Caltar II S versus N : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am looking for a lens for a recently purchased Tachihara, and have found many used lenses on the web. I am particularly attracted to Caltars due mainly to their price and availability. I have heard (and read many of the archived posts here) that the Caltars are currently manufactured by Rodenstock, and that they were at one time manufactured by Schneider. Does anybody know when this shift happened, and more importantly, is there a way to determine if a particular lens is one or the other?

I have found 210mm Caltar II "N" lenses, and 210mm Caltar II "S" lenses both in Copal #1. Is one a Rodenstock and the other a Schneider?


-- Matt O. (, April 26, 2001


They are both Rodenstocks. I'm not sure which models they are, but they may be an early Sironar-N and a Sironar-S. A Caltar-S II is the last Schneider they offered, and this is a Symmar-S lens. (Note the difference between -S II and II S.) Both models you mention are more recent lenses than the Caltar-S II.

-- neil poulsen (, April 26, 2001.

Calumet followed and may still follow a practice of periodiclly soliciting bids for the manufacture of Caltar lenses. Sometimes Rodenstock won, sometimes Schneider won, sometimes other lens manufacturers won. Short of delving into Calumet's records, I'm not sure there is any way of knowing at exactly what point one manufacturer's contract expired and another manufactuer took over production. All of this is based on an article that appeared in a magazine, "View Camera" I think but maybe "Photo Techniques" some years ago written by a former employee of either Calumet or one of the lens manufacturers, I forget which. I've assumed that since he worked for one of the relevant companies, he must have known what he was talking about.

-- Brian Ellis (, April 26, 2001.

Just to make the record completely clear.

No Caltar lens is, or was, a Rodenstock Apo Sironar S.

-- Bob Salomon (, April 26, 2001.

Call Calumet (1-800-CALUMET) and ask them. They usually know and will tell you.

-- Dick Deimel (, April 26, 2001.

Thanks Bob, I stand corrected. It was just a hunch as to the specific models, but I'm quite sure that the Caltars mentioned are Rodenstocks. I assume that if the Caltar label is different (Caltar II N vs. II S versus -S II, etc.) then the model of lens is different. Perhaps the II-N is the Sironar N, which came out just after they discontinued the -S II, and the II-S is the Apo-Sironar N.

I regularly receive Calumet catalogs, and ever since the Caltar-S II lenses were discontinued, which I know to be Schneider Symmar-S lenses, the super wide angle lenses have always had f-stops of either f6.8 or f4.5, suggesting that the lenses are Rodenstocks. Schneiders would be either f8 or f5.6, and Nikons would be either f4.5 or f8.

-- neil poulsen (, April 27, 2001.

Thanks for all the info, guys. I really appreciate it. I have found a 210mm Caltar S II in mint condition - it has the name "Calumet" engraved in red on the front, w/ "Caltar-S II 8 1/4" - and it plainly says Schneider -Kreusnach(sp) MC f/210 -

The price seems right. Do you know when this lens was discontinued? Comments on its abilities?

Thanks again, Matt

-- Matt O. (, April 27, 2001.

The Apo-Symmar's superceded the Symmary S lenses in the 80's. They are good lenses, very sharp. These are the lenses on which I've standardized, because of their performance cost. A person who owns both on this forum indicated recently that it's difficult to tell the difference between the two from photographs.

While multicoating (versus single-coating) will make minimal difference preventing flare, it does offer the advantage of UV and infra-red filtration.

-- neil poulsen (, April 27, 2001.

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