View Full Version : Goerz RD Artar vs. more contemporary 210

29-Sep-2011, 08:19
I'm looking to purchase a 4x5 lens around the focal length of 210mm.
I've heard great things about the Goerz RD Artar lenses and was wondering if it is worth spending the extra money to get one of these rather than a more contemporary second hand 210 from one of the big 4 lens makers.


E. von Hoegh
29-Sep-2011, 09:12
Artars don't have much coverage, ca. 43 degrees, while a 210 Symmar will cover 70 degrees. The Artar wouldn't give much movement on 4x5. Artars are slow, an 8 1/4" would be f:9. They don't always come in a shutter, either. Other than that, they're great lenses.

Get a Symmar for $200-250 and spend the extra on film.

Jim Galli
29-Sep-2011, 09:47
EVerything you've heard about RD Artar is likely true. What you haven't heard is that the 203mm f7.7 Kodak Ektar, coated, is basically the same lens, and just as sharp, and gets a lot less respect ~ money. fwiw

Kirk Gittings
29-Sep-2011, 09:49
I love the depth of your knowledge on this kind of stuff Jim.

Joseph O'Neil
29-Sep-2011, 10:46
I am surprized to hear the RD artar is more money than other 210mm lenses. I have both the RD artar - f9, and a Schneider 210mm F5.6mm.

The artars do not have a lot of coverage, so your movements are restricted, and I think my Schneider is just as sharp. The two main reasons I bought my RD artar is it was dirt cheap at the time - surplus sale off an old process camera. I front mounted it in a #3 shutter.

Secondly for hiking, every ounce counts, and F9 lenses are usually small and light weight. But today, except for the weight issue, i would not pay more for a RD artar than a good Scheider or Rodenstock 210mm.


29-Sep-2011, 11:44
The Computar Symmetrigon 210mm f 6.3 is an unsung hero -- I have used it both for 4x5 and 5x7. And often under-priced. In a Copol 1 shutter. Will not cover 8x10 at infintity, but more coverage than you need on 4x5.

Simple 4 air-spaced cell design.

Steve Hamley
29-Sep-2011, 12:30
In the 210mm focal length, the "big four" lenses are dirt cheap, and purely on technical merit you can't not get one over the Artar. More coverage, likely as cheap or cheaper, less likely to have shutter or glass issues, multicoated, etc. Recently I happened onto eBay at the right time and bought a 210mm Sinaron-S (Apo-Sironar-N) in late black Copal 1 for $150. It has a pinpoint "sparkle" on the rear glass but otherwise excellent, and I really bought it for the shutter.

The reasons to choose the Artar in this focal length would IMO be lighter weight (depending on shutter), and perhaps better at very close distances. The Artar covered 46 degrees if I remember correctly, but as a rule of thumb you can estimate sharp coverage to be about the same as the focal length. So the modern plasmats will have 2-3 more inches of usable image circle.

Cheers, Steve

4-Oct-2011, 10:51
thanks for the responses -

Jon Wilson
6-Oct-2011, 20:19
Dave, here is an example of an image taken with a 210mm Goerz RD Artar.


John Kasaian
6-Oct-2011, 21:36
I really like Artars, but is it worth paying more for one than a Nikon, Schneider, or Rodenstock? Likely not, but if you feel the need for that particular Artar, I say go for it! It is a good thing to feed your creative muse whatever she desires, if possible.

7-Oct-2011, 00:13
The Red Dot Artar is a process lens, so it's optimized for relatively close work.

Of course, any lens will work at any distance, but if you're looking for a general-purpose lens it might not be the first choice.

- Leigh

7-Oct-2011, 01:21
Don't forget the modern Artar, i.e. the APO Ronar. I picked up a 300mm, cells only, for a song and it went right into a Compur shutter I had lying around (not many do though, fyi). Multi-coated and a beautiful lens. I originally wanted to get an APO-Germinar but I gave up since they are too hard to find. I have a thing for dialytes. One of my favorites is a 150 f3.5 Eurynar, uncoated. I used to have a 24" Artar back when I shot 8x10. I wish I still had it.

One of my friends has practically every focal length Artar, all mounted by Grimes in modern shutters. I would say he likes the Artars! Probably cost him a fortune to accumulate. He makes beautiful images with them which is really all that matters. Here is his website if you want to see Artars in action- http://craigcarlson.net

I would suggest sticking with one of the major modern manufacturers if budget or time is a factor. Keep in mind that is will be a lot more difficult to find a good Artar in a good shutter than to find a modern lens.

7-Oct-2011, 08:03
I ended up going with a 210 symmar 5.6. I found a pretty good deal on ebay where I got a very clean lens with 3 filters (neutral, yellow, green) for under $300.

I think I will end up eventually getting the artar as well given that the symmar is huge. I'm new to the LF world and my only other 4x5 lens is the Schneider 90mm f/6.8 Angulon. it would be great to have a 3 lens kit/camera that all fit nicely into 1 medium size bag.

For now though, I'm very excited about the 210.
I'll post some images next week.


Patrick thanks for the link to Craig Carlson's work it is great.

Steve Hamley
7-Oct-2011, 13:36

Just be patient and wait for one in excellent condition in a factory-mount shutter, the Compur will be the smallest and lightest.

Other small light options would be the 210mm f:9 G-Claron, and 8-1/4" (210mm) f:6.8 Dagors in Compur.

Cheers, Steve

E. von Hoegh
7-Oct-2011, 13:54
Artars that were mounted in shutter by Goerz were optimised for infinty to one tenth lifesize, according to an old Goerz catalog. The Dagors are lovely, and have at least as much coverage as a Symmar. A single coated Dagor is a very smooth and contrasty lens that captures great shadow detail.

David Karp
7-Oct-2011, 14:11
Another really nice option in a small 210 is a 210mm f/6.1 Schneider Xenar. These are single coated. Calumet also sold these as a Caltar Pro, but watch out. If I recall, there was another version of the 210mm Caltar Pro. If it is an f/6.1 and made in Germany, it is the same as the Schneider. I have one and like it a lot. The design is different, 4 elements in 3 groups, a Tessar-type.

I have a 210mm Caltar II-N, which is the same as the Rodenstock APO-Sironar-N and a really nice lens. When I want to go hiking with the 4x5, the Caltar Pro comes with me, to save weight and to use smaller filters.