View Full Version : A real sleeper

Michael Graves
13-Nov-2007, 11:24
I've had two of these now, (gave one to my daughter when I gave her my Eastman 2d). But I got a 5x7 Korona with a nearly pristine Ilex Paragon 8.5" lens and that thing amazes me. Are their other lenses as good?

Mark Sampson
13-Nov-2007, 12:14
Are their other lenses that good? I don't know, I've never used a Paragon. But remember that in their day, Ilex was Rochester-made and competing against Kodak's Ektars (well-respected lenses even today), B&L, Goerz, Gundlach and Wollensak. And that they were serving a demanding professional market. Lynn Jones, who posts occaisionally on photo.net, and perhaps apug, is a retired Ilex executive. His opinions would be significant.

Jan Pedersen
13-Nov-2007, 13:36
Ilex Calumet Caltars are also in my humble opinion sleepers. I have 3 of them now and like what they do. Smooth looking contacts.

John Kasaian
13-Nov-2007, 15:35
I've got one of these beauties as well---a marvelous lens for a 5x7 (and IIRC, I paid less than a hundred bucks for it! :D) )

17-Nov-2007, 06:30
I have an Ilex 10". It's sharp corner to corner even when wide open. Amazing lens. Got it for about $50. I've shot chrome with it and been equally as amazed.

Joseph O'Neil
17-Nov-2007, 08:06
I have a smaller Ilex Paragon I bought a couple years ago because I thought the shutter was in good shape and you can always use a spare shutter. Tried the lens out for fun and was rather surprized how good it is.

I later bought the Ilex 90mm, F8 wide angle - the one they "cloned" off the Schneider super angulon of the same size, and for the price I paid, the lens is simply amazing.

There are some real "dogs" out there from both Wollensak and Ilex to be sure, but IMO the main reason these lenses take a beating in terms of public opinion is they were the everyday "workhorses" - lenses that were used by many people in a silge shop or studio over and over and over again. T

The result is most of the surviving examples we see today have been well used and perhaps abused. Same is true for Kodak ektars, I've seen some of those lenses in terrible shape.

But if you ever find one of these lenses in pristime shape, they are amazing. A few years back I picked up a Graphic View monorail that had been used maybe 2-3 times (judging by the missing sheets of film in the box from 1955 that was left with it. :) ).

The 135mm ektar lens that was with the camera was simply amazing, but since i had just a couple months earlier bought a brand new Rodenstock 135mm, I sold it, but brand new - they are really very nice.

On a side note, I think the same thing can be said for old graphic view monorails - most of the used ones I have ever seen are pretty well beat up, but if you get one in good or new shape like mine, they hold up against anything made new today IMO, in terms of quality of construction and functionality.


John Kasaian
17-Nov-2007, 08:33
I have two 215mm Ilex lenses (IIRC one's an acuton and the other a caltar) for the 5x7 Agfas on the recommendation of Jim Galli and I'm very impressed with them`

I've been wondering about the abilities of Ilex, Wollensak and Kodak's enlarging lenses as well. I'm thinking there might be some sleepers in that publicly derided camp.
I know that a Copy Paragon I pressed into service performs beautifully as an enlarging lens

Jan Pedersen
17-Nov-2007, 09:38
For 5x7 i use among others a 162mm 4.5 Wollensak Velostigmat enlarging lens that i mounted in an Alphax shutter, believe it is a #1 Very nice lens and they are cheap.
Cover 5x7 well.

Joseph O'Neil
17-Nov-2007, 09:55
For 5x7 i use among others a 162mm 4.5 Wollensak Velostigmat enlarging lens that i mounted in an Alphax shutter, believe it is a #1 Very nice lens and they are cheap.
Cover 5x7 well.

Wow - I use that exact same lens, sans shutter, on my Devere 504 enlarger, but for 4x5 enlargements. $20 in pristine condition off flea-bay, and excellent performer. My Schenider and Rodenstock 150mm lenses sit in a drawer unused. Call me crazy (which would be a waste of time as I know I am already :) ), but there is something about the"look" of that lens i like.