AGFA Agnar & Apotar Lenses - Difference?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by peter_naylor|1, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Dean W's excellent monochrome pix taken with his c. 1958 Silette with
    the humble f2.8 45mm Color-Agnar, have reminded me of something that
    I've never got to the bottom of, and maybe this is a timely moment to
    bring up. Just what is the difference between the Agnar and Apotar
    lenses from AGFA? They're both 3-element Cooke triplet types, and
    in some cameras the Apotar is faster than the Agnar, but Dean's 1958
    Silette was offered with either an f2.8 Color-Agnar or Apotar. The
    Agnar seems to have invariably been the cheaper alternative, no
    matter what the model. I once read of somebody's theory that
    they're actually the same lens, with the ones that tested better
    labelled as "Apotar" and the rest as "Agnar" - although Dean's
    efforts tend to disprove that! Maybe somebody in our erudite Forum
    can throw some light on this? PN
  2. I'm not as up on things in the Silette realm as you are Peter. Maybe my camera tested well, but got put in the wrong lens labeling box at the factory. Lucky me.
  3. compliments of google-

    The Apotar was a redesign of the Agnar lens and used 'new glasses' which were available in the 50s. These new optical glasses allowed for better chromatic correction and were helpful to reduce some other lens aberrations, too. The Apotar seems to perform a bit better than the Agnar.

    Agnar lenses were still used on some cheap Agfa cameras in the 60s when the Apotar was already released.
  4. hmmmm- I just noticed that post was by Winfried Buechsenschuetz-

    who also posts over here and ,imo really knows some chit about classic cameras-

    he recently explained to me how to fix my Yashica electro 35-

    thank you very large,Winfried
  5. Don McKeith wrote: "The Apotar was a redesign of the Agnar lens and used 'new glasses' which were available in the 50s."

    Yes and no. The Apotar was available already in the mid 30s.

    I don't know the story of Agnar though. Maybe it was a redesign of Agfas simplest triplet Jgestar?

    Before the war you could buy an Agfa Record 6x9 with Jgestar, Apotar or Solinar. After the war the lenses were Agnar, Apotar and Solinar.
  6. On the Apotar, one of the elements is made from rare-earth glass, which in this case means the glass contains barium. On post 1950 lenses, the Apotar has a superb, hardened, anti-reflective coating. The previous Steinheil Apotar was soft coated and not as sharp, in my opinion.

    As mentioned beginning in the 1930's, the Apotar was Agfa's designation for its second tier lens. Prior to the Solagon, the Solinar held the number one spot.

    I have a late 105mm Apotar from a Record II mounted to my Billy Record II and you'll hear no complaints from me. By the way, does anyone have a prewar Billy Record in their collection with an Apotar? I'd be interested on how well it performs.
  7. "The previous Steinheil Apotar was soft coated and not as sharp, in my opinion".

    Oh drat! I bought a Record II with one of those last year. Now I must buy a Record II with Agfa Apotar! I have one with Solinar, and it's very good. Bought new bellows from Jurgen Kreckel for it.
  8. I have an Agnar off of a Viking, and an Apotar on an Isolette II. The Agnar always looks
    better. The Apotar is sharp around the frame, except in the center where it is always a tad
    soft. Any ideas? I guess it could be film flatness, but that usually shows up on one side or
    the other.
  9. Andrew Yue wrote "The previous Steinheil Apotar was soft coated and not as sharp, in my opinion."

    Andrew, did you make a typo? I ask because I hadn't known that the Apotar was a Steinheil product. I've looked for Apotar in the Vade Mecum's Steinheil section. No Apotars there, unless the Adobe Reader 6's search function has problems.


  10. In another discussion, I read that Solinars were the best, Apotars next, and Agnars the worst although very little difference stopped down. I have two Solinettes, one with a Solinar and one with an Apotar. I haven't used the Solinar yet so I can't give any first hand opinion. Fun cameras however.
  11. Dan Fromm, yes Steinheil made some of the Apotars for Agfa after the war.
  12. Here's a scan of the Steinheil Apotar lens on my Agfa Billy Record II
  13. Thanks, Patric.


  14. All of ther Solinars were not that good, some of the ones fitted to the Agfa Silette were dogs. It all comes down to quality control. I'm sure there are good and bad Agnars and good and bad Apotars.
  15. Certainly one bad Apotar won't spoil the whole bunch.
    stephen_morris|3 likes this.

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