View Full Version : Xenar 210/4.5 - poor mans Heliar ?

Matus Kalisky
31-Aug-2007, 09:23
I hope the title is not too iritating. I am considering a fast lens with focal length of 210mm mostly for portraits and other wide open stuff -mostly B&W. I have seen a few photos taken with Heliar 210/4.5 and liked the transitin fo sharp focus to out of focus areas. Heliar 210 in a shutter is beyond my range so I was considering how a Xenar would perform. Some users mention that once mounted in shutter with round - shaped aperture - it gives very nice transition from focus to out of focus.

Curretnly I have Caltar 210/6.3 II-E but does not give me what I am looking for (though very good at f/22 for landscapes)

So - what do you think - what are your experiences - and - what could be other possibilities ?


Michael Graves
31-Aug-2007, 09:28
I suppose that's a subjective question, but I tried a 210 Xenar and it wasn't to my liking. I now have a 210 Fujinon and a 8.5" Ilex Paragon. Each one has a different image character. The Paragon is a 4.5 like you desire and it has a wonderful image quality. The Ilex shutter has an almost perfectly round diaphragm so OOF areas are very smooth and highlights don't take on weird shapes.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
31-Aug-2007, 09:36
In general I like Tessar-type lenses like the Xenar; I find their Bokeh pleasing and neutral, although having them in an older shutter with lots of leaves (leafs?) like an Compur, Compound, or Ilex helps quite a bit. I had a 210/3.5 Xenar which was very nice, and my current 240/3.5 is wonderful. So yes, a longer Xenar can make a great portrait lens. They won't produce an exact "Heliar look", but for their price they really can't be beat.

Jan Pedersen
31-Aug-2007, 09:53
As soon as i can get my hands on a flange for my #3 Compound which has a 210/4.5 Xenar mounted i will make comparison shots with my 210/3.5 Heliar also in a Compund but unfortunately a #4 so i can't swap cells or flange.
Hope Ole will find a flange when he get's solid ground under his feet.

31-Aug-2007, 10:09
Curretnly I have Caltar 210/6.3 II-E but does not give me what I am looking for (though very good at f/22 for landscapes)

I'm curious...what it is about the 210mm Geronar (aka Caltar II-E) that you find unsatisfying?

Matus Kalisky
2-Sep-2007, 05:11
- Michael -

I will check the Paragon. Would you have some examples with this lense wide open?

- Jason -

I have in mind something like THIS (http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330160756220&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=014) one mounted in older (compur or compund ? ) shutter.

- Brad -

As I said the Geronar is great for landscapes, but 6.8 is a bit too slow and the sharpness at 6.8 is not that great either. I am llloking for a bit softer OOF and stronger contrast/transition between sharp and unsharp parts.

Ole Tjugen
2-Sep-2007, 05:32
The Xenar is rather different from the Heliar in terms of rendition of OOF areas: The Xenar was designed to be sharp most of all, and the Heliar was designed to give a smooth transition from sharp to unsharp. In my experience both these lenses fulfill their stated design criteria.

A Symmar is also a nice smooth lens when shot wide open...

2-Sep-2007, 05:45
So does that make the Symmar a poor mans Heliar? :D If so does that apply to only the older Symmars or the newer ones?

Ole Tjugen
2-Sep-2007, 05:57
I don't know the answer to that - all I have are Symmars without letters after, and all new enough to be Plasmats and not Dagors.

I like the look of Symmars at moderately close range.

2-Sep-2007, 06:38
My only Symmar is a rebadged Orbit. Which I guess makes it's a single coated Symmar-S.