View Full Version : 14" Kodak Commerical Ektar

tom north
25-Mar-2009, 12:03
I'm thinking of getting a 14" Kodak Ektar for my 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 camera. Does anyone know the quality difference between the late 40's and early 60's lenses? My quess is that the lens coatings may have changed over time and the shutter is the same but I'm not sure about the optics.



Mark Sampson
25-Mar-2009, 12:23
Having used 14" Commercial Ektars made in 1946 (early) and 1966 (very late), I'd say that they are identical. They're all excellent lenses... they went out of production because of the decline in LF photography in the '60s, and price competition from Schneider; not because they weren't good lenses. Just watch out for examples with damaged coatings and shutters that don't work right.

Glenn Thoreson
25-Mar-2009, 15:25
Superb lens, regardless. Be sure to watch for heavy cleaning marks, These were heavily used and perfect ones are rather hard to come by. Cleaning marks? Okay. No problem. Brillo pad cleaning marks? Not so okay. These Ilex shutters are unlikely to be accurate at all speeds. Fastest speed usually runs around 1/25 rather than 1/50. Marked speed accuracy is not that important but consistency is. I hope you find a nice one. They are outstanding lenses.

Gene McCluney
25-Mar-2009, 15:40
I concur, they are outstanding lenses. I have several, including the 14". For studio use, as mine are, with flash the accuracy of the shutter is immaterial, as the flash determines the exposure, and the shutter speed just serves to limit ambient light from influencing the shot. Most of these lenses were used in studio situations, therefore a lot of the shutters were not really cleaned and maintained.

Steve Hamley
25-Mar-2009, 16:16
Mark, Glenn, and Gene have just about said it all. Very nice lenses, be sure and get one with no or very minimal marks. Glass and shutters can be cleaned if the price is right. Also, regular 72mm filters work on this lens, mine at least.

Don't be in a hurry. Although they were heavily used as Glenn points out, they also made a lot of them, which means a nice one will turn up if you watch for it.



Drew Wiley
25-Mar-2009, 16:26
My older brother sold Commercial Ektars and claimed that there was a grading process
among these, with certain ones being hand-picked from the general run for superior
quality. But I can't remember the specifics.

Steve Hamley
25-Mar-2009, 18:17
Well Drew, give him a call! That's some interesting info I haven't heard before.



Gene McCluney
25-Mar-2009, 18:38
If a lens has spent all its life in a studio, the glass should be good..dusty but good.

Drew Wiley
26-Mar-2009, 09:50
Sorry Steve, but my brother passed away fifteen years ago. He was into Linhof, Rollei,
and Ektars back when I was happy just to have a Pentax hanging around my neck.
It could have been analogous to what Linhof was doing with "Linhof Select" Angulons,
or to what Sinar did for awhile with Rodenstock. But my brother thought that certain
lenses were preselected during quality-control tests on an optical bench. Back then this was entirely possible, given the amounts of hands-on in manufacture. But exactly
how the lenses might have been marked (if at all) or marketed, I don't know. He
claimed the best ones were sold at a premium.

Steve Hamley
26-Mar-2009, 10:23
Thanks Drew, my apologies if the remark was uncomfortable for you.

Cheers, steve