Golden Dagors : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi all, I was wondering what makes the golden Dagors so special. Are they really up to their exaulted price tags? Do they have really big coverage? A distinct look? Are they much better than a red dot artar or regular Dagor? How do they fare in regards to current optics? Is there one focal length that stands out above the rest? Thanks.

-- Emile de Leon (, May 11, 2002


Legend has it that the Dagors that tested best at the factory were marketed as Golden or Gold Rim.Lens mavens seem to think that the difference is probably insignificant.However you will pay a premium in the marketplace for one of these models.The Gold Dot models are another story.You need to remember that the Dagor(Dopple-Anastigmat-Goerz)lens was designed about 1888-1892 and were made up into the 1960-1970 era.The Gold Dots were the culmination of this design.They are mostly coated and the last batch realeased by Schneider were multicoated(marked MC).The Dagor lenses are moderate wide angle design with generous coverage and better movements than the Tessars and Ektars they competed with.They are very sharp although they do fall off towards the edges more than an Apo-Symmar say.The Red Dot Artar isn't directly comparable to the Dagor;as it is basically a process lens.It was designed for use in the graphic arts and cartography industries.They were use in a photo lab environment to make images of things like prints and maps which were two demensional and at right angles to the lenses optical axis.The needed excellent color correction and sharpness,which the have.They do not need wide coverage or extensive movements.You can get a 355mm f8 Gold Dot Dagor for about $850. A 360mm f6.8 Apo-Symar is about $2400.Is it a better lens?Sure.Is it three times better?Depends(I think it is 3 times heavier).Ansel Adams picture "Sand Dunes In Death Valley"was shot with a 7in Dagor in 1948,just to keep things in perspective.Good shooting. Asher Galloway

-- asher b galloway (, May 11, 2002.


I have owned and compared both a 4 3/8" gold rim WA Dagor and a regular (black rim) WA Dagor. Basically I found almost no difference between them. On resolution tests, I actually found the Black rim to do marginally better. On the other hand, the Gold Rim was in a compur shutter, while the other was in an Ilex. While, I much prefer the Compur over the Ilex shutter, I ended up selling the Gold Rim--mostly because it was 'worth' more.

In comparison to modern lenses, the three WA Dagors I have owned have done pretty well. Great resolution (~70 l/mm at f/11 center and ~50 l/mm edge), and good contrast. Coverage is is good, seems to be about 80 degrees, although not what a modern lens will do. Over all, they are great lenses, however, they seem to cost much more than they are worth. At a few camera stores in NY, these lenses appear to cost upwards of $800--certainly not worth the cost.

-- Jason (, May 12, 2002.

Sorry, I made a mistake. I should have said that ONE of the lenses measured at 70 l/mm center. The others were 55 and 60 l/mm center.

-- jason (, May 12, 2002.

It's funny how lore can accumulate for a classic lens design. Here's some more.

I was told by a camera store clerk that his uncle had worked in a Goerz factory, and that a distinction of later Goerz lenses was that the lens elements were centered using a laser device, versus a line-of-site procedure. Does this make sense? I know that lasers were available during the 60's, when Goerz was still making lenses.

-- neil poulsen (, May 12, 2002.

About fifteen years ago, or so, there was a man named Edward Bolzetian(or something like that), who was advertising some Goertz lenses in Shutterbug, and a friend of mine called him about them...only to find out he worked in the American Optical Factory...he said the Gold rings, Red dots, etc was a marketing difference from the earlier ones. I have three Dagors and one Artar...the negatives from the Artar are noticeably sharper! But, the Dagors I would not throw away either!

-- Walter (, May 12, 2002.

Thanks to everyone for a most interesting and informative Dagor illucidation!

-- Emile de Leon (, May 13, 2002.

Emile, Asher makes some very good points... FYI The multi-coated (Gold Dots w/ "MC") are the highest contrast lenses ever made (@ working apatitures, f11 or smaller). This is primarily due to only 4 air/glass surfaces in combination with a good lens design.

I do find it somewhat ironic that what many consider a "Modern" lens design, the Symmar, is essentially an air-spaced DAGOR (Plasmat) Patented by Paul Rudolf in 1926. Since this design has 8 air/glass surfaces it benefits from lens-coating (needs it much) more than does the DAGOR.

The Symmar is "Sharper" at the plane of focus than a DAGOR due to the better correction of zonal-spherical-aberration. However many users have prefered the look of the DAGOR over the "sharper" lenses. I think it is a result of a smother transition from the image carried by depth of field (most of the image)and the image at the plane of focus. This of course is a matter of taste, and tastes do differ...

Hope this helps... Mike

-- Mike Phifer (, May 13, 2002.

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