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Thread: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

  1. #1
    8x20 8x10 John Jarosz's Avatar
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    Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    Just found out today that Ilex made 2 versions of this lens, a F4.5 and a F6.3. Mine is the F6.3.

    Performance wise, is there much of a difference between the 2 versions? Not a big deal to me, but just interested to know.

    I use mine on an 8x10. I guess the 4.5 version would be easier to focus.

    Thanks
    John

  2. #2

    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    It is my belief that the f/6.3 Tessars are considered to have higher image quality than their f/4.5 cousins.

  3. #3
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    To add to the confusion, there are also two series of the Paragon Anastigmat: A and S. And there's a 12" version with adjustable soft focus, one without.

    Never tried the f/6.3 but I've had two versions of the 12" f/4.5 for a while, I'm selling the non-soft focus lens.

    Maybe at f/11 the f4.5 and f6.3 versions would look similar, but at f/4.5 the 12" I have is quite splendid: smooth, creamy bokeh, and very sharp where focused.
    Good contrast control, too.

    I imagine the f/6.3 is a bit smaller in size; mine's a real chunk of glass, heavy.
    I use it on 8x10 as well.

    Here's a sample shot using the lens wide open and at f11.
    https://flic.kr/p/2j3PeeU
    Last edited by Ari; 20-May-2020 at 11:19.

  4. #4
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    I haven't had those lenses, but I have had a couple of the Ilex 254mm Paragons. Both were outstanding performers.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  5. #5

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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    My 12"/6.3 is one of my favorite lenses, but I don't have the f/4.5.



    Eric

    by Michael Darnton, on Flickr
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  6. #6
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    Isn't the f/6.3 a copy of the Kodak Commercial Ektar? [digs through old posts.] Yes--Calumet teamed up with Burke and James to hire Ilex to design a replacement for the recently discontinued Commercial Ektar. That resulted in the f/6.3 model of the 12" lens that was marketed variously, by Calumet as the Ilex-Caltar, by Ilex as a Paragon, and by B&J as an Acuton. The design is tessar-derived, but was freshly calculated in the late 60's. It mounts in a No. 4 shutter, which was a requirement to fit on the 4x4 lens boards used on Calumet and B&J cameras of the day.

    The f/4.5 version is the more classical tessar implementation, which is an older design. A 12" f/4.5 lens would need a No. 5 shutter, which I seem to recall struggles to fit on a 4x4 lens board.

    Lynn Jones (RIP) was part of the team that developed the f/6.3 lens, and he thought it was every bit as good or maybe better than the Kodak lens, which is certainly highly regarded. I believe Dr. Jones would have expressed confidence that the f/6.3 is a newer and better design than the f/4.5.

    Comparing the 12" f/6.3 Ilex-Calumet that I own to my 8-1/2" f/4.5 Paragon would do nothing to challenge his opinion.

    Rick "agreeing that differences might be subtle at small apertures, though maybe smaller than f/11" Denney

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    Dr. Jones also designed the Computar Symmetrigon 210mm f6.3. And along the same lines, it sounds like. A very fine lens for 4x5 and 5x7...not enough coverage for 8x10.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #8
    8x20 8x10 John Jarosz's Avatar
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    Thanks guys. Very insightful

    John

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    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Ilex Paragon Anastigmat Series S 12 inch FL

    I never found the Commercial Ektars to have a smooth look, often giving choppy/pulpy blacks. They also didn't deal well with higher-contrast scenes, often blowing out whites. My $0.02.
    So saying one is a better lens is quite subjective as I'd take the f/4.5 Paragons over any of the Commercial Ektar lenses any day. But that's the look I'm after.
    I only know the Series-S lenses, so that's my basis for the opinion.

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