View Full Version : Replacement for Ilex #5

Don Wallace
2-Aug-2004, 20:29
My Ilex #5 shutter is not working and may be may be expensive to fix. I really like the lens - a 14 inch Commercial Ektar - so are there modern shutters that are the equivalent and into which I could easily mount it? If not, does anyone have any suggestions as to a more recent, and affordable, 14 inch lens for my 8x10?

Gem Singer
2-Aug-2004, 20:43
Hi Don,

Take a look at the Midwest Photo Exchange website (www.mpex.com). Under large format, 8X10, there is a used 14 inch Commercial Ektar listed for about the same price as it would cost to re-shutter your lens.

Alternative lenses in that focal length are the 355 G-Claron, the 360 Nikkor, and the 360 Fujinon, just to name a few.

If you decide to purchase a lens from Midwest, I suggest calling and talking to Jim (and only Jim). A call would be well worth your while.

John Kasaian
2-Aug-2004, 21:07
Don, My 14" Commercial Ektar is one of my most favorite lenses! What is wrong with your #5? FWIW, I've had them behave quite badly (rarely) but they always responded to a cla from SK Grimes and I'd recommend that you contact them first before writing the obituary. OTOH, if it has given up the ghost you can either find another #5 for a transplant, or perhaps have it mounted in a copal#3---once again SK Grimes can give you a better idea of what the co$t$ would be. In all likelyhood its probably not worth the expense of a new Copal #3 plus the machining of adapters when compared to buying another 14" lens. Another 14" Commercial Ektar in a working shutter in good condition can be found for anywhere between $450-$550. Thats still quite a ways below what you'd probably pay for a 355mm G-Claron. I think even a 14" Dagor would be $700+ if you could find one. Not too long ago the market was flooded with Schneider Symmar double convertibles I think were 360mm convertible to 450(?) so that might be an option, as would be any of the later model Wollensaks or Ilex lenses. I don't know what a new Congo, Fuji, or Calumet is going for but it would be worth checking them out as well, though I suspect they won't come cheap(compared to a Wolly or Ilex, that is!) Check with Mid West Photo, Equinox Photographic, and Igor's if you don't want to play eBay.

As a practical matter, it might not be a bad idea to have another lens if only as a back up (should one present itself at a good price.) When messing around with old lenses in old shutters theres always the chance you'll have to send it in for a cla, so having a spare will keep you going until your lens returns from the shop(especially important if you're on a road trip) and maybe let you experiment with different focal lengths as well(I do not see too terrible a difference between 14" and either 12" or 16", though the difference between 12" and 16" is IMHO worthy of note.)

Good Luck!

3-Aug-2004, 10:57
I have the same lens and shutter, and truly love it. I've onyl had one problem, which put it out of service for an afternoon. During that time, I looked into reshuttering, and determined that no new shutters are made to fit the f/6.3 14" Comm. Ektar. Therefore, the only real option was to have it fit to another (also old, used, and expensive) Ilex #5, or either get a new lens or have the Ektar mounted in a barrel.

After considering my options, I grabbed my computer tool kit, a clean white piece of paper and a few film cans to hold screws, and opened up the shutter - and fixed it! They're really quite simple.

What problem are you experiencing?

Bob Fowler
4-Aug-2004, 06:50
The rim-set Ilex Acme and Ilex universal shutters are indeed quite easy to keep in good repair. The older dial-set versions are another story...

Don Wallace
4-Aug-2004, 11:19
Thanks very much for the answers. All good advice, as usual. I took the shutter to a local repairmen who couldn't actually fix it but said he would take a look. It turns out that one of the shutter blades was broken. I took Eugene's advice (thanks Eugene!) and called Jim at Midwest Photo. Jim was extremely helpful and suggested that before he sold me something, I should talk to a repairman he knew in Wisconsin. I did and the shutter is in the mail for repairs, probably under $100.

Somewhere in the not too distant future, I may actually get this old lens mounted in a Copal since I really like it, particularly its colour rendition and the kind of contrast it gives to portraits. The Ilex is ok, when it works, but really inaccurate and I keep having to do "work arounds".

Thanks again, all.

John Kasaian
4-Aug-2004, 23:39

What I've been told, and this jives with what I've read suggested on this forum and other places, is that you'll get more consistent results if you trip your Ilex a couple of times before pulling the dark slide and making the actual exposure. Hey, it works for me!

It also helps with the Universals to have a "long throw" cable release like the Gepe or Minette(I'm partial to Gepes---a bit longer "throw") which is needed to both cock and fire these old critters.

Jon Wilson
11-Aug-2004, 22:32
I just had Carol at <flutotscamera@earthlink.net> do a complete CLA and provided me with a shutter speed sheet for less than $50 + shipping & insurance (ebay promo) on my 375mm (14 3/4") f6.3 Caltar in a #5 Illex. I realize each shutter is different, but she provided FAST service with super communication. She is also the person who services Dagor77's shutters which appear frequently on ebay. She definitely is a viable alternative for persons looking for a reliable camera shop to provide LF shutter work at a fair price.