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Lens Upgrade?

 
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pmanzari



Joined: 13 May 2009
Posts: 24
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:27 pm    Post subject: Lens Upgrade? Reply with quote

I have a Century Graphic with a standard 101mm Graftar lens and shutter. I'm looking to upgrade to something a bit sharper, but I am a confused.

There are lens and shutter combos listed as #0, #00, #1, etc. I imagine that I need something with a small diameter to fit the small lens board, but I don't know what I should be looking for.

I also wonder whether I can go up to 127mm Ektars (which seem to be more common) but I don't know whether these would fit the lens board or provide coverage for the 6x9cm film size.

Many thanks
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1892
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A #1 shutter fits comfortably on a 2x3 Pacemaker board. It will interfere with a 2x3 Speed's or Crown's front shutter tripper. Two solutions, remove the front shutter tripper (cable and all, I did that) or use a Century. You have a Century, problem solved.

A 2x3 Graphic won't close with a #1 shutter on it. It will with a #0 or smaller.

#0 is smaller than #1, #00 smaller still.

A 127/4.7 Ektar will just barely cover 4x5, so will cover 2x3.

If you want a sharper normal lens, go for a 100/5.6 Sironar or a 100/5.6 Symmar-S or a 105 Nikkor-W or Nikkor-M.

Odds are that your Graftar is more than sharp enough. You might want to improve your technique instead of buying a slightly (?) better lens. Tune up the Kalart, shoot from tripod, shoot at f/11 or f/16, ...

Two things limit which lenses can be used on a Century. Focal length and the rear cell's diameter. For non-tele lenses, around 210 mm is as long as can be used without heroic measures. As for the rear cell, around 60 mm is the limiting diameter. I have two lenses whose rear cells are about that large, I mount them by unscrewing the rear cell from the shutter; attaching board, with shutter and front cell, to the front standard; and then screwing the rear cell back into the shutter. Fiddly, the only way to use 35/4.5 Apo Grandagon or 58/5.6 Grandagon.
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pv17vv



Joined: 22 Dec 2001
Posts: 255
Location: The Ardennes, Belgium

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan, just wondering, how many lenses do you own/use ???

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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1892
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair question.

I have a heap of macro lenses suitable for 2x3 of which I use, these days, only one. I have another heap of lenses that can be used at distance with 2x3. My travel kit contains around fifteen lenses. On a week-long shooting excursion I'll use most of them at least once.

So many macro lenses for two reasons. I had a project I thought would go better on 2x3 than on 35 mm. Once I started working on it, I realized that I'd been mistaken. And when I started acquiring macro lenses I had no idea which were usable and which weren't. So I found out by getting lenses. Big surprise, for work on 2x3 (or 4x5, which I don't shoot) at around 3:1 to around 8:1, a 55/2.8 MicroNikkor AIS reversed and shot at f/4 is much much better than good enough. Luminars, Photars (don't have any), Macro Nikkors (ditto) aren't worth the added cost.

So many taking lenses for two reasons. I wanted to find out what they were and how they shot. I'm a sucker for bargains. Good, inexpensive, what could be better?

I have a lens diary that Emmanuel Bigler wants to publish on the French LF site. He's translating it into French. I think he's translating faster than I'm adding lenses, I'm acquiring very few lenses since I can't justify more.

If you want a copy of the diary in English as it now is, send me your e-mail address in a PM.

Cheers,

Dan
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A 2x3 Graphic won't close with a #1 shutter on it.


Not quite right. 2x3 Graphics will easily close with at least some lenses mounted in #1 shutters.

For example, I have a 135mm Ysarex and a 95mm Heligon, both in Compur #1. Some care is required in orienting the lens on the lens board, but both fit just fine with the front closed in either a Crown 23 or a Century Graphic.

Also, the Kalart rangefinder will calibrate to work well with either of these lenses.

The only "standard" lens I have found so far that doesn't permit closing is an 80mm Noritar. It is mounted in a #0 shutter, but the front element is simply too large/deep. FWIW, the Century permits lenses with a skinch more depth than the Crown, say 2mm. But it is still not quite enough for the Noritar.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 127mm Ektar makes a fine lens, but the 135 Optar is even better if you are looking for something a little longer than normal. Which ever you decide, get one with clean glass.
Another very nice lens in this, what I consider a long normal (whatever that means) range, is the 135 Xenar. All of these are tessars. Image quality will be excellent with any of these, but I rate them with the Optar first, the Xenar second, and the Ektar 3rd. All the Optars are single coated, and later model Ektars and Xenars are single coated. The early Ektars and 127 Anastigmats and Velostigmats that are uncoated, if the glass is clean, will produce stunning images also, but with less contrast.
All these, or any vintage optics for that matter should have the lens shaded as well as possible when making your exposures for optimum performance.
Your lens board for the Graftar has a much smaller hole than most shutters for 101 to 135mm. I do not have time to offer exact measurements for Copal 00, 0, and #1 shutters, but they are not consistent with vintage USA shutters. SO a #2 Supermatic or Graphex/Rapax shutter will have their own unique sizing. The Xenar will, or should be, in a Copal 0 size which are close to the body size of the #2 American stuff. The thru the board drilling though is different as I suggest. I turn my own holes on a lathe. Hacking a hole out to fit is sort of, well, hacked.
The post above is correct with my experience with the Century camera in that a #3 Compur will fit, and the camera will close, but the shutter has to be in the sweet spot. One of my Century set ups has the 80mm Xenotar 2.8 in #3 Compur and it's a shave. The Rodenstock Heligon 80mm 2.8 is not only a better lens, it is in a more compact #2 Compur.
As a side note, one thing you might like is to keep your eye out for a Trioptar 103mm lens to fit right on that lens board you already have. Also a triplet lens, but in my opinion highly underated. But keep in mind that vintage lenses are not equal. I ran a test of assorted standard lenses for the 23 series Graphics and the Trioptar I have and use most frequently beat out a pretty good group of cherry picked lenses including 101 Ektars, Optars, Xenar, and the highly rated Ektar 105 heliar.
But whatever you decide, you have to play the find a lens board game, or look for lenses already mounted on 23 series boards. And I'm not even suggesting your shutter you find with a lens might be accurate.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1892
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trouble, I'm glad we sort of agree on which lenses are ok, am bothered that we don't agree on what fits.

Take a look at y'r 80/2.8 Xenotar. I have an early one that's in a Compur #0; newer ones are in #1, not #3, according to Schneider. I've looked at SKGrimes' shutter pages; they have a drawing of a #3s with dimensions, I believe the #3 is the same externally. Its a hair over 4" across and there's more than an inch of it in front of the flange. I don't see how a 2x3 Graphic can close on one of those monsters.

Take a look at y'r Heligon. I can't believe it is in a #2. #0, like my little Xenotar, yes, #2, no way.

About what fits. I just tried closing a 2x3 Crown and a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed on #1 Copal cock-and-shoot, #1 Copal Press, and #1 Prontor Press. No go, no go, and no go. Orientation doesn't seem to matter. I have a #1 Compur in the drawer, not on board; it is the same size externally as the others, so I didn't put it on board and try it too.

Cheers,

Dan
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Orientation doesn't seem to matter. I have a #1 Compur in the drawer, not on board; it is the same size externally as the others, so I didn't put it on board and try it too.


It's not the size of the shutter body that inhibits closing. It's the little bits hanging off of it.

Each of my Compur #1 shutters is a bit different, but the main thing is to position it on the board in such a way that the shutter release, shutter charging, aperture control, and other do-hickeys don't come up against the rails.

If you can carefully determine what bit is impeding closure, you may be able to figure out a suitable workaround.

As an example, my 95mm Heligon won't close unless the aperture control lever is set at either f/2.8 or f/32. There is also a pointy bit sticking out of that lever that I could remove, so I wouldn't even have to do this.

As for "troublemaker", I think he means to say #1 where he says #3, and #0 where he says #2. For example, the 80mm Heligon will definitely be in a Compur #0. Simply substitue n-2 for the shutter number and his descriptions are otherwise correct.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1892
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vitaly, thanks for your suggestions. I take your point about the little bits sticking out of the shutter.

Cheers,

Dan
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pmanzari



Joined: 13 May 2009
Posts: 24
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all. This is the info that I was looking for.

The Graftar is a bit fuzzy as I expected, but passable when stopped down. I'll keep my eyes open for an Ektar or Xenar.
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