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Thread: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

  1. #1

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    Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    I've been shooting with "modern lenses" for the last 3 or so years ( B&W 4x5 and 5x7). Recently I bought a 14" Red Dot Artar and it just knocks my socks off. Smooth creamy mid and high tone tonality, subtle low contrast, and sharp as a tack. I know there are other folks out there that are equally smitten. What's going on here? What am I seeing? Is it just the coatings? What other lenses produce this effect? My first lens was a 150mm Symmar (?) and I wasn't sophisticated enough to recognize what was going on and dumped it for a newer Fujinon. What do you think, I'm having a hard time putting words to it? Help me out...

    Thanks - Pete

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    What shutter is it in?

  3. #3

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    It's the coatings, the glass, the design.... The Artars were process lenses, after all. The Artars that were factory mounted in shutter were optimised for infinity. Which Symmar did you have? I have a 150 convertible, it is more clinical than the Artar.

    If you like the tonality of the Artar, try a Dagor.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  4. #4

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    Copal 3 shutter, SK Grimes.

    To the best of my knowledge the chronology was Symmar - Symmar S - APO Symmar. The lens I had was a Symmar, small portable lens?

  5. #5

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Suttner View Post
    Copal 3 shutter, SK Grimes.

    To the best of my knowledge the chronology was Symmar - Symmar S - APO Symmar. The lens I had was a Symmar, small portable lens?
    The Symmar chronology was - Doppel Anastigmat Symmar > triple convertible Symmar > Symmar (convertible) > Symmar S > Apo Symmar > Super Symmars, etc. The first two are Dagor clones, the Symmar (convertible) is the first Plasmat type.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    Dagors could have very hard contrast, esp the last of 'em if multicoated. Only four air/glass
    interfaces. Midtone micro-contrast could be exceptional. The multi-bladed shutters also
    influenced the look. I thought artars were always four-element dialytes. The Fuji equivalent
    would be the C series, and those certainly tend to be hard-sharp due to the exceptional coatings, unless you improperly shade and let too much skylight flare in (easy to due given their enormous image circles).

  7. #7

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    Bingo, thank you, it was the Symmar convertable. I recently reprinted some images from that lens and it has some similarities to the Artar. Smooth, low contrast, and sharp.

    So we have early Symmars, Dagors, Artars. Any others? 14" lens is kinda long for 4x5 and I'm curious about 7-8.5" lens alternatives. I am shooting urban and landscape stopped down between f16 and f32.

  8. #8

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    If you like the Artars, they were made as short as 4". The shortest Artar that will cover 4x5 at inf is 8 1/2" with little or no movement. Dagors are available in most all the standard lengths, they cover 70 degrees, same as a Symmar. Then you have Commercial Ektars, a single coated Tessar design. There is a very good section on classic lenses on the LFPF homepage.

    An 8 1/4" Dagor is available, but pricey due to the cult status. With only 4 air/glass surfaces (8 for an Artar) the single coated Dagors give impressive results.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  9. #9

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    I like the look of just about all the dialyte lenses I've used. They do give nice transition areas. I sometimes wonder if the cult quality of these lenses is a little bit over done though. Weren't these lenses originially looked upon as bargain lenses after all? Back in the day when a Plasmat lenses would set you back the price of a used car (at a minimum).

  10. #10

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    Re: Subjective Quality of Artar lens

    Can I redirect the question? I'm looking at a subjective result of a technology that doesn't seem to exist today in large format lenses. What changed?

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