View Full Version : Ektar 293 and Nikon 200

13-Feb-2011, 16:53
Recently I acquired an Ektar 203/7.7 [1949 vintage - luminised] and it is a remarkable lens. My curiosity has been piqued by the physical similarities between the Ektar and the Nikon 200/8 and was wondering if anyone has had both or was aware of any comparisons done between the two. Are they the same dialyte style construction? Did Kodak make any longer focal length lenses in the same style as the 203?

Mark Tweed
13-Feb-2011, 17:47
Hi Steve,

The two lenses are quite different. The Nikon is a Tessar design, consisting of 4 elements in 3 groups. Here's a link from Carey Bird's website with more information on this lens.


About the 203mm, Kodak made some other longer length dialytes, but more for use as enlarging lenses. I have such an example, its a coated, 15" f16 Copying Ektanon dialyte, the front and rear elements are only 1.5" in diameter and the combined depth is 2". Quite small for this focal length. I plan to mount it in an unusual, older #1 Compur shutter that will fit it nicely (with custom machining of course).

I have one of the 203 Ektars and I agree, they are remarkably sharp, competitive with any of the modern offerings.


David Lindquist
14-Feb-2011, 13:01
The coverage (as given by the makers) of these two lenses is nearly the same. As one can see in the link provided by Mark, the 200 mm Nikkor M at f/22 covers 55 degrees for an image circle of 210 mm. According to Kodak Publication O-18, "Camera Technique for Professional Photographers", the 203 mm f/7.7 Ektar covers 56 degrees at f/16; by calculation this gives an image circle of 216 mm.

Later f/7.7 Ektars were mounted in the No. 1 Compur while the 200 mm Nikkor M was mounted in the No. 0 Copal.

Mark Sampson
25-Feb-2011, 19:57
The 203/7.7 is indeed an excellent lens. I've never tried the Nikkor-M 200/8, but if it's anything like its big brother the Nikkor-M 300/9 it will have more contrast than the Ektar. That's in no way a problem, just a characteristic. I wish I'd kept my 203/7.7.

25-Feb-2011, 20:28
After reading many good things about the Ektar 203, I bought one off of the forum here a couple years ago, and I really like it. Nice and sharp through the range. I would like one of the newer lenses, such as the Nikkor in question, but budget doesn't allow, so bang for the buck, the Ektar is great.

Doremus Scudder
27-Feb-2011, 05:26
The Nikkors are somewhat rare now and go for a premium price used.
You can get two of the Ektars plus have them overhauled for what you might pay for the Nikkor... No brainer for me, especially since the Ektar performs as well or better, and has a bit larger image circle. The only downside is the lack of multi-coating, but with a Dialyte-design lens, with relatively few air-to-glass surfaces, this is not as much of a disadvantage as one would think. I had a lot more flare problems with a single-coated Schneider plasmat (135mm) than I've ever had with my Ektar 203mm.

The real disadvantage is the funky filter size. I solved mine by getting a push-on filter adapter to 52mm (I cobbled and machined my own from a series adapter and a step-up ring). You can have them made by a photo machinist, but they add significantly to the cost of the lens. If you are lucky enough to get a 203 with the push-on series VI filter, however, it's not too hard to fit a step-up ring to it to get to a more convenient modern filter size.

Both lenses are great, small and light-weight lenses for that focal length.

If you get an Ektar 203mm in the Supramatic Shutter and have it CLAd, it will serve you well for years and years. The old Supramatics are reliable and tough (but not the best for studio flash work...).


Doremus Scudder