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80mm Xenotar
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78ltd



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 55
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject: 80mm Xenotar Reply with quote

Anybody here have any price lists or catalogs that show when the 80mm F/2.8 Xenotar was offered on Century Graphics? My 65/66 Catalog shows it, my March 68 Folder shows the Heligon instead. That would imply a very short time span. Any clues? Just interested. The Nov. 67 Shutter Guidebook also shows the 80mm Heligon. Maybe they only offered the Xenotar for a year or so!
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be interesting to know, at least relatively, how many each of the Xenotar and Heligon were produced during this period, as well as their comparative prices at the time.

One would think that since the Heligon was offered as a "budget" lens -- at least it was explicitly the budget alternative on the Graflex XL -- loads of them would have been made and still kicking around.

But in fact there seem to be far fewer Heligons than Xenotars nowadays, and I wonder why.

Is your Xenotar in Compur #0 or Compur #1? How do you like it? Any pics to share? Would you describe it as your "desert island" lens for the small Graflex?
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. I'd always thought that Heligons were fully competitive with Xenotars and Planars and, on Kodak Retinas, Xenons.
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graflex XL enthusiast Anthony James has posted a reproduction of a Graflex XL product brochure on his website (http://www.arukucamera.net/). This page of the catalog describes the 80mm lens offerings at the time:

http://www.arukucamera.net/XLcat05.html

<quote>

Zeiss Planar: For the ultimate in color correction, resolution, and contrast.

Rodenstock Heligon: Ideal for a one-lens wedding outfit. Surprisingly excellent performance at modest price.

</quote>

So at least as far as XL marketing is concerned, the Heligon was definitely positioned as a second tier lens relative to the Planar.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since when has marketing reflected reality?
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78ltd



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 55
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject: Heligon Reply with quote

I don't have the xenotar. I do have the Heligon. I have not tested it yet. Xenotar's are out of my price range. I am very cheap!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not cheap, picky. I have an 80/2.8 Xenotar in #0 Compur that I bought for $25. Gummy shutter, the lens' outer surfaces horribly scratched. Terrible lens, very flary and not very sharp, stopping down doesn't help it.

But worth buying for the shutter.
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C. Henry



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 359
Location: North East Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the lens' outer surfaces horribly scratched. Terrible lens, very flary and not very sharp, stopping down doesn't help it.


Dan;

Seems to me that "outer surfaces horribly scratched" would increase flare and reduce sharpness of any lens regardless of original quality. Also stopping down will not help in this case unless the scratches were only near the edge of the lens.

C. Henry
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An 80mm f/2.8 Xenotar just happened to find its way over to me recently. Serial number 7031xxx, mounted in a Synchro Compur-P size #0 shutter.

I haven't looked up the year for this lens yet; my guess is early 60s. Unlike the 80mm f/2.8 Heligon discussed in an earlier thread, there are no markings on this Xenotar specifically for "Graflex" or any other camera.

Although 80mm Xenotar's seem to have been available in both #0 and #1 shutters, the #0 size is easier to install on the smaller Graflex. Mine fits comfortably on a Pacemaker Crown 23, and I have set it up for use with the body release cable/paddle.

Compared to the 80mm f/2.8 Heligon discussed previously, the Xenotar's Compur has a nice round 10-bladed aperture, the Heligon only 5. Both lenses are threaded for 40.5mm filter accessories. But the Xenotar front barrel is somewhat longer than the Heligon's, and so it is not possible to leave a collapsible lens hood in place with the camera closed.

A minor annoyance of the Xenotar's Compur-P shutter is that there is no "T" setting, and no other built-in way to keep the shutter open for ground-glass focusing short of a locking cable release. The Compur for the Heligon also has no "T" setting, but does provide a convenient finger-operated lever for opening the shutter during focus.

Just like the Heligon, the 80mm focal length of the Xenotar is fine as a moderate wide-angle lens on a small Graflex, giving a field of view similar to using 127mm/135mm on the larger 4x5.

But how well does it perform? Early results to follow shortly!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vitaly, the Synchro-Compur-P has press focus. That's what the "P" stands for.

From memory, since I'm at work, if you look at the shutter you'll see a metal tab sticking out that has no obvious function. It will pull out. Pull it out, cock the shutter, fire the shutter. It should stay open.

C. Henry, my little 80/2.8 Xenotar is a lost cause. I knew that when I bought it. I bought it for the shutter. Can't get a #0 for $25 plus the cost of an overhaul. My one real Boyer Zircon -- the others are badges Saphir BX -- has a badly scratched front surface. Shoots very well anyway. My 420/9 Apo Nikkor has a horrible circular gouge on the rear element. It shoots as well as my other Apo Nikkors, i.e., very well.

Scratches aren't necessarily a disaster. It depends on the scratches and on the lens.

Cheers,

Dan
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, Dan, wrong again. No "press focus" tab on this shutter.
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other night my wife and I met up with some friends for dinner. I decided to take the Crown 23/80mm Xenotar combo, along with a handle-mounted electronic flash, and pretend to be a press photographer.

Can you say Arthur Fellig?

#1


#2


All right, Weegee I am not.

Still, the camera and lens performed great! Even in this dark outdoor setting, I could get a bead on focus with the Kalart, compose with the wireframe finder, and f/11 on the Xenotar took care of the rest.

But what about that lens? Is it "sharp"?

Does anyone know what time it is? Does anyone really care?

#3


All images:

* Pacemaker Crown Graphic 23
* 80mm f/2.8 Xenotar
* RH-10 rollfilm back
* Vivitar 283 flash (direct, not softened or bounced)
* Neopan 400
* PMK pyro
* Epson 4870
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vitaly66



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: tirana

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so I just figured out the "press focus" operation on this shutter.

There is a little round button on top of the shutter that looks *exactly* like the self-timer lock button on older Compurs. But if you pull the button back while tripping the cocked shutter, the shutter will lock in the open position for focusing.

To release the lock, push the cocking lever back up slightly.

Pretty cool!

I never touched that button before, thinking it was a self timer. And hard experience has taught me to leave the self-timers on old lenses well-enough alone.

Apologies to Dan, and to other readers for the misinformation.
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78ltd



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 55
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:08 pm    Post subject: No. O Reply with quote

A couple of years ago I posted a question on when Schneider started putting 80mm F/2.8 Xenotar's in No. O instead of No. 1 compurs. I never got a response. My catalog shows the No. 1 shutter. Never understood why the No. 1 was needed, the physical aperture size is the same between a 100mm F/3.5 lens and a 80mm F/2.8. Maybe they did it to get a wider field coverage without vignetting? Get them serial numbers looked at, I want to know the years.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old Ford, I'll bet that there was a design change. Not directly relevant, but I also have an 80/2.8 Planar that fits a #1. Its outer elements are much larger than those of the Xenotar that fits a #0.
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