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dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:15
Hi guys, just a query in relation to reasonably fast lenses for 4x5, is there any alternative to Aero Ektar? they've become extremely desirable recently and the price has gone up accordingly, is there anything else, whether barrel or shuttered lens, that has a faster than f4.7/5.6 aperture and that won't break the bank, thanks, D (www.ww2vetsproject.com)

Steven Tribe
22-Feb-2013, 13:23
Prices went up long ago.

What focal length, lens board size and distance from lens to emulsion?

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
22-Feb-2013, 13:27
f3.5 Tessars can be relatively cheap.

skuuterboy
22-Feb-2013, 13:38
If you are just wanting a lens of comparable focal length to the AE and similar speed then you might look at a Buhl projector lens. They are air-spaced triplet lenses ususally f2.5 and can be had for less than $50 on eBay. Of course these are barrel lenses so you'll have to sort out the shutter bit separately.

dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:39
Prices went up long ago.

What focal length, lens board size and distance from lens to emulsion?

for a Speed or Super Speed Graphic, no idea of lens to emulsion distance, would be for a press 4x5 of some description (I'm assuming Busch board sizes would preclude)

dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:40
If you are just wanting a lens of comparable focal length to the AE and similar speed then you might look at a Buhl projector lens. They are air-spaced triplet lenses ususally f2.5 and can be had for less than $50 on eBay. Of course these are barrel lenses so you'll have to sort out the shutter bit separately.

many thanks for that, any notion of what the quality is like? would they be suitable just for something like a speed graphic with focal place or would they fit in a standard shutter? thanks

dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:41
f3.5 Tessars can be relatively cheap.

thanks Jason, will check them out

Jac@stafford.net
22-Feb-2013, 13:42
There are many fast, old lenses, some at reasonable prices.
I will let the experts in those lenses address that genre.

Other expensive and fast modern LF lenses include:
Xenotar 150mm f/2.8
Xenar 480mm f/4.5
Zeiss Planar 135mm f/3.5 for 4X5
Dallmeyer Pentac f/2.9 (I had one of these but it was in sorry condition)
75mm Biogon
76mm Biogon

dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:46
There are many fast, old lenses, some at reasonable prices.
I will let the experts in those lenses address that genre.

Other expensive and fast modern LF lenses include:
Xenotar 150mm f/2.8
Xenar 480mm f/4.5
Zeiss Planar 135mm f/3.5 for 4X5
Dallmeyer Pentac f/2.9 (I had one of these but it was in sorry condition)
75mm Biogon
76mm Biogon


many thanks, lots of food for thought

dimento
22-Feb-2013, 13:49
There are many fast, old lenses, some at reasonable prices.
I will let the experts in those lenses address that genre.

Other expensive and fast modern LF lenses include:
Xenotar 150mm f/2.8
Xenar 480mm f/4.5
Zeiss Planar 135mm f/3.5 for 4X5
Dallmeyer Pentac f/2.9 (I had one of these but it was in sorry condition)
75mm Biogon
76mm Biogon

see what you mean about expensive!! old lens it is then

Sevo
22-Feb-2013, 14:18
many thanks for that, any notion of what the quality is like? would they be suitable just for something like a speed graphic with focal place or would they fit in a standard shutter? thanks

Episcope and overhead projector lenses can be quite high quality (professional projection systems and their lenses were not cheap), and often are about as good (or rather, bad) as Aero Ektars. Don't forget, whether Aero or projection lens, all of them are intended for quite different magnifications and distances than those they are popularly used for in "shallow DOF" photography, so you have to live with lenses that are way off their sweet spot, and a corresponding increase in residual optical errors. As projection lenses never were designed with a shutter (or even a aperture) in mind, these cannot be fit in a shutter - so you'll need a focal plane, behind the lens or before the lens shutter to go with them.

Bob Salomon
22-Feb-2013, 14:24
65mm, 75mm 90mm 4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon-N lenses are all current manufacture. 35mm, 45mm, 55mm Rodenstock Apo Grandagon lenses were just discontinued.

nikon also made some fast wide angles.

EdSawyer
22-Feb-2013, 14:29
I have a nice clean Pentac 8" I'd part with for less than what aero ektars sell for. Also have a nice 6" f/2.8 aerial lens (Modern, Actron manufacture - military) that might be adaptable to a copal 3 I could offer. Or, I also have a nice 6" f/2.5 bell and howell version of the aero ektar (only better - more elements) that I can offer. All less than a 7" AE. All should work fine with 4x5 speed graphic or the like, assuming some DIY lens mounting.

-Ed

drew.saunders
22-Feb-2013, 16:06
Leitz Hektor slide projector lenses are fast (f/2.5) and some should cover 4x5. I have a 200/2.5 that when I take it out of its focusing mount, and hold it up to the front of my Ebony (it's way too big for a Technika lens board), does cover 4x5 at portrait distances, and possibly at infinity, but I was testing inside. They also made a 150/2.5 that might work too. I got mine from a projector that was being thrown away, so I have no idea what they would cost. There's a 100/2.5 and 120/2.5 on Ebay, each under $100, so I'm guessing you could get a 150 or 200 for under $200.

Jody_S
22-Feb-2013, 16:41
I have 3: 1 for 4x5 (Franke & Heidecke Heidosmat 150/2.8 from Rollei 6x6 slide projector); 1 for 5x7 (early Dallmeyer Pentac 8" 2.9); 1 for 8x10 (Zeiss Epikar 300/4 from Epidiascope). The 2 projection lenses don't have apertures, and all 3 cover the full frame only at portrait distance, with lots of swirly effects. I paid less than $50 for each, though you'll pay a lot more for a Dallmeyer Pentac these days.

coisasdavida
22-Feb-2013, 17:24
I have a 150mm/4 Apo Componon HM that screws to a Copal #1, barely iluminates 5x7" at infinity. Can be very sharp at portrait distance but not wide open at infinity.

adelorenzo
22-Feb-2013, 19:09
Pentac 8 inch F2.9 is definitely the poor man's Aero Ektar. Both fast lenses used in aerial cameras. The prices can be all over the place... The last couple on eBay sold for $350 and $700 but I paid $150 for mine a couple of months ago. It was dirty but when cleaned up the glass is great.

Latest sale was for a mint version $100 but the buyer then relisted for $1000!

Jody_S
22-Feb-2013, 22:06
Pentac 8 inch F2.9 is definitely the poor man's Aero Ektar. Both fast lenses used in aerial cameras. The prices can be all over the place... The last couple on eBay sold for $350 and $700 but I paid $150 for mine a couple of months ago. It was dirty but when cleaned up the glass is great.

Latest sale was for a mint version $100 but the buyer then relisted for $1000!

The common Dallmeyer Pentac is the WWII 'Air Ministry' version with no maker's mark, just a job lot # on the side. Prices for those have gone up significantly since the whole Aero-Ektar craze. But the Pentac was originally made by Dallmeyer for SLR Press cameras. Mine is a sunken-mount aluminum barrel affair from about 1925, similar to period Cooke triplets (sunken-mount Ross Xpres, Aldis Anastigmat, etc). I have never seen an auction price for one. The Air Ministry ones have a reputation for having been abused, and for being of dubious quality to begin with. Mine hasn't been abused, but I don't think it was ever 'sharp'. I think it was meant as a competitor to the Ernemann 100/2, which I simply can't afford so I've never compared head-to-head.

dimento
23-Feb-2013, 03:20
I have a nice clean Pentac 8" I'd part with for less than what aero ektars sell for. Also have a nice 6" f/2.8 aerial lens (Modern, Actron manufacture - military) that might be adaptable to a copal 3 I could offer. Or, I also have a nice 6" f/2.5 bell and howell version of the aero ektar (only better - more elements) that I can offer. All less than a 7" AE. All should work fine with 4x5 speed graphic or the like, assuming some DIY lens mounting.

-Ed

thanks Ed, might come back to you on those when I've more $$$ could you pm me ballpark prices so I'd know what to expect, thanks, D

dimento
23-Feb-2013, 03:22
Pentac 8 inch F2.9 is definitely the poor man's Aero Ektar. Both fast lenses used in aerial cameras. The prices can be all over the place... The last couple on eBay sold for $350 and $700 but I paid $150 for mine a couple of months ago. It was dirty but when cleaned up the glass is great.

Latest sale was for a mint version $100 but the buyer then relisted for $1000!

many thanks again for the info, the prices on the auction site for those are nuts at the moment, might be better saving my $$$ for an Aero Ektar, cheers, D

dimento
23-Feb-2013, 03:22
thanks to all for the info, plenty food for thought, back to the drawing board or at least the grindstone until I can afford to splash out

Bernice Loui
23-Feb-2013, 09:31
What really drove up the market price of Aero Ektars? Yes, it is due to market demand, but is this due to the current fashion of selective focus images or ?

It seems the market value of optics follows image making fashion or have the collectors found a new thing to collect?


Bernice

Jac@stafford.net
23-Feb-2013, 10:03
What really drove up the market price of Aero Ektars? Yes, it is due to market demand, but is this due to the current fashion of selective focus images or ?

Me. I cornered the market many years ago, buying brand new-in-the-box surplus aerial cameras for $125 and keeping only the lenses, and fiducial plate. :) Actually I bought only ten. Sold 'em all, and have no desire to have another one.

You put it right: in this case prices are a function of a fad and scarcity. In practical use they aren't particularly good lenses for work closer than infinity, and the brown stain on the rear lens from thorium compound glass is discouraging - it robs a stop or so of light and messes up color work.

Much the same trend occurred with the Metrogon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrogon) lenses many years ago. Some people spent enormous sums of money to acquire and have them put into a shutter. Two years ago you could buy them new for under $100. I paid $45 each, new.

goamules
23-Feb-2013, 13:50
The funny thing is these other lenses used to be the expensive ones, relative to cheap, war-surplus junk like Aero Ektars!

Carsten Wolff
24-Feb-2013, 00:02
The funny thing is these other lenses used to be the expensive ones, relative to cheap, war-surplus junk like Aero Ektars!
Exactly. RE: The OPs needs of a cheap lens. E.g. my 152mm f3.5 Komura was cheap and came in a Copal 1. Has excellent OOF qualities.

I, too played with the 178mm f2.5 AE for a short time, but found the nice bright image on the GG about its only mildly redeeming feature (after I UV treated the thing for a week or so.) Got a 6" f2.5 Cooke Series X, which was much dearer (but IMO also better than the AE). Played with the Surplusshed's 195mm f1.25 (on 5x7) and a Fujinon 145mm f1.2 TV-Projector lens (on 4x5) - Both of those are very "soft" and not sufficiently corrected (or simply too fast).
I think I for one am now cured of my fast glass affliction.
If I want funky selective pics ala Dave Burnett et al., these days I just go with the Komura and swing/tilt.
But projector lenses can indeed work very well (I still have a 200-300mm f3.5 MC Meridian (ISCO) projection lens that is very nice and hence I adapted it for my Pentax 67 (6x7 is the max format it'll (barely) cover).

RawheaD
24-Feb-2013, 00:25
Pentac 8" f2.9 (clone) could be had for cheap(er) if you search for 14A/780. But an AE is an AE; the only lens that comes close to its rendition is, interestingly, the Helios 40-2 on 135.

Also, I find it kind of funny and sad to see people coming and dissing the AE when the OP has clearly stated his preference for it (and hence wanting it or its analog).

I love my Aero-Ektar. AE mounted on a Speed Graphic w/ calibrated Kalart gives me images I love that I haven't seen any other lens/camera combo able to deliver:


http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=aero&w=88929764%40N00&s=int


Of course, you can hate that look as a personal preference. But to categorically deny it as some fad because of that is brash. IMHO, of course ;)
Also, a slower lens + tilt would could work for posed portraits using a tripod and GG to focus. Can't do that with unposed shots; I shoot my SG+AE handheld about 90% of the time.





Oh, and I have had occasions when all I had was the AE but I wanted to shoot stopped down. The AE has consistently delivered in those cases as well:

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4002/4505010734_9d87fa3524_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawhead/4505010734/)
And I'm Weeping Warm Honey and Milk (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawhead/4505010734/) by Dr. RawheaD (http://www.flickr.com/people/rawhead/), on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8068/8278202420_75eacac3e9_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawhead/8278202420/)
Boston (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawhead/8278202420/) by Dr. RawheaD (http://www.flickr.com/people/rawhead/), on Flickr

goamules
24-Feb-2013, 07:29
...But an AE is an AE; the only lens that comes close to its rendition is, interestingly, the Helios 40-2 on 135...AE mounted on a Speed Graphic w/ calibrated Kalart gives me images I love that I haven't seen any other lens/camera combo able to deliver...

Depth of field will be exactly the same with any lens of the same speed and focal length. Out of focus areas do vary with the design of the lens.

Talking about getting an equivalent look with small format get's complicated but you can get a similiar look with many speed lenses on 35mm. I had an Angenieux F0.95 for a while, but sold it because of the poor, jaggy bokeh and bright ring out of focus highlights.

But since the OP needed approximately a 180mm focal length, a Dallmeyer 2C at F2.0 or a Voigtlander 4B F3 would also give a very nice looking portrait on 4.5. Unfortunately they are more expensive than an Ektar, but are very high quality lenses.

RawheaD
24-Feb-2013, 09:48
Depth of field will be exactly the same with any lens of the same speed and focal length. Out of focus areas do vary with the design of the lens.


Since really, the only reason why anyone would want to use the AE is to use it wide open, meaning that more than 70-80% of your frame is going to be OOF, how the OOF is rendered is quite important and precisely why many people like the "AE look". So simply finding a lens with a similar (or analogous) FL/F-stop doesn't quite cut it. Being the speed-freak that I am, I have looked at many, many images taken by various ultra-fast lenses on various formats, from micro-4/3 (Angenieux/Bell&Howell 25/.95, Schneider 25/.95, CV 25/.95, Macro-Switar 26/1.1) to 8x10 (Bausch&Lomb Sigmar 16"/4, Wollensak Varium 16"/3.5) and everything in between, and it's really the Helios 40-2 (and the CZJ Biotar 75/1.5 that the Helios copied) that comes closest to the "AE Look" on any format. I would love to be proven wrong on this point.

Compare my Aero-Ektar images linked to above with these Helios 40 shots:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Helios+40&w=88929764%40N00&s=int

goamules
24-Feb-2013, 10:19
Since really, the only reason why anyone would want to use the AE is to use it wide open, meaning that more than 70-80% of your frame is going to be OOF, how the OOF is rendered is quite important and precisely why many people like the "AE look". So simply finding a lens with a similar (or analogous) FL/F-stop doesn't quite cut it. Being the speed-freak that I am, I have looked at many, many images taken by various ultra-fast lenses on various formats, from micro-4/3 (Angenieux/Bell&Howell 25/.95, Schneider 25/.95, CV 25/.95, Macro-Switar 26/1.1) to 8x10 (Bausch&Lomb Sigmar 16"/4, Wollensak Varium 16"/3.5) and everything in between, and it's really the Helios 40-2 (and the CZJ Biotar 75/1.5 that the Helios copied) that comes closest to the "AE Look" on any format. I would love to be proven wrong on this point.

Compare my Aero-Ektar images linked to above with these Helios 40 shots:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Helios+40&w=88929764%40N00&s=int

You've taken some nice shots with both lenses. And if you like the AE look that's great. Lots of people do. However, I see huge differences in the OOF of the AE versus the Helios. The AE has very noticable, glaringly so in some cases, bokeh. The Helios is smoother, though still a lot of harshness and coma. The Aero Ektar reminds me a LOT of the Angenieux, which I sold because I didn't care for it's harsh bokeh.

Below, in no particular order, are two of your Aero Ektar shots, and two of my Angenieux. You and I know which is which, can anyone else tell?

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3349/4597508128_dc1ab1d842_z.jpg

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6152/6227503514_4676d62397_z.jpg

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4056/4713210348_06cd78fdd7_z.jpg

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6166/6241054815_76e9bf0a78_z.jpg

The original intent of quantifying "Bokeh" was to find lenses that exhibited "pleasing, unobtrusive, unnoticible out of focus areas. Neither the AE Nor the Angienux (nor a lot of super-speed lenses) do that wide open very well. Instead, they focus attention on the background, and take the viewer's eye away from the ostensible subject. In affect, the blurry, swirling, wild specular highlights become the focus. Which can be interesting, and is subjective.

adelorenzo
24-Feb-2013, 10:37
So we can all debate the technical qualities, bokeh, depth of field, etc... Am I the only one that just thinks it's really frigging cool to make pictures with a big, heavy hunk of glass that was used to make pictures out of an airplane during WWII? It just blows my mind... My Air Ministry Pentac has its own quirks and qualities that I really like but man, what a neat thing to use on a camera in the year 2013!

Dan Fromm
24-Feb-2013, 11:00
So we can all debate the technical qualities, bokeh, depth of field, etc... Am I the only one that just thinks it's really frigging cool to make pictures with a big, heavy hunk of glass that was used to make pictures out of an airplane during WWII? It just blows my mind... My Air Ministry Pentac has its own quirks and qualities that I really like but man, what a neat thing to use on a camera in the year 2013!

Um, er, ah, choke, gasp. Each has his own taste.

I have a couple of relatively fast aerial camera enses that I sometimes use on a 2x3 Speed Graphic. 4"/2.0 TTH Anastigmat (2 1/4" x 2 1/4") and 12"/4 TTH Telephoto, both extracted from ex-RAF aerial cameras. I bought them for somewhat less than they seem to bring now. Cheap thrills. Part of the tele's charm is that it fits very comfortably on a 2x3 Speed.

But both are heavy and aren't better at the apertures I normally use than smaller lighter lenses. Because of their weight and bulk and minimal, at best, advantages over other lenses with similar focal lengths they usually stay in the closet. Cool is nice, but ...

What surprises me about this discussion is that no one has mentioned the 6 3/8"/4.5 tessar types fitted to K-20 and K-25 or the 15" Wolly tele used in some USAF aerial cameras.

Bernice Loui
24-Feb-2013, 11:21
Going off on a tangent here...

Bokeh for the film folks is a very, very significant and important aspect of film making. Optics manufactures work to make their cine optics produce good Bokeh.

Watch this video comparison between a Panavision 50mm f1.0 -vs- Canon 50mm f1.0 and note the change on Bokeh as focus changes and pay specific attention to the OOF areas during focus transitions..

http://vimeo.com/33414318

Not too long ago, Schneider introduced their Cine Xenar series which as been specifically designed to produce good smooth Bokeh.
http://www.schneideroptics.com/news/cine-xenar/cine-xenar.htm

http://vimeo.com/49864243


Some years ago, I gave up using modern plasmants for LF due to their harsh Out Of Focus Rendition, going even further, giving up Copal shutters due to their non-round iris. In place of small sized modern, high contrast, "Sharp" optics that is favored by many LF folks, my optics choices reverted to Kodak Ektars in barrel, Schneider Xenar in barrel, Heliar in barrel, apo Artar in Barrel, apo Ronar in barrel, Dagor in barrel all used with a Sinar shutter. All have multi-blade round iris.

This went against the LF convention of f5.6, large image circle (large coverage), Copal shutter, lenses that made up much of the market offerings. The other area of market demand was small light weight lenses that offered large image circles with moderate aperture in Copal shutters favored by folks working in the field.

Initially, my LF image making was bent towards everything in image in focus, but as time and experience grew using selective focus became more appealing to me and it added another tool to the image making kit.

The often neglected Schneider Xenar is one of the better lenses for Out Of Focus Rendition and they tend to be lower in cost and a really good value than many of the highly sought after large aperture optics.


Much of what lens to use comes from individual preference for how the resulting image should be. IMO, lenses should not be perceived or expected to be the magical item that creates the image..


Bernice

Jac@stafford.net
24-Feb-2013, 11:46
Hi guys, just a query in relation to reasonably fast lenses for 4x5, is there any alternative to Aero Ektar?

Right now on that big auction site are a few reasonably priced aerial lenses with few bidders so-far. Search for seller bobguz

RawheaD
24-Feb-2013, 11:51
The Bell & Howell by "bobguz" is a Kodak OEM 6" Aero-Ektar variant. It doesn't have aperture, either, so you'll be shooting wide open unless you figure something out (as must I with the same exact lens :-)

Jac@stafford.net
24-Feb-2013, 12:08
The Bell & Howell by "bobguz" is a Kodak OEM 6" Aero-Ektar variant. It doesn't have aperture, either, so you'll be shooting wide open unless you figure something out (as must I with the same exact lens :-)

Would it do to put a fixed stop behind the rearmost lens? A disc to press-fit into the little recess? If that is too close to the glass, then perhaps add a tubular extension to hold the disc farther away. I recall some 35mm telephoto lenses that had the aperture diaphragm behind the last element.

RawheaD
24-Feb-2013, 12:14
Would it do to put a fixed stop behind the rearmost lens? A disc to press-fit into the little recess? If that is too close to the glass, then perhaps add a tubular extension to hold the disc farther away. I recall some 35mm telephoto lenses that had the aperture diaphragm behind the last element.

The plastic/wood (can't tell which even with it in my hand) tube that holds the two cells together has enough space between the two cells so that you could cut a slit in the middle and rig a Waterhouse type stop system. I also think there's JUST enough space (~7mm) to place this between the two cells:

http://www.edmundoptics.com/mechanics/apertures/iris-diaphragms/high-performance-standard-series-iris-diaphragms/57-584

I'll get to work on this lens sometime later this year. I have enough projects on hand already (6x12 camera for my Apo-Grandagon 35/4.5, tilt/swing mod for 3x4 R.B. Graflex mounting an Aero-Ektar 7", mounting Pentac 8in on my 4x5 R.B. Graflex, mounting Xenon 125/2 on my 3x4 Pacemaker....... LOL)

Jac@stafford.net
24-Feb-2013, 12:31
[...] I also think there's JUST enough space (~7mm) to place this between the two cells:

http://www.edmundoptics.com/mechanics/apertures/iris-diaphragms/high-performance-standard-series-iris-diaphragms/57-584

Excellent. It is a round diaphragm, too.


I'll get to work on this lens sometime later this year. I have enough projects on hand already (6x12 camera for my Apo-Grandagon 35/4.5, [... lots of projects! ...]

I have the 35mm APO Grandagon on the earlier 6x12 Horseman. No rise possible. It is a lens that positively needs rise & fall. Still trying to noodle out a home-done modification. I might just make a short body with rise and fall for the Horseman 6x12 roll film back.

Jody_S
24-Feb-2013, 13:12
the only lens that comes close to its rendition is, interestingly, the Helios 40-2 on 135.

Also, I find it kind of funny and sad to see people coming and dissing the AE when the OP has clearly stated his preference for it (and hence wanting it or its analog).

I love my Aero-Ektar.

I did realize the OP was asking about more than just a 'fast' lens. I tried to give examples of lenses I've used that have pleasant effects with narrow depth of field, at low cost. I do not include the Dallmeyer Pentac in that group, though it's possible I'm just using it wrong. It is very close to the Heliar in construction, but the images I've made don't look anything like the Heliar photos I've seen posted here.

I've never been able to afford the 85/1.5 Helios 40-2, but I know I wouldn't trade my Jupiter-9 (85/2, in Praktina mount) for anything. In fact I'm keeping a Praktina just to use this lens. Have you ever tried any of the specialty Russian aerial lenses? I see them come and go on fleabay, but prices suddenly went through the roof a few months ago.

Proteus617
24-Feb-2013, 15:47
What surprises me about this discussion is that no one has mentioned the 6 3/8"/4.5 tessar types fitted to K-20 and K-25 or the 15" Wolly tele used in some USAF aerial cameras.

I'm very new at this so I may be missing somethig. When I run the DOF #s on my 15" Wollensak 5.6 I have HALF the DOF of a 7" Aero both focused at 20 ft. I realize it's a bit of an apples/oranges comparison but if it's thin depth of field you are after you can buy a small pile of Tele-Raptars for the price of an Aero.

tigger_six
24-Feb-2013, 16:11
You've taken some nice shots with both lenses. And if you like the AE look that's great. Lots of people do. However, I see huge differences in the OOF of the AE versus the Helios. The AE has very noticable, glaringly so in some cases, bokeh. The Helios is smoother, though still a lot of harshness and coma. The Aero Ektar reminds me a LOT of the Angenieux, which I sold because I didn't care for it's harsh bokeh.

Below, in no particular order, are two of your Aero Ektar shots, and two of my Angenieux. You and I know which is which, can anyone else tell?

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3349/4597508128_dc1ab1d842_z.jpg

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6152/6227503514_4676d62397_z.jpg

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4056/4713210348_06cd78fdd7_z.jpg

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6166/6241054815_76e9bf0a78_z.jpg

The original intent of quantifying "Bokeh" was to find lenses that exhibited "pleasing, unobtrusive, unnoticible out of focus areas. Neither the AE Nor the Angienux (nor a lot of super-speed lenses) do that wide open very well. Instead, they focus attention on the background, and take the viewer's eye away from the ostensible subject. In affect, the blurry, swirling, wild specular highlights become the focus. Which can be interesting, and is subjective.

Having no clue, I'd say that 1st and 3rd are the same lens and 2nd and 4th are, and I like the 1st and 3rd. In particular, I find the 2nd image OOF rendering rather bad.

ridax
19-May-2013, 07:20
The Aero Ektar reminds me a LOT of the Angenieux, which I sold because I didn't care for it's harsh bokeh. Below, in no particular order, are two of your Aero Ektar shots, and two of my Angenieux. You and I know which is which, can anyone else tell?

The 1st and the 3rd must be by the Aero-Ektar. The 2nd and the 4th are by another lens that has to be the 0.95/25 Angenieux (though I have never seen its work before). These two pieces of glass are quite different in the character of vignetting wide open (though I too have my personal sense of harmony strongly against both of them). Also, the DoF of a 25mm lens at f/0.95 would be more like the DoF of a 178mm lens at f/6.8 rather then f/2.5.


I've never been able to afford the 85/1.5 Helios 40-2, but I know I wouldn't trade my Jupiter-9 (85/2, in Praktina mount) for anything. In fact I'm keeping a Praktina just to use this lens. Have you ever tried any of the specialty Russian aerial lenses? I see them come and go on fleabay, but prices suddenly went through the roof a few months ago.

Though I find the 1930s 2/85 Sonnar clone Jupiter-9's out of focus rendition OK from about f/3 or f/4 (but not wide open), I'd always prefer my 74mm Raptar (the 'Graphic', i.e. enlarging one; but those are identical to the regular f/4.5 Raptars - at least the ones I've tested) at f/4.5 as it beats the Jupiter-9 hands down in its background blur beauty and in its sharpness and color rendition (though the less yellowish MC Jupiter-9 colors are not so bad), and transmitting much more in the blue region, also in its true speed with bw film (at the same f-stop). And if I were robbed off my Raptar I'd switch to my 4/75 Industar-90U (or better still, to the old 4/90 Litz Elmar or the Mamiya-made 3.5/90 Super-Omegon that I adapted for 35mm SLR usage) rather then to the Jupiter-9. But back from the small format off-topic:

The closest Russian equivalent of the Aero-Ektar was the 2.5/250 OF233 lens (which I never tried myself) - exactly the same formula but no Th nor La glass used. More common f/2.5's are the Uran series of lenses that have more elements, 7 in 5 groups (a modified planar type again). These also have no exotic glass, and so they do not yellow with age but the ones I've seen still had the yellowish color rendition (and were low in contrast, too) due to their poor 2-layer chemical coating, really blue in reflected light. (In fact, those lenses were intended to be used with bw films, and often with deep yellow to red filters.) The Urans are very sharp though at all apertures including wide open. The smallest of the gang, the 2.5/100 Uran-27 was listed for 8x8cm format but stopped down, it covers 9x12cm OK (sorry I don't remember about the 4x5"). There also were the 2.5/255 (marked 250 mm on the barrel) Uran-9 to cover 13x18cm wide open, the 2.5/500 Uran-12 for 18x18cm, and for 30x30 cm, the 3/500 Uran-24 and the Uran-16 and T-Uran-1, both 3.5/750 - the "T" being for thermo-resistant which means the lens was not prone to focus shifts and drops in resolution when heated or frozen up to -56C and also could withstand a lot of change in the atmospheric pressure. The Uran-9 and the Uran-12 were also made in simplified barrels for projection.


it's really frigging cool to make pictures with a big, heavy hunk of glass that was used to make pictures out of an airplane during WWII. It just blows my mind...

Being not a fan of any ultra-fast glass, I got rid of my Urans (as well as a couple of 100 and 120 Roosinov-type aerial ultra-wideangles. And my 1.5/85 Helios-40, too) long ago but I still have another extreme airplane glass here, the Russian clone of the Zeiss Telikon named Telemar-2 - probably a pretty early WWII-era version as the serial # starts with "000". It's 750mm f/6.3 and was intended to cover 30x30cm wide open. It obviously would cover still more stopped down. And being a telephoto, it needs only 310 mm of bellows draw from the rear glass surface to film at infinity. But it's also some 5.5" in its front, 6.5" on the rear, 12" in its length and about 19 lbs. in weight. Its chromatic correction is well done for the green to yellow to the near infrared, but it is not corrected in the blue part of the spectrum and is really soft if combined with a blue-sensitive film or a blue filter. Also, the front element used alone has a ton of spherical aberration and makes an interesting circa 460mm f/4 soft-focus lens 2,050 grams in weight. I don't value the beast much as I have no use for it but shipment would certainly not be cheap... Anyway, anyone interested is welcome to PM me an offer.

They also made the 6.3/400 Telemar-17 (which I also owned for some time) for 13x18cm and the 7/1000 Telemar-7m for 30x30cm (that I've never put my hands on). In their day, the aerial versions of the Telemar type enjoyed quite a reputation for sharpness and were actually preferred by the motion picture pro's to the contemporary smaller-format telephoto lenses. And these Telemars are also perfectly free from distortion (which usually remains present to a degree in most of the telephotos).

ridax
19-May-2013, 15:55
Bokeh for the film folks is a very, very significant and important aspect of film making. Optics manufactures work to make their cine optics produce good Bokeh. Watch this video comparison between a Panavision 50mm f1.0 -vs- Canon 50mm f1.0 and note the change on Bokeh as focus changes and pay specific attention to the OOF areas during focus transitions.

http://vimeo.com/33414318

Not too long ago, Schneider introduced their Cine Xenar series which as been specifically designed to produce good smooth Bokeh.

http://www.schneideroptics.com/news/cine-xenar/cine-xenar.htm
http://vimeo.com/49864243

Not doubting those are among the best fast lenses ever made, I still see the above examples as just another mere evidence of the trivial fact that no fast lens, no matter now many megaeuros spent on its creation, can ever come close in the quality of its background blur to the old old Dagor that has its formula in public domain for a century now. Oh RIP all the hope for those poor small formats.... (Yes I do remember that tastes differ, though.)