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Thread: Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

  1. #1

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    Tessar type lenses have a reputation of having a very abrupt (steep) transition from sharp to unsharp. This sounds undesirable for landscape - but is it a fact or more of a myth? Or maybe it is more true of some tessar type lenses than of others?

    The background for my question: I am looking for a lightweight, high quality 210 mm lens for 6x9. I have avoided the M-Nikkor 8.0/200 because of this Tessar type myth. The 6-element G-Claron still weighs 295 gr and has a coverage that exceeds my needs. Right now, there is a Voigtl?nder Apo Skopar 9.0/210 in a barrel for sale on eBay. So I thought I had found the solution. But Tim from, whom I asked concerning the mounting into a shutter, corrected my belief that this was an Artar/Ronar type lens, he says it is a Tessar type. So my appetite for this lens dropped as steep as the sharpness in a Tessar. What do you think?

    By the way, hunting for this lightweight 210, I made some strange "discoveries":
    1- While the Internet abounds with quotes of the Apo Lanthar, I found almost no information about the Apo Skopar.
    2- The Schneider web site, at, has 2 brochures of Apo Artars, and (only) the one of them, ar_apo_kompl.pdf, lists an Apo Artar 9.0/210 - so this may be the one for me to hunt. (Since there is no Apo Ronar 210, to my knowledge). However - how much weight would I actually save (compared to the G-Claron), since this 210 mm Artar probably would need a #1 shutter. Or would it??
    3- On the same part of the Schneider web site, there is a brochure on Repro Clarons, in which to my amazement I found that a Repro Claron 9.0/210 in its time was offered in a # 0 (!) shutter, in which it weighed only 190 gr! So this would be a 210 mm for 190 gr, like the M-Nikkor, but without (?) the Tessar lack of bokeh.

    Good light! Hening.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    Hello Henning,

    The Nikkor f8 200M would be an excellent lens to use for landscape photography with the 6X9 (or even the 4X5) format. You can forget about the, so called, "Tessar myth" with that lens.

  3. #3

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    The Apo-Skopar, like the Apo-Lanthar, is a Heliar, not a Tessar.

  4. #4

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    The Leica Elmar is a Tessar, and bokker don't get no betterthan that, me lad.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  6. #6
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Huntsville, AL

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    As Jason said: Whereas the regular (non-Apo) Skopar was a Tessar-type, the Apo-Skopar was a Heliar type. Actually, Voigtländer recommended the Apo-Skopar for landscapes.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    as mentioned in another thread... the komura (old caltar pro) 210 6.3 is pretty nice... I use mine on my vhr for 6x9 or up to 4x5 easily (it's coverage should go up to 5x7 with room)

    Topcon also marketed a super-horseman 210 that was pretty nice, and lightweight.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    Though seven silly litle milimeters short of your specification, it sounds like you might like the 203mm lenses, f7.7 Ektars and f7.5 Optars. Some 203mm Kodak lenses are uncoated, though, so look for the "L" in a circle amongst the lens markings. Coating is very important since these lenses have eight air to glass surfaces.

    These are dialytes, like the Artar, Repro-Claron and Ronar, but just a little bit faster. They have way more coverage than you need, but so do most of the other lenses you express interest in. Besides, some day you might want to explore the advantages of getting more use from your lenses by use of multiple formats. I just weighed one on my crude postal scale and got a 200 gram reading.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Calgary, AB Canada

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    I used a Rodenstock 210 Geronar, Tessar type lens, for several years. I found it very sharp, contrasty, and great to the edges. Mind you I generally stop down to at least f22 and usually f32. For those rare shots where I wanted to shoot wide open to reduce DOF I found the Tessar gave a very nice 3D effect. Something I don't get with my newer design lenses.
    Eric Rose

    I don't play the piano, I don't have a beard and I listen to AC/DC in the darkroom. I have no hope as a photographer.

  10. #10
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Bokeh, and Tessar type lenses

    I think there's a fair amount of variety among Tessars with regard to the rendering of out of focus areas, but most of the ones I have are pretty good. I've probably tried and sold off a few that weren't. Just checking to see what I have conveniently scanned on my website:

    Here's a landscape on 6x6 with an 80/3.5 Color-Skopar (Voigtlander Perkeo II)--

    This portrait is on 6x6 with a 135/3.5 Nikkor-Q (Bronica S2A), which is a Tessar-type. Notice a bit of double line bokeh in the upper left hand corner, which might suggest that the Nikkor-Q is corrected to a greater degree for spherical abberation than the older Color-Skopar, not that these two examples are really comparable, but in general from using them both, I'd say it's likely--

    This portrait is on 5x7" with a B&L 5x8" Tessar (around 240mm)--

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