View Full Version : Commercial Ektars and R.D Artars

Amund BLix Aaeng
25-Apr-2007, 16:17
Anyone compared the "look" of these lenses and is able to verbalize eventual differences?

just curious...

Jim Rice
25-Apr-2007, 16:59
I can't comment on the Ektar (which is reputed to have a "creamy" look), but the Artar is startlingly sharp.

John Kasaian
25-Apr-2007, 17:09
I've got a 19" RD Artar and a 14" Commercial Ektar. I'd feel more comfortable using the Comm. Ektar for portraiture though it is also a fine landscape lens. IMHO the Commercial Ektar has a "smoother" look to it while the RD Artar (all Artars for that matter) are brutaly sharp--makes the bark on trees bark! Both are great lenses. Oh, my RD comes in a #4 Acme while the C Ektar rides in a bigger, heavier #5 Universal also the C Ektar opens up to 6.3 and actually perorms quite well wide open and even better when stopped down a bit to f/32 or f/45.The RD Artar, while slower presents a very bright image wide open on the gg if there is any light at all directed on the subject although it is, well, slower. Performance-wise it sparkles at f/64 just like all those old timey 'togs said lenses do.
Either lens is a champ and I'm fortunate to have examples of both, though in different focal lengths (so I don't have to choose between the two!)
These are my opinions so they're worth about what you paid for 'em ;)

25-Apr-2007, 22:06
Last fall I compared four lenses on 8x10 using color transparency film (Provia). The four lenses were a 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar, a 375mm Orbit (Caltar? Rodenstock?), a 14" Kern Gold Dot Dagor (version 3) and a 16 1/2" R.D. Artar. I was looking for specific qualities because of some effects I had observed in earlier shots. The Commercial Ektar and the Artar didn't look a whole lot different to me. I could convince myself that the Artar was "sharper"... maybe. The image made with the Artar received slightly less exposure (like maybe 1/2 stop) because, except for the Kern, all the lenses were in older shutters with some level of inconsistency. That little bit of exposure difference probably made the Artar appear sharper because of the slightly greater color saturation. Mind you, this was not a scientific test! The shots were of the same composition and intended to be evaluated subjectively. I wasn't interested in lp/mm resolution; it wasn't important to what I wanted to achieve. I was mostly interested in aesthetic qualities, particularly with the way out-of-focus areas were rendered. In the end, the Ektar and the Orbit were almost indistinguishable from each other side-by-side. Seriously, the only way I could tell them apart is because of the order in which they were shot and because of the ever-so-slight difference in magnification due to the 15mm difference in focal length. The image with the Artar was, to my eye, every bit as pleasing as the Ektar and Orbit images. The subject was a carefully chosen landscape. I don't know if I'd feel the same about the Artar if the subject were a portrait. Chances are it would be a little less flattering, depending on the lighting. The Kern Dagor was critically sharp, of course. But sharpness isn't everything.

If I could get access to a scanner, I'd love to post the images blind and let you chose which you like. But I'll have to ask around, so I won't make any promises.


Gene McCluney
25-Apr-2007, 22:57
The bottom line is that both Commercial Ektars and Artars are still being used in studios for professional results, and they deliver, just as they always have. I use Commercial Ektars in 8.5, 10, 12, and 14" and Red Dot Artar in 24".

Amund BLix Aaeng
26-Apr-2007, 13:14
Thanks for the great response!

I do have a 16" 1/2 R.D. Artar and a 12" Ilex Paragon, wich is said to be pretty similar to the Ektars...

I was initially thinking of replacing the Artar with a 14" Ektar as I don`t do that much "f/64 landscapes", so I have to think this over and shoot some more with the Artar I guess...