View Full Version : Lens Comparison

Jeff Morfit
23-Dec-2004, 13:15
I am planning on purchasing a 150mm lens for my 4x5 camera, and am having a hard time trying to decide which one to buy. There are two that I am looking at on the KEH website that I like. My question is what is the difference, other than prices, between the two. One is a 150 F5.6 Nikkor with a Copal 0 shutter. It sells for $415.00. The other is a 150 F5.6 Caltar II-N MC also with a Copal 0 shutter. It is selling for $339.00. Both lenses are rated excellent plus by KEH. Which one should I go with folks? The specs for both lenses are very similar.

Thanks for any and all input.


MIke Sherck
23-Dec-2004, 13:21
Either one should be fine for you, Jeff. I doubt that you could tell the difference between negatives shot with them even with a 10x loupe. If you shoot a lot of color then you might want to go with whichever one is from the same manufacturer; or maybe not. Me, I'd go with the less expensive one and be that much further ahead for film!


Jeff Morfit
23-Dec-2004, 13:48
Yes, the more film the better, Mike!


Gem Singer
23-Dec-2004, 14:27
Hi Jeff,

Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange, has a Nikkor 150W f5.6 in a Copal 0 shutter (9+ condition) listed for $329. I regularily purchase equipment from both K.E.H. and Midwest and usually find Midwest's prices on previously owned lenses to be about $50 lower than K.E.H.'s prices. Judging from my past experience with both Caltar and Nikkor lenses, I found that the Nikkors maintained their value better than the Caltars, even though the Caltars are made by Rodenstock.

Ralph Barker
23-Dec-2004, 14:46
FWIW, I'd concur with Eugene's observations. Although the lenses are pretty comparable quality-wise, the Nikkors tend to hold value a bit better. I've also found both Midwest and KEH good to deal with, and have bought from both.

Ole Tjugen
23-Dec-2004, 15:28
Having used several different 150mm's - including none of the above - I would go for the Nikkor. On the other hand - if there are any more 150/4.5 APO-Lanthars with scratched rear element out there, I couldn't wish for a better lens. Those in the print exchange will get an image shot with that - on 5x7" film. The scratch made it worthless to collectors, thus affordable to me.

I think that what I'm trying to say is: Don't worry. Any 150mm you can find is going to be plenty good, and probably good value for the money.

Eric Jones
23-Dec-2004, 17:13
I second or rather third the suggestion of going over to Midwest. I bought a set of 3 (75SW, 135W and 210W) Nikon Lenses from them. The prices were great and the lenses were flawless. The only reason they would not have passed for new was that they lacked boxes (actually the 135W came in a box). Before buying I tested a whole bunch of lenses via rental, I just chose to standardize on Nikons. They had more than adequate coverage and a price/performance ratio that got me an additional lens for the amount I had budgeted.

Frank Petronio
23-Dec-2004, 17:21
FWIW I bet you could easily find a late model version for $100 less on eBay... from a reputable seller no less (and no, not me).

David Karp
23-Dec-2004, 17:22

According to the comparison chart (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses/LF4x5in.html), the Caltar (= to Rodenstock APO Sironar-N) has a slightly larger image circle (only by 4mm, if that matters). I don't have a 150, but do have lenses from both Nikon and Rodenstock. I doubt you would ever regret buying one over the other, so I might make my choice in this case based on price.

23-Dec-2004, 17:27
I use a 1970's vintage 150mm f/5.6 Schneider Symmar. A super lens, probably not up to the specs of the more modern lenses, however, the images are still superb and more than adequate for anything most of us will ever do. Small, light weight, 49mm filters.

Alan Davenport
23-Dec-2004, 23:33
I have the Caltar you're looking at (well, one like it.) It is superb. Spend the extra money on film!