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  1. #1

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    Which 12" lens to keep?

    The attached photo is of 2 lenses I recently acquired on ebay. I had waited a long time for a poor-man's deal to come along. Bothwere $140+ or -. The black one is a Bausch and Lomb, stamped 1912 on the back. I bought it first, with a non-working shutter. When it came I got apprehensive about my ability to repair the shutter, and the Ilex one showed up in the listings, so I bought it too, just in case. As it turns out I got the Betax shutter working beautifully, and the glass is absolutely flawless. The Caltar/Ilex had no shutter issues, but does have nicks in the back glass--we'll call them scratches. So which is the better lens? Which has more coverage? Which one to keep, and which to list on ebay? Thanks PS I might mention for the purpose of this post, I just slapped them down on the flatbed of my copier and imported them through the Fiery.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails lenses.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Tom, without shooting them against other -- that's really the only way -- the Ilex looks the better proposition. Understand, though, that all f/6.3 Tessars in good order are fine lenses regardless of age and coating. Ilex Caltars are supposed to be clones of Commercial Ektars, which many say were the best f/6.3 Tessars.

    You'd best ask the lenses.

  3. #3

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    I have an 8" Ilex Acutar, which is just an earlier version of the caltar lens you have, albeit shorter. I dont know if its really a clone of a C-E or how it would stack up against one, but its a fine lens. One consideration is that its a coated lens, which your B&L is not. I have several B&L Tessars and they're good lenses as well. As for scratches and nicks, my opinion is that they often dont matter. As Dan said, let the lenses speak for themselves.

    What format are you planning on shooting? 8x10? For sharpness, plan on stopping down to f22+, particularly for the corners.

    Dan

  4. #4

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    8x10 and X-Ray film This particular Caltar is going back because it has a little nick. But this nick is nearly dead center and gleams like a little diamond when the light hits it. But an identical one opens up tomorrow, so I'll leave this thread open for smarter minds to tell me what I've got. I realize the B&L is 101 years old and has that crazy 5-speed shutter, but the glass is flawless. Not even a "cleaning mark".

  5. #5

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    Tom, all other details being equal, a "nick" in the centre of the lens is easily dealt with: cover it with a drop of acrylic flat-black model paint, or India ink, or some such.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    8x10 and X-Ray film This particular Caltar is going back because it has a little nick. But this nick is nearly dead center and gleams like a little diamond when the light hits it. But an identical one opens up tomorrow, so I'll leave this thread open for smarter minds to tell me what I've got. I realize the B&L is 101 years old and has that crazy 5-speed shutter, but the glass is flawless. Not even a "cleaning mark".
    So put some black paint in the nick. I use a 9 1/2" Dagor with a 3/8" gouge right in the center of the rear glass. I filled the gouge with India ink and comparing it with another 9 1/2" Dagor of the same vintage with flawless glass, there is no difference.

    By the way, that 1912 is likely a patent date, the shutter looks 1920s. The B&L is uncoated, the Ilex is coated. I'd keep the Ilex nick and all.

  7. #7

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    This Ilex is going back. The EBAY seller maintains he has a no-return policy, so I bullied him. It's going back. Sellers can't leave bad feedback these days, so he can't play the feedback-revenge game. That nick gleams like a diamond when the light hits it. And I plan to use it at f/32 a lot. At that stop, about the only glass there is left is that nick. No way.

  8. #8

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    Thanks, everyone. This whole thread is moot now, as I sent the Caltar back, and lost the auction on the identical model. So I'm back to the original B&L in the Betax shutter. I'm happy enough for now. The glass is beautiful and I did a fine job on the shutter. The thing is, nobody can tell me that lens nicks, especially dead center like that; don't mean anything. I've spent nearly my whole life wearing glasses, which are usually dirty. I just live with spots most of the time, and it DOES matter.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    Thanks, everyone. This whole thread is moot now, as I sent the Caltar back, and lost the auction on the identical model. So I'm back to the original B&L in the Betax shutter. I'm happy enough for now. The glass is beautiful and I did a fine job on the shutter. The thing is, nobody can tell me that lens nicks, especially dead center like that; don't mean anything. I've spent nearly my whole life wearing glasses, which are usually dirty. I just live with spots most of the time, and it DOES matter.
    Tom, it's apparent that no one can tell you anything.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    Tom, it's apparent that no one can tell you anything.
    Sorry, didn't mean to be hard-headed. I'll continue to keep my eyes open for another one. I guess what I didn't like was the ebay seller saying "nicks in the back glass". It wasn't "nicks", it was ONE, dead center. Not exactly the kind of truth I care for in an ebay ad. I thought for sure I'd win the duplicate Caltar. I want it because it has X sync, more than anything. Till then, this B&L should muddle me through.

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