older 8x10 lenses

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I am looking for one or two 8x10 lenses, and I would like to know something about Kodak (Commercial) Ektars, Ilex Paragons, Meyer and Bausch and Lomb(spelling??) lenses. Such lenses seem to be on the market, and not too expensive. Are they recommendable (for black and white)? What experiences do you have with such lenses?

Lukas Werth

-- Lukas Werth (werthlvk@zedat.fu-berlin.de), October 24, 1998


Try this link: http://www.smu.edu/~rmonagha/mf/ektar.html

-- sheldon hambrick (schambrick@earthlink.net), October 24, 1998.

I only do black and white and have some experience with "vintage glass".

I can't address any of the brands you mentioned, but I do have experience with a couple of Turner and Reich convertibles. I have a 12" and a 15", the 12 is in a Betax No. 4 shutter and the 15 is in a Ilex No. 5 shutter. The 12" was patented in 1913 and the 15" was patented in 1895, when they were actually built I can't say.

I have had both cleaned and calibrated, the fellow that does this for me charges $45.00, and sends back the actual shutter speeds with the lens. The shutters are the style that don't require cocking, they cock and fire in the same step. The No.4 is 1/2 to 1/50 and the No. 5 is 1 to 1/50, although the Ilex is only able to produce a top speed of 1/25.

The lenses are uncoated, and the 12" has one small bubble in it, and the 15" has a half dozen or so bubbles, otherwise there are no scratches or hazing of the lens elements. I cannot detect a degradation of the image because of these defects. I have compared the 12" to a current Fuji 300, and it holds it's own against the current lens. I am only doing contact prints at present, so I cannot testify as to the image quality at 3' by 4', and I seriously doubt that I will ever print that large anyway!

My test for sharpness is to focus on infinity, and include some bare branches of a tree at infinity, and see how sharp they look under a loop. Both of these lenses produce a "barb wire" sharp twig on the negative and print, and that is sharp enough for me. They both can produce a high contrast image, but flare is a concern, but can be dealt with both at the time of exposure and in the darkroom. I have yet to have a flare situaion that made the image unprintable, although I avoid back light like the plague, and always have.

I hope this address a few of your concerns, I hope to find a wide field ektar, in the 200mm range to tell you about.

-- Marv Thompson (mthompson@clinton.net), October 24, 1998.

I've used Kodak Ektars, Wide Field, and Commercial Ektars [bigger circle for more movements] since the late 50's. I've compared these to new Schneiders and the newer lense certainly have more contrast. It does make a difference with color film, but with the 8x10, I usually shoot b&w. Occasionaly I am asked to shoot an 8x10 trans of a painting, but usually the 8x10 is for personal work. I LOVE those Ektars. They're available used. EBay, the Internet auction location; MidWest, Columbus Camera, etc. all have Web locations for price comparisions. You shouldn't need to spend more than $500, and probably much less, for anything that Kodak made, which will fit your 8x10. Start at 190mm Wide Field Ektar, a 250mm Wide Field, a 300 [12"] Ektar or Commercial Ektar, a 360mm [14"] Commerical Ektar.......... they're out there waiting for you.

-- Dick Fish (dfish@javanet.com), October 25, 1998.

I too shoot only b&w and I too love the Kodak Ektars. I have a 10" WF Ektar and a 14" Commercial Ektar for my 8x10 Deardorff. Don't expect too much from the old shutters, though. Have them tested, then put a piece of tape on the front of the lens with the true shutter speeds written on them. For a lot of images shot with these lenses, go to http://www.ravenvision.com/rvapeter.htm and look around. If it's 8x10, it was shot with one of the above Ektars.

-- Peter Hughes (leonine@redshift.com), October 25, 1998.

The Ektars are nice lenses. All Ektars were single coated, I think. Many are still being used in commercial studios for advertising, selling silverware, soda pop, shoes, etc. All the Ektars are pretty good, with the Commercial Ektars getting a bit better quality control (to satisfy picky pros), hince the name 'Commercial', to differentiate them from the standard Ektars. The 'Wide Field Ektars' are just that, with a larger circle of illumination than the standard or commercial Ektars. The 10" wide field was a favorite with AA for 8x10. Many of the (at least longer) Ektars used Ilex shutters, but most used Kodak shutters. The Ilex Paragons, I believe, were coated versions of an older Kodak design, the precursor to the Ektars. They should be fine. Do not think these lenses are for B&W only. They can give great results in color as well.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), October 26, 1998.

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