old and somewhat beat up. Best to get several of each and try them all. If it isn't, the CE is it.

You might also want to consider a 203/7.5 Raptar. The gurus on www.graflex.org say that this is an imitation 203/7.7 Ektar and is as good.

Fotoguy20d
28-Sep-2011, 10:21
The 203/7.7 KA is supposed to be identical to the later 203/7.7 Ektar.


I have an old 203mm f7.7 Anastigmat in a #1 Compur shutter and a 1954 Ektar. The reflections look the same to me. I only shoot B&W but I haven't seen much difference in images taken with the two (sharpness anyway) although I've never done a proper side by side test.

Dan

Steve Hamley
28-Sep-2011, 10:59
I'll go against the grain and say the 8-1/2" CE. It's a fine lens, although common. I did the attached photo on 5x7 with an 8-1/2" CE with a bit of rise and it did very well.

The jpeg is not as nice as the platinum print though.

Cheers, Steve

Jim Graves
28-Sep-2011, 22:04
I have an old 203mm f7.7 Anastigmat in a #1 Compur shutter and a 1954 Ektar. The reflections look the same to me. I only shoot B&W but I haven't seen much difference in images taken with the two (sharpness anyway) although I've never done a proper side by side test.

Dan

I have the same combination ... I've always heard that the coatings increase the contrast, reduce flare, but close up the shadows when compared to the uncoated. Like you, I've always intended to make a side-by-side comparison ... but haven't. Maybe next time I'm up in the Redwoods ... with those huge contrasty scenes with deep shadows ....... .

Lynn Jones
3-Oct-2011, 17:21
They are both great lenses but I would take the Comm. Ektar because of field coverage, the 203 is about 45 degrees whle the Com Ektar is 56 degrees. Fine quality, very sharp, very contrasty, but go with the CEktar.

Lynn

Mark Sawyer
3-Oct-2011, 22:47
I've had my choice of both, and chose the 215mm f/4.8 Ilex Acuton. Why? At least equal resolution, especially in the corners, faster, cheaper, covers 8x10, and converts to a 14".

Shen45
4-Oct-2011, 01:23
Over the weekend I did some unscientific testing and discovered that I really like the 203 for still life and the 8 1/2 CE for more general work. I was considering thinning down the lens herd but these lenses seem to have their own area of expertise so I now feel less guilty about having two very similar focal length lenses.

Jim Galli
4-Oct-2011, 08:05
Over the weekend I did some unscientific testing and discovered that I really like the 203 for still life and the 8 1/2 CE for more general work. I was considering thinning down the lens herd but these lenses seem to have their own area of expertise so I now feel less guilty about having two very similar focal length lenses.

Guilt!?? Lord have mercy on my poor soul. If that is a sin I've got one foot in hell.

Shen45
4-Oct-2011, 08:14
Guilt!?? Lord have mercy on my poor soul. If that is a sin I've got one foot in hell.

It may have been hot in Campbells foundry Jim but from our conversation I know you are fine. :)