View Full Version : Advice on Heliar

7-Dec-2015, 15:13
I had to return a 180 heliar (uncoated 1950-sh) because of a bad separation of the rear lens. As I liked it very much, I am looking for another one.
A couple of questions:
1. Is there an actual difference in rendition between the original heliar and the post-ww1 dynar? Can somebody who owns both elaborate? I do not care much for coverage and coating. Much more for color and tonal rendition.
2. Are less expensive alternative worth considering, or it is better to stick with the real mcCoy? Any suggestions?
Thanks a lot.

7-Dec-2015, 15:53
I've not really found anything better than the real ones

don't know anything about the dynar versions though

Jim Noel
7-Dec-2015, 16:45
Yes, there is a difference between the early Heliars and the later models. As for less expensive alternatives, I have no experience with them.

Tim Meisburger
7-Dec-2015, 20:05
Meopta Meopar are supposed to be heliar-type lenses, but I've never used one. If anyone has one, and a heliar, might be nice to compare.

7-Dec-2015, 21:00
Meopta Meopar are supposed to be heliar-type lenses, but I've never used one. If anyone has one, and a heliar, might be nice to compare.

I believe those are enlarging lenses some people stick into shutters

how they work as taking lenses I do not know

8-Dec-2015, 11:51
I was thinking of the Meopar, in fact. I do not need a shutter. But can someone compare it with the real stuff?
@jim noel: what exactly is the difference? Or, better, which one do you prefer and why?

Jim Noel
8-Dec-2015, 12:18
I prefer the early models and wish I had one. I have used ones belonging to friends and they have a smoother transition from sharp focus to the edges of the images. M more modern one does transition, but not as smoothly in my opinion.

8-Dec-2015, 12:47
Thanks, exactly what I wanted to know. What about color?

Emil Schildt
8-Dec-2015, 13:19
As I understand it the Dynar is a very early design - the original Heliar from 1902 and the Dynar as soon as 1903... (as an "improved" Heliar) They made it slower not to compete with the Heliar brand... in ca 1925 they then decided to call all versions for Heliar as that name was so popular...

All Heliars from then on was actually Dynar design except the famous Universal Heliar (sf lens)

I have a 300 mm Dynar - and an Universal Heliar.. but unfortunately I havn't gotten around to use the Dynar.. (I really should)...

8-Dec-2015, 13:28
What I understand is that post ww1 heliars have really a dynar scheme, except the universal heliar. Also, Voigtlander changed to a dynar scheme, because it was better. What I do not understand it is better in what sense? It apparently has more coverage, not very important for me. What else? According to Jim, the old version is smoother, which is quite important for me.

8-Dec-2015, 13:39
have a read of this

8-Dec-2015, 15:20
Thanks. So, only the 3.5 version was actually changed. If I stick to the 4.5 version, the only difference would be coating. Is this right?

8-Dec-2015, 17:33
Hi F64,

Following cowanw link you'll find that:
"About 1925, Voigtlander decided to tweak the Dynar design and created an f/3.5 lens with 50 degrees of coverage. This time, Voigtlander decided to go back to calling it a Heliar rather than continuing with the less popular "Dynar" name."
So, nothing indicates that the 4.5 against a 3.5 aperture lens was coated versus uncoated. Coated glass didn't appear on the market before 1939 by Zeiss. And in 1940 when introduced by Kodak in the Ektar lens line. So, it's mostly sure that a Heliar lens made before '40 could never have been coated. Another story is chroma corrected lenses, and best suited for color photography. The true chromatic aberration correction approach made by Voightlander arrives even later, with their Color-[Heliar, Skopar, etc] chromatic aberration corrected lenses, as the 3 colored strip lines in the glass indicated, and, naturally, the Apo-Lanthar lens line. BTW, if color work is your main work, the most indicated lens from Voigtlander IMHO would be the Apo-Lanthar,

Arne Croell documentation on its website about Voigtlander lenses states:

"The Apo-Lanthar (fig. 6), available in 4 focal lengths from 105-300mm (table 5), was designed
and patented by A.W. Tronnier [22]. It is of the same basic construction as the Heliar, 5 lenses
in 3 groups (fig. 1b), with similar coverage, but improved performance. Apparently, Voigtländer
originally planned to name it “Color-Heliar”, as shown in the prototype in fig. 6. This is proven
by the fact that that prototype lens has the exact same lens radii as a regular Apo-Lanthar. The
Color-Heliar name, however, was given to a different design that was not apochromatically
corrected, as mentioned above.
Apo-Lanthars were introduced in 1954 and made until 1972. Most Apo-Lanthars were
sold in shutters; barrel mounts are rare, but do exist. The Apo-Lanthars are marked by three
colored stripes around the outside chrome surface of the front cell, in red, green, and blue. This
designates the apochromatic correction referred to in the “Apo” part of the name, with a
considerably reduced secondary spectrum. As Voigtländer wrote in a brochure from 1967 [11]:
11“... -a high-performance five-element anastigmat with the remarkable speed of 4.5, fully corrected for
the three main colour bands of the spectrum. Its design is based on the principles used in the
apochromatic correction of process lenses. In view of its high speed the Apo-Lanthar is thus eminently
suitable for shots of live subjects at fast shutter speeds. It is a universal lens in the true sense of the word,
guaranteeing perfect sharpness all over the image field, maximum brilliance and contrast, as well as
purity of colour rendition.”

Link: http://www.arnecroell.com/voigtlaender.pdf - text bolded by me,



9-Dec-2015, 01:28
Thanks, Renato. The Apo-Lanthar is, unfortunately, out of my picture (sorry for the pun). It is very expensive, and I've been hoarding too many lenses lately.
The Heliar I had was entirely satisfactory for my use (still life), except for the separation.
What I need to know is if I get the same performance, regardless of the year.

karl french
9-Dec-2015, 07:18
I've used both. An older 36cm Heliar (original design) and newer 15cm Heliar (Dynar design). They're both amazing.

Scott Davis
9-Dec-2015, 08:00
I've shot a bunch of color with a 240mm Heliar. It has a very pleasing color rendition, and while not quite as punchy or saturated as a modern multi-coated plasmat would be, it's not washed-out pastels either.

10-Dec-2015, 11:39
Thanks everybody for your feedback.

10-Dec-2015, 12:43
I've shot a bunch of color with a 240mm Heliar. It has a very pleasing color rendition, and while not quite as punchy or saturated as a modern multi-coated plasmat would be, it's not washed-out pastels either.

4x5 ektrachrome with 240mm Heliar

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7060/7150596469_f3e0f7dbf0_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/bTSFd2)Anna and Heliar - 4 (https://flic.kr/p/bTSFd2) by Sergei Rodionov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/), on Flickr

(back before i calibrated scanner for transparencies, so its a bit on the redder side than it should have been)

10-Dec-2015, 15:11
Beautiful shot, Sergei,elegant, beautiful girl, actually the tiny red shift doesn't disturb the mood of the image,