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Thread: 135mm xenar vs. optar

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
    trying to escape Michigan and Illinois

    135mm xenar vs. optar


    I'm trying to get my hands on a Speed Graphic with a working rangefinder calibrated to work with a 127 or 135 lens. I found one, with an Optar. The salesman recommended I look for a better one, i.e. a Crown with a Xenar. Thing is, I want a Speed, because I will use the focal plane shutter from time to time. Second, the bi-post strobe sync is not much of an issue, as I prefer using hot lights to strobes. So, the question:

    I used to have a 240mm tele Xenar that was, in some instances, too contrasty for my tastes. And I did recently pick up a 152mm Ektar, as I prefer it to the 162mm Optar I already owned.

    How much better than the Optar is the Xenar?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: 135mm xenar vs. optar

    Optars and Xenars vary quite a bit from lens to lens. A good Optar can be better than a Xenar a and vice-versa. Frankly, I generally can't tell any difference, and would choose based on the shutter. (Ektars are more consistant, and often better than either of them.)
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sonora, California

    Re: 135mm xenar vs. optar

    by f/16 or so, you really cannot tell the difference. I wouldn't really call either one of them better than the other. The optars are almost all Wollensak Raptars and have that special "luminosity". But, it is a subtle thing. I personally prefer the look of the optars over the Xenar but, prefer the shutters that the Xenars come in over those that the Optar/Raptar come in.

    Finally, I'd have to agree, the Ektar lenses of that period are generally superior to both.

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