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Thread: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

  1. #11
    In the desert...
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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    posted before,,, the graflex manual states the 203 ektar's highest resolution is at full open aperature

  2. #12

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    Bob, I was under the impression that the aforementioned Caltar II-E was a rebadged Rodenstock Geronar triplet-- is that incorrect?

    New is likely off the table, given what huge depreciation film equipment suffers, and what I as a buyer of used equipment now benefit from. Plus there are darn few ultracompact lenses available new that are capable of the most exquisite image quality, near as I can tell. The vintage Ektar might be one such ultra-compact, however.

    The Apo Sironars and Apo Symmars aren't off the table yet, they're just a bit heavy and a tight fit in my Meridian for it to be a folder, that is to say without having to remove and store them each time (in a very dusty--ashen, acutally) environment literally right out my door-- the Ventana Wilderness which just recently burned a quarter of a million acres.

    Re: shutters, all I can say so far is that I've got a 60 year old Rapax that is once again within spec for a brand new shutter, at least from 1/100th to 1s where it counts most (speedier than that, LF is probably not my first choice anyway). I don't consider "old" to be necessarily inferior; the build quality of the Graphex/Rapax/Compur stuff impresses me more than a Copal knockoff with a cheap build (glaringly few diaphram blades in a Copal #0, barely improved with six blades in a #1).

    Another problem is that back-pack friendly lenses are just not as available for rental or as ubiquitous as the f/5.6 monsters for studio monorail work.

  3. #13

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan J. Eberle View Post
    ...glaringly few diaphram blades in a Copal #0, barely improved with six blades in a #1...
    All modern Copal #1 shutters have seven diaphragm blades. With new lenses in Copal #0, it varies depending on lens maker and time of manufacturer. Today's Fujis have five; NOS Nikons and current Rodenstocks have seven. I'm not sure about Schneider. Caltars had five.

  4. #14

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    I don't know the answer regarding the specific lens you're looking at. But I do shoot color with old single coated lenses and less old multicoated lenses. In single coated, I have a Symmar-S 150/5.6, Super Angulon 75/8 and Super Angulon 65/8, all dating to 1971 or 1972. My multicoated lenses are Fuji -NW lenses.

    I haven't noticed much difference between the Symmar-S and the Fujis and none of the single coated lenses have caused issues with color accuracy.

  5. #15
    SF Bay Area 94303
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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    No one has said much about lens and especially bellows flare. What happens is that the clear areas on your negative are filled in with random light. It generally degrades the image. This is light which is randomly reflected at air/glass interfaces. Non-coated-surfaces bounce the most light around, and single coating greatly reduces this and multicoating incrementally reduces it over single coating. The more elements the worse the problem.

    However, there is another source of flare no amount of multicoating is going to fix: in camera, off image light bouncing around inside the camera (bellows flare). Ever wonder why the inside of you camera is flat black. That is to prevent off axis light from bouncing back onto your film. No black is really black, some light still bounces. The best way to get rid of this is with a compendium bellows to block all off image light from entering the camera. The hand or dark slide shadowing the lens really does not do it. More pictures are probably destroyed by camera flare than by using uncoated or single coated lenses. Modern lenses with big coverage only make the problem worse as they let even more light in to bounce around in your camera and destroy your image. Those old (or new ones) Tessars with limited coverage win if you don't use a lens shade to cut out off image light.

    K

  6. #16

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    I see positive references to the 203mm fairly often, are some of these Ektars better than others, where there certain focal lengths that were real jewels or shined above average?

  7. #17

    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    I also have one of the compur mounted 203's and had another years ago that was given to me. Superb lenses by any standard. I plenty of fine modern glass but purchased the Ektar for trips where size and weight count. I don't enlarge to the size you're talking about but do find the lens to be exceptional in resolution and quite pleasing in contrast and color.

    Another series of glass to consider, the Schneider G Clarons as well as the Nikkor M series. I have a very tiny 150 G claron, a 240 G Claron that's in a copal 1 and a 305 G Claron in a Copal 1. The 150 and 240 are particularly small for their FL and apo lenses with exceptional covering power, color, contrast and resolution. The 210 would be a fine lens that's very small as well. I also have 300 and 450 Nikkor M lenses. The 300 is quite small and in a Copal 1. Excellent by any standard.

    Give these some thought if you're looking for modern glass. The Schneiders are single coated which is no big deal in my book and the Nikkors are multi coated if I remember correctly.

  8. #18

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    The 203 Ektar is a fine lens for any application. I also test my shutters and put a piece of tape with the actual speeds on the lens board. In my not so humble opinion, the Ektar line of lenses will stand up to most any modern lens on the market. The 203 Ektar is really the cream of the Kodak crop. For what it's worth, the Ektar line of lenses were, according to Kodak, "fully corrected for color". Of course there are those who would disagree, such as your Leica salesman. It's a prestige thing.

  9. #19

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    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen in Montreal View Post
    I see positive references to the 203mm fairly often, are some of these Ektars better than others, where there certain focal lengths that were real jewels or shined above average?
    Allen,
    The Ektar name dosen't represent a specific design but is a proprietary name used by Kodak. Some, like the 203mm were dialyte and others like the Wide Fields are most likely semi gnauss. Many like the Commercial models were tessars. Nearly all are excellent performers and were certainly highly regarded during much of the 40's and 50's up 'til today.
    The 203 f7/7 is IMHO a fine lens which I use on a 4x5 GVII and 5x7 Speed Graphic. When I shot a 4x5 Crown Graphic I really liked the 127mm Ektar---hardly any room for movements but on a hand held Crown Graphic that is IMHO a non issue. The 14" Comercial and 10" Wide Fields are some of the most used used lenses on my 8x10. While I don't have one, the 135mm WF is very highly regarded as well, especially by backpackers. I believe the 100mm WF is also considered very desireable. IIRC there is even a Heliar design Ektar. There is plenty of info on the Large Format Homepage and in the archives---a veritable education in Ektars---I really like mine.
    Cheers!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #20

    Re: 203mm Ektar f7.7 vs modern APO Plasmats for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wooten View Post
    posted before,,, the graflex manual states the 203 ektar's highest resolution is at full open aperature
    This is an old thread but the subject is dear to me. And the 203 Ektar represents tremendous value at any price. A little background: as a fulltime salaried photographer (7 years) and a former pro (15 years), I used this lens thousands of times. I did all kinds of freelance photojournalism but for years it was photographing artworks for museums and galleries that boiled the pot. I used this lens on 4x5, with a Linhof Technika, as my go-to travel out of the studio camera. During the same years I also used Red Dot Artars, Apo-Symmars, Nikkors, Commercial Ektars, and Sironar M's, and found surprising variability among them. The Ektar was the equal of all of them and better than most. Apochromatic? It sure behaves like one. Posters made from my photographs of paintings and drawings have often been reproduced often as posters, and the ones made with this lens really shine. The edges of the field hold up, both for contrast and for sharpness. My current one is late production, coated, in a Compur shutter, and pristine.
    What else to tell? It is SMALL and LIGHT (hallelujah!). I often traveled by train in this work and every day I don't have to l lug a 40-pound case is a plus. I even appreciate the small threaded lens hood that screws right on (it's a Kodak Sseries VII hood.) The lens covers the 4x5 image field evenly, a quality rarely discussed but actually important. It has enough coverage for modest movements with no loss in image quality. The Compur syncs with strobes. Draw backs? It has a little less contrast than the Ektars and Apo-Symmars, but much more than the Red Dot Artars.
    Is it best wide open? I don't really know that, but when I have had to use it wide open it has come through for me, many times. I like it best at f16 - 22. Those f-stops give me corners equal to the center, practically speaking. Do I need those f-stops when I use movements? Apparently they help -- practical experience speaking here, not tests.
    Now a piece of ancient history, first hand: In 1973 Ansel Adams said to me, while sitting in the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale looking at Paul Strand prints, "That 203 is my favorite lens. Give it a try." I don't think he was blowing smoke. I gave it a try and I have stuck with it

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