View Full Version : Info on hard to find lens.

6-Mar-2005, 15:46
I have a Ilex-Calumet Series-S Caltar 8 1/2 inch (215mm) f 4.8 lens mounted in a Ilex No.3 Acme shutter. The rear cell will not tighten all the way tight. I think the threads on the shutter may be worn so I have to put pipe thread tape on to get to stay. I cannot find any info on this lens to see if this is the right shutter. I had the shutter serviced at SK Grimes just before he died and they did not mention it was the wrong shutter. I am new to large format and was hoping a more experienced person may have info on this lens. Is it a good lens?
Thanks in advance for any replies.

Jim Galli
7-Mar-2005, 08:13
John, Yes, those were correct in the No. 3 Acme shutters. When it was new it was more expensive than the other Caltar lenses being a 6 element / 4 group Plasmat type like Symmar and Sironar while the cheaper f6.3 series was Tessar type. They were well thought of 35 years ago. In the used market today there's just such a huge choice of excellent 210's in modern shutters that they get passed over. I've never seen one with a threading problem like you describe though.

Bob Fowler
7-Mar-2005, 12:27
Mine is the Series S 8 1/2" f/4.5. It's not in a #3, it's in a #4.

It's a great lens, never had a problem with the threads getting loose...

Mark Sawyer
7-Mar-2005, 14:27
I've got one that I really like. The f/4.8 is a double convertable, 8 1/2" and 14". The 14" (front element removed) is so-so in resolution, but the 8 1/2" (both cells in place) is quite nice. Mine is also in an Ilex #3. Definitely the right shutter; yours should have the second set of f/stops marked on it.

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Mar-2005, 15:13
The 8½" Ilex-Caltar Series-S was made from 1967 - 1977. Here's a brief quote on this lens from an article I wrote from View Camera a couple years ago:

"To compete with the convertible plasmats from Schneider (Symmar) and Rodenstock (Sironar), the 215mm f4.8 Series-S Caltar was introduced. With a 6/4 construction, this model offered increased coverage (71º) and a faster maximum aperture than the Tessar® style Ilex-Calumet lenses. This model was considered the flagship of the Ilex-Calumet line-up and was featured on the cover of Calumet catalogs and price lists during the mid-1970s. Like the competitive Schneider and Rodenstock products, it offered a convertible feature that provided a three element lens of longer focal length (14” f10) by simply removing the front element group. Like the other convertible designs, performance is excellent in the standard six element configuration, but suffers noticeably when using only half the lens. This requires stopping down considerably to achieve marginally acceptable performance at the longer, converted focal length."

All of my old Calumet catalogs and price lists show this lens in an Ilex No. 3 Acme shutter (the preferred shutter of Wile E. Coyote).


7-Mar-2005, 15:25
Thank you everyone for replying so quickly. My shutter does not have 2 f stop scales does that mean it is not a convertable? Will I be making a mistake if I put glue on the threads to keep it from falling out? Would there be a time that I would need to remove rear element?

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Mar-2005, 15:31

I wouldn't recommend using a permanent epoxy to hold the rear cell in place. Perhaps you could use a little clear, or black (all the rage with certain teens these days) finger nail polish around the perimeter of the rear element wear it screws into the barrel. As long as it isn't totally stripped out, that might be enough to hold it in place, and if you ever need to remove the rear cell, the finger nail polish could be removed with acetone.