View Full Version : Caltar II-N 300mm vs. Nikkor W 300mm

Peter Hruby
16-Dec-2004, 21:49
Hi all,

I heard, Caltar and Rodenstock are from the same manufacturer?
Let's bring Rodenstock APO Sironar (N, S W) into play...

Which lens would you choose and why...?


Alan Davenport
17-Dec-2004, 01:20
Current Caltars are made by Rodenstock. IINM, Caltar-N lenses are the same as Sironar N.

I choose Caltar. Why? Because a Rodenstock by any other name, is half price...

Peter Hruby
17-Dec-2004, 05:41
What about sharpness Nikon, Caltar? Is there any diference between Caltar and Rodenstock?

Mark Sampson
17-Dec-2004, 06:31
Not exactly a valid comparison but...

at work I use a 210mm Sinaron (Rodenstock Sironar). At home I have a 180mm Nikkor-W. They are both superb optics. You can't go wrong with either brand.

Leonard Evens
17-Dec-2004, 06:44
Over the years, Caltar lenses have been made by different manufacturers. Current ones are Rodenstock lenses. Kerry Thalmann published an article in View Camera Magazine which tells you all about Caltar lenses. You may also be able to find it on the web if you do some searching.

Scott Rosenberg
17-Dec-2004, 07:04

another thing to consider is the resale value of the lenses. if you are planning on keeping the lens forever, this point is moot. there are very few lenses i would know that i was going to have for the long haul before testing them. the caltar lenses don't seem to hold their value as much as the rodenstock ones. just something to think about.

Scott Rosenberg
17-Dec-2004, 07:10
if you're looking for comments on specific lenses, of those to which you're referring, i have a 150 Rodenstock APO Sironar-S which is great... small, contrasty, and very sharp - there's not much else you could ask for.

i also have a collection fujinon lenses which are the equal of any german lens i own. give jim at midwest photo a call and pick his brain a bit. he's usually got a nice supply of like new lenses on hand.

Gem Singer
17-Dec-2004, 07:32
Hi Peter,

Are you sure you don't mean the Nikkor 300M??
The Nikkor 300W is a huge, heavy weight lens, mounted in a Copal 3 shutter. The 300M is a compact lens, mounted in a Copal 1 shutter. Both of those Nikkors
are outstanding lens. Also take a look at a new, or previously owned, Fujinon 300C, at Midwest Photo Supply (IMHO, an even better lens). For the most part, Caltar lenses (rebadged Rodenstocks) are lower priced and have a lower re-sale value.

Peter Hruby
17-Dec-2004, 08:17

No I meant Nikkor 300 W. Both lens, or all lens I mentioned here are huge I know. For my selection of lens, I am starting in 8x10 which these lenses seems to be huge for it, but they are sharper towards the center of the lens, so sharper-better. Also it gives me an opportunity to go up, if I decide it to go there like 7x17 or so.

My intention is to buy lens for a long time. No trades for other. I am actualy willing to pay even more than usual, because it is only one time buy. On the other side, to buy cheaper than new is the way I look forward to it.

So, huge 300 mm lens is one of them. Nikkor W, Caltar II-N, Fujinon CM W or AS or W, Rodenstock APO Sironar S or W, Schneider APO Symmar.

So, price to quality and sharpness is one consideration and filter size is another one. My final decision is between Rodenstock W and Nikkor W.

Because, my decision is based on stats and research, I would appreciate any experience comments.

Thank you.

Peter Hruby
17-Dec-2004, 08:32
One more thing to add to my previous thoughts.
There are other focal distances like 210mm, 240mm, 360mm and 480 mm, but I assume it is still the same game.

Or, is there a difference among them regarding the focus ranges (i.e 240 Rodenstock, 480 Nikkor or so...)?


Alan Davenport
17-Dec-2004, 09:42
What about sharpness Nikon, Caltar?

Can't say as I haven't used any Nikon LF lenses.

Is there any diference between Caltar and Rodenstock?

There are two differences between current Caltars and Rodenstocks: (1) Rodenstock does not put serial numbers on the Caltar lenses, and (2) the front ring says "Caltar" instead of "Rodenstock."

Otherwise they are identical; same formula, same glass, same coating, same lens.

Gem Singer
17-Dec-2004, 10:23
Hello again Peter,

I have owned and used a Nikkor 300M, as well as a Fujinon 300C on 4x5, 5x7, and an 8x10 cameras. They are light weight compact lenses with image circles large enough to cover 8X10, but not 7x17. They are sharp, and bright enough lenses for outdoor composing and focusing. They also take smaller sized (52mm.) screw-in filters. I have not used a Nikkor 300W, but I know that a lens with a 420mm. image circle it will cover 7x17.

I also have a Fujinon 300CM-W that I use on my 8x10 camera. That lens is a larger, heavier weight, and it is a brighter lens than the 300C. It is capable of covering 7x17. Fujinon lenses hold their own against the lenses made by any of the major lens manufacturers. They are an excellent value. Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange presently has a couple of previously owned Fuji 300CM-W's in stock, at very reasonable prices. He ships worldwide.

My comments are always based on my own experiences.

Oren Grad
17-Dec-2004, 11:03
Peter -

You probably don't want a 300 Apo-Sironar-W. This is a very large, very heavy, very expensive lens, no longer in production, and very scarce on the used market. The extra size and weight allows for a design that offers 80 degrees of coverage, enough for 11x14 with movements. Except under very special circumstances, it's overkill for 8x10.

On the other hand, the 300 Apo-Sironar-N (or Caltar II-N) and the 300 Apo-Sironar-S are excellent lenses for 8x10. I have a late model 300 Caltar II-N, and I'm very happy with it. I much prefer the Rodenstock-made plasmats to the Nikkor-W series. They're all plenty sharp enough for my purposes (mostly contact printing of 8x10 B&W negatives), but to my eye the Nikkors produce a harsher rendition, both in their tonality and in the way they render out of focus backgrounds.

Good luck...

Oren Grad
17-Dec-2004, 11:07
Alan -

> There are two differences between current Caltars and Rodenstocks: (1) Rodenstock does not put serial numbers on the Caltar lenses, and (2) the front ring says "Caltar" instead of "Rodenstock." <

My Caltar II-N lenses (Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N and Grandagon types) do have serial numbers. My 360 CaltarII-S (Schneider Symmar-S type) does not.

Oren Grad
17-Dec-2004, 14:06
Peter -

As far as 7x17 coverage, most 300 plasmats won't cover 7x17, at least according to the manufacturer's specifications. The Apo-Sironar-N and Nikkor-W probably won't cover at infinity and f/22, the Apo-Sironar-S might just barely cover, and the Apo-Sironar-W would cover with room for some movement. Again, though, the W is hard to find and I'd think twice about lugging that kind of weight in the field if the intended use is 8x10.

Alan Davenport
18-Dec-2004, 00:07
Thanks, Oren, my bad. I looked at my lenses after your response. Sure enough, my Caltar II-N 150/5.6 (by Rodenstock) has a s/n, while the Caltar-W II 90mm f/8 (by Schneider) does not. Guess I had it backward. Thanks.