View Full Version : modern vs. older lens

Craig Allen
25-Aug-2001, 09:01
I'm fairly new to LF (4x5) and thinking about upgrading to a modern lens, replac ing my Kodak Ektar 203mm f:7.7 (coated) in Graphic synchro-compur. Looking at th e Caltar II S 210mm 5.6 in copal 0. This would compliment the 135mm Caltar II S I already have. Besides the new copal shutter and 5.6 aperture, which will help gather more light for focusing, am I that much further ahead for B&W landscape w ork with the more modern 210mm Caltar?

Thanks in advance for you comments...

Robert A. Zeichner
25-Aug-2001, 09:25
I'm certain that a case could be made for the more modern coatings used on the Caltar, but there's less than a stop difference in the maximun aperture of the lenses in question and I doubt focusing will be that much easier. The Ektar is a fabulous lens. It has near apochromatic performance and is very sharp. For B&W work, I'd not bother to make the change. I currently have an f 5.6 Symmar-S in a copal shutter and the f 7.7 as well, although not in as nice a shutter as yours is mounted in. I keep the latter on my camera (it's so compact I can fold it up mounted on the Wisner) and with a adapter, can use the smaller filters that fit my Nikkors and Repro Claron. The 210 Symmar-S sits on the shelf.

25-Aug-2001, 11:21
I have your 203mm lens older brother the 7.7 anastigmat and frankly it is my least favorite lens. I also own 7.7 anastigmat versions in 150 and 170 mm lengths and I love them. I can only assume I have a dud 203mm and a caltar would be a signficant improvement for it. If you are unhappy with your 203 it may have something wrong with it. On the other hand I think there is a difference in the kind of pictures made by vintage and modern lenses. Only you can evaluate if that difference is desiable to you. Since you already own one modern and one vintage lens which "look" do you prefer, why? Do you even notice a difference? Many of these kinds of questions are very individual, depending on a whole variety of factors, but I would welcome your judgements on your present lenses.

Wayne Crider
25-Aug-2001, 12:45
I'd get a 90mm instead and keep the 203 unless yours is bad for some reason. Does you camera have a fresnel?

Doremus Scudder
25-Aug-2001, 14:40
Don't replace your 203 unless you really need more coverage, and make sure you are getting a better lens. The 203 Ektar is legendary for its lightweight, sharpness (especially at large apertures) and reliability. Also, be aware that many of the compact lenses in the 200mm category these days are triplets and are not nearly the optical equal of your Ektar (this includes the Caltar compact lenses). The only compact lens that I know of that would be a direct replacement for the 203 would be the Nikkor M 200mm, which is not significantly better than the Kodak. An increase in coverage (i.e. stepping up to a plasmat 6-element design like the Caltar II you are considering or wider) is going to give you a lot larger, less portable and heavier lens. If the increased coverage is important then go ahead and upgrade. I spend a lot of time in the field, and my 203 is with me at all times. I can't imagine lugging around a larger lens. Hope this helps. :^D)

Charlie Stracl
27-Aug-2001, 14:25
If the 203 produces results comparable to your current 135 Caltar II S, then keep the 203. If the results are not as good, consider replacing it. Also, if you're having shutter problems you might consider replacing.

But if your results are good and it performs well, why replace it?