I’ve had the chance to compare the 180 mm Fujinon A with the 200mm Nikkor M, on a 8x10 camera and though people might be interested in my impressions. I did not try to shoot a resolution chart as I assume Chris Perez did, since these are generally shot fairly close, but did a groundglass inspection wide open and at f/16, then shot both lenses focused at infinity on 8x10 E100G transparency film. The camera is a modern wooden field camera with fresnel. My target was distant ridgelines with trees providing detail, and even more distant ridges that provided even tones. I’m in the Smokies so I have a lot of these handy. The sun was about 30 degrees above and to the right, out of the frame, and behind thin clouds. Neither lens was shaded. The Fujinon 180mm is EBC multicoated in “coarse tooth” chrome Copal, and the Nikkor is a new one in the black Copal.
Chris Perez’ tests show the resolution to be about equal, in center and off-axis.
Both lenses illuminated the entire groundglass! I expected very dark or vignetted corners and the Fuji had noticeably more falloff than the Nikkor, getting darker in the corners, but it is 10% shorter in focal length. The Nikkor illumination was more even than I anticipated. Both seemed to go to mush 5cm from the long edge (10”) of the groundglass, giving both about a 6” circle of “sharpness” wide open. I expected the Fuji to be sharper further out wide open since it is a plasmat, but it wasn’t discernibly so. The Nikkor had visibly higher contrast or saturation, especially noticeable in the distant even-toned “blue” ridges. My Fuji 240 is prone to flare in situations like this (sun out of frame by a couple of tens of degrees) and a friend sold a single-coated Fuji 180 because of flare. ???
I’m sure I could not quantitatively assess comparative sharpness on the groundglass at f/16, but the Nikkor appeared to gain either contrast/saturation or sharpness a little further from center, but did not seem to affect the last 5cm on the 10” side. I couldn’t discern much of a difference in the Fuji. These results seem reasonably consistent with their designs and the product literature of the Nikkor (166mm at max aperture and 210mm at f/22, gaining 10 degrees of sharp coverage going from f/8 to f/22). So it does indeed look like the Nikkor covers 5x7 w/o movements at f/22 as the manufacturer claims, which isn’t surprising. The next test is to see if you can get contact-printable B&W neg at f/64!
In summary, on the groundglass, both illuminated the ‘glass wide open with the Fuji having noticeable falloff, sharpness not discernibly different, with the Nikkor being visibly more even and more contrasty. At f/16, the Nikkor appears to improve a little while the Fuji changed little or none. IMO, the Nikkor edges the Fuji, based on contrast and even illumination.
The Fuji vignetted very slightly, about 3/16 – ¼ inch in the corners, which I might have seen if I had bothered to look through the clipped corners of the groundglass. There’s still some detail there, but it’s plain that the corners aren’t “seeing” the whole aperture. The Nikkor was even over the entire transparency. Both were still mush at the edges. The Nikkor suffered a slight handicap in that changing light led to about 1/3 stop more exposure and subsequent reduced saturation and contrast. On the light table using two different loupes, the Nikkor appeared to hold a little more sharpness further out, although it was close. I also had a “blind tester”, an employee of the camera store look at sections of the transparencies I designated at about 1”, 1-1/2”, and 2” from the edge of the 10” side. He did not know what the lenses were, and I did not tell him my impressions. In all the tests he picked the Nikkor, although he admitted it was very close.
In summary, the Fuji vignetted slightly and has more falloff, the Nikkor is surprisingly uniform, both mush within 1” of the 10” edge and improving to equal sharpness about 2” from the 10” edge.
Sections were scanned on an ArtixScan 1800f. Results were mixed; initial results showed the Fuji quite a bit sharper than the Nikkor, so much so I doubted the scan and rescanned. The rescanned Nikkor section visibly beat the Fuji, but at this point I have no confidence and will try a different scanner f I can mooch the Scitex at work.
I don’t think the tests I’ve done are conclusive by any means, but at least it means there’s more data. I believe if I had to choose at this point, I’d give the nod to the Nikkor, focal length notwithstanding.