View Full Version : Apo Sironar S 100mm on 4x5 used at closer distances

Arne Norris
28-Aug-2008, 15:13
Has anyone tried using an APO Sironar S 100mm on 4x5? I've seen one earlier thread that discussed it and tried posting a simple question on the LF forum recently.

I've read all of the specs I could find and emailed Bob Salomon, gotten his opinion and the MTF chart for the 100mm. It seems like it might work for my needs, but it's a borderline situation.

I don't care about camera movements for my project. The real attraction is to find a lens with performance that meets modern standards and also would miraculously fit inside my closed Master Technika. The closest modern lens that covers 4x5 and fits inside the camera (some movements) is the 120mm APO Symmar, but this isn't really wide enough for the look I'm after. (I'm using a 135 right now.) The 105mm Fujinon W has too large a front mount, etc., etc.

I want to use the 100mm for interior environmental portraits, so I was figuring that with a stated Image Circle of 155mm at f/22 and infinity, it might just work, as the IC would grow to 160-165mm for subjects between 3 and 1.5 meters. But I also would probably wouldn't have the luxury to shoot at f/22 all of the time, and need to use it at wider apertures, so I'm not sure how this would effect the IC.

Any opinions or knowledge anyone might be able to share would be most helpful.

john borrelli
29-Aug-2008, 08:26
There is an older, smaller version of the Fuji 105mm f5.6 lens. I can't recall for sure but the last of these smaller lenses may have been multicoated. Kerry's Fuji page is usually cited as a reference. The IC is a little less for this older version. Others have posted it is usable for 4X5 with little to no movements. I almost purchased one at KEH because I was interested in a small, modern, wide angle. The latest version of this lens isn't real common but it is an inexpensive used lens when available.

29-Aug-2008, 13:49
What about using the 100mm Wide Field Ektar?

Quoting from Kerry's site:

100mm f6.3 Kodak Wide Field Ektar: After the 90mm Angulon, the 100mm Wide Field Ektar is probably the most frequently recommended of the classic 4x5 wide angles. Although not quite as common on the used market, it is still fairly easy to find. Like the WA Congo, the WF Ektar is a gauss wide field design (four elements in four groups). Like the others in this group, usable coverage is in the 80 - 85 degree range. However, since this one is a little longer in focal length than the others, the image circle is a little larger. The last specs I've seen on the 100mm WF Ektar list the image circle as 183mm. Performance of the single sample we have tested, is on par with the others in this group (i.e. good sharpness center, tailing off near the corners).

As far as I know, all WF Ektars are single coated. You can determine the age of Kodak lenses using their CAMEROSITY key word (where C=1...Y=0). For example, a lens with serial number staring in RY was made in 1950 (obviously not Y2K compliant). As mentioned above, Kodak LF lenses have a great reputation for quality control. The designs they used were not terribly innovative (tessars, WF gauss, etc.), but in the period following WWII, Kodak made some of the best glass in the world. Based on personal experience, I have never used any Kodak LF lens that was a dud (that includes plain Ektars, Commercial Ektars and WF Ektars). So, when shopping for a WF Ektar, the main thing to look for is signs of physical damage. Evidently, early Kodak lens coatings tended to be a bit soft, which lead to problems with cleaning marks. Be sure to check, using a strong light, for such cleaning marks on the front and rear surfaces. A couple faint marks won't effect anything other than re-sale value, but I've seen some that looked like they were cleaned with sandpaper. Such severe cleaning marks will have a big negative impact on contrast, and if bad enough, on sharpness. I recommend avoiding such heavily scratched samples and holding out for something in better condition. Typical used selling prices for the 100mm WF Ektar seem to be in the $250 - $325 range.

One slight inconvenience with using the WF Ektar (and many other older lenses) is the lack of support for standard size screw in filters. Many of these older lenses used push on adapters that accepted series filters. If you want to use modern, threaded glass filters, you will most likely need to get a custom filter adapter made to fit. Steve Grimes is a very good source for such custom made adapters. The 100mm Wide Field Ektar does have a threaded front barrel, but the thread is an odd size (looks to be 39.5mm). So, if you can't find an off-the-shelf adapter, Steve could either make you a standard style set-up ring (say 39.5mm - 52mm), or one of his specially designed slip on filter adapters.

Table 3. 100mm Wide Field Ektar Test Results

100mm f/6.3 Kodak WF Ektar

f/16: 67 60 30
f/22: 60 60 30
f/32: 48 42 30

175g Supermatic RYxxxx 1950