View Full Version : In praise of (some) older lenses

Joseph O'Neil
24-Jun-2007, 07:54
I picked up one of these lenses about a month or so ago. After being able to finally some prints from this lens, I am quite pleased with it. For those of you who haven't seen one this lens looks like a direct clone of the 90mm, F8 Super-Angulon. No idea how the lenses would compare side by side, but just wanted to post this message in case any of you ever see one of these little gems for sale.

I bought mine for about half the price of a Super-Angulon (both used prices, talking here), but it's more than worth it. About the only real flaw with the lens is lack of threads for a filter, so I use some black electrical tape to hold a 57mm filter (which fits perfectly despite lack of threads) in place.

A couple years ago I picked up a used Ilex paragaon lens, in shutter (all speeds working) for $50. I figured the shutter alone was worth it, but the lens-which appears to be nothing more spetacular than a plain old tessar, works admirably well. The lens itself in in inches, and is roughly about a 168m.

I think my point is,these older Ilex, Wollensak and Kodak lenses were,for the day, the "workhorses" of thier time,and i think most used ones we see today we frankly used and abused on a daily basis beyond reasonable expectation, the result being most used examples sold today leave a poor taste behind.

I think too of my old Graphic View monorail. Most of these cameras I see sold today are beaten from use pretty sad. The one I had was used once than put into storage and never used again for 50 years. If you could see this camera in it's brand new shape like I can, it's totally incredible, and I have to say, I have no desire to ever be rid of it for a more expensive, newer monorail

So there's my Sunday morning rant. Don't get me wrong, if I could only use one ens, it would be my G-Claron in a heartbeat. Some older lenses, IMO, can be over - rated too, but that's another thread for another day. :)


24-Jun-2007, 08:29
Sure, some old lenses are still good for taking decent pictures. Others are simply still capable of taking a picture... but as you say, that's a thread for another day.

But which lens are you talking about that appears to be a S-A clone, or pre-clone?

Joseph O'Neil
24-Jun-2007, 08:39
But which lens are you talking about that appears to be a S-A clone, or pre-clone?

Sorry - it's the Ilex 90mm, F8 Acugon. Same size and shape as the 90mm, F8 Super-Angulon. Except the llex clearly says made in the USA. I dunno if it was a direct copy (reverse engineered for example) or something they aquired the rights to make.


Ole Tjugen
24-Jun-2007, 10:08
I've got an Ilex 65mm f:8 Acugon myself, and the design seems very similar to the 90mm f:8 Super Angulon. It may not be identical; the general design of these "wasp-waist WA's" is very common and it's almost impossible to identify the variations without complete disassembly.

Dan Fromm
25-Jun-2007, 03:02
Joe, like Ole I have a 65/8 Acugon. Acugons are good lenses but they don't really qualify as older.

Ole Tjugen
25-Jun-2007, 04:06
Too get back to praise of "some older lenses", I used my 210mm f:6.8 Angulon, pre-WWII model, on 8x10" last weekend. Since it was the only 210mm lens i brought, it got pressed into service as a wideish landscape lens, landscapes with extreme movements (8x10" vertical with 8" front rise), and a group portrait lens.

It did a great job at all these. Sharpness and contrast (judging from wet negatives, they're still drying) was exellent all over, and the bokeh on the group portraits wasn't bad either! The extreme rise (at f:16) shows some softness at the very top, and a little bellows interference at the bottom. But all in all even that was better than I expected!

John Kasaian
25-Jun-2007, 07:51
I have a 215mm Acugon that cost me all of $80 in my 5x7 kit and it performs well IMHO.

Dan Fromm
25-Jun-2007, 09:44
Acuton, perhaps, John?

John Kasaian
25-Jun-2007, 21:11
Right, Acuton. I must have been having a Rodenstock moment there! :o