Caltar-Ilex 305 6.3 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

In the course of searching for a reasonably priced used lens for an 8x10, I came across a 305 6.3 Caltar-Ilex. Can Anybody tell me a little more about this models pedigree, image circle and other specs. These days the Caltars come from either Rodenstock or Schneider. This one looks suspiciously like a Commercial Ektar. It's in mint condition and priced at 300 dollars. So if it is an Ektar, it's a bargain. I'm looking to use it, not collect it, so the brand name means nothing.

-- Marshall Arbitman (, December 23, 2000


Marshall: I believe it is an Ilex made Caltar, which as you have figured out, is based on the Tessar formula as is the Commercial Ektar. It is an excellent lens for general photography with 8x10. Sounds like a good price if the lens and shutter are in good condition.


-- Doug Paramore (, December 24, 2000.


Yes, it's a 4/3 Tessar, essentially a copy of the Kodak Ektar, made by the Ilex Optical Company and sold by Calumet, Burke & James (as the Acutar), and others. This particular design dates from c. 1964 and is single coated. The image circle was specified as 325mm at f/22. It's a decent performer; I owned one for several years before I replaced it with a Fujinon 300mm f/5.6 W (a 6/4 plasmat), which is noticeably sharper out toward the edges of the image, but also cost twice as much. $300.00 for a clean 305mm Ilex is a fair price. Make sure the shutter (also an Ilex) is working properly. These are not the greatest shutters in the world.

James Meckley

-- James Meckley (, December 24, 2000.

>> The image circle was specified as 325mm at f/22.<<

Is this a little small for 8x10, and does it increase at smaller apertures?

-- Marshall Arbitman (, December 24, 2000.

Marchall: Tessar formulas have great images at center, which deteriorate substantially at about 50% from the image circle. In 4X5 that is not much of a problem. If you want maximum corner to corner sharpness on 8X10, there are better optics available, though bigger and heavier. Also, most old lenses may not be multicoated.

-- Julio Fernandez (, December 24, 2000.

>>Tessar formulas have great images at center, which deteriorate substantially at about 50% from the image circle


Yeah, but doesn't this even out as one stops down? I gather getting edge-to-edge sharpness with older (non plasmat) lenses depends on finding that perfect balance between coverage, edge-correction and difraction. Or have I gotten it wrong?

-- Marshall Arbitman (, December 24, 2000.

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