View Full Version : Ektar 203 adaptability to modern Copal #0 shutter?

Hening Bettermann
10-May-2005, 17:10
Would anybody know if the Ektar 7.7/203 mm could be adapted to a modern #0 shutter, resp. just HOW difficult it would be? Is there any source where I could see the lens thread sizes of the supermatic shutter of this size?
Thank you, and good light! - Hening.

Darin Cozine
10-May-2005, 17:49
Note that some of them were mounted in compur shutters. I am not sure if they were in size 0 or 1 shutters, but they would fit right into a modern shutter without any modifacations.

Kerry L. Thalmann
10-May-2005, 17:49

The 203mm f7.7 Ektar cells that comes in a Supermatic shutter will not directly fit any modern shutter. The custom machine work required would cost more than the lens is worth.

However, there are a couple other options. Some late 203mm Ektars came factory installed in Compur No. 1 shutters. These cells will fit directly into a standard Copal No. 1 or Copal No. 1 Press shutter. Also, some 230mm Ektars made for the European market were sold in Epsilon (and perhaps other) shutters that are dimensionally compatible with modern Copal No. 0 shutters. These are easily distinguished from American Ektars as they are engraved "Mount 370" and lack the standard camerosity style serial numbers and circle-L Lumenized symbol. I believe these may have actually been made in Europe (England?, Germany?, anybody know?). I have no idea if the performance is equavilaent to the more common American Ektars, but if you want a 230mm f7.7 Ektar that is a direct fit in a modern Copal No. 0 shutter, this is your only option.

In the end, by the time you buy a 50 - 60 year old 203mm Ektar, a new Copal shutter and pay for an engraved aperture scale (let alone custom machine work), you'd probably be better off buying a more modern lens like a 200mm f8 Nikkor M. It comes in a Copal No. 0 shutter, is multicoated and a great performer. It takes standard 52mm filters and the weight (180g) is comparable to a 203mm Ektar.


Kevin Crisp
10-May-2005, 18:18
Hening: I asked this question of Steve Grimes once. I wanted to fit the Ektar from a Supermatic into a Copal "0." He laughed, and told me it would just barely fit in a Copal 1, and it was a time intensive tight fitting exercise to get that done. I had one in a prontor shutter which was the European version and had the "mount" information on it per Kerry's post but I never tried screwing it into a Copal 0. The repro-claron 210 will screw into a copal 0 and makes a terrific very small 210. I tried that combination on 5X7 film and it was sharp edge to edge so there should be adequate room for movement on 4X5. Despite the fact that Supermatics look a bit crude they are actually very decent shutters unless worn out.

10-May-2005, 18:25
What's wrong with a Supermatic shutter?

Paul Fitzgerald
10-May-2005, 21:20
Hi there,

"What's wrong with a Supermatic shutter?"

Finding replacement springs. Does anyone have a source? I have plenty of #1,2 &3 Supermatics that could use some help.

Hening Bettermann
10-May-2005, 21:46
Hi again! Thank you so much all of you for very fast response with valuable information!

I am aware of the Nikkor 8.0/200 and the Repro Claron 9.0/210. What attracts me to the Ektar:
Compared to the Nikkor, the Ektar seems to be a little sharper in the perifery. I refer to Kerry's and Chris Perez' lens test chart, both their own test results and the quoted findings of Larry Whatley on this particular lens. Compared to the Repro-Claron, the Ektar is optimized for infinity, wheras the Repro Claron may need to be stopped down just to make up for the fact that it actually is a process lens. Compared to either, the Ektar performs great already at full aperture and down to f/22. The combination seems quite unique.

The Copal #0 shutter need not be at new price. LensN2Shutter.com has like-new Copals #0 for 145 $. So if a "Mount 370" Ektar really would screw right into a modern Copal #0, I would go for it. - It would not help that it fit a #1, as in that size, the shutter alone weighs 205 gr (the Copal; the Compur weighs 250).

"What's wrong with a Supermatic shutter?" Well, I'm no good calculating in my head, and not at all in a shooting situation. What is closer to 1/15 sec - 1/10 or 1/25, and - in terms of exposure values - just how far off is either? I leave this to you to calculate - I hope for a "Mount 370"...

What is wrong with stopping down? (Nobody has asked this, but I'll answer it anyway ;-) ) Meaning: why do I favour a lens that is good at full aperture? Well, I have photographed landscape in most of my holidays between 1972 and 1985. I have not taken technical notes, but I do not recall ever having been able to use f/22. Typically, there was something, like water or grass, that moved in the wind and made me feel I'd better use 1/125 sec, just to be on the safe side. With a film speed of 200 ISO and an exposure value of 12, that gives f/8... The Ektar at full aperture would be just right...

The Ektar that made me ask my question has just sold for $305.07. - Thanks again, and good light! - Hening.

Kerry L. Thalmann
11-May-2005, 00:19
What attracts me to the Ektar: Compared to the Nikkor, the Ektar seems to be a little sharper in the perifery. I refer to Kerry's and Chris Perez' lens test chart

Don't read more into the chart than what is there. The numbers shown are RESOLUTION - not SHARPNESS. While they are related, they are not the same thing. Sharpness (what we perceive as sharpness anyway) combines resolution and contrast. I'm certainly not here to bad mouth the 203mm Ektar, it is a true classic. However, it is single coated and has 8 air:glass interfaces. The 200mm Nikkor M is multicoated and has 6 air:glass interfaces. So, while the Ektar may have higher absolute resolution in the corners, the Nikkor equals it in resolution in the center 2/3 of the field, AND has higher contrast and better immunity to flare. So, under most conditions, for most viewers, images made by the Nikkor would likely appear sharper (if an difference could be detected).

Also, keep in mind our VERY small sample size. Although Kodak had then state-of-the-art quality control, the Ektars your looking at are 45 - 60 years old. Sample-to-sample variation was much greater back then. A "dud" from Kodak would definitely be an exception, but not all 50 year old lenses are identical. Plus a lens this old is more likely to suffer from defects (cleaning marks, internal haze, etc.) that may further degrade performance of some samples.

So if a "Mount 370" Ektar really would screw right into a modern Copal #0

I can verify that the ones that originally came in Prontor SVS shutters will directly fit ino any standard No. 0 shutter (Copal, Compur, Seiko, etc.), and I belive the ones in Epsilon shutters will as well (you'll want to verify the latter before buying one).

It would not help that it fit a #1, as in that size, the shutter alone weighs 205 gr (the Copal; the Compur weighs 250)

I'm not sure where you got these numbers, but they are incorrect. A brand spanking new Copal No. 1 shutter weighs 165g. A Copal Press No. 1 weighs 115g (same as a standard Copal 0 - but with a top speed of 1/125).

Here's a few measured weights of various cells in assorted shutters:

203mm f7.7 Ektar in original Graphic Compur No. 1 shutter (old style shutter speeds) - 206g
Same cells in new Copal Press No. 1 shutter - 204g
Same cells in new standard Copal No. 1 shutter - 250g

203mm f7.7 Ektar in original Prontor SVS No. 0 shutter (old style shutter speeds) - 161g
Same cells in late all-black Compur No. 0 shutter - 163g
Same cells in new Copal No. 0 shutter - 194g

200mm f8 Nikkor M in original Copal No. 0 shutter - 179g
Same cells in late all-black Compur No. 0 shutter - 148g

So WRT weight, the Nikkor cells (aluminum mounts) are actually lighter than either style of Ektar cells (brass mounts). The "larger" (No. 1 size) Ektar cells in a Copal No. 1 Press shutter only weigh 10g more that the smaller (No. 0 size - Mount 370) Ektar cells in a Copal 0 shutter. I'm about as fanatical as they get when it comes to weight, but 10g really ain't all that much.

Our shooting style is very different. I almost always shoot at f22 +/- 1 stop. I can't remember ever using a shutter speed faster than 1/60, and even that fast is rare for me. So, I'm more concerned about performance in the f16 - f32 range and am perfectly happy with shutters with a max. speed of 1/125. You care more about performance wide open and fast shutter speeds. So, I choose (and am VERY happy with) the 200mm Nikkor M, but a Mount 370 203mm Ektar re-mounted in a modern Copal No. 0 (or an all-black Compur 0 - if you can find one) shutter might be better for your needs.


11-May-2005, 01:27
Hi Hening,

I have an "European" Ektar 203mm marked "Mount 370" on a Prontor SVS shutter. I just tried, and both front and rear elements screw right into Copal 0.

I just used it wide open this weekend for the very reason you mentioned, and the only difference I can really tell between that and the same shot taken at f16 is less movement of the flowers. The slow film speed just couldn't beat the effect of the wind, making me think Velvia 100 is not such a bad idea after all. I've never used other lenses in the focal length, but overall I'm happy with its performance for the price, though I wouldn't pay $300+.

Diane Maher
11-May-2005, 06:44
The only thing wrong with my Supermatic shutter is the little button on the side doesn't work. But that's no big deal, I just set the shutter for T to do my focusing.

Hening Bettermann
11-May-2005, 14:39
Hi again!

To Kerry: Yes, I am aware of the relationship between resolution, contrast and apparent sharpness. But since there are - to my knowledge - no MTF charts available for all these lenses like your resolution charts, I felt I had little choice with regard to what to base my decision on. The much more so do I appreciate your additional detailed comments, which have made me aware of some problems.

With regard to the weights of #1 Copal and Compur shutters: I am sorrry - I had overlooked that my weights included the old-style (ca 1982) Arca Swiss lensboards, which weigh 48 gr undrilled - that is very consistent with 40 gr drilled (205 minus 165 for the Copal).

Thanks to all of you who responded. - Hening.

Andrew Crump
11-May-2005, 15:02
the kodak 203 'mount 370'was made in Britain from I think, early 50's fitted in an Epsilon shutter and later in the Prontor SVS-- they will fit into copal 0 and compur 0
they dont need the recess in the shutter so will fit in some earlier compurs as well
the mount 370 refers to the 37mm push fit series accessories that mount on the front. Most were originally supplied attached to the British made Kodak Specialist Cameras(Which are similar to the earlier Kodak Clinical) sold to government organizations .(weight in epsilon shutter is about 150gms)

Doremus Scudder
12-May-2005, 13:26
For what it's worth, I had my Supramatic shutter CLA'd by Steve Grimes some years ago. At that time he replaced several springs. The shutter speeds test extremely consistantly and accurately. I believe he made the replacement springs himself, and assume also that his successors could do the same. Cost was about $75 (maybe less). The Supramatic, when working well is not only extremely reliable, but quite rugged as well (maybe Kerry Thalman can coroborate this...). One can probably find a fairly good 203 Ekatar in a Supramatic on *bay for under $100 with a little patience. Even if the shutter needed work, this would be a good deal. I love my little Ektar and use it regularly.
Hope this helps.

Ernest Purdum
15-May-2005, 21:21
If anyone is interested, there is a Mount 370 lens on eBay now. The item number is 7516411398. The seller allows return.

I had never heard of these until about a month ago. Now it seems that I find reference to one every time I turn on the computer. I did buy one myself, and I would recommend them to anyone, but particularly someone starting out in the 4X5 format.

Hening Bettermann
17-May-2005, 05:34
Thank you for your concern, Ernest!

( I tried to send this little ThankYou privately, but the address ernestpurdum-at-webtv-dot-net did not work).

Good light! - Hening.

Paul Cocklin
21-May-2005, 19:51
So I was searching for some info and got this thread. Here's the story:

A few months ago I got into LF with my first purchase; a Calumet monorail 4x5. Since then I've had a blast with the 150mm Rodenstock I picked up on ebay. In fact, I've had so much fun on ebay, I've become somewhat of a camera and accessories dealer, buying polaroid holders and other accessories cheap and hoping to get more for them than I paid.

Yesterday, I bought another Calumet 4x5 monorail with lens, for a little over $200. The lens was what I wanted, I figured I can get $150 or more for relisting and selling the camera and the lens will have only cost me around $80. The lens? A Kodak Ektar 203mm f7.7 in a Flash Supermatic shutter.

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what kind of color performance I might expect (allowing for individual variances of lenses and condition). I've read that this lense covers 5x7, so movements I'm not worried about; Sharpness would be my main concern, as most of what I shoot are landscapes. Does anyone know of any adverse sharpness issues when stopped all the way down to f45? Also, I assume since the shutter is called a 'flash' supermatic that it has flash sync. I think (remember, I'm new at this) that the two little posts sticking up are for flash. but how on earth do I hook up my SB-28 to that? :-)

Any information, opinions or suggestions would be much appreciated. I love this forum, it has renewed not only my faith in people, but given a boost to my enjoyment of life itself. Dramatic words, but true none the less.

Thanks all,

Ernest Purdum
24-May-2005, 12:18

I've corrected the email address problem ((I hope). Thank you.


I wouldn't worry much aboutr either color performance or sharpness when stopped down. You've got it, go try it, I think you'll like it.

You are right about the two little posts. Unfortunately, not only are connecting cables to fit hard to find, there is a built-in time delay to allow for the ignition lag of flashbulbs.

Congratulations on your second Calumet purchase. Selling a view camera with lens on eBay rarely gets as much money as selling the same items separately.

Mark Sampson
24-May-2005, 13:03
A Kodak Flash Supermatic shutter should have X-sync. On the face of the shutter there is likely to be a curved opening with a sliding panel beneath it, and a screw to hold it tight. Loosen the screw and rotate the panel beneath until you can read "X". I also have a Supermatic that has the single long post flash connector, callled an ASA bayonet post. There are also adapters for those types. And bi-post flash connectors are still made by Paramount, a good camera store should have them.

Ernest Purdum
24-May-2005, 17:23

I just noted that while a 1942 Kodak lens and shutter book indicates that the 203 is mounted in a Supermatic, an earlier, undated, version says that the then "No. 70 Kodak Anastigmat, f7.7, 8-inch" came in a No. 1 Compur.

Apparently, those late 203mm Ektars in Compur you mention were a reversion to an earlier specification. Too bad they didn't leave the cells the same, and adjust the shutter dimensions accordingly, when the Compur shutters became unavailable.