Heliar on Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by royall_berndt, May 7, 2022.

  1. I have a 135mm Heliar lens from an old Voigtlander Avus 9x12 camera. I have mounted it on a board for Pacemaker Speed Graphic. What can I expect from such a lens? Will it outperform my 127mm Kodak Ektar? I have an Avus with a Skopar lens. The lens is fantastic, especially in mono. Are Skopars considered superior to the Heliars? Some people say the lenses produce different moods.
  2. Well, you have the lens, mounted and ready. So why don't you tell us?
  3. As Q.G. said in post #2 above, you have the lenses, we don't. Ask them.

    In my experience, Heliar types have less coverage than Tessar types of the same focal length. Skopars are Tessar types. Voigtlaender priced them below equivalent Heliar types, but this may reflect differences in cost of production rather than differences in performance.

    Yes, some people say that they perceive differences in rendering, whatever that means, between Heliar types and equivalent Tessar types. I'm a certified ignorant barbarian insensitive to the fine points -- I took the course, passed the exam, have the certificate -- and I don't see the difference. Subjective is as subjective does.
  4. You're the main researcher on the topic, so you'll have to tell us! Many decades ago I put a 135 mm Tessar on my 4x5. It had an old style Compur shutter and was stolen from a folding camera. I could afford the $99 Calumet and a few holders, but not a lens. It didn't really cover 4x5, with a bit of darkening in the corners. Pictorially, it was wonderful, plenty sharp and very nice tones. I never shot a great number of 4x5 negs, but the ones with the Tessar (on Ektapan) were my favorites.
  5. Some people say lots of unsubstantiated, vague and unproveable waffle.

    With any lens, condition is everything. There's obvious stuff, like micro-scratching from over cleaning, which will reduce contrast. Or cement separation (mainly a Rodenstock issue) or loss of edge blackening (Schneider). Lenses made pre-1948 may not have any AR coating, which again will reduce contrast compared to otherwise identical coated lenses.
    Then there's the invisible enemies of decentring or improper spacing. These can occur in manufacture or through attempted repair.

    All of these factors conspire to make lenses individual, rather than falling into distinct categories of this design or that.

    Just test the thing! :rolleyes:
    ajkocu likes this.

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