View Full Version : New Schneider Fine Art Lenses

Doug Dolde
16-Oct-2004, 19:39
Badger Graphics has just posted prices on the new Schneider Fine Art lenses. 550mm XXL $4795 and the 1100mm XXL in a copal 3 shutter $3995.

Andre Noble
16-Oct-2004, 23:21

17-Oct-2004, 00:50
I agree, ridiculous. I used to work in a camera store. We made a fortune off of stupid people who continue to think higher cost equals better picture quality. Edward Weston's equipment was so substandard that no one would even consider buying it today. I'd trade everything I own for 5% of his visual awareness.

jonathan smith
17-Oct-2004, 02:05
Why such long focal lengths? Are they for ULF?

No I don't want one.

17-Oct-2004, 02:25
Schneider fine art XXL (http://www.schneiderkreuznach.com/neuheiten/fine_art_xxl_e.htm)

Darin Cozine
17-Oct-2004, 02:25
Just gives me something to look forward to.

Ken Lee
17-Oct-2004, 07:34
Why be negative ? We should be delighted that someone supports the art, especially in this day and age. I would be surprised if they were anything less than fantastic performers.

I grow tired of the Edward Weston comparisons. That was then, this is now. That was him, this is us.

If you don't like the price, that's certainly understandable. Not everyone can afford a Porsche or a Steinway, but that doesn't diminish their value or beauty. Some of us would think nothing of paying a lot more money for a motorcycle, a truck, a pair of earrings, a ring, or a nice vacation.

Gem Singer
17-Oct-2004, 07:37
How about $2 for a small bottle of water?

David A. Goldfarb
17-Oct-2004, 07:53
These are indeed ULF lenses, and given the cost of shooting 20x24" Polaroid or ULF color neg/transparency, I can see a market for these lenses.

John Cook
17-Oct-2004, 07:59
I wholeheartedly agree with everything everyone has said. However, on the other hand...

Since the Industrial Revolution, we have all become accustomed to ridiculously low prices for mass-produced goods. A simple plastic screw-top for a jar of peanut butter costs more than $100,000 to design and bring to market. But because trillions are produced, the per-unit price is amortized to much less than one cent.

As photography sales plummet, per unit costs will continue to rise substantially. Simple math. Better get used to it. The only alternative will be to cease production. Many would label Schneider foolhardy for investing to develop these lenses at all.

Daniel Blakeslee
17-Oct-2004, 08:10
Yes, these lenses are indeed for ULF. They easily cover 20x24. Inches, not centimeters. They should be wonderful on Polaroid's big 20x24 cameras. With 12x20 and smaller they have a vast image circle for lots of movements. Large format is a tiny part of the world of photography and these lenses are for a small niche within the already small large format niche. I am delighted that Schneider saw fit to design such lenses for us, especially considering the fact that we can't even count on Kodak to continue making film for us.

Tracy Storer
17-Oct-2004, 08:56
I'm sure these lenses would be great on Polaroid 20x24. If anyone wants to buy them and bring them over to see what they can do, just let me know.
Happily, I already have a nice collection of lenses (vintage and modern) for myself and my 20x24 clients to use on the camera. For the price of both of those lenses, you could make a lot of great 20x24 art. It's a little bit of "sticker shock" but we have to applaud Schneider for making them at all, besides, the "street price" may be a lot less once the lenses are actually available. http://www.mammothcamera.com/rental.html

Jorge Gasteazoro
17-Oct-2004, 09:29
Uh, Tracy....those are the street prices. The list price is in the $10000 range.... :-)

Andre Noble
17-Oct-2004, 10:11
Actually, if you are a dedicated LF millionaire, you don't need to listen to us naysayers. But at least Schneider could let we the photographers tag the "Fine Art" designation. If they have to tell us what they are for in order to justify the sticker shock price, then something's not Kosher.

I'll bet there is an incredible profit mark-up on these to dealers, BTW.

CP Goerz
17-Oct-2004, 10:19
If anyone thinks those prices are high they ought to try pricing the cost of making even a simple lens from a traditional design. I looked into the cost/possibility of making a 12" Goerz WA Dagor and the cheapest I could make it come out to was about $4K, I knew that there would be a market for maybe three of them since the price would exclude everyone except people really into ULF so never even bothered.

The main problem is finding someone who knows how to grind the glass, has the machinery,get the glass stock itself as some indexes are not available due to certain ingredients used. Then you have to have a machinist make the barrels, set and glue the glass elements together...after coating them that is. You then have a shutter to buy and an aperture scale to make as well as caps etc.

And lastly who are you going to sell such a lens to? With so many lenses available on Ebay its an easy choice to sit and wait to pay half the amount you are asking for on a really great classic lens that will do the same job. So in the end I do applaud Schneider for making the lens that will probably have few takers in this world.

CP Goerz

17-Oct-2004, 10:35
"Happily, I already have a nice collection of lenses (vintage and modern) for myself and my 20x24 clients to use on the camera. "


I would be very interested to know what lens you have for the 20X24" camera and a bit about how they perform for this format.

Tracy Storer
17-Oct-2004, 11:00
Sandy (and all),

Bear in mind that the vast majority of the work we do with the camera is in the studio, so I'll just quickly mention those lenses that cover at or near infinity.

Goerz 35" Artar (barrel) infinity+

Fuji 600mmC (Copal#3) infinity (maye not the best around the margins, haven't used it at infinity in awhile)

Goerz 19" Dagor (barrel) infinity (best at f/22 or smaller)

Goerz 16.5" Dagor (Ilex 5) infinity (just barely, and check edges carefully)

Zeiss 315mm Series V Protar (supposedly covers, haven't really checked- my camera design would require a deep recessed board and include LOTS of bed in the shot, so this one resides in my 14"x17" kit)

In my pre-shoot consultations with clients, I figure out what lenses we'll need on the shoot. I'd put my chiropractors GRAND-kids through college carrying all this around all the time.

Used to have, but sold:

Rodenstock 800 Apo-Ronar (barrel) infinity/ amazingly sharp with snappy contrast

Rodenstock 1000 Apo-Ronar (barrel) infinity/ ditto above

In addition to all of these I have numerous lenses that I use at different extensions for moderate to extreme magnification.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the new Schneiders...

rich silha
17-Oct-2004, 11:25
i agree with tracy that it would be great to try them on our 20x24 cameras.
i also have many lenses that cover 20x24. each lense has it's plus and
minus side. most of the vintage lenses give large coverage but lower
contrast than contempory lenses of today that get barley covers the format.
i like internal contast in my negatives that new lenses of today give me .

Kerry L. Thalmann
17-Oct-2004, 11:34
Why be negative ? We should be delighted that someone supports the art, especially in this day and age.

Exactly, it truly warms my heart to see Schneider announce new large format lenses every two years at Photokina. Even if I don't need every lens they introduce I applaud their efforts and am thankful that they continue to support large format photography. Schneider and Cooke are the only manufacturers to announce new large format lenses (for 4x5 or large formats) in recent memory. Fujinon's most recent large format lenses (the CM-W line) debuted in 1995 and 1996. Rodenstock hasn't introduced anything not aimed at digital or roll film users since 1994 (55mm APO Grandagon) and Nikon hasn't introduced any new large format lenses since at least 1986.

Do I personally, need a 550mm lens capable of covering 20x24? No, but I also did not personally need a 210mm Super Symmar XL or a 38mm Super Angulon XL, but I was also thrilled when Schneider introduced those lenses at previous Photokina shows. Why, becuase it lets me know that at least one of the "Big Four" still believes traditional film-based large format is a viable market for their products.

I can't believe those who don't even shoot 20x24 are carping about the prices. These lenses aren't for you. So, why do you care what they cost? In fact, given the cost of designing and producing any new limited production lens, I don't think the prices are at all out of line. A 30 year old used single coated 600mm Fujinon A just sold this week on eBay for over $3100. The Scheider XXL lenses are new, multicoated and have even more coverage. Seriously, what do you expect a new. limited production lens with a 950mm image circle to sell for? And for those who think Schneider's prices are unreasonable do us all a favor. Go out and design, build and sell your own competitive products at lower prices.

And finally, the whole Edward Weston argument is a ridiculous strawman. Yes, he was a brilliant photographer who produced wonderful images with a minimum amount of equipment. No argument there. If you are as gifted as Edward Weston, you will not need these lenses and therefore shouldn't care how much they cost. Edward Weston did not shoot 20x24, so he would also have had no use for these lenses. The intended market for these lenses is not legendary deceased 8x10 photographers.

I was also thrilled when Cooke introduced their PS945 portrait lens. I can't afford it and I don't shoot large format portraits, but I was still excited to see Cooke re-enter the large format lense business after a nearly 50 year absence. So, rather than complain about the price of lenses most of don't need and many of us can't afford, why not support one of the few manufacturers who continue to support large format photography by applauding their efforts and continuing to buy their other products?


17-Oct-2004, 11:42
My feeling is if you can afford to feed a 20x24 camera then these prices shouldn't make you faint. The cheapest 20x24 film is what $15 a sheet? So a little more then 300 sheets is what the more expensive lens costs. 300 sheets of the same film in 4x5 is less then $200. Imagine if the most expensive 4x5 lens cost $200?

Jim Rice
17-Oct-2004, 18:38
Bingo exactly, Kerry.

Doug Dolde
17-Oct-2004, 19:13
The Ebony SV2024 can be had for a mere $20,995.00. The sucker weighs 30kg WITHOUT a lens. Suited more for gorilla than human photogs.

18-Oct-2004, 07:46
Kerry Thalman is right on, but he's being awfully diplomatic.

I have to take issue with this carping about price. In an age where film based photography is under attack, let's offer thanks that a great manufacturor and a great retailer decide to respectively create and sell a limited market item.

Let's look at the realities. Because of that product's specialized nature, it will have to be painfully expensive. Only a few units will get made and sold.

Every cost of design, toolmaking, machine work, and testing - and - and - and. All the way through to the retailer and to the public, all ride on these few units. No wonder they're not free.

I say we are darned lucky someone's advancing the art of LF photography.

I think it's time we said thank you to Schneider and Badger, rather than denigrating their acts of faith.


Frank Petronio
18-Oct-2004, 08:04
Tiny six-element Leica lenses cost over $2000, and high-speed sports photography lenses like the new Nikon 200/2 cost twice that. And there is at least a known market of sports photographers who will buy the Nikon. And there are thousands of silly collectors who buy Leicas no matter what. I can't imagine more than a few dozen applications for these new Schneiders...

The economics of making cameras and lenses makes no sense to me - there are so many wonderful, and often times, better-built used examples out there, that I think anybody making something new - like the Layton camera as few threads down - is a dreamer and artist in a non-profit business.

18-Oct-2004, 09:01
Used to be a guy up the street from here that made replica flintlock rifles. He sure didn't seem to be starving. Small scale cottage production can often make money. Maybe not a lot of money but enough. The problem is when they try to make the jump from cottage to mid size producer.

Bob Salomon
18-Oct-2004, 09:31
"Rodenstock hasn't introduced anything not aimed at digital or roll film users since 1994 (55mm APO Grandagon) and Nikon hasn't introduced any new large format lenses since at least 1986."

Except for the 100mm Apo Sironar S for roll film view camera work introduced at this year's Photokina.

Other then this lens you would be correct. All of the lenses introduced by Rodenstock, except for the 100mm S, are designed for digital. This year they introduced a 28mm HR (for Sinar only) and a 180mm HR as well as the 100S.

Kerry L. Thalmann
18-Oct-2004, 10:08
Except for the 100mm Apo Sironar S for roll film view camera work introduced at this year's Photokina.

Other then this lens you would be correct. All of the lenses introduced by Rodenstock, except for the 100mm S, are designed for digital.


If you will re-read what I wrote:

"Rodenstock hasn't introduced anything not aimed at digital or roll film users since 1994..."

You will see I included roll film users in my statement. The 100mm APO-Sironar-S, while certainly a welcome announcement, is not targeted at sheet film users. According to the manufacturer's own web site, the maximum recommend format for the new 100mm APO-Sironar-S is 6x9cm (although I personally think it would make a dandy lens for 6x12cm).

So, I stand by my statement. It's been over a decade since Rodenstock has introduced any new lenses not targeted at digital or roll film users. As another Photokina has come and gone with no new lenses capable of covering 4x5 (or greater) from Nikon, Fujinon or Rodenstock, it certainly appears Schneider and Cooke are the only lens manufacturers that continue to develop new products for sheet film users.


Jim Galli
18-Oct-2004, 11:00
I applaud Schneider-Kreuznach. There used to be such a thing as "flagship" products that mfr.s knew ahead of time they would lose $ on but would produce anyways just so they could claim to have the biggest and best available. Ford Motor Co. is an example. Their Lincoln Mark II of 1956-57 cost them $12,000 a copy to produce and they sold them for $6500. I would wager Schneider doesn't expect to ever produce more than 40 of either of these lenses. But while they're at it, I wish they would make a 12,18,21 Protar VII copy and re-introduce some multi-coated Dagor's.

David A. Goldfarb
18-Oct-2004, 11:09
Just be glad we're in still photography. Here's what our friends at Cooke get for their professional cine lenses:


Kerry L. Thalmann
18-Oct-2004, 11:36
But while they're at it, I wish they would make a 12,18,21 Protar VII copy and re-introduce some multi-coated Dagor's.


I assume you've seen the new Cooke Series XVa triple convertible. The focal lengths are 311.4mm (12 1/4"), 476.2mm(18 3/4") and 645.9mm (25.4") .

The new Schneider XXL lenses are based on the classic Angulon (reverse Dagor) and Artar designs. These are obviosuly targeted at the truly ULF 20x24 market, but I think there is a market for modern updates of the classic designs for the 8x10, 11x14,7x17, 8x20 and 12x20 formats. Maybe Schneider and/or Cooke will fill this gap. Rumor has it Cooke may be planning to introduce an update of their classic Series VIIb wide angle. Of course, Schneider made APO Artars as recently as the early 1990s, but only up to 480mm. They discontinued them as the reprographic industry went digital. And Rodenstock also discontinued their similar APO Ronar line in the late 1990s. With the interest in formats 8x10 and larger these days, there might be a market for Schneider to re-introduce some multicoated APO Artars in the longer focal lengths (19", 24", 30" and 35"). Of course, the problem here is they would have to sell these lenses into a market flooded with older barrel mounted versions of these same lenses. The difference is the newer lenses would be multicoated in come in standard shutters - and while 19" Red Dot Artars are still pretty abundant on eBay, I'm seeing fewer 24" Red Dot Artars and very few of the 30" and 35" focal lengths these days.

Personally, my needs are more modest. I'd love to see Cooke introduce an updated (multicoated, Copal No. 1 shutter) 158mm Servies VIIb, and somebody (anybody) introduce a modern, multicoated 360mm Tessar-type (preferable) or Artar-type that fits in a Copal No. 1 shutter. Something like a 360mm f10 Nikkor M or 360mm f10 Fujinon C. I personally want these as compact lenses for my 4x10 camera, but they would also have enough coverage for 8x10 and the 360 would be small enough and light enough to serve as a great long lens for 4x5.

You could scale these same designs up to larger formats. Cooke used to make Series VIIb lenses up to 222mm - capable of covering 11x14 and the banquet formats. A simple modern Tessar-type in the 20" or 24" range would also have enough coverage for the 11x14 and banquet formats.


Andre Noble
18-Oct-2004, 18:08
My main question is: What do you do with a 20x24 inch negative?

(It's a good thing people can't choose their own penis size as well)

Alan Barton
18-Oct-2004, 20:44
As many of you have noted the price is quite steep-but given the availability of lenses with such generous coverage-Im not surprised. If Schneider understatement is anything to go by the coverage may well be much more than the specs indicate-when can we expect to read a user review?

Arne Croell
19-Oct-2004, 07:09
To put things in perspective, here are some comparison prices (all without VAT) for the 1100mm XXL. In 1993, the GERMAN Rodenstock process lens prices were:

1070 mm Apo-Ronar f/14 (4 elements/4groups) in barrel:

DM 10464 = 5250 Euro or about the same in $ on average for the last years (right now 1 Euro is 1.24 $). This does not account for inflation, which would add another 27% for the last 11 years, bringing it up to 6670$. This lens is probably the closest to the non-shuttered f/14 1100mm XXL lens.

1000mm Apo-Ronar f/14: DM9073/4545/5780$ with inflation

1000mm Apo-Ronar f/16 (6 elements): DM 14492/ 7260/ $ 9220 with inflation

1200mm f/14: DM 17621/ 8830/$ 11212 with inflation

1200mm f/16: DM 23846/11950/$15170 with inflation

Now these are list prices, but the street prices were not as far away as with Schneiders, deducting 10-20% would get you to the street prices (for comparison, a 150mm Apo-Sironar S in Copal 1 then had a list price of DM 1113/560/$710 with inflation/$880 with inflation and at 1.24$ per exchange rate - Badgers street price now is $795).

The Docter Apo-Germinar 1000mm f/12 was a steal in comparison, the 1995 list price=street price (!) showed it for DM 5434/ 2730/$3250 with 19% inflation. The shuttered f/19.5 version was listed for DM 6393/ 3200/$ 3800 with 19% inflation. However, Docter wanted to get into the market and also had no R&D costs for this lens (except for the new mount in the shuttered version), since these were all paid for by the GDR government during the Carl Zeiss Jena times.

The (process camera) market for both the long Apo-Ronars and Apo-Germinar at that time, although small, was probably much bigger than the present market for the XXL 1100mm. Judging from the Zeiss Jena production numbers at least several hundred units alltogether.

Also keep in mind that for these lenses the cost of glass might be a significant factor. The volume of the glass needed for a given lens design goes up with the power of three when scaling the focal length, i.e. an 1100mm lens needs 50 times the amount of glass a 300mm version needs (at the same max. aperture).

chris jordan
21-Oct-2004, 14:34
I just bought one of the new Schneider fine-art lenses, and put it on my custom fine-art camera, and mounted that on my new Bogen fine-art tripod, and screwed in my fine-art cable release, grabbed my fine-art meter and fine-art darkcloth and headed out in my fine-art car for some shooting. But dang, my pictures were all crap. Must be the film-- I sure with Fuji would come out with a fine-art film...