View Full Version : cooke VIa f/5.6 and universal heliar f/4.5

16-Dec-2004, 17:03
I want to chioce a portrait lens for my 8x10 camera between cooke 330mm VIa f/5.6 and universal heliar 360mm f/4.5.Which one is better in portrait photo image?and how much is the good price?thank you!lee

Steve Hamley
16-Dec-2004, 17:24
Which one is better? Hard to say, diffused focus is pretty much a matter of taste. I've never used or seen pictures taken with the Cooke. The 360mm Universal Heliar is large, very large. As in about 6-7 pounds, so you will need a sturdy camera. It's difficult or impossible to fit to a shutter, so a front-mounted Packard shutter or Luc shutter will be your only choices unless your lensboards are about 9" (that's about the size of Packard it would take to not vignette the 360mm Universal Heliar). But it is a very, very nice lens.

Cost depends a lot on condition, and whether the Heliar is coated. Lens and Repro in New York had a 360 Universal Heliar listed for $1,600, which I would say is a bit on the high side.


Ernest Purdum
16-Dec-2004, 17:32
Condition being equal, I'd go with the Universal Heliar because: 1. It's a little longer and both are rather short for portraits on 8X10. ( A reducing back would be a good idea.) 2.The slightly larger aperture would allow a little more selective focus when desired. Other than these factors. there isn't much tangible difference. No doubt enthusiasts for one over the other would say his favorite has qualities of image that the other lacks. I regard both as very versatile portrait lenses. They are heavy, by the way. They need a big sturdy lensboard to carry them.

Regarding price, neither is offered often enough for a price to be esxtablished.

16-Dec-2004, 17:47
thanks! and one more question,How about the 300mm f/4.5 Universal Heliar?I think it is smaller and more light than 360mm,and How about is the 300mm Universal Heliarens coverage in 8x10 portrait?

Steve Hamley
16-Dec-2004, 18:06
300mm lenses are considered the traditional portrait focal length (if there is such a thing) for 5x7, so if you have a reducing back, 300mm would be a natural. A 300mm Heliar will cover 8x10 at portrait distances without a problem, but 300mm is a normal lens on 8x10. This lens is small enough to be more easily used on "normal" 8x10 cameras. You also have the 300mm Imagon and 305mm Kodak Portrait lens to choose from in this focal length, and unlike the Universal Heliar, they came in shutters.

Heliars have a very nice image quality, but you might want to consider a 240mm Heliar on 4x5, or going to a lighter lens on 8x10. Karsh used a 14" Commercial Ektar, Hurrell a 16-1/2" Goerz Celor (predecessor of the Artar). A 16-1/2" Artar on 8x10 would be a nice combination.


Tom Diekwisch
16-Dec-2004, 20:06
Hurrell also used a 18" Wollensak Verito, BTW, which was probably a good choice for 8x10 as well.

Ole Tjugen
17-Dec-2004, 01:23
I believe a 300mm/4.5 Universal Heliar can fit in a Compound #5 shutter - unless the moving element makes trouble. A "normal" Heliar should fit nicely.

Armin Seeholzer
17-Dec-2004, 02:38

I have the 250mm Imagon for 4x5 and can use it also on 8x10 for a hole family shoot and for the one person shoot I have the wonderfull Universal Heliar 360mm on a Sinar board uncoated version and use it on my Sinar P with the Sinar Copal behind the lens shutter works wonderfull!
This was one of the reasons why I changed from Arca to Sinar and the other reason was the not very precise back of the Arca Swiss F-Line!

Steve Hamley
17-Dec-2004, 04:57

The center element makes trouble. Also. you'll lose about 1 stop and the lens becomes about f/5.6. That's a trade I'd make for a shutter in this focal length. Adam at S.K. Grimes told me that mounting in a Compound #5 would be expensive $750 - $1,500, and would involve risk to the lens.

He also said it could be front mounted, but questioned the strength of the shutter body to hold it over an extended period.


Ole Tjugen
17-Dec-2004, 05:08
Steve, the reason I thought that would work is that I have a 300/4.5 Xenar in Compound #5. I also know that Xenar and APO-Lanthar of the same specifications fit the same shutter without modification, and that APO-Lanthar and Heliar are the same basic construction. At least my 150/4.5's are similar in construction... Due to difference in age the mounting threads are different - otherwise I'd have treid swapping cells between shutters for these too.

Steve Hamley
17-Dec-2004, 06:01

They are optically the same but not mechanically! The trouble arises when trying to fit the mechanism that moves the center element in the Universal Heliar. You can't just unscrew cells and fit them into a shutter with adapters. In fact there is no front cell on a Universal Heliar, the barrel, moveable center element, aperture, and front element are all in one piece (barrel). Unlike conventional lenses, there's no front cell to unscrew from the barrel. The rear cell is not a problem.