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Thread: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

  1. #1

    buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    Hi,

    I recently bought a Horseman 45fa field camera as I will be traveling more often in the near future and need a more compact and transportable 4x5 camera compared to the Toyo 45c monorail that I have been using to get familiar with large format photography in the last 2 years. My favourite focal length to use is 120mm, and with my Toyo that has been a Schneider Super- Angolan 120mm f/8. That lens however is too large for my new field camera and quite heavy by design. So I'm looking for some buying advise for a newer, lighter lens with about the same focal length.

    I want a lens that is compact/ light and offers a sharp and colour true image. I'm shooting mainly landscape and nature motives usually at around f/22 - f/32 on either slide or colour reversal film and like to stick to one focal length in general.

    My first choice would be a Schneider Apo-Symmar 120mm F/5.6 MC that can be found on eBay for around 300 - 500 dollar. However I'm currently staying in South Africa and shipping stuff into the country requires you to pay ridiculously high customs fees.

    A local shop has a Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 F/5.6 for sale for about 300 dollar.

    My question is if this lens could fit my needs, since I have no experience with macro lenses?

    How does it behave at f/22 or even f/32, diffraction/ vignette wise? Are there any differences in practical application like focusing on the ground glass compared to a non- macro lenses?

    I don't use a lot of movements ( if any at all), in some cases maybe slight tilts or swings, but since the lens has a very small image circle, how well does it cover 4x5?

    Basically I need to know if this macro lens works for my tasks just as fine as a non-macro lens?

    So any advise is highly appreciated.

    Kind regards!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    If you are shooting between 1:3 and about 5:1 then the Rodenstock will be far superior. But from infinity to about 1:10 it will be far inferior. That is why it is a macro. Conversely then Schneider will be greatly inferior for macro. Both lenses are diffraction limited at f22.

  3. #3

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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    The Macro Sironar won't come close to covering 4x5 at infinity, will it? Most of the <200mm macro lenses for 4x5 won't. It's a specialized lens. Get the Apo Symmar, it's excellent, I have one and use it a lot. It's tiny, covers 4x5 fine. It would likely fold up inside any field camera too, a nice bonus.

  4. #4

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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    What Bob said.

    If 120mm is your favorite focal length and you shoot at distance rather than macro, then there are several excellent choices. With any of them, you won't have to worry about vignetting, particularly those that are designated "W", Wide, "SW" or Super Wide.

    This page gives a nice summary of modern lenses made by the "big four".

    This page gives an even bigger summary for lenses of recent manufacture.

    Another option is to get a 135mm lens: not quite as wide, but smaller, lighter, more available, likely more affordable and at the pinnacle of lens performance.

  5. #5

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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    The Macro Sironar won't come close to covering 4x5 at infinity, will it? Most of the <200mm macro lenses for 4x5 won't. It's a specialized lens. Get the Apo Symmar, it's excellent, I have one and use it a lot. It's tiny, covers 4x5 fine. It would likely fold up inside any field camera too, a nice bonus.
    The 120 APO Macro Sironar covers 4x5 at infinity. The sample I owned briefly was a very impressive performer even at infinity.

    I believe it is only the Nikkor AM line of macro LF lenses whose coverage is inadequate for infinity shooting. The others (Rodenstock, Schneider) offer coverage equivalent to their non-macro siblings. See http://www.kennethleegallery.com/html/lenses/#Macro for the lens brochures.

  6. #6

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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    $300 is a great price. Buy the apo macro sironar.

  7. #7
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: buying advise on Rodenstock Apo-Macro Sironar 120 f5.6

    I believe it is only the Nikkor AM line of macro LF lenses whose coverage is inadequate for infinity shooting.
    That is correct as far as the 120 AM ED. Comes close but vignettes. It's a great lens for what it was designed for and one hell of a deal from B&H at the time.

    Thomas

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