240mm Heliar or 250mm W.F. Ektar

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by boyooso, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    I am somewhat new to 8X10, but have shot 4x5 for years. I have always used modern lenses though.

    When I got the 8x10 I decided I wanted to shoot B&W exclusively and use older lenses. I fell inlove with the look of Ektar lenses and TriX film.

    So I have a 14" ektar that I like very much. And I wanted to get a 10" lens for the camera.

    How would anyone compare a Voightlander Heliar 240mm f4.5 and a 10" Wide Field Ektar?

    Any Ideas would be VERY HELPFUL.

    Thank You.

    Corey
     
  2. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Apples and Oranges. The WF Ektar should make a nice medium wide with lots of movements. It is a well thought of lens, although I have have heard some complaints about how it renders out of focus areas.

    The 24cm Heliar won't cover 8x10. The Heliar is normally used as a portrait lens, although many use them for field work. While they are not by any means soft-focus, they are not really "hard" focus either. I love my Heliar, but coverage is limited. You would probably need a 36cm Heliar for 8x10, although I think a 30cm will just cover.
     
  3. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Correct, a 12" Heliar will just squeak around 810 but I don't find them useable. A grand lens for what you're looking for would be a Bausch & Lomb Protar VII with 13 3/4" and 16 1/8" cells. Combined they make an 8 1/2" lens. 2-16 1/8" cells make a 9 1/4" lens. They have a lovely combination of sharpness and contrast that many folks find just perfect for B&W work. And of course they're convertibles. Another good old standard is the 240mm 9 1/2" Dagor. I've got one I could probably be talked out of as it isn't getting used enough.
     
  4. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    The reason I ask is that I saw this ebay auction :

    look here

    I emailed the person to question what sort of coverage it had and they told me that it would cover an area about twice the area of 8x10....??

    I asked about the age and he didn't know, so I asked for a serial # and he told me he couldn't find one on the lens.

    What do you think?
     
  5. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    Oh, I should also thank you for your responses!

    Corey
     
  6. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Wow that is a pretty old lens but there's no way it covers 8X10. They're 5X7 lenses.
     
  7. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    What do you not like about the 12" heliar?

    Matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2005
  8. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I think he means they're not useable for 8x10...because the coverage is marginal at best.
     
  9. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I have a Fujinon 250mm f/6.3 that has coverage similar to the Heliar. You can get images on an 8x10 negative with it, but you will run into frustration immediately the first time you try to use movements. You'll be limited to back tilt, with no rise or shift at all.

    Lenses like this are great portrait lenses for 4x5 and 5x7, but the only reason to use them on 8x10 is if you already own the lens for a smaller format and you're either doing close-up work or you've not yet picked up a more suitable lens. I definately would skip the Heliar if you're looking for a slightly wide lens for 8x10.

    Depending on your subject, the best deals going might be for old process lenses. Many of these have huge coverage, low cost, and high sharpness, but you don't get a shutter with them. If you're shooting at 1 second or longer, you just use the lens cap. Mounting the lenses into shutters is usually - although not always - too expensive to justify.

    The WF Ektar is a nice lens; the large image circle makes it a joy for 8x10 work. As JG mentions not everyone is happy with how the lens handles out of focus areas, but I've never found it to be bad to the point of distraction.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Process lenses, though, often have a relatively small image circle at infinity. I prefer them at the long end.

    The 10" WF Ektar has a huge image circle--larger than most contemporary lenses of around 250mm--so it's a nice lens to have in the kit. The large circle, the design of the lens, and single coating make it less contrasty than a modern lens, so a compendium shade helps if you have one. I usually use this lens for landscapes and architecturals with everything in focus, so the out-of-focus areas aren't a problem for me. My latest discovery that came with another camera I purchased has been a 4" gel holder that fits the Ektar and looks like it was made for it (the metal has the same finish).
     
  11. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    Interesting... I have to admit that one of the reasons I want to use the older lenses is that the modern lenses seem to be so harsh in the out of focus areas. This is something I wanted to avoid.

    I image that objections regarding the 250 Ektar are exactly that? I'm curious if anyone has an image online that might represent that objectionable out of focus area?

    What lens of that focal length would everyone reccomend if I'm looking for smooth, pleasant out of focusness. I remember reading an article years ago in view camera (I think) about the out of focus area...

    Thanks for all the opinions!!

    Corey
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There's a bit of misunderstanding about Heliars...

    The FIRST Heilars covered about the same diameter as the focal length. But there weren't many of these made before the formula was changed to the Dynar construction, which does cover quite a bit more. My 1934 150mm Heliar almost covers 5x7" at infinity. However the Universal Heliar, the one with the adjustable aberration, continued to be made in the Heliar construction with less coverage.

    So both views are really correct: Heliars have limited coverage, but "Heliar" lenses have good coverage and a 240mm might well cover 8x10"!
     
  13. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I don't know a bloody thing about Heliars but a 250 WF Ektar is IMHO a fine match for 8x10. Huge image circle. It actually does a very nice job as both a portrait lens and a landscape lens. Focusing when wide open is a dream and I've never had any focus shift when stopping down. The WF really shines as a portrait lens though it isn't a soft focus lens by any stretch of the imagination. It does give nice smooth skin tones. As a landscape lens every leaf and blade of grass seems to "pop" out at you. It is a big lens in a big shutter though so it dosen't travel very far from the truck, unlike say a 240 G Claron.
     
  14. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Among modern lenses, you should look at the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N and Apo-Sironar-S series. If you want a lens around the 10" range for 8x10, I'd recommend the 240 Apo-Sironar-S. The 240 Apo-Sironar-N will cover but in testing in on 8x10 I found myself running out of room for movements too often, and I'm much happier with the S.

    I've used the 10" Wide Field Ektar as well, and found it much too flat and flarey for my taste - I see it as more of a special problem-solver for shooting in ultralarge formats like 11x14 or 7x17, where the extra-large image circle is critical.

    But in general, the preference between "classic" and modern lenses is very much a matter of taste. The Apo-Sironar lenses have exquisitely refined background defocus, but will still look "crisper" and, to some eyes, "harder" overall than a classic lens, because of the higher contrast and resolution in the plane of focus.
     
  15. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I doubt if the WF Ektar will give you any out of focus softness unless you put a piece of nylon panty hose or a little vaseline over it. You might try a 10" Commercial Ektar which is a tessar formula. 8x10 would probably be stretching the image circle and tessars usually get pretty soft at the edges when you 'push the envelope.'