Caltar-II N 90mm/6.8 SN identification

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Alexz, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    I'm in the process of acquiring this Caltar (supposdely this is renamed Grandagon-N). I would like to identify it's year of production, have asked the seller to provide its serial number (of lens/shutter). Is there any online resource where I could check its SN to figure year of production ?
    BTW, its mounted in Copal #0 shutter which si all black (the ring isn't silver but black just like the shutter itself).

    Thanks in advance, Alex
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    You might check to see if Calumet can provide some info. They are very open about who makes/made their lenses, and according to their site this is indeed a Rodenstock Grandagon-N. I believe that it is recent given the black Copal, but they might have serial number lists. Their web site is http://www.calumetphoto.com.
     
  3. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Alex,

    The 90mm f6.8 Caltar II-N is indeed a private label version of the Rodenstock Grandagon-N. It is made by the same people on the same assembly line to the same level of quality. The only difference is the name on the lens, who provides warranty service and the price. Rodenstock has been supplying the Caltar II-N series to Calumet from 1984 to the present.

    I have a list of Rodenstock serial numbers on my web site to help determine the date of manufacture of your lens. It only goes up through 1998. Later samples (starting around 1994, or so) of this lens have a green trim ring (aka "racing stripe") around the front barrel.

    Hope that helps,
    Kerry
     
  4. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks guys.
    Got a few pictures of the lens - has all black shutter (the ring is black, no silvered), but no green strip on the front barrel. I guess this is either late 80s or early 90s.
     
  5. mark

    mark Member

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    I was told by a guy at a camera shop that the caltar lenses are not up to the same quality. That they are made by the apprentice members of the company and their quality varies a great deal. he said that is why the Caltars are so cheap. Is there any truth to this? Sorry Alex. Hope you don't think this is a hijacking.
     
  6. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Not at all, Mark, this is quite an interesting piece of info, befor me putting my hard earned money into this lens...:-0
    However, I constantly hear that this Caltar in particular (Caltar-N II 90mm/5.6) is the same Grandagon carrying original Grandagon's reputaiton quality-wise, unlike other Caltars that can be an older Angulons or other models...go figure...

    Well, what will say our well educated an experienced APUGers ?
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Preposterous. I'll bet the guy at the camera shop stocked Rodenstock lenses.

    It is as Kerry has said above. Really, it has to be if you think about it. This is mass production.
     
  8. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    opps, missed the small note by mark that all that was told by camera shop sales person. Now that places his claim (of camera shop guy) in different perspective indeed, just like Brad has mentioned above.
    Karry deserves to be trusted in what he says confidently :smile:.

    So, guys, does Caltar-N II 90mm/5.6 with all black shutter and supposedly in excellent-to-mint condition worth 450$ ?
     
  9. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Absolute bunk! Let me guess, this "guy at a camera shop" was trying to sell you his used Rodenstock lens for more than a new Caltar. Whatever the case, his story is pure BS. It is common knowledge that Rodenstock has been making all the Caltars since 1984. Heck, the last Caltar lens I bought even came in a Rodenstock box. Rodenstock would not risk their excellent reputation by dumping inferior "factory seconds" on thier biggest customer. They also make private-label lenses for Sinar. Again, they come from the same factory and are made by the same skilled workers as "genuine" Roenstock lenses. Does this "guy at a camera shop" also tell people that the lenses Rodenstock makes for Sinar are "not up to the same quality". His entire story is preposterous, makes absolutely no sense, and is a complete fabrication.

    The reason Caltar lenses are "so cheap" is that Calumet bypasses Rodenstock's US distributor and provides their own sales, marketing, service and warranty. Calumet is also an authorized importer of Rodenstock lenses. So, the lenses they sell, be they Caltars or Rodenstocks, are not even considered "gray market". Anybody who tells you that any Rodenstock-made Caltar is inferior in any way to the "genuine" Rodenstock alternative is either:

    a) making this up
    b) sadly misinformed
    c) has an alterior motive
    d) all of the above

    Kerry
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Kerry,

    My vote goes for..........

    D) All of the above!!!

    :wink:

    Dave
     
  11. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Alex,

    There is no such thing as a 90mm f5.6 Caltar II-N. 90mm Caltars made by Rodenstock come with a maximum aperture of either f4.5 or f6.8 (which is what you asked about in your original post and listed in the title of this thread). There were some older 90mm f5.6 Caltars made by Schneider (Caltar-S II Series) and Komura (Caltr Pro Series), but they pre-date the current Rodenstock Caltars and would not be labeled Caltar II-N.

    So, what exactly are you asking about? An older 90mm f5.6 Caltar or a more recent 90mm f6.8 Caltar II-N?

    Kerry
     
  12. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Oh, sorry, I meant 90mm/6.8 of course :smile:
    sometimes my fingers type faster then my brain can control them...
     
  13. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Kerry, I know about the CALTAR N series made by Rodenstock but who makes the other Caltar series (seems like I have seen Caltar E) what are their comparable names a the other manufacturer?

    Thanks
    Ruvy

     
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  15. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Alex,

    $450 seems about right for an older (1980s vintage) - if it is indeed in near mint condition. I recently sold my newer (green stripe, mid-1990s) mint condition (with original box and caps) 90mm f6.8 Caltar II-N for $549 on eBay.

    BTW, the 90mm f6.8 Grandagon/Caltar is a nice compromise between the slower 90mm f8 and faster 90mm f4.5 or f5.6 lenses. It's about the same size and weight as the slower f8 models, but a half stop faster for a brighter image on the ground glass. My personal favorite of the current 90s is the f8 Nikkor SW (smallest, lightest current 90 with a big 235mm image circle), but some people may find the f8 max. aperture makes composing and focusing a bit difficult in low light conditions.

    Kerry
     
  16. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    The Caltar E lenses are also made by Rodenstock. Rodenstock calls them "Geronar". The older Caltar-S are known to be Schneider Symmar-S lenses. There were also some Caltar lenses made by Ilex but, I am not familiar with those details.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2005
  17. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ruvy,

    ALL current and recent (going back to the mid-1980s) Caltar lenses are made by Rodenstock. The Caltar II-E series (and sometimes called Caltar Compact) are re-badged Rodenstock Geronars (three element designs).

    I wrote an article a couple years ago on the history of Caltar lenses for View Camera magazine (I think it was the May/June 2003 issue). Over the years, five different manufacturers on three different continents made Caltar lenses for Calumet - at times, Calumet used more than one supplier concurrently. The period covering the late 1970s through early 1980s is especially hard to sort out as Calumet changed suppliers and product lines several times during that time frame. I'd be happy to answer questions about a specific lens, but if you want the complete history of the Caltar lenses, I recommend getting a hold of a back issue of the magazine containing the article. It covers every Caltar lenses ever offered, who made what and when, along with tables of specs on all the lenses.

    Kerry
     
  18. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Kerry, as far as I understand, all black shutter (rather then black with silver shutter speeds ring) suggests that this particular lens is either late 80s or early 90s.
    Am I wrong ?
     
  19. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Alex,

    I'm not sure exactly when Copal switched over to the all black shutters. I believe it was sometime in the early 1980s (between 1980 and 1985, most likely in the 1982 - 1984 time frame). I'd have to do some digging to get a more accurate date. At the very earliest, a Caltar II-N lens would date to 1984 (in fact, I've never seen a Caltar II-N lens with a chrome ringed Copal shutter). If you can get the serial number of the lens in question, you should be able to determine a more accurate date of manufacture using the table of Rodenstock serial numbers I mentioned in my first post.

    Kerry
     
  20. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Yes, thanks.
    I've quered the seller for len's SN, will see...
     
  21. mark

    mark Member

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    Kerry,

    The weird thing is the guy told me that after I bought my supplies, and was looking at the lenses because one of them was huge. He was not trying to sell me anything. He was talking about why he only stocked rodenstock lenses. I always wondered if he was full of it. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  22. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Kerry - I think that's actually not quite right. By specifications, the Caltar-D lenses appear to be rebadged Schneider Digitars. In fact, the Caltar-D series may end up having been a short-lived experiment, since most of them are now listed on the Calumet website as being out of stock, and they've vanished from the printed catalog which now lists just the Apo-Sironar-Digital and Schneider Digitar series under the original manufacturers' names.

    BTW, as part of the transition to so-called "digital" equipment Sinar has also diversified its supplier base, and now offers a mix of glass from Rodenstock, Schneider and - surprise! - Zeiss.
     
  23. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Oren,

    I should have been more clear. I was referring specifically to large format lenses (those capable of covering sheet film formats, not the smaller digital snesors).

    Kerry
     
  24. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Kerry, this puzzle is for you:
    the seller provided len's SN to be: 0005.059 which doesn't fit in any ROdenstock (or other makers) line. Perhaps there are two SNs on the Caltar-II N 90mm/6.8 and he should look at another one ?
     
  25. j_landecker

    j_landecker Member

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    That's the number located on the aperture scale - probably a number used by Rodenstock to identify which lens the scale is for, since they probably have hundreds of those little aluminum strips floating around! The serial number is on the front barrel of the lens and will be something like 10,xxx,xxx or 11,xxx,xxx...

    Jim
     
  26. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thank you Jim, this is probably the case. Will ask him to look where you suggested.
    Also, this is may be interesting for Kerry as well, googling for Caltar SNs I figured the following:
    http://www.thehelparchive.com/new-526592-81.html
    in the middle of this thread there is certain Caltar related table that may pose some interest...