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  1. #1

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    Prontor-SVS with Graflar 101mm f4.5 and other Graphic Lenses

    I just received a Century Graphic Special with a Graflar 101mm f4.5 lens in a Prontor-SVS shutter (I didn't realize this lens was part of the auction - I was bidding on the Ektar 105mm f3.7 that came with it). I have two questions on this shutter/lens:

    - I figured out most of the functions of the shutter. I"m not quite sure what the numbers from 2-18 are along the bottom or what to do with them. I also can't figure out how to hold the lens open for ground glass focusing - does it have this capability?

    - The lens is nice and clean but from what I've read, it's not great, although maybe better than the 103mm Trioptar/Graftar triplets? I have a Xenar 105mm f4.5 in a poor Prontor-Press. I think the cells will fit (haven't tried yet). Will the Tessar be "better"?

    For that matter, assuming I stop down to somewhere between f8-f32, how much difference is there between the following (I'm guessing at where I think they "rank" from worst to best in making this list)
    103mm Trioptar/Graftar
    101mm Graflar
    105mm f4.5 Xenar
    101mm f4.5 Ektar
    105mm f3.5 Xenar
    105mm f3.7 Ektar

    Will there really be much difference between any of the 4-5 element lenses? The 105mm f3.7 Ektar is uncoated, but I only shoot B&W with it anyway. Is the 105mm Ektar really that much better than the 101mm or is it hype? The above list isn't intended to be all inclusive but covers all the lenses I own.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fotoguy20d View Post
    - I figured out most of the functions of the shutter. I"m not quite sure what the numbers from 2-18 are along the bottom or what to do with them. I also can't figure out how to hold the lens open for ground glass focusing - does it have this capability?
    FOund the answer to this onevia google.

  3. #3

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    Opinions about the lenses supplied with 2x3 Graphics, e.g., the Century, are mixed.

    Ranked in order of price, 105/3.7 Ektar > 101/4.5 Ektar > 101/4.5 Optar > the triplets.

    Chris Perez' lens tests found the 101/4.5 Ektar sharper across the field than the 105/3.7 Ektar from f/8 down; this is consistent with my shooting and formal lens tests, but I didn't get near the lp/mm resolved that Chris reported. Subject to a retest, my 103/4.5 Graftar is better than both of my Ektars at f/16 and f/22 across the field; no results at larger apertures, sorry.

    I've never shot any Xenar, expect the 105/3.5 to be no better than the 101/4.5 Ektar. But if you want to know whether yours is better than your 101 Graflar, ask the question yourself. You have the lenses. And compare both with y'r 105/3.7 Ektar too.

    The 100/3.5 and 105/3.7 Ektars are slightly cult lenses. Cultists say that they render out of focus areas and the transition from in good focus to not in good focus especially well. I've never seen it, but I'm an ignorant barbarian and am blind to these fine points of lens performance.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan

  4. #4
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    The 105 3.7 is a Heliar lens - nice stuff. I'm never sure what anyone means by "better", so I'll leave that one alone. Each of those lenses will give you a nice, sharp image if you want one; they will have slightly different personalities. The SVS shutter sounds like it's from a Polaroid 110A, though I'm sure it would say if it was - they weren't shy about marking their products. The numbers 1-18 on the bottom are EV settings. There should be a small lever on the right side of the shutter that has a choice of a small filled circle or an empty circle. If you have it set for the filled circle (if my memory is correct- I don't have it here) the shutter speed and the f/stop will change together to maintain one Exposure Value. If you set the lever the other way, you can manipulate each variable on your own.

    I put a short locking cable release on the shutter and leave it there to facilitate focusing. No T setting, but B works with the cable locked.
    Last edited by Whiteymorange; 07-11-2008 at 12:07 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

  5. #5

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    The SVS was something available in the early 60s with the century. I think the model had a "special" designation on the lower lens board clip, at least mine does, and I found a couple of references to it via google. The link I posted above is to a mini-guide to the various Graphic shutters, including the SVS. The reason I didn't figure it out initially is that with the shutter on B and aperature wide open, there isn't much for a linked EV system to do and it acted as though it were locked and I couldn't turn anything.

    Cable release seems to be the only way to go with that lens if I want to ground glass focus, which is my method of choice right now.

    I'm not sure what I mean by better either. I'm going to take Dan's suggestion and run some tests on the triplet vs Tessar vs Heliar - my big fear is I'm not going to see a difference between any of them.



 

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