View Full Version : Ilex Acuton f4.8 215mm (8.5in)

Ian Greenhalgh
19-Apr-2013, 14:11
Hi folks

Picked this beauty up for a tiny price, it's in a fully working Ilex #3. I know it's a 6 glass Plasmat and convertible, but does anyone know what size image circle it throws? Or what the back focus is at infinity? I'm hoping I can focus it to infinity on my Century Graphic 23 because I need a long lens around 200mm and my Helioprint 9/210 is too dim on the ground glass to focus well in the typically dull light up here in Northern England. I'm hoping to buy a 4x5 camera later this year so I will put it to use on that too, but I was wondering if it will cover larger sizes too.


19-Apr-2013, 15:05
First thing, this is a really nice lens, perhaps a tiny bit lower contrast than newer lenses with better coatings, but still a very fine performer. I've owned two in my forty plus year career and been delighted with both. Excellent color rendition and great black and white prints from it.

If memory serves from my long lost instruction book, it covers 5x7 as is and stopped down comes very close to covering 8x10 at zero positions. When you remove the front element group, it converts to a 14 inch lens and does cover 8x10, but with limited movements. The green f stop numbers are for use with the front element off. When you include the 4x5 camera, you will really enjoy getting to use the longer focal length.

As to infinity focus, I don't have mine handy to measure right now, but I suspect you will be okay. It will certainly work well for portraits and still life work on the Graphic, even if you have to wait to get the 4x5 before you can use it at infinity.

Ian Greenhalgh
19-Apr-2013, 15:11
Cheers lenser, that's reassuring info. Ilex lenses and shutters are uncommon here in England, which is why I think, no-one else put in a bid higher than the tiny sum I paid. If it was a Symmar in Compur, it would have cost 10x as much. I like using unusual lenses so I actually prefer having this to a Schneider or Rodenstock.

I'll make a lens board for it when it arrives and try it out on the Century, fingers crossed for infinity!

David Lindquist
19-Apr-2013, 15:34
Hi folks

Picked this beauty up for a tiny price, it's in a fully working Ilex #3. I know it's a 6 glass Plasmat and convertible, but does anyone know what size image circle it throws? Or what the back focus is at infinity? I'm hoping I can focus it to infinity on my Century Graphic 23 because I need a long lens around 200mm and my Helioprint 9/210 is too dim on the ground glass to focus well in the typically dull light up here in Northern England. I'm hoping to buy a 4x5 camera later this year so I will put it to use on that too, but I was wondering if it will cover larger sizes too.


I have some Ilex literature that says the flange distance for this lens is 8.13 inches, or 13.81 inches when the rear cell only is used. The diameter coverage of the combined lens is 12 inches and for the rear cell only, 12.5 inches. Angle of view is 70 degrees for the combined lens and 47 degrees when the rear cell only is used. I didn't do the trig to see if the image circle figures they give agree with these angles of view (just in case some one does that and they don't). Almost always the lens maker's literature will say at what stop the coverage figures are good for but here Ilex doesn't. So probably f/16 to 22 would be a good guess. They do give 8 X 10 as the maximum film size for this lens. That may be a slight stretch for an image circle of 12 inches.


Dan Fromm
19-Apr-2013, 16:26
Short answer, Ian, without having to know anything at all about the lens. Plasmats aren't telephotos. 215 mm is ~ 20 mm greater than Century Graphic's maximum extension. The lens won't work at all on your little camera without heroic measures.

I use lenses up to 260 mm on my Century, which is no larger than yours, but with heroic measures. Lens in barrel mounted in front of a #1. The #1 adds extension, as does the adapter that hold the lens in front of the shutter. When necessary I also use a short extension tube. You might want to try cobbling up an extension tube that sits between shutter and lens board. Ain't no top hat lens boards for little Graphics.

Ian Greenhalgh
19-Apr-2013, 18:34
Thanks David, that' exactly what I needed to know. So it should just and so cover 8x10stopped down with no movements, that's fine for me as I'll probably never go bigger than 4x5.

Hiya Dan, I knew you'd know about the maximum length lenses possible on the Century. I think I could make a top hat type board if it needs some more extension, it probably won't be pretty looking but I'm sure I could make something workable.

Don't suppose you have any pictures illustrating any of your heroic measures? Would be useful for me to see.

Dan Fromm
19-Apr-2013, 20:37
Ian, send me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll send you a few images.

The Ilex #3 is more-or-less the largest shutter that will fit on a 2x3 Pacemaker Graphic board. The mounting hole is 1.985 inches, the board is 2.25 inches across.

I can't begin to think about how I'd use a 215 on and Ilex 3 on a 2x3 Graphic without knowing more about the rear cell's dimensions. If the rear cell's diameter exceeds that of the shutter mounting threads, there's no easy way (= tube) to do it. This is why I gave up all three of the 240/9 dagor type G-Clarons I've had. The hard way is a multi-piece tube. Relatively expensive. The 210 dagor type G-Claron has a slenderer rear cell, its cells fit a #1, and an adapter to attach a #1 to, say, an LTM tube wouldn't be very expensive. Re the 210, I just checked. This isn't the case for the 210 plasmat type G-Claron.

If you want to use a lens of around that focal length on y'r Century, look for a 203/7.7 Ektar or a 203/7.5 Raptar. People on graflex.org have reported using them, but not focusing very close, on Centuries. Plasmats much longer than 150 mm can be hard to use on a Century because their rear cells are larger than their shutters' mount threads.

Ian Greenhalgh
19-Apr-2013, 22:44
Cheers Dan that's all valuable info. I'll get a PM off to you now.

I'll have to get the ruler out when the Acuton arrives and work out if it's physically gonna fit the Century or not. I might have to find something else, a G-Claron 9/210 is the obvious choice due to the ease of putting it in a small shutter, but I have real trouble focusing with such a slow lens, I rarely have strong sunlight to work with, it's bad enough with my Angulon 6.8/65, so I fitted a second set of infinity stops for it and mostly shoot it at infinity.

So, to be clear, it is the dagor type G-Claron 9/210 I need and the plasmat type won't fit? Do they both go into a #1?

I've only seen a couple of 7.7/203 Ektars for sale in the UK, but I'll keep an eye open.

Mark Tweed
20-Apr-2013, 15:46
Ian, I have the very same 215mm Ilex Acuton and a Century Graphic as well. Unless you pull off some magic machining with a stepped, top hat adapter, I don't think this is the appropriate long lens for your Century. The outside diameter of the rear lens element is 56mm, so it won't begin to clear the inside opening of the front standard which is 44mm, an extended top hat adapter at least the length of the rear element would be required. The retaining ring on the 215mm Acuton is 67 mm in diameter and inside measurement of the square lensboard for your Century is 61.5 mm. Yes you could mill down the retaining ring to fit inside the back of a custom top hat lensboard, but it would be a fair amount of work to make all of this happen. Because this plasmat can just cover the 8"X10" format, it definitely seems overkill for your 2X3 Century. I understand your wish to make this lens work because it would make for bright viewing on the ground glass. If you don't have a fresnel lens for your Century, look into adding one. There's plenty of information on this forum about the particulars of correctly mounting a fresnel on a Century.

My personal experience with mounting a 203mm Kodak Ektar (a great lens to be sure) on my Century, is that it would just barely focus on infinity with the front bed completely racked out, which made it useless for near field subjects, so it's become part of my 4X5 lens arsenal. I believe Dan has said in the past the Kodak 203mm will work on a standard 2X3 Graphic (not the Century model), perhaps with the deeper body of that model allows the needed extension. What I use for a longer lenses on my Century is a petite, 165mm f6.3 Ilex tessar mounted in a Copal 0 shutter, and for a longer telephoto, I have a 240mm f5.5 Linhof select Schneider Tele-Xenar (this lens was designed for this format). I also have a 190mm f5.6 Kodak Ektar (a tessar design) mounted in an older #1 Compur shutter that would work, but again the retaining ring would have to be milled down to fit within the standard Century lensboard. These 190mm Ektars however, are very scarce.

I hope this is helpful.


Ian Greenhalgh
20-Apr-2013, 20:21
Hi Mark.

That was immensely helpful, many thanks. Simple decision for me, this lens goes into the drawer until I get a 4x5.

Thanks for the long lens suggestions, I would love a 7.7/203 Ektar. I do have a 6.3/170 Kodak Anastigmat in a clean working Ilex Universal, it's on a Kodak 3A so I could remove it and put it on a board for the Century, it's an early 1920s vintage uncoated dialyte. Dan Fromm and Ian Grant both have one of these too but neither has tried theirs yet, I guess I should take one for the team and be the first to give it a whirl, you never know, it might compare favourably to it's illustrious 7.7 brethren.


Mark Tweed
20-Apr-2013, 23:24
Hi Ian,

Definitely hang on to that Ilex Acuton, it's as fine a lens as any of the more modern creations by the German or Japanese makers. I have a number of Ilex lenses, from their plasmats, tessars and dialytes to their wide angles - they all are fantastically sharp.

The 170mm Kodak Anastigmat your referred to, with an f stop rating of 6.3, my guess is a tessar design rather than a dialyte. Check the reflections of the front and rear elements combined (shutter is open). With a bright task lamp overhead you should count 6 reflections of the lamp's bulb when viewed from the front. This would correspond to a tessar's 6 air-to-glass surfaces (two separated elements in the front group (4 reflections) and a single element in the rear (two glued elements translating into only 2 air-to-glass surfaces - or 2 reflections). If it were a true dialyte, there would be 4 separate elements meaning you would see 8 reflections (8 air-to-glass surfaces). The fastest Kodak dialyte I know of is their f7.7 design whose shortest focal length was 8 inches. I have an earlier Kodak uncoated 203mm f7.7 dialyte labeled as an Anastigmat, as well as their later coated 203mm f7.7 version renamed as an 'Ektar'. The two lenses are identical, the only difference being the later 'Ektar' is single coated.

Referring to my 'Data Book on Kodak Lenses', copyright 1942, they do list a f6.3 triplet design but not in the focal length you have. So there's a chance your lens is a triplet, two separate elements in the front group and a single element in the rear group. Still, it would be a fine performer when properly stopped down. Just look at Rodenstock's modern Geronar, offered in 150mm and 210mm focal lengths, when stopped down, they were indistinguishable from their plasmat counterparts, though their coverage was obviously smaller.

Try out that 170mm, I'll bet it will be a splendid performer.


Ian Greenhalgh
21-Apr-2013, 00:01
Hi Mark

Actually, I've had the 6.3/170 apart for cleaning and it is definitely a dialyte, four air-spaced elements.

Kodak are a confusing company lens-wise, especially when you factor in the UK made stuff. There are 6.3 triplets, pre-war labelled anastigmats and post-war in the UK, they are labelled Anaston, I see so many 6.3/105 Anastons on 6x9 folders, there is also a 6.3/105 Anastar which should be a Tessar as Anastars are supposed to be Tessars. 6.3 triplets don't interest me, but I am thinking of buying a kodak folder with a 6.3/105 Anastar, this is because 6.3 tessars are usually very good and have much wider coverage than a 4.5 or 3.5 tessar so I'm curious about the 6.3/105 Anastar.

I have a 6.8/13.5cm Hofmeister Jena Sirconar Doppel-Anastigmat that is an uncoated dialyte and it shoots very well, contrast is fairly low but it's very sharp even wide open, I like it on my Century, not used it a great deal yet but plan to, only thing I on't like is it's in a 3-speed Vario that works perfect but I find a bit restricting with just 3 speeds.

If the Kodak 6.3/170 shoots like the Hofmeister (which may be an early Rodenstock Eurynar rebadged) then it will be worth using, I'll have to extract it from the 3A and try it out.

Mark Tweed
21-Apr-2013, 10:53
Wow Ian, who would have thought a dialyte would have such a fast f stop rating. I learned something today. And you're right, other than having slightly reduced contrast, it should be as sharp as the more modern dialytes. I always made the assumption that dialytes were slow lenses, thinking the famous Kodak 203mm was the fastest of the lot. Speaking of slow, I have mint 15 inch Kodak coated Ektanon (also a dialyte) that's literally the same size as my 300mm Apo Ronar, but the catch is it's maximum aperture is f16. I found a Compur #1 shutter I plan to mount it in. Tiny, light, sharp and slow.


Ian Greenhalgh
21-Apr-2013, 11:05
Dialytes can come quite fast but I don't think the corrections are as good as with a slower one. I have a Schneider C-Claron 4.5/135 from a copier, it is a dialyte, sans iris and is in a fixed barrel so no way to put it in a shutter. I have tried it on my NEX-3 on bellows and it is very sharp but not overly well corrected, has a fair bit of glow so I think it is mostly spherical abberation, perhaps some coma. I have a Kodak Enlarging Ektar 4.5/100 as well, also a dialyte, it shoots very well on my Century 23, in fact I shot it today. I have a soft spot for dialytes because I shoot various lith, graphics arts and x-ray films (because I found them for pennies) and they are extremely contrasty and very high resolution so I like to use dialytes with them, the high sharpness and lower contrast is, I feel, a good fit with these unusual films.

Dan Fromm
21-Apr-2013, 11:29
Wow Ian, who would have thought a dialyte would have such a fast f stop rating.

Mark, Goerz made Dogmars as fast as f/3.5

Mark Tweed
21-Apr-2013, 11:58
Ok, so I've been living in a closet, clearly I have much bone up on early letter Clarons as well the Dogmars, Mardogs and other 4 element beasts. Thanks for the enlightenment. M

Ian Greenhalgh
21-Apr-2013, 13:23
Glad to be able to share some info Mark, I hope we've set you off on a little voyage of discovery into dialytes. There are literally tons of Doppel-Anastigmats with all kinds of names on them available, I paid 5 bucks for my Hofmeister Jena 6.8/13.5cm in 3-speed Vario, it was filthy when I got it but 5 mins and it was clean as new and the glass is perfect, no haze, fungus or scratches and the Vario, typically for Varios, still works perfect. It shoots so well on 6x9 that I'm going to put it in a more modern Prontor or Compur, I think I have one from an Isolette that it will fit. I think every German maker had a dialyte or two, off the top of my head there's Steinheil Unofokals (also made under licence by Beck), Meyer Helioplans, Laack Dialytars, Rodenstock Eurynars, many are just marked Doppel-Anastigmat. The Cooke Aviar is a dialyte too, thre are f4.5 and f6 versions, the f6 is properly called the Aviarica but many are marked Aviar. A lot of process lenses are dialytes too, I have a Wollensak Apochromatic Raptar f10 21.25 inch that is a very fine lens indeed, but stupidly I removed the flange and permanently mounted it in a long tube to use it as a very long lens on 35mm years ago, long before I ever thought it might be useful as a large format lens. I also have a Ross Apo Xpress f10 330mm process lens that is a dialyte, sadly some lunatic has severely mutilated and abused her, the front element has been polished with wire wool, the aperture blades are missing and the black enamel has been crudely removed. I use it as a paperweight because it would cost too much to restore it.

Ian Greenhalgh
21-Apr-2013, 21:01
Just to whet your appetite for dialytes Mark, here's a pair of shots from today with my Kodak Enlarging Ektar 4.5/100 on my Century 23. It's on Kodak Industrex MX125 industrial x-ray film which is only sensitive to blue and is doubled sided so isn't the sharpest or best tonality, but I;m a pauper so I make do. The lens is very sharp indeed, outclasses my Linhof selected Xenar 3.5/105 and I think is sharper than my Componon-S 5.6/100 too. The church is at f16, the gravestones wide open at 4.5, I was just testing the bokeh.


Mark Tweed
21-Apr-2013, 21:23
Very impressive Ian, I too have a 105mm Linhof Xenar and know its capabilities well so I can appreciate what you're achieving with these vintage dialytes. There's gold to be found in period glass.

I'm learning.


Ian Greenhalgh
22-Apr-2013, 07:37
Cheers Mark. I'm still learning too, I have been playing around with all kinds of odd lenses on 35mm for years, but now I've moved to larger formats and have a tiny budget, I'm having to get creative to find some lenses. This Enlarging Ektar was in the bottom of a big box of stuff a friend bought, I swapped it for the 75mm version which I already had, the 75mm is a Heliar type and shoots beautifully on a digital camera with such smooth rendering, but is no use to me for shooting 6x9 so we did a swap. Luckily, the 40mm thread on the back of the Ektar 100 is the same diameter as the front of a #1 Copal Press I have from a Polaroid MP-4 copy camera (standard #1 but without an iris) albeit with imperial threads and the Copal is metric, but the Ektar will screw in just far enough to be held firmly, so it works okay. I still use the Xenar more often as it's setup with the right cam to use the rangefinder on my Century.

Roger Hesketh
22-Apr-2013, 15:11
Hi Ian The Steinheil Unofocal is not a Dialyte. True it has 4 uncemented elements two either side of the stop but they are I believe a very different formula. The lens in convertible. and in converted form Steinheil reckoned it could be used as a slightly soft focus lens wide open but would sharpen up when stopped down. In a similar manner to a Verito?

Ian Greenhalgh
22-Apr-2013, 15:15
Hmm, thanks for that info Roger, that's good to know. The Unofokal is one of those old lenses I find intriguing and would like to try one day.

Roger Hesketh
22-Apr-2013, 15:32
I want to try one too. Earlier this year I bought a German 9x12 folder in order to try it out but have not got round to it yet. The Steinheil Unofocal is one of those slightly offbeat designs which did not get taken up and made by others except Beck. Other designs unique to their original manufacturers are the Dallmeyer Stigmatic which is also convertible, the Aldis Uno and the Watson Holostigmat. Sometimes it makes a change to play with something other than the conventional Tessars, Plasmats and Dialytes.

Dan Fromm
22-Apr-2013, 15:47
Roger, which Aldis Uno do you mean? The f/7.7 with a cemented doublet and a nearly plano-plano singlet or the f/4.5 (and other speeds) Cooke triplet? Trade names not firmly tethered to design types mislead.

Not that it matters, but I have one of each, have shot the 4.25"/7.7 a bit. Nice contrasty lens, not as sharp as I'd like at any sensible aperture.

Roger Hesketh
22-Apr-2013, 16:25
Hi Dan The derived triplet The one you refer to as the f7.7 one. Which I believe is a Series 3. They also produced an f6 version of the same lens which was the Series 2.
Confusingly the Series 2a was a Pentac design and the 3a a double Gauss wide angle.

My point was I do not know of any other manufacturer who has taken up that design . Not necessarily because it was a particularly bad design but that other more conventional designs were considered to do it better. It is certainly a novel design .
One does wonder how much the hype of major manufacturers products lines led to their designs becoming those considered to be the conventional ones.Then consumer conservatism takes over. The other lines from less established manufacturers becoming evolutionary dead ends. One example of that being the Steinheil Unofocal which is reputably a very sharp and good lens.

Just as an after thought Andrew Aldis also designed the Stigmatic before he left Dallmeyer to start up his own business. Clever man.

Dan Fromm
22-Apr-2013, 19:12
One does wonder how much the hype of major manufacturers products lines led to their designs becoming those considered to be the conventional ones.Then consumer conservatism takes over.

Roger, I'm not sure.

Sometimes there's really only one way to do something. If you want an f/2 lens that covers around 50 degrees you're stuck with slightly asymmetrical 6/4 double Gauss. If you want a reasonably good 70 degree f/5.6 lens you're stuck with 6/4 plasmat. In both cases, of course, if anti-reflection coatings are available even though lack of coatings didn't stop TTH from selling OPIC derivatives to Hollywood in the '30s or Schneider selling 'em to EKCo for Retinas.

Sometimes there are other considerations. Flare, cost or ease of manufacture, ...

Some makers, I'm convinced, soldiered on with old designs because they lacked the resources to develop modern lenses or because their owners were old and tired. But the great explosion of modern lens types came as the US and European optical goods industries were collapsing.

Ian Greenhalgh
22-Apr-2013, 21:32
I think there is a lot of sense in that point about makers not changing things due to lack of resources and the fatigue/lethargy of their management. The same thing happened in most British industries, hence we don't make many cars, ships or much else these days.

Certainly ww2 played a big part in the death of the British optical industry, in the aftermath the money and resources didn't exist to develop new cameras and management weren't forward looking, hence the Brits never really produced a good 35mm camera and the few we did produce were underdeveloped. The best British lenses of the 50s were as good as anything from Germany or the US, but lack of investment caught up with us and when newer designs appeared, we couldn't compete. A Wray 89mm Wide Angle Anastigmat was competitive with the Schneider 6.8/90 Angulon in the 50s, performance was similar and it was competitively priced too. However, when the Super Angulon came along, the Wray was outclassed and Wray didn't have the resources or money (and perhaps inclination too) to develop a new design of their own. In the 60s, the Rank organisation bought up much of the British optical industry and they just got lost in the corporate mass.

There are very few British lenses for 35mm, the quality of most of them was very good, but the Japanese were light years ahead, British lenses for larger formats were as good as anything until the early 60s when the new computer aided designs came along. Zeiss Oberkochen had the Zuse computer from the mid 50s when the Brits were still working with slide rules. Britain could still make triplets, tessars and dialytes of the best quality, but we never developed equivalents to the new designs that appeared in the 1960s so we were too far out of date and lacked the resources to invest in development.

Roger Hesketh
23-Apr-2013, 04:01
From a design point of view the British did not lag behind. One only has to look at the huge number of patents filed by Messrs Warmisham Wynne and Cox during the late forties and early fifties. We were streets ahead of the opposition at that point. No it was something else. Mr Rank maybe? The 'British disease'? Ian you and Dan both make good points. I do not believe we were unable to build something of SA quality though. I believe we lacked the will to do so.
You are of course are right Dan sometimes their is only one way to achieve something but one of the examples you give that the only way to get a 70 degree lens with reasonable performance is to use a Plasmat well I am not so sure about that that one. The series 2 Dallmeyer Stigmatic did that at f6 and that lens was the slowed down version. At f16 it covered 75-85 degrees. Now I am not saying that lens is the equal of a modern Plasmat, but I would love to see one coated. The Stigmatic has not had eighty odd years of design tweaking as the Plasmat has. It was a dead end in terms of lens design evolution so I am not surprised you think the only way to get a 70 degree lens with reasonable performance is to use a Plasmat. Things might have been different though just as we could very feasibly be using our left foot now to press the gas pedal in an automobile instead of our right ones.

Ian Greenhalgh
23-Apr-2013, 10:16
That's something to think about Roger, cheers. Ross certainly had a plasmat design pre-war, as evidenced by the WA Xpress f4 5 inch which is a terrifically sharp lens but in uncoated form is very flary and low contrast. Works best for BW with a yellow filter. Ross coated them after the war and I expect it was as good as anything around of it's type.

I'm sure the Brits could have developed a rival to the Super Angulon, but as Roger says, there was some reason why we didn't, I suspect a combination of lack of money for developing new ideas and a lack of vision by management.

This snippet from the LVM is perhaps a clue to the attitude that prevailed at the time:

Xpres f3.5 77.5mm for Microcord TLR from MPP a Q15 type.
Mr Dell of MPP told of going to Ross to order this lens and insisting that a new design was required rather than a lens made to a tired yellowed old drawing taken from a bottom drawer. The result in contemporary test bettered the German equivalent in the centre and was equal outside it in outer field areas. He said that they did not always reach their best in use due to errors in matching the 3-glass view lenses to the Xpres.

Seems from that info that Ross weren't very inclined to innovate at the time. The info about bettering the German equivalent is a little vague to me, are they talking about the Tessar as found on Rolleis, which would be a direct equivalent or are they talking about the Planar and Xenotar Rollei also used? I'm prepared to believe the Xpres could better the Tessar, but I'm doubtful it could better the Planar or Xenotar. MPP could have found a British supplier of something equivalent to a Planar or Xenotar, the Wray Unilite springs to mind, it was, like the Planar and Xenotar a 5-glass simplified double-Gauss.

In large format, there was definitely room in the market in the 50s to exploit. When Zeiss Ikon-Voigtlander was formed in 1956 they de-emphasised large format production, Voigtlander had the Ultragon wide angle that was again a simplified double Gauss type, it was never made in great numbers, sadly. To me, that would point to a gap that a company like Ross or Wray could have exploited, a range of large format Unilites or plasmat type WA Xpres would surely have filled that gap nicely. Schneider ended up being the ones who really exploited the gaps in the large format market and that was by no means inevitable as Schneider were mostly a budget maker before the war.

So I have got to wondering, what are the most modern and sophisticated large format lenses from the various British makers? Wray had a couple of designs like the Unilite and Plustrar but they don't seem to have made many of them in large format sizes and the Lustrar which was a plain old 4/3 tessar is the one they made in quantity. TT&H seem to have concentrated on cine lenses postwar and I think they only produced continuations of the pre-war Aviars and 4/3 tessar types, I'm not aware of a more advanced LF lens from TT&H postwar. Ross carried on with 4/3 tessar type Xpres and 6/4 plasmat WA Xpres, but I'm unaware of any new designs for LF. Dallmeyer made Pentacs and 4/3 tessar types postwar but I don't think they sold more advanced things like the Rareac to the public, instead they went to the govt contracts.

I think what happened is all the British makers were very active from 1945-56 and in that time were largely producing coated versions of their pre-war products. From 56 when the export restrictions were listed, the Brits seem to have chosen to specialise into certain areas and do govt contract work, TT&H specialised in cine and TV lenses, Ross specialised in process lenses etc. Maybe they just lacked the funds to keep up with the development needed so went into niches they could compete in.

Roger Hesketh
24-Apr-2013, 06:22
To take us back to the original question about using an Ilex 215mm Acuton on a Century Graphic. If memory serves me right I believe Graflex did some macro extending backs for the Graflex XL. It might be worth checking out if one of those might fit the Graflok back on your Century. Pretty sure they will. Just a rectangular metal box that the focusing screen will clip to. That would probably give you the extra extension you need to use your Ilex. But U.S. only most likely but who knows you may be able to get one for under 19. I cannot imagine their is a huge demand for them. Either that or you may be able to cobble something up.

Ian Greenhalgh
24-Apr-2013, 07:22
I think there's a similar thing for the Mamiya Press that might also suit. the problem however is getting it to fit on the Century, as mark explains, it's physically too big, sadly.

Ian Greenhalgh
25-Apr-2013, 12:19
She arrived today and I can confirm, the rear cell is too big to fit inside the front of the Century 23. The good news however is the lens and shutter are both like new, I see no signs of use at all. When I think what I paid for it and what I'd have to pay for a Symmar 210 in Compur or Copal in the same condition and I have to grin like a Cheshire Cat. I paid less than 10% of the German/Japanese cost, so I suppose it's not a bad thing that people in the UK don't respect Ilex gear. :)

Dan Fromm
25-Apr-2013, 13:23
Um, er, ah, is the rear cell too fat to pass through the Century's lens throat or through the gate? If it will pass through the gate the lens can be mounted on the camera.

Not that that would add to its utility. You really need a 2x3 Speed Graphic, preferably a Pacemaker.

Ian Greenhalgh
25-Apr-2013, 14:16
It is too fat to pass through the throat so you couldn't even mount it by screwing the rear cell in from the back of the camera.

What do I need a Pacemaker for? The Focal plane shutter? I sold my Speed because it had a spring back.

Dan Fromm
25-Apr-2013, 16:09
It is too fat to pass through the throat so you couldn't even mount it by screwing the rear cell in from the back of the camera.

What do I need a Pacemaker for? The Focal plane shutter? I sold my Speed because it had a spring back.

You don't understand. Unscrew the rear cell from the back of the shutter, attach shutter and board to the front standard, screw the rear cell back into the shutter from the rear. For this to work, the rear cell has to pass through the gate at the back of the camera and has to be small enough to be pushed, possibly in contact with the bellows, to the rear of the shutter. I go through these fiddly contortions to mount 35/4.5 Apo Grandagon, 58/5.6 Grandagon, and 80/2.8 Planar on my Graphics. The front standard's lens throat isn't involved with any of this.

The lens is a lost cause on your Century, which is too short to be able to use it. If the lens' rear cell is threaded for filters you might be able to rig a couple of filter step rings (the key word here is step) to fasten it to an appropriately bored board. I did this to try out my 210/5.6 Zircon.

You need a Pacemaker Speed for the extension, a Pacemaker Speed instead of a Miniature Speed Graphic because the shutter material is better and because 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphics with Graflok backs are much more common than Mini Speeds with Graflok backs.

Ian Greenhalgh
25-Apr-2013, 16:48
I understand Dan, the rear cell is too large to attach even that way, that's what I was trying to say, it's won't fit at all.

BTW, does the Planar 2.8/80 cover the full 6x9 frame?

All Graflex are rare as he's teeth here, and the new approach to customs fees makes importing anything impractically costly now. I just got a Mamiya lens from Japan, the customs fees were the same price as the lens itself so just imagine how much HMRC would scalp me for on a camera.