12" Com Ektar f/6.3 vs f/4.5

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I'm looking for a 12" lens. I've seen both f/6.3 and f/4.5 Commercial Ektars on the market. Are there performance differences between the two lenses? Or, should I save my money and buy a 300mm Nikkor M?

-- Andy Eads (aceads@3-cities.com), July 30, 2001


Andy: The 12" f/6.3 Commercial Ektar is a great lens. I cut my teeth on one in a studio years ago, and I currently use one on my 8x10. I haven't seen an f/4.5 version of the Commercial Ektar, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. One of the advantages of the f/6.3 version of the Commercial Ektar is that it is sharp wide open. It is still used in many commercial studios. However, it is an older lens, is big and heavy, and is not multicoated. Mine does every thing I want it to do and does it well, but you need to decide what you are going to shoot and whether you would be more comfortable with a newer lens such as the Nikon. Also, if you are going to be shooting a lot of stuff and need a modern shutter, the Nikon might be a better choice.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), July 30, 2001.

Well, the Nikkor will have a newer shutter and multicoating but it may not be radically better than the f/6.3.

I have a 10" f/6.3 Comercial Ektar that I use with a medium format camera as a tele lens but I haven't used the f/4.5. The images are good but not quite up to the quality of the Zeiss lens made for that camera - a consequence of the lens being made in 1946 I'm sure! I also have the lens book from Kodak printed in 1946 that talks about the two series of lenses. It mentions that both series are designed for commercial and studio applications and are a Tessar type design of high quality. The book notes that the f/6.3 was designed primarily for color work whereas the f/4.5 makes no mention of this.

I understand from my research that the f/6.3 is the better overall piece because it was better corrected for color ie., reduced lateral chromatic aberrations. With color film these aberrations show up as fringing while on B&W it appears as a less sharp image.

Perhaps someone else will have more experience with all three lenses.

Good luck & cheers,


-- Duane K (dkucheran@creo.com), August 01, 2001.

I was interested in acquiring a Tessar once and asked around about f6.3 versions versus the 4.5 ones. FWIW, the f6.3 aperture Tessars are better than the 4.5 ones because they can be made to be better corrected (the glass has to curve a lot less than the f4.5 versions).

I'd buy the f6.3 Ektars based on reputation alone.

A 300 Nikkor M is actually a Tessar-type as well too. If its cheaper than the 12" Ektar (you seem to suggest this?), and if you want modern coatings, the Nikkor would be the way to go. The shutter would be a lot more reliable I'd imagine.

-- K H Tan (kahheng@pacific.net.sg), August 01, 2001.

Thanks all for your input.

-- Andy Eads (aceads@3-cities.com), August 04, 2001.

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