View Full Version : Horseman/Caltar 180mm f5.6

1-Jan-2012, 08:52
I purchased a 180mm f5.6 lens for my 5X7, advertised as a Horseman/Caltar. I thought I understood that Caltar lenses were re-branded from another manufacturer.

The only marking on the len is a green chess piece knight, and the copal zero shutter is marked "Topcor".

Does anyone have an idea who made this lens, and perhaps what its coverage might be? Images made with this lens are tack sharp, but the coverage seems barely adequate for 5X7, and I'm wondering if I could do better with another.


Jim Noel
1-Jan-2012, 10:02
I am unsure what you have, but I strongly believe you do not have what you paid for.The "Topcor" indicates something from Topcon, and the lack of coverage indicates that it is not a "Normal" 180, but a telephoto design which would have a smaller image circle than normal.

1-Jan-2012, 10:04
Topcon/Topcor/Horseman LF lenses have Caltar brothers and sisters with, I suspect, identical optics, but the barrels are slightly different. If yours has the little green horsehead on the barrel then it is an original Horseman/Topcor lens, not a Caltar.

Specs as follows: 230mm (66 deg.) at F22 & 203mm (60 deg.) at f5.6. Flange-focal = 167.7.

If you don't want the lens I may be interested in this for my little Horseman FA 4x5. The Topcor lenses were designed to work well on that little camera and I have a few of them already.

You COULD do better with the older Fujinon 180mm. It has a 305mm image circle and I use that one on 8x10.

You don't have the 180 telephoto that Jim mentions because that does not cover anywhere near 5x7 (doesn't even cover 4x5) and it does not have the little horsehead on it, it says "Topcor P.T."

David Karp
2-Jan-2012, 12:13
Topcon sold lenses to Calumet under the Caltar label for a while. The best source of information about Caltar lenses and their manufacturer is an article that Kerry Thalmann wrote years ago for View Camera Magazine.

Caltar's have been made by Ilex, Schneider, and Rodenstock, in addition to the ones like yours.

Joseph Dickerson
4-Jan-2012, 10:14
You might have a 180 Topcor that was intended for the Horseman VHR. Does it cover 4x5? I think the VHR 180 did, but just barely. Maybe a photo showing the markings on the lens will jog someone's memory.

I have a Caltar HR 150, which was made by Topcon, and it has plenty of image circle and is one of my sharpest lenses. I understand that some of the other Caltar HR lenses were manufactured by someone else.

It gets curiouser and curiouser! :rolleyes:


R. Peters
28-Feb-2017, 21:37
The 180mm f5.6 sold for the horseman 2x3 press series cameras was a telephoto lens and was never intended to be used on 4x5. (Although you could use it on a 4x5 camera equipped with a 2x3 roll film adapter.) I don't know if Topcon also made 180mm lenses to cover 4x5 or not, but they may have. The lenses Topcon wholesaled to Caltar would have been branded Caltar and not Topcor.

Horseman made some superb lenses for its 35mm R series cameras: RE, RE Super, Super D, Super DM. As good as anyone's. Its large format lenses were no slouches either. However, their cheap entry level Uni, Unirex, Wink etc. cameras were generally unreliable and had a poor reputation.

Topcon. last I heard, specializes in surveying equipment, or maybe that day has also come and gone.

1-Mar-2017, 12:04
The only marking on the len [sic] is a green chess piece knight

The green horsehead is only on the 4x5 lens. That mark is not found on the 6x9cm format telephoto.