Heliar VS Skopar in real life on neg

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Soeren, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Well this could be in MF, Plate cameras and perhaps also Large Format forums so here it is.
    I have a 13,5cm f/4,5 Heliar (on Bergheil :smile: ) and a 7,5cm f/3,5 Skopar (guess) coming my way.
    What is the real life difference between the two above comparing the negs/prints?
    I know these two are different formats and focallenght but as far as I know comparable samples of each exists. Short of 9X12film and holders it will be a couple of days before I can test shoot the Bergheil and it will be a while befor Emil(gandolfi) and I can make a Superb heliar/skopar shootout.
    Kind regards
     
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The Heliar has a glamour, the Skopar does not. They are functionally the same,
    and capable of ethereal lightness, or cruel sharpness. They are superb, wonderful lenses.

    BTW, they swept 'soft portrait' lenses out of use when they hit the scene, the softy shooters found they could focus easily, and for some reason that seemed to help. And if a 'softy' picture was desired, they shot wide open (as you always did int he days of slowslowslow film) and just racked the sharp focus forward of the subject.
     
  3. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Thanks Mr Cardwell
    I can't wait to get my babies home (today, tomorrow or saturday)
    Kind regards
     
  4. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    Both are fine lenses and given their age the kindness of the passage of years is likely to be more important than anything else. The heliar was the more complex lens and probably has the edge but given the higher number of air-glass interfaces may have significantly lower contrast than the skopar which is a tessar type design.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Heliar should have sharper corners than a Skopar of the same focal length on the same format, but if the lenses are of different generations and you are shooting different formats, it will be difficult to compare. Also, the falloff of focus on a Skopar isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    The look is also a bit different. Try some comparison shots with a near subject stopped down about 1-2 stops and look at how the sharp subject separates from the soft background. Heliars tend to have a bit more of a three dimensional effect.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Heliars and Tessars have the same number of air/glass surfaces: Six. Just like triplets. :wink:
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    AS far as the 'glamour' associated with Heliars, it has always seemed to me that if you expect a romantic lens, you get one. This isn't meant to demean the Heliar, only to suggest that there is as much magic in a Tessar-Skopar-Dogmar-Cooke, etc., etc., etc..

    Twenty years ago, when I realised that I could make the SAME fine image with any ONE of this era's lenses, I did the silly thing of keeping the B&L Tessars, which were selling at a fraction of the others, and selling the Heliar collection, and all the rest.

    There IS magic in photography, you just have to learn how to use it.
     
  8. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    I have Heliars and Tessars.
    The differences are subtle.
    How you see makes far more
    difference than the lens you
    happen to be looking through.
     
  9. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Hmm Ole, Doesn't the skopar also have six air/glass surfaces? :smile: Though according to the Vade Mecum the Heliar is 5 lenses in three groups and the Skopar is four lenses in three groups.
    Kind regards
     
  10. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Yes so true but it is interesting what look is achieved with old lenses.
    Kind regards
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Exactly Søren; the Skopar is a Tessar(clone). So the Heliar has an extra (cemented) element in one of the groups.

    The extreme case of x-in-three is the Schneider-Göttingen Aero-Xenar 300mm f:5.5, which seems to be eight or nine elements in three groups, combinet as a kind of "super-Heliar".
     
  12. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Guru Fishing alert :smile:

    BTW.
    Are there films that are better suited for those lenses than others e.g. clasic emulsion like Adox prefered over modern T-grain like Tmax ( just an example, don't know Tmax)
    I have a Zeiss Ikonta 35mm with a 45mm novar and I made some pics on FP4+ and though they where developed and printed in a comercial lab they had something special, some kind of glow. The tonality really was stunning.
    Kind regards
     
  13. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    :smile:
    Hmm Funny though, the color Heliars looks like the older Skopars 4/3 and the color skopars look like older heliar 5/3 :tongue:
    Kind regards
     
  14. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    There were an uncountable variations of Tessars,
    and Heliars. A name is just a name is just a name..

    As for looking for a magic film, well, just like with the lens, the magic comes from how you use it.

    The magic is up to you,
    not the lens, not the film,
    just you.
     
  15. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    This topic interests me very much, because I have long wanted to have a Bessa II rangefinder, which is available with both the Skopar and the Heliar (and also the very rare APO-Lanthar). The Heliar version is more expensive than the one with the Skopar, so I'm very curious as to what people thought they were buying, in image terms, when they selected one version or another. I have a 210mm Heliar for large format, and find it soft and romantic looking wide open--but I'm not sure that's the look I want from a Bessa II.
     
  16. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    D'Oh. My bad counting and thoughtless rephrasing from the vade medum. :rolleyes: