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Thread: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

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  1. #1
    8x10, 4x5, ..., Tessina
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    Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    Talking about comparable lenses, in particular the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S series vs. the Schneider Apo-Symmar-L.

    I'm considering upgrading my lens kit, and have narrowed my choices to the two series mentioned above for medium and long FLs.

    I've always considered them to be pretty comparable, but I don't have a lot of experience on which to base that opinion.

    Any thoughts? (Yeah, I know... Fords v. Chevies... but please, factual comparisons of performance)

    TIA.

    - Leigh

  2. #2

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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    I have never owned a Schneider but love the 2 Sironars I have, a 210 for 5x7 and a 135 for 4x5. They are all I use. They excell with colour. There is a video on YouTube of Stephen Shore wandering around with an 8x10 and guess what was on the front. His colour has a subtle muted beauty, and I have found with the little I have done that it is there. Use a different lens and it changes, not necessarily worse. I have found the 210 to be very flare prone, but have made a simple shade. If you are mostly B&W perhaps it would not be worth the cost, but if you are patient they do come around at a reasonable price sometimes.
    David

  3. #3
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    No.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  4. #4

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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    Yes. Between the two the rodenstock will be slightly warmer. To me the schneider has a cold impersonal flavor. As far as sharp? Lachlan covered it pretty much.

  5. #5

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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    I think the older ones are iffy, Schneiders from the 60 to early 80s had better build and quality control (except for Schneideritis) while many Rodenstocks separated and became useless. But by the 80s Rodenstock caught up and probably surpassed Schneider. With the current models I would buy whichever meets your needs for coverage, size, and, of course, price/condition.

  6. #6
    Richard K. Richard K.'s Avatar
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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    Leigh, another question to ask is whether it's worth paying a HUGE premium to buy a new Apo Symmar L when for literally a fraction of the price and near identical performance (just slightly less IC mostly), you can buy the equivalent Apo Symmar. As an example, a new 300 mm Apo Symmar L will cost a little over $3000 whereas the Apo Symmar can be bought used for well under $1000. Their ICs are 430 mm vs 425 mm. I have the latter listed for (what I feel is) a reasonable price on this forum in 100% pristine condition condition (also a 240 mm) with no inquiries. The secondary market has definitely declined and that's to your advantage. I honestly doubt you would notice any difference in practice between those two lines of lenses. What do you currently have?
    When I was 16 I thought my father the stupidest man in the world; when I reached 21, I was astounded by how much he had learned in just 5 years!

    -appropriated from Mark Twain

  7. #7

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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    None worth worrying about. I buy lenses made by any of the former "Big Four" based on things like image circle, size, weight, coating, shutter brand if used, overall condition of lens and shutter, and of course price. If those things are essentially equal among two or more lenses I'm considering it's never mattered to me whether a lens is a Schneider, Rodenstock, Fuji, or Nikon. There are other things that are far more important from a technical standpoint than lens brand among these four.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8
    8x10, 4x5, ..., Tessina
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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    Those comments pretty much confirm my opinions.

    My current kit includes Rodenstock Sironar-N (actually an apo design), Nikkor SW and W, and Fujinon SWD and CM-W lenses. They're all excellent. But I prefer to standardize on a single manufacturer (and as few product lines as possible) to maintain image consistency when changing from one FL to another.

    Regarding Apo v. non-Apo lenses...
    Although I shoot only B&W in LF, I still want the red correction of an Apo lens since the film is panchromatic. I'm striving for the absolute highest quality images I can make on 4x5 (shooting 100-speed film rather than 400, etc).

    Thanks very much. Any others?

    - Leigh

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    I'd look at it like this. In the 1920s, one may have a discussion about what was the best performing lens and likewise have concerns over which automobile would be reliable enough to make a daily 10 mile drive to work.
    Presently, I'd say any modern lens will make fine LF image, just as any automobile currently on the market today will reliably make a 10 mile daily drive to work.

    Like Brian posted above, I'd concern myself with image circle, maximum aperture and size/weight issues between brands.

  10. #10
    8x10, 4x5, ..., Tessina
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    Thumbs up Re: Any real difference between Rodenstock and Schneider?

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Like Brian posted above, I'd concern myself with image circle, maximum aperture and size/weight issues between brands.
    I compiled a pretty detailed spreadsheet with all the various lens characteristics so I can compare them.

    I've standardized on f/5.6 speed (except for long telephotos). It provides a nice bright GG image, although with the Maxwell screen that's not terribly surprising.

    Thanks.

    - Leigh

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