View Full Version : kodak ektar 127 coverage questions.

17-Dec-2007, 18:57
hi all,
i understood that the ektar 127 was a 3 1/4x 4 1/4 lens. i thought it would not cover 4x5.
i shot with one the other day and was very pleased with the results (very sharp and contrasty). i was using it on a 4x5 speed graphics. i used all the front rise i could. it seemed to cover just fine.
what gives? does it really cover 4x5 with movements? i am interested in a "wide" lens for 4x5 that will not break the bank, yet give me some movements. is this the lens? am i misunderstanding something?

17-Dec-2007, 19:11
Must cover... I have had the 127 Ektar on at least two Graflex 4X5's that I have purchased in the past. In actually think the 127 Ektar was a standard issue lens on a lot of Graflex Press cameras.

17-Dec-2007, 19:16
On the second part of your question. I also purchase two Graflex cameras that came with the Optar 90 WA lens. This lens covered 4X5 and I believe was the wide angle option of the camera in that era. I have seen the 90WA on eBay a half dozen times in the past couple of years. Often in the shutters of the period and reasonably priced. There are a couple of people on eBay who seem to specialize in vintage and reasonably priced lenses. One is Dagor77 and I can't think of the name of the other one. I did buy an 88mm Weitwinkel 4X5 lens that is so small I cannot believe it. It's in a barrel with aperture, but I've tested it to cover 4X5 with a bit of movements. It's a backpackers dream... So Tiny.

17-Dec-2007, 19:30
In the Graphex shutter. Says it came on a 4X5 camera.


Kevin Crisp
17-Dec-2007, 19:32
Though not intended for 4X5 it does cover with essentially zero movements. It became a very popular (possibly even the most popular) standard focal length lens for 4X5 press photographers. This is understandable when shooting for a newspaper with big flash bulbs. You get the depth of field and if you need to crop a little bit no problem. So if your question is whether this is the wide angle for movements the answer is no. It is pressed to its limit as is on a negative this big; unless your standards are unusually low you're not going to happy if you use movements with this lens.

Other options if you need movements would include a 120mm Symmar, which allows a decent amount of movements though many people claim very little. Cheaper (much cheaper) would be the 110mm (4 3/16th") Wollensak Ex. Wide Angle 5X7 lens. Calling it a 5X7 lens is a stretch, but it makes a very decent 4X5 lens. It is usually seen in a little Betax shutter. I haven't had good luck with the "press" wide angles. Some just aren't sharp at the edges when used straight on and others like the later Angulon 90's are really good but, again, not for somebody who wants movements.

17-Dec-2007, 19:40
kevin, thanks for the other lens options.

kuzano, thanks for the tips. i just saw your added replies.

why did the lens cover 4x5 with front rise on a press camera? is that not considered movements?


John Kasaian
17-Dec-2007, 19:59
As Kevin Crisp says, it'll just cover 4x5 and was/is very popular on 4x5 speed graphic press cameras. It is a very sharp, and according to Kodak, well corrected lens--just no wiggle room! I have a non-coated wartime version and IMHO it is marvelous for handheld work.

Gene McCluney
17-Dec-2007, 20:15
The 127mm Ektar, in my experience "will" cover 4x5 with some press camera movements (front rise, mainly), but the edges of the field will not be very sharp, even though the center is very sharp. In other words its circle of illumination is somewhat larger than its circle of acceptable definition.

17-Dec-2007, 20:56
As was mentioned, the 127 Ektar was a favorite among press photographers, but I can also imagine that most press photographers, shooting hand held almost all the time, ever used or required the use of movements. From a press standpoint, the essence of the Graflex was the rangefinder/handheld advantage. It's possible that the 135 Optar which also showed up on a lot of Graflex 4X5's allowed a bit more movements.

In addition, a lot of people probably shot the 127 with movements and cropped out the vignetting. After all, you're talking about a lot of acreage on a 4X5 sheet of film.

One thing about the large format lens market is that you can totally exhaust yourself studying all the options, and tomorrow, someone will give you two more choices. Good luck on the hunt. Take a break and burn some film.

Jim Galli
17-Dec-2007, 21:39
Of all the 5 inch-ish press lenses, the 127 Kodak is the best. Yes it covers just like a 10" Tessar covers 8X10. But if you get a loupe and get critical about your corners you'll see that while the film was illuminated the image degrades very quickly. Find the early 125mm Fuji f5.6 single coated lens. It rocks.

18-Dec-2007, 05:55
thanks for all the info so far. i am just curious so i can keep me eyes out. the widest i have is 165mm and i would like to get a bit wider. using that 127 just surprised me. i thought it would vignette badly.

here is the pic i shot. i now see a bit of vignetting. the scan is not so great. i will print it to see if i can see some softening.

i am burning film!


Peter Collins
18-Dec-2007, 06:13
Since nobody has said this yet, it is important to realize that, as the lens is stopped down, the diameter of the circle of coverage increases. If you used a small stop, that could explain the coverage you got.

Also, although apparently not a factor in the situation you mentioned, the coverage increases greatly as the bellows are extended for close-ups. At any given stop, the angle of coverage is the same, so, as the distance from lens to GG increases, the diameter of that circle increases.

ciao for now!