View Full Version : Kodak 203mm Ektar Question

17-Jul-2012, 07:04
I own a nice example and had been thinking of selling it since I had acquired a Fujinon f6.7 250mm for taking portraits. The Kodak is known for sharpness but in test shots in comparison to the Fujinon the resulting images were softer and with less contrast. I'm thinking that I may prefer this looks at times which is one reason why I decided to keep the Kodak. I am hoping for any insights on my experience. I shot in natural window light at f7.7 on the Kodak.

Mark Sampson
17-Jul-2012, 07:11
i would expect the Ektar's performance to improve if you stop it down. Like most LF lenses, they really weren't meant to be used wide open, and are quite sharp @ f/22. The Fujinon, with the advantages of modern glass formulas and better coating, will likely have more contrast than the Ektar in a comparison. (I can't comment on the Fuji's resolution vs. the Ektar.)

17-Jul-2012, 07:14
I have not used the Kodak 203 but use a few other older Kodak lenses. I prefer them for portraiture WAY more than "modern" lenses. I agree with your experience. So do my subjects, who alsways seem to like the softer look than a clinically precise sharp look.

17-Jul-2012, 09:09
I'd have trouble calling my sample anything but sharp wide open.


Here's a crop - you can see my shadow in his eye.

Exposure was something like 1/2 second at f/7.7 on Tri-X. I'm rather fond of that little lens.

17-Jul-2012, 09:34
I have some old literature that describes the f7.7 Kodak anastigmat as a diffraction limited lens, that is it was sharpest wide open and began to decrease in resolution as it was stopped down. This holds only for the center of the field. At the edge of the field, it needed to be stopped down to be sharp. The same article describes the early Zeiss f6.3 Tessar as having the same properties. My copy is a reprint of an article by Verne Reckmeyer on the testing and evaluation of photographic lenses published in 1934.

Lynn Jones
17-Jul-2012, 15:19
I have several decades of experience with numerous Kodak 203's. They are 4 element all air spaced similar to the the Goerz Artar. They are incredible lenses and I've never seen a bad one. If they are un-damaged, the poor quality is likely to be at your doorstep. The only real problem is narrow angle of view, around 45 degrees (regardless of what Kodak says) while the Fujinon you are discussing is a fine lens, it will have a bit less contrast than the Ektar but will cover 70 or more degrees.


17-Jul-2012, 16:36
Will it cover a whole plate negative?

17-Jul-2012, 16:46
It'll cover 5x7 with some movements so WP wil be a stretch.


Jim Jones
17-Jul-2012, 18:19
The Christopher Perez and Kerry Thalmann tests http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html show the 203mm Ektar to be a good performer. Even an uncoated prewar version tested as well as a few of the later competitors.