View Full Version : Gundlach RADAR Anastigmat

26-Jan-2007, 11:16
Hello All,

This is my first post. I have been involved in Photography since about 1970 when, through a friend I developed my first roll of Kodak B&W Instamatic film. About 1980 I acquired an old 4X5 Graflex, and after falling head over heels inn love with LF, I purchased a Wista DX and "we" are very happy. I have however been out of photography for about 5 or 6 years due mostly to kids growing up and the like. Anyway...
All that for some background (if anyone cares!).

I was recently given an old 8X10 camera with a Gundlach 12" RADAR f:4.5 lens with a Wollensak BETAX No. 5 shutter.
Everything seems to work fine, but I have two questions:
1. What are the collective opinions of this lens for landscape work?
2. Is there a Copal shutter that would fit if I ever decide to upgrade the shutter?


Ole Tjugen
26-Jan-2007, 11:56
I have no knowledge of the Radar specifically, but I do know that there is no modern shutter large enough to take a 12" f:4.5 lens without an expensive custom mount and a significant loss of speed. Betax or Compound #5 are about the only possibilities.

Walter Calahan
26-Jan-2007, 12:01
I think you need to go out and shoot some landscapes to report back to us how the lens is!

Scott Davis
26-Jan-2007, 14:11
That lens is probably better for portrait work than landscape (given the relatively fast speed of F4.5). That doesn't mean it is a bad landscape lens. Shoot a few sheets and see what you get. To borrow a phrase from Pirates of the Caribbean, "the (LF) Code isn't so much a Code as it is a set of guidelines...". Use the lens for what you want, and make the best images you can with it. You may find you like the "deficiencies" it has for one type of work in the way you do something else.

CP Goerz
27-Jan-2007, 01:06
Radar=Tessar, upgrading can take place but only if you buy a Goerz Dagor. ;-)

CP Goerz

Ole Tjugen
27-Jan-2007, 07:01
According to the Vade Mecum, the Radar is a Tessar-derivative with a triplet rear group instead of the Tessar's doublet.

So for CP Goerz' benefit, think of it as half a Dagor married to half a Tessar. :p

tim atherton
27-Jan-2007, 07:46
Radar=Tessar, upgrading can take place but only if you buy a Goerz Dagor. ;-)

CP Goerz

Radar=Tessar even in the case of the RADAR WA Extreme Anastigmat f16's?

27-Jan-2007, 09:27
The Gundlach catalog (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/gundlachcat/radar1.html) describes the f/4.5 Radar anastigmat as "a high grade speed lens" and suggests its use for everything from studio work to home portraiture, even to copying.

The name "Radar" is curious to me as it predates by a long time radio detection and ranging, its normal usage in our lexicon today. Clearly it has nothing to do with that. I'd even guess that when the lens was new its name was pronounced with a short "a" in the first syllable and not as we do, "ray-dar". Gundlach must have coined the name on their own. "-ar" is a typical lens name suffix. So who was Rad? Someone's initials? Gundlach seemed to like the name and applied it to a number of lenses in their line - not only one design - much as Wollensak did with the name "Velostigmat".

N Dhananjay
27-Jan-2007, 09:51
The Radar is a similar construction to the Tessar - all that was done was to split one of the elements. Thi was probably done to get around patent issues, something done by Gundlach with the Turner Reich lens as well (which is a Protar, but with one element split). So performance of your Radar would be quite similar to a Tessar, which is to say, pretty good. The Betax 5 is actually a pretty good shutter - it is large enough to make front mounting a whole bunch of lenses onto. So you could save a fair amount of money by buying barrel lenses and paying a machinist to front mount them onto the Betax 5. Cheers, DJ

Jim Galli
27-Jan-2007, 11:12
Would you be contact printing the 810 negs? Personally I like the Radar lenses very much, but it is a departure from the normal sterile world of modern plasmat / 4X5 camera negs. You would be far better served to use your 4X5 for the Ansel Adamsey stuff and try some things close in at semi wide aperture like portraits or detail shots on interesting things with the 810 and Radar. The glowing tonality may or may not knock your sox off. But that is what it will do best. Don't try to re-mount it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a properly working Betax 5. You're lucky to have it.

tim atherton
27-Jan-2007, 11:26
The Radar is a similar construction to the Tessar Cheers, DJ

I recall the RADAR WA Extreme was a variation on the Protar? (whose construction is....?)

Jim Galli
27-Jan-2007, 11:53
Radar was just the brand name of quality like Velostigmat was at Wollensak. It encompassed more than one formulae. But a 4.5 Radar is indeed the Gundlach equivalent of a Tessar design with the extra element to stear around the patent issues. 5 element 3 groups with 2 seperated in front of the aperture and 3 cemented at the back.

N Dhananjay
28-Jan-2007, 07:36
I recall the RADAR WA Extreme was a variation on the Protar? (whose construction is....?)

As Jim pointed out, it looks like the Radar was just a designation - I remember Richard Knoppow talking of at least a couple of other designs carrying the Radar name, a telephoto design and the WA. I have a 'regular' Radar and it certainly seems to be a Tessar with an extra cemented element. If the WA is indeed a Protar design, which seems likely given the vintage, it is probably based on the Protar IV or V. The construction would be 4 elements in 2 cemented groups. Cheers, DJ

CP Goerz
28-Jan-2007, 09:32
Ole Ole Ole ;-)

Half a Tessar and half Dagor! Truly a match made in hell...at least for the dagor part anyway. I guess you could liken it to what we will see in an upcoming award show audience...young beauties with crusty old geezers.

The extra element may be considered an extra thick coating as its purpose wasn't more than lawsuit avoidment. Gundlach were quite a bit more conservative than most with claims about their lenses but I think they would mention that the rear element could be used alone if it was as well corrected as a dagor.

The exteme WA Anastigmat is a pretty nice lens, not for sharpness but in how it makes the neg look, full of light and very handsome but not 'technically' perfect. I don't have the energy to look through all my catalogues but I believe it was a WA Rectilinear design and not a protar type...I could/may/probably am wrong on that since its been a while since I've seen a cutaway. My copy of Henney doesn't show this particular Gundlach lens by name though its design may well be in the book under a different name.

Happy snappin Y'all!

Ole Tjugen
28-Jan-2007, 09:55
Sometimes I just can't resist a "gentle ribbing"... :D

As to the WA Anastigmat, I would assume that Gundlach would know the difference between an Anastigmat and a WA Rectilinear. So if the lens was sold as an Anastigmat, I would assume that to be correct - especially since Gundlach also made WA Rectilinears!

Back to Tessars and Tessar derivatives: These consist of one cell with all the power, and one which is all correction (very simplified). That's why they're not convertible: One cell has about the same focal length as the whole lens but considerably poorer performance, while the other cell may not focus light at all!

CP Goerz
28-Jan-2007, 10:15
Indeed, thats why it couldn't be half a dagor.

I hope someone has a cutaway of the Ext WA Anastigmat, I remember it as being a very simple design...I may be forced to battle the silverfish and get into that cupboard with all the booklets! :-)

28-Jan-2007, 11:21
WOW! Thanks guys. That's a lot of (too much?) information.
I will keep an eye on this thread while you guys discuss, but I just wanted to get my "Thank you" in.
BTW, the camera needs some work before I can use it (I'm in the process) and I'll need to reclaim the darkroom and then yes I will be contact printing the negs.
Thanks again,