Voigtlander Heliar's photo examples?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by piotr_stanislawski, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    Heliar lenses have big reputation and there are many enthusiastic comments abaut how special these lenses are ... but there are not many photo examlens showing this quality. It seems strange to me there is no - I could not find - any web site where Heliar user/users share with photos made with these lenses.
    I am considering to buy Heliar 15cm f/4.5 but could not find any photo example made with this lens.
    Did you see any?
  2. Hello Piotr,
    I have a 15 mm Heliar, which was modified to Contax G mount. Here are three links to pictures I took with the lens:
    sorry for the small size on the last two, I was learning my way around contaxg.com at the time.
  3. oops, I just realized that you were looking for a large format lens...
    need more tea to wake up!
  4. Piotr, I wonder how common this lens is. I have never seen one for sale. I am familiar with Heliar's on smaller cameras, but not large format. Maybe Flickr has some tagged images with this lens? Also the Large Format Photography site might be a good resource. We don't seem to get too many examples of any large format images around here, let alone those from such a dated lens. I suspect it is because large format scanners are not so plentiful, or that people don't find the thrill in reproducing an negative to a digital file at virtually 1:1 reproduction.
  5. That's right, I ment examples form medium (6x9) and large format lenses.
  6. I can't see that this lens will have many adherents among LF users. It has a fairly narrow useable angle of about 50 degrees, which doesn't allow for much in the way of camera movements. The optical performance is also on a par with Xenar, Tessar or Kodak Anastigmat designs which are far easier to come by and usually coated, whereas most samples of Heliar are going to be uncoated I imagine.
    On the whole I think that these lenses are more likely to be in the hands of Voiglander enthusiasts and collectors rather than people who actually use them. Now watch me be proved wrong by 600 posts from enraged Heliar users!
  7. Piotr, remeber 'Heliar' is a trade name covering a variety of Voigtlander Anastigmat designs from 1900 onwards. They are mainly 5 element triplets but also some 4 element versions similar to the Skopar. later came Color Heliars. So it is unlikely that any shot you see will be taken by the same Heliar you are looking at.
    The reputation seems to rest to quite an extent on their pre-war standing and also on the fact that Emperor Hirohito of japan would only use Heliar lenses. Not sure that makes for a very solid fondation for a reputation for today as things have moved on quite a bit since then.
  8. I have a 15cm/4.5 Heliar.
    I am not the worlds expert on LF, but I do like the lens, and have not felt any need to get another in that focal length.
    I've seen the results described as "buttery". It does seem to have its own quality, and when used wide open the out of focus areas are nicely smooth. Its quite sharp as well.
    Here is an one example of a 6x9 image on roll film on an MPP 4x5 camera.
    I believe I have a scan from a 4x5 negative, and some recent digital examples with the Heliar on a 5D, via a bellows unit, will see if I can add a couple here.
  9. Here's one from the 5D, which might indicate the nature of that softeness as it goes out of focus.
    This is backlit with a lightbox. I'd expect some flare problems with bright light outdoors, as its an old uncoated lens, but I think you can also get the sort of glow or halo effect that comes with old Leica lenses.
    I believe mine dates from around 1940.
  10. Thank you very much for the answers!
    Keith, did you make any landscapes pictures with this lens or portrait?
    If you have more, please send me a few to renes@go2.pl
  11. Hi
    At my FLICKR page you can see some different SF lenses also the Universal Heliar:
    Good luck, Armin
  12. Thanks again!
    If someone found examples with Heliar used for landscape (or portrait), I will be very grateful too.
    15cm f4.5 Heliar I would like to use with Graflex Century 6x9 mostly for b&w landscape but wonder if it pays spending much time for looking for it or beter I should buy Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6.
  13. I don't know much about the Xenar, so I could not help out there.
    Check out what Ken Lee has to say about the Heliars on his website. If you want something with a nice out of focus look wide open, yet sharp when stopped down, then the Heliar is a fine choice. If you are looking just for a sharp lens, then I am not sure. I got my Heliar primarily to use opened up. I will be using it for selective focus landscape work, but got it relatively recently and have not had a chance to use it extensively. All my other lenses are modern.
  14. Harley, thank you for Ken Lee link.
    When you make landscape pictures with your Heliar 150mm share with them please.
  15. I have a 150mm Heliar f4.5, uncoated. It is a decent lens, but not magical in my opinion. I tested it side by side against an Ektar 152mm, (a Tessar design) and saw little difference.
    The Heliar does have slightly more coverage, it will just hit the corners on a 5x7 camera.
    Heliars are known for their portrait qualities, not sure that reputation extends to landscape.
  16. Here's one taken with a 180mm Heliar circa 1917:
  17. Sorry I don't have any portrait or landscape done with the Heliar, nor anything else ready for upload.
    I have used both Tessar APO 30cm and Xenar 105 and 180 outdoors, though I have not done much with them. I don't see much difference.
    I think Xenar is a Tessar design, the more modern ones might have better quality materials or production methods, but earlier ones are not necessarily very good at all.
    I don't think there is much difference in design or manufacturing between a Heliar 15cm and a Tessar of the same era, but I do think the Heliar is better for still life and portaiture.
    It is difficult to pin down the difference which is somewhat subjective.
    Please bear in mind that although I have tried some large format over a few years I have not really done very much, and my opinion should be viewed in that light.
  18. Thanks to all.
    It seems from many answers that there is no or just a little differences beetwen Heliar 150mm or Xenar 150mm when stoped down to f16-22. I want to use this lens for landscape and probably will buy one of them.
  19. Colin Carron wrote: "They are mainly 5 element triplets but also some 4 element versions similar to the Skopar."

    That's not true. All Heliars from Voigtländer (not Cosina) are five element triplets. Some are Dynar-designs, though, but still five elements in three groups.
  20. Good thread. Great shot Keith. You're right, there should be site devoted to these lenses, but there is a dfifference btween the lenses Voigtlander made and the newer CV lenses. Not the same. Here's a shot from a Bessa II w/ 105 Color Heliar. I'm going to keep the file size large to retain the it's characteristics. No sharpening, no nothing. Straight from the CD scan that A&I made. This lens is absolutely worthy of it's legendary status, and the APO Lanthar is supposed to be even better.
  21. This thread inspired me to finally join this community. It's been a useful source of info since i became interested (obsessed with!) in photography about 5 years ago.
    I happen to own a 15cm 4.5 Heliar along with a Voightlander Bergheil. I've shot it only a few times having converted the Bergheil to 4x5. Here's a crop from a shot on rollei IR400 film with R72 filter - shot at f22.

    There's a few other shots here in this set if you're interested,
    the 'Hot' tap image was shot wide open. Others stopped down.

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