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Thread: Certo6?

  1. #11

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    (quoting me, first)

    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell View Post
    Tessar sharper than a Heliar, seriously?

    Sure, why not ?
    Well, because the Heliar is an evolution of the Tessar design, and it would be kind of a surprise if Voigtlander "evolved" backwards, wouldn't it?

    To be clear, I absolutely agree that they're both superb lenses and that the price/performance ratio on an Ercona is outstanding. But JPD was saying specifically that the Ercona with the Tessar should be sharper (and contrastier, which seems less surprising) than a Bessa II with a Heliar, which surprised me---is the difference in rigidity between the two folding designs really that huge?

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  2. #12
    JPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    Well, because the Heliar is an evolution of the Tessar design, and it would be kind of a surprise if Voigtlander "evolved" backwards, wouldn't it?
    The Heliar came two years before the Tessar and evolved from the Cooke triplet, and Tessar from the Unar. Heliar is known for its smooth transition between in and out of focus areas. Voigtländer left small amounts of aberrations on purpose to achieve that. An excellent lens for portraits at large apertures, and a sharp all purpose lens stopped down. The Tessar feels a bit "harder" and "sharper", but harsh fully open.

    To be clear, I absolutely agree that they're both superb lenses and that the price/performance ratio on an Ercona is outstanding. But JPD was saying specifically that the Ercona with the Tessar should be sharper (and contrastier, which seems less surprising) than a Bessa II with a Heliar, which surprised me---is the difference in rigidity between the two folding designs really that huge?
    The Ercona is rigid as a rock, like the west german counterpart Ikonta. The Bessas are OK, and the difference in rigidity isn't huge, but a bit.

    My Ercona II is great for bitingly sharp and contrasty negs with a "modern look", and my RF-Bessa with Heliar when I want more "atmosphere" and an almost 3D-effect.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPD View Post
    The Heliar came two years before the Tessar and evolved from the Cooke triplet
    I stand corrected! I'd looked at the diagrams and jumped to a conclusion. (The Heliar looks superficially like a Tessar with the front element "split" into a cemented group.) Thanks for the education.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  4. #14
    JPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    (The Heliar looks superficially like a Tessar with the front element "split" into a cemented group.)
    It does. And the Tessar certainly looks like it derived from the Cooke Triplet, something Zeiss fanboys don't want to hear.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    Tessar sharper than a Heliar, seriously? The only Heliar I have experience of, on a 9x12 Bergheil, is one of the sharpest lenses I've ever seen, competitive with the Planar on my Rolleiflex. I'm sure it's a particularly good sample, but I'd still be surprised if Heliars didn't consistently beat Tessars for sharpness in an apples-to-apples comparison.

    That said...Bessae are overpriced. I don't think the difference in the lenses justifies the difference in prices!

    -NT
    The Heliar has a different signature (beautiful) and an extra element which reduces contrast. In terms of apparent sharpness the Tessar will probably win
    Mark Layne
    Nova Scotia
    and Barbados

  6. #16

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    i will neither buy nor have anything repaired by him...beentheredonethat

    if you do, make sure you get a return policy in writing from him


    i would keep your rollei.
    Last edited by jnanian; 06-08-2010 at 10:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #17
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    And the Tessar certainly looks like it derived from the Cooke Triplet, something Zeiss fanboys don't want to hear.

    Silly, silly, silly. Amazing lenses.

    Here's some information from Dr. Kingslake:

    The Cooke patents that inspired the Heliar were from 1893 and 1895.

    Hans Harting patented the first Heliar design in 1900,
    and in 1902 patented an improved design, but it was no better than the Cooke,
    and in some ways worse, so he tried again, and in 1903 he patented a design which was influenced by the Tessar,
    and Harting called it a Oxyn. A variation of it was called Dynar (and was the model of Dallmeyer's Pentac)
    After WW1, Harting returned to a renamed Dynar: Heliar. When it was all said and done,
    the Heliar was no better, or worse, than the Cooke... just different. But the lens we know as Heliar is a post 1918 design.

    The Tessar evolution was from the Anastigmat series (renamed Protar, 1890~1893).
    The Unar (1895) was a departure that was only partly successful, and the Tessar married the two designs (1902).

    So, for what it is worth, the roots of the Tessar are 3 years earlier than the Cooke.

    My own, minor, experience with the Cooke, Heliar, and Tessar is that similar lenses (say f/4.5) in similar eras are the same.
    I can't begin to say a Heliar is soft wide open, and the Tessar is harsh: they are the same. There is more variation from unit to unit than there is between designs. I have one of the last Heliars from Voigtlander, and to be honest, it is surgically sharp and contrasty, just like the Tessars of the same era. (It is amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 40 years !)

    The only important part of this monologue is that the mechanics of the camera determine how well a lens can perform. A Tessar in a Rollei, like a Heliar in a Medalist (Altman's 100/3.5) outperform the lenses of a folder. Folders usually rely on front cell focusing, unlike the Rollei, or a view camera. Other compromises necessary in folder design reduce the performance of these great objectives. "Compromise" reallly isn't a bad word, it just means that you had to make decisions and choices, and when you come down to it, a 6x9 folder is a pretty cool thing to possess. But I'd go for the best mechanical camera rather than a lens whose legend you appreciate. In addition to the Ercona, I'm fond of the Agfa Record as well as the Ensign. But the Ercona seems to be the best bargain by a big margin.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  8. #18

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    I've just had a long hard look at the Vade Mecum entry on the Heliar, and my brane hertz. Also sprach Wilkinson & Glanfield:

    After WW1 the Dynar (V021) was short lived and the main product became the Heliar (V020) now with a
    version of the old Dynar layout.

    V020 is 5 lenses in 3 groups, but shaped quite differently from the Q19 design that I'd assumed was the "typical" Heliar. This is under the "c" paragraph in the group of Heliar lenses.

    Then, under the "d" paragraph, there's some minutiae about the apertures and focal lengths, which suggests that those are what I have on the Bergheil and what we see on higher-end Bessae, and the statement that these Heliars "will be updated designs, quite likely with R. Richter involved", but no word on what that updated design might be. So maybe the update is the difference between V020 and Q019, or maybe I'm completely confused. Anyway, it's not clear to me how much these descend from the earlier Dynar-derived Heliars, nor what if anything the relationship to the Tessar is in practice. As I said, my brane hertz!

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #19
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    While the Vade Mecum is a fine effort by knowledgeable enthusiasts,
    Dr. Kingslake was in special category. He talked about some of the details you refer to,
    and gave the patent numbers for the designs. "History of the Photographic Lens" is a prime reference for classic camera lens design. Dr. Kingslake helped create the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, and became the head of lens design at Kodak in 1937.

    The story Kingslake tells about these designers and their work (I think) is that tremendous insight and brutal, hard, hard work went into the evolution of these lenses, and that as the Heliar evolution illustrates, it was not done in a vacuum. Harting (1868-1951), for instance, began at Zeiss, went to Voigtlander, and returned to Zeiss over a long career punctuated by two horrific wars. In an era of manual computation and limited resources (glass types, for instance) lens design took years to prove (or disprove) ideas formed by the scientific method, and every one of the classic designs was limited by the era in which is was born. Harting was decades removed from his design career when Kodak's Altman perfected the Heliar. At any rate, pick up the Kingslake to balance VM, and have fun.

    For further reference, http://people.rit.edu/andpph/tphs-kingslake.html
    Last edited by df cardwell; 06-09-2010 at 06:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #20
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    Im convinced

    I'm convinced, I'll keep the Rollei I have a Rolleicord also with xenar lens. thanks for all the opinions
    No escaping it!
    I must step on fallen leaves
    to take this path

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