Orbit 305mm Lens

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I have an 305mm (12") Orbit lens in a No. 4 Ilex shutter. Can anyone give me information about the Orbit lens? Was it a Calument Lens?

Thanks Allan Wafkowski

-- Allan Wafkowski (allan@sohogurus.net), April 16, 2002


Not really sure but... "Orbit" was a trademark of Burke & James. Calumet does not/did not manufacture lenses, I don't think B&J did either. It's likely that this lens was made by Ilex Optical, who did make lenses for other companies, for instance Calumet and Graflex. There was a series of articles in "View Camera" magazine some years ago which might help.

-- Mark Sampson (MSampson45@aol.com), April 16, 2002.


This was one of a series of lenses manufactured by the Ilex Optical Company for Calumet in the early 1960s. Most were sold as "Ilex- Caltars" by Calumet. A few were badged as "Acutars" to be sold directly by Ilex and a few more were sold under the "Orbit" marque by Burke & James. Your lens uses the Tessar formula (4 elements in 3 groups) and is single-coated; it is essentially a copy of the "Ektar" lens being sold by Kodak at that time. The image circle was advertised as 325mm at f/22. It is a decent though not stellar performer; I had one for several years before replacing it with a Nikon 300mm f/9 M.

-- James Meckley (jmeckley@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu), April 17, 2002.

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