View Full Version : Commercial Ektar question[s]

7-Aug-2011, 01:54
I have two superb condition CE's [ES -1947] and was wondering if anyone had any info on whether there were any major changes made to the 81/2" - 14" CE's over their production life. Both mine are extremely sharp with excellent contrast but also have a certain un-fussed smoothness to the image. The Luminised coating seems to work very well. I suspect that the coatings may have change over the production life but also wonder about the glass used and/or any design changes. I cannot compare - nor does it really matter - but how did the lenses compare throughout the production run forty something to 60 something?

The Ilex shutter on one of my lenses has been threatening to stick for awhile so I recently brush cleaned the internals of my 8 1/2" with an artist's brush dipped in Shellite and a sticking shutter sprang back to life. A very simple treatment.

Jim Noel
7-Aug-2011, 09:30
I have owned and sold numerous Commercial Ektars. Currently I only have 3. I don't believe any changes in glass were ever made. The coating may have improved over the years, but no information on that was ever made public that I know of. They have very soft coatings.
What is Shellite? I don't think we have it in the States.

7-Aug-2011, 15:57
Thanks for your reply Jim. I'm trying to be as gentle as possible with the coatings as the ones I have are like they have never been used. Mint like new.

Next time you are in Australia Jim if you go to any servo or Bunnings or perhaps Mitre Ten you can get Shellite off the shelf :)

This is only an assumption mind you, Shellite is a very highly refined pure petroleum product similar I would think to what you call Naptha. On the bottle it identifies one of its main uses as cleaning metal. It dries extremely quickly with no residue. I have used it for years to either soak or brush clean shutters I have with no signs of corrosion or other issues.


Mark Sampson
12-Aug-2011, 18:51
Once those lenses went into production, c.1946, I believe that the design stayed the same until the last ones were made in 1967. I've never seen any significant variation among them, apart from a few in Compur shutters.

Kerry L. Thalmann
12-Aug-2011, 20:23
Once those lenses went into production, c.1946, I believe that the design stayed the same until the last ones were made in 1967. I've never seen any significant variation among them, apart from a few in Compur shutters.

I've seen 127mm Ektars and 203mm Ektars in Compur shutters, but I've never seen a Commercial Ektar in a Compur shutter. In fact, every 8 1/2", 10", 12" and 14" Commercial Ektar I've ever seen has either been in a barrel or an Ilex shutter, and that goes right up to the 1967 14" Commercial Ektar I used to own, as well as shorter Commercial Ektars made in the 1963 time frame.


12-Aug-2011, 22:42
Supplementary question: I also have a [32] 6-3/8" f4.5 Kodak Anastigmat in a very good Supermatic shutter. The images I have made with it overall are very similar to both the 8-1/2" and 12" Commercial Ektars I have. Does anyone know if this has any association with the design of the Tessar Ektars? The 6-3/8" f4.5 Kodak Anastigmat is not coated as far as I can tell and the serial number is EM which if C A M E R O S I T Y applies means about 1943.


Dan Fromm
13-Aug-2011, 04:19
Steve, AFAIK (= I don't feel like checking) all CEs are f/6.3 lenses. Not the same prescription as EKCo's f/4.5s.

Mark Sampson
13-Aug-2011, 14:49
Dan, you are right about the CEs, they are all f/6.3. EK did make f/4.5 (plain) Ektars alongside them, in more focal lengths than the CE's. And I believe, without much evidence, that Kodak made uncoated versions of many of the Ektars and called them 'Anastigmats'. Of course they were making 'Anastigmats' in the 1930s, before any of the Ektars, so it's a bit confusing. Glad you have a good 6-3/8" lens... i've never seen that one.

13-Aug-2011, 17:46
Here is some additional information I have since found that others may find interesting.


It would seem that with the introduction of the Ektar range Kodak settled on the 150 mm as the "standard" 5x4 lens. From the above chart Kodak listed the numbered Anastigmats as professional lenses and many of the current CE sizes were already in use as Anastigmats. How different or similar they are I cannot say. The #32 I have seems very well corrected, from wide open to stopped right down there is no focus shift. Even though it is uncoated flare is reasonably well controlled. Most of the 32's I have seen have been barrels, possibly for Speed Graphics.

Mark Sampson
14-Aug-2011, 08:03
Steve, thanks for finding that site; I lost the link a while ago. I can't imagine a more comprehensive site for Kodak lens info. Some years back EK donated its patent museum and records to the George Eastman House, but I'm sure it wasn't compiled as neatly as that site.