View Full Version : 8" f/7.7 - Ektar and Copying Ektanon, same lens?

27-Sep-2011, 15:06
I own a Kodak Anastigmat 8" f/7.7 in shutter, uncoated and not in perfect condition.
Nevertheless, it's a nice lens, as good at infinity as at 1:1 (probably even better at close range, being a symmetric lens). I didn't use it very much, though, because i also own a 210mm Computar Symmetrigon, which came, very cheap, as lens cells, and which found a new house in a Copal Press No.1. The latter lens has modern coating, it weights almost nothing, and should be even better than a coated 8" Kodak Ektar.
Then i found something on that big auction site: it's an 8" f/7.7 Copying Ektanon, luminized, and made in 1956 (from CAMEROSITY code).
From the picture it look almost perfect, so i couldn't resist and bought it for about 30 USD + shipment.
The engravings on the beauty ring are mirrored, like on other Kodak lenses made for copy cameras, with a 90 prism.
My hope is to be able to replace the cells of my old, uncoated Kodak lens, with newer ones in better condition.
It would take some time, though, cause the lens is being shipped via USPS First Class International. Cheap, but awfully slow.
In the meantime, i am resorting to fellow members, with a good experience about Kodak lenses. Is the Copying Ektanon the barrel version of the Ektar? No difference in lens spacing? Are the cell threads the same?

Any information would be very welcome. It would sedate my curiosity, before i actually get the lens, and would also be a nice reference for future questions.
Copying Ektanon are nice lenses, cheap to buy and coated. I memorized the search because i was looking for a long focus one: i saw some nice Kodak repro lenses, with long focals, perfect for ULF and also good as "tele" for 8x10"; all had the previous denomination (i.e. uncoated), so i was trying to find one with the newer denomination (Copying Ektanon, i.e. luminized). To be honest, i must admit that i don't even know if the longer focals were re-done in coated version. I must check some documentation on the Web :confused:
Whatever... looking for a very long focal, i found the 8" instead :D
I couldn't resist because it was cheap, must be a mild attack of GAS. I'll try to cure myself with a couple of cleaning session, i still have a few Petzvals that are dirt as hell!

have fun


My uncoated Anastigmat is, IIRC, in Supermatic shutter, as later Ektar examples.
I also have another Kodak barrel lens, it's a Projection Anastigmat 7.5" f/4.5 (later called Enlarging Ektanon, i think), which is coated, as those with the new denomination. Tessar design, and looking as it just came from the factory: it should be worth trying it as a tabletop photography tool, as with most enlarging lenses. Still unsure if it could be worth the expense of a machined flange, to mount it in front of a medium/large shutter.
I wonder if some of these oddball Kodak lenses were made with standard threads, good for Supermatic or Ilex shutters.

27-Sep-2011, 15:18
The 203mm f7.7 Ektar, like its earlier sibling, the 203mm f7.7 Anastigmat (I own one of each) is a dialyt type lens (has two pieces of glass with an air gap in each element). If you look at it, you will see four bright reflections on each side. I don't know about the Ektanon but take a look at the reflections and see what you get.


27-Sep-2011, 16:57
Why don't you just scrap the old 7.7 Ektar with a better lens? Like a Symmar or a mint Tessar. I have a fondness for 190mm f 4.5 Raptars. Really bright. And reasonable in price. They are tessars.

Paul Fitzgerald
27-Sep-2011, 17:20
Hi there,

have had or may still have all of the above Kodaks, from memory:

pre-war Kodak Anastigmat 8" f/7.7 should be in a #2 Supermatic with self-timer
post-war coated 8" Kodak Ektar would be in a Flash Supermatic with adjustable flash
the newer cells DO NOT fit into the older shutter, there is a shoulder on the threads.

8" f/7.7 Copying Ektanon cells do NOT fit any standard shutter threads. Still have 2, was going to mount them for stereo 8x10, haven't gotten there yet.

"I have a fondness for 190mm f 4.5 Raptars."

I thought I was the only one :eek:
The 241/4.5 and 254/4.5 aren't half bad either. :D

27-Sep-2011, 18:13
pre-war Kodak Anastigmat 8" f/7.7 should be in a #2 Supermatic with self-timer

Mine is in a rim-set compur, and the threads don't interchange with the supermatic. My 1950s Ektar is in a #2 supermatic.


27-Sep-2011, 18:24
Having a special love for vintage lenses, i can't comment about the performance of recent plasmats for 5x7", like Symmar-S and Apo Symmar, but i wouldn't dare to compare a 210mm convertible Symmar (which i own) with a Symmetrigon. The latter is much better. Of course i have one example of each, so it's nothing scientific, just personal experience.
I wouldn't be so surprised if a latter, coated example of 8" f/7.7 Ektar could prove to be marginally better than a convertible Symmar. Both lenses should be in the same league though, and ideally you should better check how a single example survived all those long years of service. Variance between different lenses could be great.

Of course i have a couple of multicoated plasmats, for 4x5" and 8x10". I don't have a darkroom at home anymore, and i prefer to contact-print in 8x10" or scan the negatives with 4x5". 5x7" is not my preferred format, but i love old view cameras, and i own a few which are for 13x18/5x7 cut films/plates; that's why i am happy to have a few "normals"at home, that could be used to bring back to life those old cameras, every now and then.
Nothing very serious, and nothing that would warrant the purchase of an expensive state-of-the-art lens. Even if it did, i would probably keep the money, save some more, and purchase a long Verito, or even (God forbid!) a Perscheid or an Universal Heliar, for 8x10" :D
Unfortunately i own already a few soft focus lenses for 13x18/5x7", and close to none for the larger formats... so i am forced to use what i have in a smaller format, or from close range. That's why i have just made a 5x7" back for my giant studio camera.
I don't daydream about a super-extra-apo Sironar or Symmar. Everybody has different desires, fortunately, and i'm perfectly happy with that :D
That makes each lens a tad cheaper (less competition) and gives us the joy to exchange our personal (and different!) views in places like this forum.

have fun


Thanks, Paul and Dan.
I understand that the same type of lens was fitted in three different shutters:
old Synchromatic
Flash Stnchromatic

The more i try to remember, the more i get confused. I don't have my lens here, and i can't check which shutter it fits.
Fortunately, if the "Copying" version would prove to be identical to one of the three different versions you mentioned, i should have a fair chance to find a working solution:
somewhere at home, i should have one old Synchromatic (no flash sync), and one of the Compurs that were used by Kodak (which should have non-standard threads, IIRC)

27-Sep-2011, 18:48

I figured you were right about Kodak's special threaded compurs but I just tried my Anastigmat cells in a copal 1. Amazingly, they fit. It's worth noting that the front has a large shoulder as part of the brass fitting, and the rear only grabs a single thread, at most, because the threads don't start at the top of the copal but perhaps 1/16" down from the seating plane. The Ektar cells, which fit a supermatic, are of course, much smaller and dont fit a copal 1.


Jim Jones
27-Sep-2011, 19:37
I recently received one of those 8" copying Ektanons in a barrel mount on a 4" board. The Eltanon should be usable as-is for some photography. It does appear to be the same formula as the familiar 203mm f/7.7 Ektar, but may be slightly changed from the Ektar design for close-up work. Some authorities claim it can be used on 8x10, That may only be at 1:1magnification. The front and rear cells might fit in an Ilex No. 2 Universal or Acme shutter, although I haven't tried this yet. Specifications show the Ilex shutter to be slightly (0.020") longer than the Ektanon barrel.

28-Sep-2011, 13:46
Thanks Jim.
I should have an Ilex No.2 somewhere, so i will give it a try, as soon as i have the lens in my hands.
I have a very high consideration of the best post-war Kodak lenses. So i can't wait to test both of my new acquisitions (Projection Anastigmat and Copying Ektanon).
I am arranging a new lensboard with a smal size iris clamp, placed in front of a Sinar shutter. That would be a very welcomed tool in my arsenal. its' always an hassle to make a new lensboard and find a retaining ring/flange :(
Next toy will be a Process Ektar of very long focal. I found a few very positive posts about them.

22-Nov-2011, 14:18
Why don't you just scrap the old 7.7 Ektar with a better lens? Like a Symmar or a mint Tessar. I have a fondness for 190mm f 4.5 Raptars. Really bright. And reasonable in price. They are tessars.

Now I use Symmar's and Tessar's but I'm puzzled where you place the 203mm Ektar's in that range.

Some Ektar's are Tessar design but not the 203mm or maybe not in all markets. The Kodak (Ltd) Ektars seem to be made by a diffrerent sub contractor to the Eastman Kodak versions.

So some Ektar's are dialyte design and vastly superior to a Tessarticularly if coated.


22-Nov-2011, 15:54
I don't know about UK Ektars, i have very little knowledge about the history of Kodak Eastman, and the branches in the old continent.
What i know is that my old Ektar 203mm (uncoated, in Supermatic shutter) is quite good. With some ingenuity i decided to purchase a lumenized version, with the hope to fit the cells of the repro version in place of the uncoated ones.
I did it because:
1) it's common knowledge that it was one of the most successfully Kodak lenses, appreciated for its good quality, both at close range and at infinity. Being a strictly symmetrical, Apo Ronar-like design, it's not a suprise.
Coverage was not ample, but still enough for 5x7". Owning an half-plate Seneca Improved View, with plenty of half plate film holders (and with some Wephota 4 3/4 x 6 1/2" film that should come soon), i thought that a very compact lens, weighting very little, and with an efficient shutter, would be a perfect match for my slender Seneca View.
2) The design has 8 air-to-glass surfaces, so it would benefit a lot from coating.
That's why a post-war example would be preferable.
3) After browsing the Kodak documentation that i found online, i came to the conclusion that the Copying Ektanon was the same thing. Not sure about the spacing, though.

The cells are different, no chance to exchange them as i hoped to do. Maybe i should have asked before, but i still have an empty Alphax No.2 shutter (and a No.3 too), perfectly working, so i still have the chance to mount the coated cells in a shutter, sooner or later.
Of course it would make no sense to have the adapters made by a commercial machinist. I hope to get them for free (or nearly free), sooner or later. Not very soon, i am afraid. :)

Ian, i totally agree with you. If i were given the choice between a coated Ektar 203mm or any Tessar of (about) the same FL, i'd choose the former.
I find it very strange that the best Tessars, which in most cases are of the slower f/6.3 version, get sold for peanuts these days.
At the opposite side of the Tessar range, i appreciate the f/3.5 variety, shot wide open, but they are large, are mostly found in barrel, and don't come cheap.
I own a Zeiss Tessar 190mm f/3.5, which covers very little, and comes in Ilex No.5 shutter!

When it comes to plasmats of the same vintage, a convertible Symmar covers a lot more, ok. Not sure it's also sharper.
All in all, i think that f/7.7 Ektars are worth more than their average auction price.

have fun


24-Nov-2011, 13:19
Thanks CJ. I've only just acquired my 203mm Ektar so was checking on the expected performance. I have another Dialyt lens, a Eurynar which while sharp is unfortunately pre-WWII and uncoated.

I was really questioning TheDeardorffGuy's comments about a mint Tessar being better than the 203mm f7.7 Ektar because I doubt that's corect.

My experience with Tessar's after extensive use is if coated they can be great performers stopped down to f22 but coverage is definitely an issue. I've been using a T coated mid 1950's f4.5 150mm CZJ Tessar as well as an f5.6 150mm Xenar from Schneiders last production run in the early 2000's and it's hard to see any differances in the results.

Kodak (UK) Ltd was a separate company semi-autonomous of Eastman Kodak with it's own Research division and it's products were made in the UK or Europe, they handled all sales to the British Empire, (later Commonwealth) and the German & Hungarian plants as well as the Canadian and Australian plants were under their control pre-WWII.

Both Rochester and Harrow Reserarch were initially staffed by people from the Wratten company's Research department after Eastman bought Wratten & Mees joining Kodak.

So older products can differ slightly from US versions, that goes for cameras, lenses films, etc.

The UK 203mm f7.7 Ektar's come in Prontor, Compur and Epsilon shutters.