View Full Version : heliar alternatives?

13-Sep-2015, 15:00
Heliars have a certain fanatic legendary status about them.
And the prices seem to be quite incendiary.
But do they really desrerve that cult status?

-And if they do have a 'magic' quality that makes you images sparkle, are their any less-expensive alternatives?

karl french
13-Sep-2015, 15:14
Really?, Heliars seem really cheap now. $500 or less for a 36cm Heliar. $200 or less for a 24cm Heliar in barrel.

Otherwise buy a Tessar.

14-Sep-2015, 00:59
Dallmeyer Pentac is a Heliar design, sometimes you may find a cheap one on eBay.

Steven Tribe
14-Sep-2015, 01:43
The real Heliars (black and original optical design) are, as Karl mentioned, very reasonable. Post-war, coated and in large shutters do appear to be expensive.

14-Sep-2015, 01:55
The later one had been re-design, larger diameter in front group and smaller in rear group.

14-Sep-2015, 04:39
I'm with Karl on Tessars. I have one "real" Heliar, but have been stocking up on Tessars because they're cheap and under-appreciated.

Ken Lee
14-Sep-2015, 05:59
Heliar images don't sparkle, but contain uncorrected aberrations which disappear as soon as we close down a few stops. Once stopped down they are quite sharp.

Once we go past f/8 it's very hard to see big differences between LF lenses except for fairly modest shifts in contrast, resolution and color rendition which can usually be corrected with a few mouse-clicks. Of course, different designs offer different circles of coverage, but here we're talking about "magic" :)

See this comparison (http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/tech/BokehComparison150.jpg) of 150mm lenses and this one (http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/tech/BokehComparison.jpg) of 210-240mm lenses.

Note that in my tests, the Heliar lenses exhibited focus-shift. They should have been re-focused after stopping down, but I no longer own them so can't redo the test.

14-Sep-2015, 09:55
why bother..save up and get the real artifact!!!

I've been messing with a ton of lenses last year or so and .. dang it.. nothing beats the heliar - for the kind of stuff I want to do anyway

now...if I wanted a grittier and sharper pix..no..I would be getting something else and probably way more recent

but if you want to take 'those kind' of photos... buy a Heliar...you will not be disappointed

14-Sep-2015, 10:01
Pentac is a good choice, as mentioned. the 8" f/2.9 being the one that most people use.

14-Sep-2015, 11:23
Or look for a Dynar and know you are getting an f6 Heliar.

Emil Schildt
14-Sep-2015, 11:30
Or look for a Dynar and know you are getting an f6 Heliar.

isn't it the other way around? Heliar being a Dynar?

14-Sep-2015, 12:02
As you wish.
But the Dynar's were an improved Heliar, choked to f6, so as not to compete with themselves. Later the Heliars changed to the new design and the dynars were discontinued. or so I understand.

14-Sep-2015, 13:19
Cowanw is correct. As a sidenote Voigtländer made a less known process lens which was a variant of the Heliar known as the Oxyn the front was from the Heliar and the back from the Dynar. The Heliar itself started out as a modified Tessar so the Tessar is a good Heliar alternative. The Universal Heliar is the original Heliar design and not a Dynar. Old plasmats (Hugo Meyer Görlitz Plasmat or Satz-Plasmats) are also good at giving you a rounded look, they were after all named after the plastic (rounded) look they give. A good RR/Aplantat can give you the rounded look as well, they are usually slower but also a lot cheaper.