Goerz Apo-Artar 305 mm F9.0: right choice for first 8x10 lens?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by pietro_chelli|1, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Hello.

    I am about to step up to 8x10. Cannot wait. I want to be drowned by pixels : )

    I am trying to understand what lens I want. I would like to pick the
    1 lens that I am going to stick to forever. I will not use several lenses, but
    most likely just one, as I have done also with other formats.

    I shoot portrait and environmental portrait, and was wondering if
    a 305-306 (12 inch) is the right choice, or a 360 (14 inch) is a better choice.
    And also if this choice could depend on what is available.

    I want a good, sharp and excellent chromatic contrast lens.
    There is an option to get a GOERZ APO ARTAR 305MM F 9.0.

    I understand that there are artars "red dot" and artars that are APO,
    although the seller states this:

    "The early Apochromatic artars are designated "red dot". This is a very late/modern design.
    Schneider was the last owner of the rights to produce the Artar line - they acquired the "company" sometime
    around 1990. It is the same lens, updated and of course on a modern shutter."

    Would this be correct?

    Any other recommendations????

    Many anticipated thanks and Best Regards

  2. Red Dot : Coated, same optical design, Non Red Dot : uncoated.

    For 8x10, and especially portraits, I'd go to a 16 1/2 or 19" myself. All of the Apo Artars are well corrected, but don't have the typical (for those used to Plasmat designs) huge image circles.

  3. Kingslake describes the invention of the Apo-Artar in his book "The History of the Photographic Lens". It was invented by Zschokke of Goerz in 1904. The design is the dialyte, four air-spaced elements, two positive and two negative elements. This has been a very successful design, made by many manufacturers under various names for many years. It is correct that Schneider acquired the name and made lenses using the name for a few names. How is this pertinent? I guess a sign of how well regarded this lens was. But that doesn't tell you the condition of a lens made before Schneider made Apo-Artars, possibly long before, nor whether 305 mm is the right focal length for you.

    305 mm is very close to the diagonal of 8x10 and is considered normal; 360 mm would be considered a moderately long normal. What format do you use now? Can you compare? 305 is like 150 on 4x5; 360 like 180 on 4x5.
  4. Coverage for movements would be a little tight with a 300mm Artar, so I personally would lean towards either a longer
    Artar or a different 300mm lens if it was going to be the one and only 8x10 lens I would use.

    If size/weight of the lens are important, consider both the 305mm G-Claron and the 300mm Fujinon-A lens. They are
    both in Copal 1 shutters and have ample coverage for 8x10. Alternatively, you can pick up a 300mm plasmat (any of
    the big f/5.6 lenses) for relatively cheap if you don't mind a larger/heavier lens.
  5. the other side of the coin, so to speak, is what camera are you planning on buying? the capabilities of the front
    standard can come into play, a 300+mm plasmat, as Sheldon noted, get big and heavy. Are you planning on using a
    packard and barrel lenses (less expensive, more available image "character" choices typically) or would you
    prefer built in shutters?
  6. Hmmmm... "stick with forever"....

    A 300mm or 360mm will be very useful for general use but neither is a particularly good portrait lens, although
    "environmental portraiture" is certainly more applicable to the "normal" lenses such as these. 300mm offers a
    broader range of options (process vs the Plasmats, etc.), but if you intend to stick with 8x10 and not go to a
    smaller format such as 5x7, I think I might ponder getting a good (and also big and heavy) 360mm plasmat to start
    with as well as investing in a shorter process (e.g. G-Claron) or plasmat lens in the 240-270mm range plus
    perhaps a longer
    600mm Fuji Compact or 550mm Schneider Elite. This would produce a very useful collection of lenses for your 8x10
    adventures. The only things missing are super long lenses like the 1100mm Elite or a Tele-Artar, and wide angles
    in the 150mm-210mm range. But all of this runs in to big money, especially the Schneider Elites, although the
    process lenses like the G-Clarons and Fujinon's "compact" lenses tend to be quite reasonable.
  7. A nice lens for enviromental portrait is the Schneider Xenar 300mm. It is both fast and reasonably light. Mine is 5.6 in a
    Sinar DB mount and less than one kilo.You might consider a 240mm if you need even more environment. For half-figure
    and closer a longer lens would be nice. I think 300 is nice in a one lens strategy, because it is the normallens, and I use
    the normal most. A 300mm plasmat is more heavy, and often multicoated, so you might choose it and be happy. I think the
    plasmat is a good choice for a Sinar, and something lighter is nice for a wooden field camera. If the 300 is too wide, the
    8x10 is large enough to crop and still get away with great quality.
  8. Schneider bought the then defunct American Goerz which had changed hands several times after having been sold by American Optical Co. I'm quite sure that the sale was in themid 1970's, probably about 1974 or '75. I remember since the Schneider Rep told me this when I was Corp GM of Photo Art in Milwaukee.

    Schneider then re-designed the Dagor and the Artar. While I'm no longer certain (it has been a few years) I think the Dagor was then designated as a Gold Dot Dagor. The redesigned Artar became a highly improved optic od plasmat style and was called the Blue Dot Tricor (it was superb). These lenses were manufactured under contrat to Kern Optical in Switzerland. They were very good but production was extremely slow, we suspect that they were made against customer order. I'm pretty sure that if the lens is called "Artar" then it would be the standard 4 element all airspaced (dialyte) that covered about 45 degrees albeit superbly and was optimized for 1:1 close up.

    For general purpose use, such as portrait or landscape, you couldn't beat a Kodak Commercial Ektar. It is optimized for intermediate distances giving fine quality from 1:1 to inf., with remarkable contrast, having a coverage of 56 degrees.

    The Fujinon 300 f9.0 is a 70 degree covering 420mm at inf. and f22. The 305 Apo Computar f 9.0, or the Kowa Graphic (same lens) covers significantly more than that (about 80 deg) and I've never seen a better lens from close up to inf. Yes I do own one and its quality is astonishing possibly even better than the Fuji, certainly when the coverage is compared.

  9. "A 300mm or 360mm will be very useful for general use but neither is a particularly good portrait lens,"

    Everyone still seems to be pushing the "short" normal of 300mm for 8x10, which I still don't consider to be a particularly appropriate focal length for "portraits", although "environmental portraiture" is a somewhat different animal. A 450mm or 480mm (Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon or Fujinon in either process or plasmat types) would be a potential compromise, but a wider plasmat or process lens would still remain desirable, something in the 240mm- 270mm range. However, I still like the original scheme better since I think the 600mm Fujinon Compact would be a great portrait lenses for 8x10.

    And if someone has a 450mm, 480mm or 600mm they don't like and would much rather have a nice 300mm plasmat, I'd consider a trade for my lovely 300mm f/5.6 Caltar-N, a Rodenstock marvel.
  10. Whenever I see the blue dot trigor mentioned...I cringe because I'm reminded how stupid I was to sell this lens - which I'd used for 11X14, 8X10, 5X7, and 4X5 - and oh...was it (at least my Kern version) ever superb! As sidenote - it was the sharpness of this lens which helped to convince me that, specifically with regards to 4X5, that a "superlight" camera in this format is definitely not a good idea in terms of the amount of sturdiness/mass required to realize the full performance of a lens such as this.
  11. ....almost forgot to answer the question! Which I cannot, as I've had no direct experience with Apo Artars (although others results seem to confirm that they look about as sharp as a Trigor, but with less coverage). But I do own a 305 G-Claron, which I am very happy with - and which has a bit of extra coverage for 8x10. Nice portrait lens on 4X5/5X7 - but not on 8X10, IMHO, unless its head and shoulders to full body or even environmental (although for the latter I'd go right to a 240).
  12. pps...I do believe that the trigor was produced in several versions, pre-Kern, but from what I've heard, the 14" Kern version is the creme de la creme.
  13. A 300mm Artar will cover 8x10 with a TON of movement, even a 10 3/4" Artar covers 8x10 with movement. The red dots came out mid
    fifties and were coated and the magnification ratios changed from the standard 1:1 with the non red dots to all different kinds ranging from
    1:10 down to 1:2 etc.
  14. Hello Pietro, here we are again. I will vote with Lynn Jones on this one -- a 12-inch Commercial Ektar will give beautiful contrast, especially in skin tones, but also in shadows. (Look closely at Karsh: his was a 14", but the image qualities are the same ones.) It is plenty sharp, in my experience, about as sharp as it gets unless you get a "pick of the litter" plasmat. Coverage will be fine at f22. You will have a couple of inches of movement, or more, in my (conservative about coverage) view. Commercial Ektars are not hard to find and quality control was of the best. This last remark is not true of some of the alternatives, including plasmats from the fifties and the 60's and even into the 70's.
    But let's be practical: contrast and the more subjective character of the image will be the deciding factor when contact prints are the likely application. This is where the Commercial Ektar leads the pack. This would be one of the ones pried from my cold dead fingers, yes...I use mine on an old Sinar. Great for people, unbeatable for illustration.
    Now, did you go for the Xenotar, the 127 Ektar, or something else??!! Pictures?
  15. Pietro--one more--this with a 12-inch Commercial Ektar on 5x7--
  16. I too would steer you toward the 14-inch Ektar... a wonderful lens and at F6.8 much easier to focus than a F9.0 lens
  17. Yes, I to am a big fan of the 14inch commercial Ektar. It is my most used 8X10 lens.
    Great contrast and very sharp , works very well for a standard lense on 8X10.
    but the lense and shutter is large and heavy. If this is a problem you need to shoot
    35mm or digital. You can not have it both ways. I like large format. size a weight is
    just part of it.

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