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John Gavrilis
27-Mar-2012, 17:36
I own both Fujinon 300C and 300A lenses for my 4x5. The "C" (f-8.5) lens has been a great lens for me for the past 20+ years. Very sharp! Recently, a good friend & photographer passed away, leaving me with a Fujinon "A" (f-9) lens. As a landscape photographer, I'm wondering which to keep and which to sell. I had another friend say that the "A" lens is much better, but not sure in which way. The "A" lens is a bit heavier, and also requires a bit more bellows. I tested it for both near & far compositions. When looking the glass, the coating appears to be slightly different. Not sure if this means that that this will translate differently on film or not. Can someone out there help me out? For landscape work, which is better and what is the real difference? Thanks! John

Gem Singer
27-Mar-2012, 18:11
Hi John,

The Fujinon f8.5 300C ("C" stands for compact) is a 4-element lens similar to the Tessar lens formula. (Compare to the Nikon/Nikkor M series).

The Fujinon f9 300A ("A" stands for apochromatic) is a 6-element Plasmat lens formula. (Compare to the Schneider G-Claron series).

Both are mounted in Copal 1 shutters and both are EBC coated. (If the lettering is on the outside of the lens barrel, it is EBC coated).

The 300A is no longer being made and demands a much higher re-sale price.

See: www.willwilson.com/fujinon.html

Ken Lee
27-Mar-2012, 18:16
I have a 300A. It appears more infrequently.

The A series lenses represent an interesting compromise of features. They have a Plasmat-like cross-section, but open to f/9 instead of f/5.6 like most plasmats. This makes them smaller and lighter. Unlike other general-purpose lenses that are corrected for 1:10 or 1:20 distances, they are corrected for 1:5. This makes them excellent for close work as well as distance.

The 300 A has a generous 420 mm circle of coverage (compared to the 380mm of the Fujinon C). The A takes 55 mm filters while the C takes 52mm filters. The A weights 410 grams: much less than comparable plasmat lenses for the 8x10 format, but more than the very light 300C, at 250g.

So if you need maximum coverage or correction for close work, the A is a more robust design. Compared to the plasmats, it's very light. If you need a really lightweight lens for 8x10, then the Fujinon C is a better choice.

Michael Kadillak
27-Mar-2012, 20:28
Given what you have shot and have been pleased with for 20+ years and a higher re-sell price, I would keep this uncomplicated and sell the A. I have the C lens in 300, 450 and 600 and they are fabulous in every aspect. The older I get (or the more experience I garner) the more I want to go with what I know that works. Onward!

Arne Croell
28-Mar-2012, 09:18
Hi John,

The Fujinon f8.5 300C ("C" stands for compact) is a 4-element lens similar to the Tessar lens formula. (Compare to the Nikon/Nikkor M series).

The Fujinon f9 300A ("A" stands for apochromatic) is a 6-element Plasmat lens formula. (Compare to the Schneider G-Claron series).

Both are mounted in Copal 1 shutters and both are EBC coated. (If the lettering is on the outside of the lens barrel, it is EBC coated).

The 300A is no longer being made and demands a much higher re-sale price.

See: www.willwilson.com/fujinon.html
Small correction: The Fujinon C lenses are not really Tessars, they are an asymmetric derivative of the dialyte, with 4 lens elements in 4 groups (the Tessar is 4/3). The competing Nikkor-M is of course a Tessar.

For 4x5, I found the performance of the two lenses to be practically equal (http://www.arnecroell.com/lenstests.pdf).

Gem Singer
28-Mar-2012, 09:42
Arne,

If you read my response carefully, you will see that I stated "similar to a Tessar".

I am aware that the Fujinon f9 300C design is not exactly the same as the Tessar lens formula.

However, I stated that both the Fujinon 300C and the Nikor/Nikkon are 4-element lenses.

Drew Wiley
28-Mar-2012, 10:31
Both are light enough and have small enough shutters to be practical on 4x5. The 300A is
a keeper if you ever contemplate moving up to 8x10 film, and will be a distinctly superior
performer at close range, although it will probably need too much bellows draw for really
closeup work on a typical 4x5. The C lens is obviously more compact. If it was me, I'd keep
both, but the 300A should fetch a somewhat higher resale price. Helps to explain that you
do have a multicoated version, since older single-coats might still be out there. These are
both very desirable lenses.

Ben Syverson
28-Mar-2012, 10:36
The difference in size/weight is pretty insignificant, so go with the better lens. In this case, they're both good, but the A has an edge over the C.

Ken Lee
28-Mar-2012, 10:43
I have a 450C and notice that when the diaphragm is wide open, the blur rendition of a distant point-source light is very neutral and smooth: no coma, no rings, etc.

I've always liked the blur from other dialytes that I have (APO Nikkor): now you've explained it. Thanks !!

John Gavrilis
28-Mar-2012, 12:44
I'd like to thank ALL of you smart guys for your response. I'm a little wiser than I was yesterday. My gut feeling is to keep the 300A and sell the 300C, although the C is the one that I've used for over 20 years, with great results. Perhaps, I should take them both out in the field and shoot them side by side and see if I notice any difference. I shot a few tests yesterday, and the only conclusion I made was that the A needed a bit more bellows extension. Thank you all for your input. John (www.GavrilisPhotography.com)

Lynn Jones
28-Mar-2012, 13:09
I was involved for years with importation of Fujinon lenses. The C lenses were 4 element, all air spaced, similar in look to an Artar but were actually optimized for infinity and were truly apochromatic. They were wonderful for landscape, exterior architecturals, and longer distance advertising photography. The 300 covered 10x12, the 450 covered 11x14, and the 600 covered 14x17.

I have personally used the 300 and the 450 with both 4x5 and 8x10, they are incredible!

Lynn

Ken Lee
28-Mar-2012, 13:15
You're probably not going to see much difference in the center, or at infinity. You're more likely notice it at the edge of the image circle, using more extreme movements, and probably at close range.

If you make contact prints, then the difference may boil down to coverage. I have found that the 300A gives very generous rise, for example. You can see an example here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/index.php#300A).

Drew Wiley
28-Mar-2012, 13:28
You might see a difference with extreme tilts and swings too, with the A being superior,
but it might take a bigger film size than 4x5 to truly appreciate this.

Arne Croell
28-Mar-2012, 13:35
Arne,

If you read my response carefully, you will see that I stated "similar to a Tessar".

I am aware that the Fujinon f9 300C design is not exactly the same as the Tessar lens formula.

However, I stated that both the Fujinon 300C and the Nikor/Nikkon are 4-element lenses.
Gem, I read the "similar", but I don't agree, for the following reason. They both have four lenses, yes, but otherwise they are very different optically: A Tessar type has all the optical power in the cemented back cell, the front cell actually has negative power (!) and is only there to correct the aberrations of the back cell. A dialyte, including the Fujinon-C, has positive power in both cells; for the classic Apo-Artars, -Ronars, -Germinars both cells are the same, in the case of the Fujinon C they have different powers, but still both are positive. They also show different characteristics (this is somewhat generalized): Tessars have a rather high MTF in the center area of the useable image circle, followed by a dip and another increase towards the corners befor the final plunge. Dialytes are not as contrasty in the center, but keep their MTF curves pretty level until shortly before the end. Tessars have image circles of about 55-60, Dialytes of 45-48 (the Fuji C has more, probably due to the introduced asymmetry).

Of course the applications can be quite similar for both as in your example of the Nikkor M and the Fujinon C.

Arne

Ken Lee
28-Mar-2012, 13:44
Arne, does the fact that the C lenses are (modified) dialytes - and are thus pretty close to symmetrical in design - give them some advantage for close focus ?

Drew Wiley
28-Mar-2012, 13:51
The Fuji C's have relatively large image circles compared to both traditional artar/dialytes
and tessars. But the detail, rendering, and contrast of Fuji C's and Nikkor M's truly are
similar in analogous focal lengths. But the A series seems to me to be the high point of plasmat design. My 360A is one of my most used lenses on both 4x5 and 8x10.

Arne Croell
28-Mar-2012, 13:51
Arne, does the fact that the C lenses are (modified) dialytes - and are thus pretty close to symmetrical in design - give them some advantage for close focus ?
Ken, I understand your thinking here - even though the Fujinon C is asymmetric, it is certainly not as asymmetric as a Tessar. But - Zeiss' Apo-Tessars where still Tessars and very asymmetric, but optimized for unity nevertheless. So, without knowing the actual design data, it is impossible to say. The closest I have used my 450mm C was about 1:8 and that was no problem, but is not really close to 1:1.

Drew Wiley
28-Mar-2012, 14:00
I have compared them in real world usage. The C series are optimized even wide open at
infinity. Getting closer to macro they're just so-so, and not equivalent to a 4-element like
an Apo Ronar, which is designed for close work too. The A series is superb at close range,
and nearly equal to the C's at infinity - just close them down a stop or two. But I'm not
implying the C's are useless at close range. With a 450C and 8X10 film, you'd have to make
a pretty big print before noticing a problem. Really, it's hard to say anything bad about any
of these Fuji lenses - just depends on your priorities.