Symmetrical Wide Field Lenses

Kodak, Schneider, Wollensak made lenses of approximately the same focal length. Thus there are equivalent choices in a given focal length between a Ektar, Xenar or Optar.

Most Graflex Optars are made by Wollensak, but later (post 1965) Optars are manufactured by Rodenstock.

These lenses are 3 group/4 element ``Tessar'' type lenses with a 55 degree circle. The Ektars were probably the best all around quality, with Xenars next, and Raptars and Acutars third. They are fairly close if in good repair and not mistreated.

The Polaroid 110,110A and 110B roll-film cameras can often be found very inexpensively. They are fitted either with a Rodenstock Ysarex 127/4.5 or Wollensak Raptar 127/4.5.
General Purpose Lenses: 4-element/4-group, 6-element/2-group, etc.
Manufacturer Lens Brand Shutter Typical Focal Lengths
Kodak W.F.Ektar Supermatic 80, 100, 135
Kodak Ektar Supermatic 203
Schneider Symmar Syncho Compur 100, 135, 150, 180, 210
Schneider Angulon Synchro Compur 90, 120
Graflex Optar W.A. Graphex 90
Wollensak Raptar W.A. Rapax 90
Goerz Dagor (f6.8) 5",6",6.5",7",8.25",to 14"
Goerz Super Dagor (f8) 3 5/8", 4 3/8", 6.5"

Notes About Symmetrical Lenses

Schneider Symmar

Symmars (coated, post-WWII) come in 100, 135, 150, 180 and 210, all in Syncho Compurs. Even though these are "convertible", they are poor when used that way. Later 'Symmar S's from the 70s, more expensive, have even better coating and wider circle of illumination, but are much more expensive. However the Symmars are still excellent lenses.

Kodak WF Ektars

The two Kodak WF Ektars need to be stpoped down considerably to equal in sharpness to the General Purpose Tessar lenses mentioned the the first section when used as wide-angle lenses. They are less even in illumination across the same field of view in comparision to a Symmar. Sharper at wide apertures than the 90mm Angulon, etc. The 135mm WF Ektar was reccomended for General Purpose use on 4x5 monorail view cameras.

90mm Wollensak W/A, Graflex Optar

The Graflex W/A Optar, really a Wollensak Raptar W/A is another older wide-angle lens. Acceptibly sharp when stopped down, f/6.8 is for focusing only. Use at f/11-32. Of similar design to WF Ektar.

Kodak Ektar 203mm

The Kodak Ektar, 203mm/f7.7, has a 50 degree angle of coverage. It is a very old 4-element air-spaced design and has remarkable sharpness from infinity to close up. Being slow, f/7.7, it is fairly small and light. Sharpest wide-open.


The Dagor and the Schneider Angulon are true symmetricals (f6.8) but can cover over 70 degrees at f22 and 80 degrees at f45. They are of six-element, two-group construction. With so few air-glass interfaces they are resistant to flare; uncoated Dagors will be acceptable.

The Dagor name comes from ``Double Anastigmat Goerz.''