Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Baltar 100mm f2.3 Review
Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Rochester N.Y. U.S.A. Baltar 100mm f2.3 is a fast cine lens. Designed for medium format. Produced in the 40-60-ies of the last century. Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. — an american high-grade optics manufacturer. It produces the highest quality optical glass in the western hemisphere. Before World War II it worked closely with Carl Zeiss lenses and produced lenses by its patents. I found it hard to believe, but according to the serial number of UF691, my lens made in 1942. While in Europe the war was in full swing, the US has already produced such fast lenses with coating. Baltar Lenses are premium cine optics. These lenses many famous movies filmed in the US in 40-60-ies of the last century.
Optical design of Baltar lenses — 6 elements in 4 groups. Because Bausch & Lomb has worked closely with Carl Zeiss and used its patents to manufacture lenses, I admit that this design is Zeiss Biotar. Invented in 1939 for cine lenses. While the cinema industry is still unsettled standards of film, Bausch & Lomb issued a lens that would be the largest in the wings while the film 70mm film images. Therefore, it is no problem to install on medium format camera. On Ebay you can see many Baltar lenses adapted for photo with different helicoids and tails. Bausch & Lomb lenses are highly valued because they have great optical characteristics. It is known that these lenses have several versions of coating. Which are marked with colored dots on the ring next to the name.
As I observed the following:
Yellow dot 1942-1944
Yellow and purple dot 1945-194?
Unfortunately, I could not find information about what this dot mean. In 1956 (maybe earlier) they disappeared from the marking. In 1965, Bausch & Lomb introduced a new line of lenses - Super Baltar. The essential design has changed barrel and mechanical quality. According to the Bausch & Lomb's, Super Baltar lenses were optically better than their predecessors, thanks to new technologies of glass manufacturing.
Baltar 100mm f2.3 Handling and Mechanics
My copy has the "zebra" barrel design. Filter thread - 58mm.
Weight 700 g, 78mm long. While focusing on MFD length
increases by 18 mm.
Adapted for old Hasselblad bayonet.
The aperture closes smoothly and has 12 blades, which brings it to the shape of a circle. Ring marked values 2.3-2.8-4-5.6-8-11-16. But it can be closed further, until complete limit. Helicoid rotates more than 360 degrees. What enables smooth focus. The front lens is not rotating. On my copy did not have colored dots, markings coating, maybe they eventually faded, or was not at all.
My Baltar seriously and stylish looks at the camera.
Baltar 100mm f2.3 Sample Shootings
All of the examples captured on Nikon D3100. RAW export without any post-processing.
Baltar 100mm f2.3 Sharpness
At wide-open lens has a portrait sharpness. Slightly visible spherical aberration. Character is soft and airy.
Next, cover the aperture sharpness increased. With f / 2.8, you can shoot reportages, sharpness enough.
At f/ 4 has a razor-sharp. After f/ 8 sharpness decrease.
In fact, the lens medium format, and has a resolution typical medium format lenses is slightly less than the small format.
Baltar 100mm f2.3 Character and Bokeh
The lens has a Biotar type character. On the wide open aperture it is obtained airy. Very beautiful. On the cover of the diaphragm becomes sharper, but the air is not lost but the magic circles in bokeh become inconspicuous.
The lens has the ability to swirly bokeh the background. Swirl turns on the edges of the frame. But most of the small format swirl cut off.
Baltar 100mm f2.3 Contrast and Color Render
Compared to modern lenses, it has a slightly lower contrast. Here affects his age.
If you use the hood and do not let the shot backlight, it is normal contrast. The backlit distorts skin color, becoming gray.
f/ 2.3 An example of distortion of color backlit In all
Summary Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Baltar 100mm f2.3 is very interesting lens. Fans take portraits it will have to taste.