Favorite 2 1/4 3 1/4 lens

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Curt, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Do you have a favorite medium format Linhof or Graphic lens you like?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  3. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    My Century Graphic came with a 105mm Schneider Xenar lens. But I switched to a 135mm SK Xenar and find that, with Efke 25 ASA, I'm using the camera far more frequently.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a meniscus lens harvested off of a sears delmar.
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    120mm 5.6 Zeiss S Planar,
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    85mm f2.8 Schneider Xenotar
     
  7. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    105mm Ektar. This is the one supposedly with a modified Heliar design. At f16 it is one of my sharpest lenses. Wide open it looks pretty good (nice character)

    Matt
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I also have one of the Ektar 105mm F3.7 lenses and I have found it to be an excellent lens - sharp and contrasty.
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    The 100 ektar on the Kodak Medalist (6x9) is a fantastic lens. I'll always regret selling the one I had.
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, Curt, I shoot lenses from 38 mm to 480 mm on my 2x3 Graphics. Short answer, at this point all of my lenses are keepers and I don't have a favorite. Long answer follows.

    I don't have have one favorite lens, but I tend to shoot more with focal lengths from 47 mm (f/5.6 SA) to 100 mm (several) than with longer ones. Within that range, 80 (WF Ektar) and 100 (several) probably get the most use, 47 and 65 don't fit as many of the situations I encounter. The 420 and 480 get very little use, few situations need a lens that long.

    I choose focal length to suit the situation more than I choose a particular lens for which its focal length is right. I've done a fair amount of testing, mainly to determine which of my lenses isn't good enough to use. There's not much difference between lenses of similar focal lengths that are good enough to use, one could be happy with any of my keepers.

    With respect to Ektars, I've had a 105/3.7 and have a 101/4.5. I think the 101 is sharper; this is consistent with Chris Perez' test results. But I've heard so many people carry on about how wonderful the 105/3.7 is that I've recently bought another one. My old one could have been a dud, my poor technique could have subverted its quality. Have to get the new one's shutter overhauled before I can discover whether I was right or the crowd is. Given Chris' results, at even odds I'll bet against the crowd.

    FWIW, the best normal lens I have for 2x3 is a 4"/2 Taylor Hobson in barrel; aerial camera lens, big and heavy and stops only to f/16. This subject to results from a very recently acquired 95/2.8 Boyer Saphir that I hope will turn out to be a poor man's Planar-Xenotar-Heligon-100/2.8 Mamiya. Also subject to an exercise with some lenses, mainly Zeiss, to be borrowed from Charlie Barringer. Based on reputation I'd expect the 100/3.5 Planar to be the best of all, but its an empirical question and I'm not sure he has one in good order.

    The one lens I was most taken with is my 38/4.5 Biogon. After it came back from SKGrimes in a Copal #0, I was so thrilled by what it did that for several months it was the only lens I used. The spell was broken by a shot of Mono Lake from the north on a hazy day. Horrible image, all foreground and haze; a lens that wide isn't right for every situation.

    If you want to go 2x3, start with a normal lens and after a while you'll realize what more, if anything, will suit you.
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Hi all, I have a 101 Wollensak so I am looking for an additional or additional lenses for my 2x3. I have a Red Dot Artar in 10.75 in. that I might try if I can get the shutter on a board. It's front mounted in an Alphax. I also have a Schneider 150 in a Copal I think will fit. It appears that the Ektars are popular.

    Curt
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My 6.5x9cm Bergheil has a 120mm f:4.5 Heliar on it. That's my favorite, and the reason I bought the camera in the first place. The week after a similar lens, no camera attached, went for three times the price of camera with lens...
     
  13. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Ole, I'm still looking for a 120mm f:4.5 Heliar, might have to get something else if I can't find one.

    Curt
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Curt, look for a "Baby Bergheil" instead of a Heliar. Much cheaper, and a good little camera too! The late versions with 120mm Heliar in rim-set Compur is not very common, but certainly very nice.
     
  16. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Me too. Absolutely stunning results.
     
  17. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Tom, Ricksplace, could you have the 80/2.8 in mind? Ah can't find no 85/2.8 in Schneider's Archiv.
     
  18. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Whoops, Dan, my Schneider Xenotar is the 80mm f2.8.
     
  19. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If I recall correctly,the 101 Wolly is the f4.5 design--so it may actually be a "series II" type lens. These are nice wide-open as portrait lenses (see some of Jim Galli's work).

    I haven't tried this, but it may be worth a frame or two.

    Matt
     
  20. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Guys, the hierarchy of normal lenses for 2x3 Graphics is triplet (103 Graftar, 103 Graflar) worse than 101/4.5 Optar (= Raptar) worse than 101/4.5 Ektar worse than 105/3.7 Ektar.

    According to Richard Knoppow, who knows whereof he speaks, all tessar type Raptars are worse than the equivalent tessar type Ektars. This, he says, because of a design problem. The Raptar, according to him, has much worse coma than the equivalent Ektar, has to be stopped down at least one stop more than the Ektar to match the Ektar's image quality toward the edge. To which Les Newcomer, one of www.graflex.org's gurus, has retorted "who needs the edges?"

    I have doubts about the 105/3.7 Ektar's superiority to the 101 Ektar. I've had one, got it as a superior -- I hoped -- replacement for my 101/4.5 Ektar. I didn't like what the 105 did, so sold it and still use the 101. Chris Perez' tests show the 101 ahead across the frame except at f/5.6.

    All this said, this kind of discussion is pretty academic. What matters is how the lens in hand shoots for you, not how another one shot for someone else.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  21. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I really appreciate this discussion, not as an academic process but as a real life use and results by actual users of the lenses. I bought a 127 Kodak Ektar to try it out. It was $75 with clean glass and a fully functioning shutter. I haven't tested the 101 Woll. very carefully to see what it will do other than checking for light leaks and roll film operation. I am not after the magic bullet but would like a very good performer.

    Thanks,

    Curt
     
  22. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Curt, lenses' reputations when new are interesting but not that relevant to how well they'll do when old and, perhaps, abused. Stories users tell about how well their old and possibly abused lenses do are interesting but not at all relevant to how well your old and possibly abused lens will do. The only entity capable of telling you how well a particular lens will do is the lens itself.

    Get off your computer, take your 101 Wolly out, and interrogate it. It might do for you, it might not. But until you ask it how well it does for you, you'll be, um, totally ignorant about whether it can do more than pass light and form an image. Shaddup and go shoot!
     
  23. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    When I tested my 105mm ektar, I found that the resolution at about f16, using a tripod, was good enough that it was better than my scanner. I could definitely see that the resolution was better than for other lenses I tested.

    Soon after that, I stopped testing my lenses for resolution.

    Matt
     
  24. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    I don't have an outspoken favorite amongst my lenses, all are good tools for something, even the 'bad' ones, like the 127mm Raptar harvested from a Pola 110, or a very flary Ross thingummie in barrel that could improve with good shading but may not just as well. Recently I have started to avoid my 80mm Biometar as it has horrid bokeh and, more annoying, barrel distortion, whereas a year ago I was still sort of happy with it. So, percecption on what is a likeable lens and what not develops with time and experience (and needs).

    That being said, I confess to have a weak spot for TTH stuff and huge old portrait lenses no one seems to want, so I just buy them instead, in spite of the fact that I don't do portraits. Am intending to experiment with a giant Goerz Hypar 360/3.5 - I mean, this one can really kill you - if and when I get it mounted on something practical in a stable manner.
     
  25. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    That's nice, Matt, real nice. You've just explained why users' anecdotal reports on just one lens aren't that informative. We don't know what your scanner can do and you haven't told us whether your 105 Ektar is better than than the alternatives. All I know now that I didn't know before I read your post is that you like your 105 Ektar. I liked mine too, after comparisons decided that I like my 101 better.

    Perhaps you need a better scanner. Perhaps you need to get away from digital.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  26. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Gee, sorry I wasn't helpful. This subject (the 105mm Ektar) has been covered so many times on usenet that spending any real time on the actual numbers is a waste of time.

    It is the sharpest lens I have. I no longer care about sharpness. If you want raw numbers for lines/mm they are listed in tables. Google is your friend. I checked before I got mine--the 105 ektar is highly rated. If you want to take pictures of resolution charts, you have more time on your hands than I ever did.

    My scanner is 3' away from me, covered in dust. It hasn't been fired up in literally months.

    Flat out--stopped down, the 105mm ektar is damned sharp. Wide open it looks very nice. What's not to love? I have one, my brother has one, they are both great. You can find 35 hits on google groups for "105mm ektar knoppow" with a lot good to say about both the 101 and the 105mm Ektars.

    You had one lens. You didn't like it. What was that I heard about "anectdotal"?

    A wise man said
    "All this said, this kind of discussion is pretty academic. What matters is how the lens in hand shoots for you, not how another one shot for someone else."

    I gave my opinion of how I liked the lens.

    Consistency is your friend.


    Matt