Do LF lens names mean anything?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jim Chinn, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    You know, Dagor, Symmar, Ronar, Optar, Claron, Sironar, Rodagon etc.

    do they really mean anything (maybe in German?). Or are they just supposed to be sylabic groupings that sound impressive?
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Arbitrary designators, nearly all of them. Trade names, in short.
     
  3. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I know at least one of them does: Double Anastigmat GOeRz.
     
  4. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In the case of the Goerz Dagor it's a simple abreviation:

    Doppel Anastigmat GOeRz

    Ian
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Anything ending in "-gon" or "-on" tends to be wide-angle (Hypergon, Biogon, Angulon), or at some time have been intended to be wide-angle (Rodagon).

    Many lenses ending in "-ar" are Tessar clones like the Xenar, but many are not - like the Symmar. The Symmar has an almost symmetrical construction which started out as a Dagor-type and was then changed to Plasmat-type. Plasmats, by the way, were said to give better "plasticity".

    A long time ago there were basically only two (well - four) types: Petzval portrait lenses, and Aplanat/Rectilinears. And the "landscape lens", a single meniscus lens (or achromatic pair) behind the aperture. The only "modern" lens of this construction is the Imagon.

    Most aplanats are called either something-or-other Aplanat, or Rapid Rectilinear.

    When the anastigmats made their entry, there were suddenly a large number of different constructions with lots of different names. And every producer used their own names, and made slight changes to avoid patent issues, and so on. Being slightly different already at that time, Rodenstock made the "Hemi-Anastigmat" which is neither "Hemi" nor really Anastigmatic.

    Once you start messing about with old lenses the confusion increases - the Xenar is a Tessar-type lens except the "Xenar Typ D" which is not. Some Ektars are Tessars, some are not. I've already mentioned the Symmar, and modern APO Symmar has no relation to the original Dagor-type Symmar. The Planar has at least three different formulas. Voigtländer once patented Heliar and Dynar, but most Heliar lenses are of Dynar construction. So is the APO-Lanthar, which is APOchromatic and contains a Lanthanum glass element. Or at least it did - I'm not too sure about the modern ones for 35mm cameras...
     
  7. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Many are arbitrary, but some of the classic Zeiss lenses are based upon greek; -gon for instance means angle or corner (polygon) and bio- is life (biology), so biogon would suggest the 'angle of life', or something of the sort. I *think* the prefix -tar has something to do with vision, so biotar would work out to vision of life. Tessar is derived from the Greek root for four since it has four elements.
     
  8. photobum

    photobum Member

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    The first part is the trade name, ie Symmar. The letters after it tell you what you really want to know.

    Symmar $500.
    Symmar S $1,000.
    Symmar XL $2,000.
    SymmarXLCH $3,000.

    It's called marketing.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, the price generally goes up when you start adding letters like, "S," "E," and "X." The same is true for automobiles.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    ... and "APO" is like "Turbo GTI" ! :D
     
  11. argus

    argus Member

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    I bet the order of the letters, as you propose here, is purely coincidal? :wink:

    G
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't think so - adding one costs, adding two costs more, and all three together is ruinously expensive and very attractive.

    Sounds right to me... :tongue:
     
  13. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Where's dagor 77 when you need him. Surely the Rodagon is named after his Great Grandfather Rodag of the castle stories in Scotland.