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Jan_6568
23-Oct-2006, 21:28
I have a bunch of quections on Heliars, just to clarify my knowledge. I herad that Heliar changed it's design during production. Is that really the case? If so, what were the changes and how does it affect the "look" of the lenses? How to recognize the versions? What is the difference between Heliar and Lanthar apart of glass type? Finally do the old Heliars have anything to do with modern Heliars (including ultra wide 12 mm one) for 35 mm rangefinders?
I hope some of you can clarify that to me.

regards,

Jan

Ole Tjugen
23-Oct-2006, 23:40
Everything you have heard is true :)

In the beginning there were three related designs: Heliar with the negative element on the outside of the cemented groups, Dynar with the positive element on the outside, and Oxyn with one of each. Then they found that the Dynar design gave better corrections, and started selling those under the Heliar name. So they preferred the Dynar arrangement, but the Heliar name. However the Universal Heliar, the adjustable soft-focus portrait lens, stayed a true Heliar.

The "look" of any old Heliar, regardless of the design, is the same: The one thing they would not change is the "smooth transition from sharp to unsharp areas", which was a major selling point.

The way to tell the difference is to examine the weak reflection from the cemented pair: When tilting the lens the weak reflection in a "true Heliar" will move the same way as the reflection from the front on the cell; in a Dynar it will move the opposite way.

The Apo-Lanthar is basically a Dynar-type lens, and has much the same smoothness.

The modern "Heliars" have only the name in common with either of the two "classic" Heliars.

I happen to own two old Heliars (120 and 150mm), a Dynar (180mm) and an Apo-Lanthar (150mm). They are all "Dynars".

I also have a 21mm Color-Heliar for 35mm, and it's definitely neither.

resummerfield
24-Oct-2006, 00:22
Very interesting, Ole! Do you have a serial number or date reference for these changes? Is there any other way to differentiate, such as engraving style, or barrel finish?

Ole Tjugen
24-Oct-2006, 01:35
It seems that the Dynar-type Heliars were introduced when normal production resumed after WWI - at least the Vade Mecum and Kingslake agree on that.

So a serial number of around 145,000 should be approximately there? At least my Dynar-marked Dynar fits in that - the serial number is 104xxx which makes it around 1909.

Jan_6568
24-Oct-2006, 09:10
Ole,
thank you very much for clarification, very interesting. I do have two Heliars, both pre-WWII but almost for sure not pre-WWI. One is 150 mm which I got with Bergheil camera on German e-bay. The other one is 210 mm but it is marked in inches. Lovely lens. I will check the serial numbers to figure out what in fact I do have.

regards,

Jan

Tim Deming
30-Nov-2006, 12:40
It seems that the Dynar-type Heliars were introduced when normal production resumed after WWI - at least the Vade Mecum and Kingslake agree on that.

So a serial number of around 145,000 should be approximately there? At least my Dynar-marked Dynar fits in that - the serial number is 104xxx which makes it around 1909.

I've noticed some irregularities in the early heliars -especially with respect to the focal length of the lens.

My smaller heliars (15cm, #187xxx, and 18cm, #112xxx) are both new "dynar types", however my larger heliars (36 cm, #182xxx, and 19" #62xxx) are both old type heliars. You can see that the old style heliars were made at least until 1922 (#182xxx) in the 36 cm focal length, but the dynar type heliars were made in smaller focal lengths such as 18 cm starting much earlier (1912, #112xxx). I'm sure the post WWII heliars are all Dynar-type, but I wonder how long the "old type" heliars were made in the large focal lengths? can anyone else chime in with other examples?

To tell the difference between heliars and dynars, I just look at the major reflections from a light source. I always see 5 reflections. 2 upside down in front and 3 right side up in back for an "old type" heliar; and 3 upside down in front and 2 right side up in back for a dynar type.

By the way, I have a few Dynars as well, and they go back pretty early (e.g. 12" f6, #62xxx, 1900), although many of these are "New York" lenses (most of the dynars seemed to have gone to the US for some reason) and so the serial numbers for these may not be very meaningful as they all seem to fall in the range of 59000 to 63000. My latest dynar is a 24cm, f5.5 version #229xxx, which dates to approx. 1925.

Tim

Ole Tjugen
30-Nov-2006, 12:55
My #1866xx 24cm Heliar is a Dynar-type. So that's one more "point on the graph". :)

And on the subject of Heliars: There's a "persistent myth" that the coverage of Heliars is much less than that of e.g. a Tessar of the same focal length. This is true - as long as we're talking of Heliar Heliars. The "Dynar-Heliars" have significantly better coverage than a Tessar of the same focal length.

Jim Galli
30-Nov-2006, 13:30
Here are diagrams from a 1960's catalog. Looks to me as though the APO Skopar is the poor man's Lanthar. And I would confirm that in use. I really love my 450mm APO Skopar. Astoundingly sharp and smooth. I have the 305 and the 600 also.

http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/Voigt.jpg

Tim Deming
30-Nov-2006, 13:49
I agree about the apo-skopar. I use both the 450 (in compound 4) and the 600 (in barrel) on my 8x10 --great lenses!

Ole Tjugen
30-Nov-2006, 14:18
Jim, that Heliar in the illustration is the Heliar type. The Dynar-type is very similar to the two others - positive elements on the outside. Voigtländer seems to have thought it was a good idea to present the diagram for the Universal-Heliar, and pretend that that was valid for all Heliars. It wasn't - the Universals are Heliar, the heliars Dynar.

Hmmm - no wonder they found it confusing!

Jim Galli
30-Nov-2006, 14:23
I was curious about that too because I looked at the old 1910 catalogs and it sure looked similar to the modern one. Can you dig us up a diagram and post it?

Tim Deming
30-Nov-2006, 14:38
Hi Jim,

here is an advertisement from 1929, the lens designs not extremely clear, but you can see the element construction. This has the "new "dynar" heliar diagram (in both f4.5 and f3.5 versions).

Jim Galli
30-Nov-2006, 18:16
Thanks Tim.

Ole Tjugen
1-Dec-2006, 01:23
Here's a set from about the same time:

Original Heliar, New Heliar, and Universal Heliar:

rob
1-Dec-2006, 08:17
the serial #s of my 18cm and 36cm heliars are 152xxx and 252xxxx, respectively. Are they both original heliars or the 36cm is new heliar?
The skopar is voigtlander version of tessar, is this correct?

Dan Fromm
1-Dec-2006, 08:27
The skopar is voigtlander version of tessar, is this correct?

Sort of. Plain skopars are 4/3 tessar types, apo-skopars are 5/3 heliar (whatever that means) types.

Ole Tjugen
1-Dec-2006, 09:27
the serial #s of my 18cm and 36cm heliars are 152xxx and 252xxxx, respectively. Are they both original heliars or the 36cm is new heliar?
The skopar is voigtlander version of tessar, is this correct?

Dan has already answered your second question, so I'll deal with the first:

I don't know, why don't you tell us? :)

Stop down the lens, and look at the reflections from a point source (or any lamp). Pay special attention to the weak reflection. Tilt the whole lens a litle (or a lot). If the weak reflection moves the same way as the others, it's an "original" heliar. If it moves the opposite way, it's a dynar-type Heliar.

The good thing about the two types of Heliars is that it's very easy to tell the difference. Very much easier than the difference between a triplet and a reverse Tessar - I'm still not sure about the Xenar Typ D!

Tim Deming
1-Dec-2006, 09:29
the serial #s of my 18cm and 36cm heliars are 152xxx and 252xxxx, respectively. Are they both original heliars or the 36cm is new heliar?
The skopar is voigtlander version of tessar, is this correct?

You'll need to look at the reflections of a light source in the lenses to find out. See my comment's as well as Ole's above for how to do this.

Your 36cm heliar dates from around WWII (approx. 1940-1945) , so probably a new heliar --but it would be good to know if this is true or not. Please post once you find out.

resummerfield
1-Dec-2006, 12:16
I have a 42cm Heliar with a serial number of 2756xxx, which dates it around the end of WW2. Examining it with a point light, I see 3 upside down reflections in front and 2 right side up reflections in back, and when tilted the weak reflections move in opposite ways. So according to both Tim and Ole it is a dynar type Heliar. However, I have had this lens disassembled and I donít recall the center element having clipped corners as per Oleís diagram of the New Heliar on post 14. Instead, the center element looks much like the Original Heliar.

Ole Tjugen
1-Dec-2006, 13:32
That diagram of the new Heliar is really only wholly valid for the f:3.5 Heliars for "hand cameras". Undoubtedly there are minor differences between the f:3.5 and the f:4.5 versions, as well as between shorter and longer focal lengths in each series. I think we can safely disregard things like how the individual elements are beveled for mounting.

The reflections are the main distinguishing feature, at least without complicated equipment or de-cementing!

rob
1-Dec-2006, 20:15
OK, I just checked the reflections of the front cell, the dim reflection moved in the same direction as the top 2 bright reflections in both the 18cm (sn: 152xxx) and an ektar 105/3.7. The 36cm (sn: 252xxxx) behaved oppositely, and it has a huge top bright reflection. I guess both the older 18cm and the recent ektar 105/3.7 have heliar construction, and the 36cm is dynar.
This 36cm is a monster and heavy. Can any one help me where I can find a retaining flange for it?