Performance of old 101mm Ektar lens : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I recently picked up a 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 camera with an early 50's kodak ektar lens. I got around to testing the lens yesterday and found that the best the lens could do is about 35 lp/mm at any stop. This does not compare at all to the more modern lenses I have tested. Any comments? ( I know, I know, I only paid $120 for the camera, but I was under the impression that the ektar lenses were pretty good)

-- Gene Crumpler (, June 19, 2000


Gene, I just got a 2x3 Crown with the 105mm f:3.7 Ektar, reputed to be copied from the Voigtlander Heliar. Serial number indicates it was made in 1947. I have not (and will not) tested for LPM, but my first test roll of Velvia is absolutely wonderful; quite sharp and uniform from corner to corner, with a beautiful plasticity so characteristic of Heliar lenses. All shot at f:8-11. Mitch

-- Bill Mitchell (, June 19, 2000.

The 100mm/3.5, which I have adapted for 35mm, and the 105mm/3.7 are Heliar types, but the 101, I think, is a Tessar. I have a friend who has the 101, and he says he's found it to be quite sharp around f:8.

Did you test the Ektar on the same body as the modern lenses? There may be other factors like film flatness, accuracy of the focusing system, etc., at play.

-- David Goldfarb (, June 19, 2000.

No-I have no other lenses for this camera. What I am comparing this lens with are new p67 lenses, a mamyia c330 lenses and top of the line nikkors. Perhaps an unfair comparison.

I used my usual testing method of a darken room (new light tight darkroom), the shutter open and exposure by electronic flash(Zeiss standard method). Focusing was on the GG with a 7X loupe. Best F-stops were F11-16.

-- Gene Crumpler (, June 19, 2000.

It could be the lens, but it could also be the groundglass/film plane registration.

-- David Goldfarb (, June 19, 2000.

Gene, I don't have any experience with the lens, but Chris Perez has some data on his web site that makes it sound quite good - 50's to 80's lp/mm. Might want to check it out. You'll need to scroll down some to get to it.


-- Roger Rouch (, June 19, 2000.

I just checked Chris's site and his ektar performs quite well starting a f-8. He has also tested two other lenses that I have tested, 105mm pentax 67 lens and a mamiya C-series 80mm. My results track closely with his results with both of these lenses. I'll fiddle arround some more and see if I can get better results with my 101. Or maybe I just have a +/- 2 sigma assembled on Monday Morning !

Thanks for the responses!


-- Gene Crumpler (, June 20, 2000.

Your example may also have an unknown history. Possible damage or missassembly.

-- Ron Shaw (, June 20, 2000.

Your 101 ektar should be a very good lens. I have one with coating marks on my graphic and it gives me a distinct look with it.Lets call it an American look if you will. I REALLY like it!My first photos with it of of small electric trains in b+w really knocked me out. Just a great lens. I compared it to a 180 schneider that also came with the outfit and in color they were close with the 180 slightly more saturated. But it has a certain look in controlled b+w that I like.... not cold like the german 180.I must admit that now I'm partial to a schneider 80mm 2.8 xenar on a linhof.But the 101 ektar is no slouch!

-- Emile de Leon (, June 30, 2001.

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