View Full Version : For 617, microdetail of best 110mm-125mm choices?

Jerry Fusselman
2-Mar-2005, 21:51
For 617 use, I am considering four options for my next lens:

Schneider 110mm Super Symmar XL f/5.6

Schneider 120mm Apo Symmar f/5.6

Schneider 120mm Apo Symmar L f/5.6

Fujinon 125mm CMW f/5.6

I want microdetail on 120 film that is comparable to my 80mm Super Symmar XL. Weight and bulk is a concern, because I will have to hike with it.

Everyone raves about the 110mm SSXL, but would I see any difference between it and the others when I look at the results on 617 (assume a centered image without movements)?

One advantage of the SSXL is that apparently it covers 617 at f/8 or f/9, and the others probably do not, but I would usually shoot around f/19 or f/22.

Is there some other lens I should be considering?

Ole Tjugen
3-Mar-2005, 00:34
If I were to hike with it, I would try a late Schneider Angulon 120/6.8.

I kid you not! Look at the resolution tests for Angulons, compare with more modern lenses. Then consider that even Schneider say that this lens covers 5x7" at f:16 - plenty for 617.

These old lnses are surprisingly good - and for less than the price of a 110mm XL you could probably buy five 120 Angulons, pick the best one, and have it multicoated...

Lars Åke Vinberg
3-Mar-2005, 00:46
I am going through the same thoughts aty the moments, as my prime lens for 6x17 has a significant scratch on the front element: An alternative is the Schneider 5.6/120 Apo-Digitar. It does cover 6x17 no matter what Schneider says. See wide-format photos at my website www.8x10.se, under collections, the bull dust collection. This lens is fantastic when it comes to resolution - but you need to open up a bit. It probably does not matter much around f22-32.

Having said that, my guess is that the new Symmar-L 120 would be a great lens for 6x17, as well as the Apo-Symmar. What a bout Rodenstock - I don't remember if there is a Sironar-S in 120 mm.

The case for the 110 SSXL is probably if you shoot 5x7, or need substantial shifts in 4x5. Otherwise it seems like overkill. You might want a center filter with the 110 XL - fortunately it takes the same filter as your 80 XL.

paul owen
3-Mar-2005, 01:43
The 110XL is a great lens on 6x17 - don't need a centre filter and its nice and sharp too!

Gem Singer
3-Mar-2005, 04:21
Hi Jerry,

Consider the Fujinon f8 105SW. It's Fuji"s standard lens on their 617 cameras. Sharp as a tack, and has a a 250mm. image circle. It's my favorite wide angle lens for the 5X7 format. Even though it is a super wide and has a maximum aperature of f8, it is still bright enough to focus and not too heavy to carry.

Donald Hutton
3-Mar-2005, 07:49
When I bought my 110mmXL a couple of years ago, I was hesitant at spending the money. I had a 120mmSA (which only cost me about $500) and a 90mm. The lens is simply the best single piece of gear I own. It is magnificently sharp, compact and light. I have used it quite a bit on 6X17 (on a V-Pan) and the results are outstanding. If your budget can stretch, I definitely recommend it. Personally, my color 6X17 work tend to be enlarged more than 4X5 shots (panoramics just seem to work better when you have to move your head through them) so I wouldn't hesitate recommending the best glass you can afford. I personally find the center filter just about essential on focal lenghs under 125mm on 6X17 when working with chrome (probably because most 6X17 shots have a large expansive of sky in them).

That said, you will probably not see too many differences in final prints with any of the lenses you mentioned. Your results will almost certainly be limited by your technique before being limited by the tiny resolution differences oif modern lenses.

Scott Rosenberg
3-Mar-2005, 09:29
That said, you will probably not see too many differences in final prints with any of the lenses you mentioned. Your results will almost certainly be limited by your technique before being limited by the tiny resolution differences oif modern lenses.

well stated, don. that's something we forget all too often.

Jerry Fusselman
4-Mar-2005, 12:12

Thanks so much to everyone for answering my questions! I have a few questions in response:

Ole, when you say, "I would try a late Schneider Angulon 120/6.8," how late do you mean?

Is it after 1945, or do you mean with lens coating, or something else? Also, do you have

a good source for "resolution tests for Angulons" to compare with more modern lenses?


Lars, I really enjoy your images at www.8x10.se! It is obvious from your site that the

light circle covers 617, like you said. But how is the micro detail near the far edges?

You wrote, "This lens is fantastic when it comes to resolution - but you need to open up

a bit." Do you mean that you need to stop down to f/11 or f/16 or f/22 or some such for

the best resolution? By the way, the nearest Rodenstock entry to my range is the 135mm

Sironar S, and I am considering this lens too, even thought 120mm is probably the ideal

focal length for my needs. (I already have 80mm and 180mm for 617.)


Paul, I am, like Don, one of those guys that really has to have a center filter. I usually

use slow chrome film, and usually with the sky included. Furthermore, I just don't like

the look of the light falloff very often.


Eugene, you mentioned how much you like the Fujinon f8 105SW, does that mean you expect

the micro detail that I would get with the 125mm CMW f/5.6 would be comparable to the Schneider

lenses I mentioned?


Don, your answer has me confused. On one hand, you write, "If your budget can stretch, I

definitely recommend" the 110mm SSXL. Then you write, "Your results will almost certainly

be limited by your technique before being limited by the tiny resolution differences of

modern lenses."

So, you definitely recommend that I spend an extra $1000 to buy a lens with a tiny

resolution difference that I am almost certainly going to lose due to the limitations

in my technique?

Gem Singer
4-Mar-2005, 15:06

Comparing the Fuji 125 CM-W to the Fuji 105 SW is like comparing apples to oranges. Perhaps you are thinking of the Fuji 105 CM-W.

The 105 SW is a large wide angle (Biogon?) design, with a 250mm image circle, and the 125 CM-W is a smaller sized plasmat, with a 204mm image circle. When you say "micro detail", are you speaking of sharpness? Both the 125 and the 105 Fuji lenses are extremely sharp lenses, with good contrast. Due ,in part, to their Fuji EBC coating

Gem Singer
4-Mar-2005, 15:12
P.S. Jerry, the answer to the question you directed to me is" Yes".

Lars Åke Vinberg
4-Mar-2005, 16:53

What I mean by opening up - and this is clear from Schneider's MTF charts - is that the Digitar performs extremely well at f5.6-f16, whereas most LF lenses seem to b e optimized for stopped-down performance. My own subjective tests on film showed the best resolution at f8-f11. At these apertures - again looking at Schneider's charts - you will be hard-pressed to find film that will not limit the lens' performance. From the charts it is clear that the Digitar's MTF performance even at f22 is significantly better than the 110 SSXL, at the cost of coverage. I try to open up to f16 when I can with this lens, but rarely go to f11 as I often need more DOF. I originally purchased my Digitar for 6x9 cm, where it really hits a sweet spot - plenty of movements, incredibly sharp, probably outperforming any 35mm lens. The resolving power probably drops a bit outside the specified 150mm image circle, but it still very good in the corners of a 6x17. I notice no color fringing, possibly a slight resolution drop when examined with a 22x loupe.

That said, at f32 all these lenses probably perform equally. The SSXL design is fantastic when it comes to coverage and resolution accross the IC - I use the 150 SSXL on 8x10 - but unless you need the image circle it might be a slight overkill.

When I use more significant front tilt with the Digitar - camera close to the ground shooting 6x17, like the last flower shot in the "bull dust" collection


then I have to watch out for dark corners and possibly compensate by dropping the front or use rear tilt. So if I would buy a 120 lens for 6x17 today I would probably look at the Symmar L. Maybe the SSXL. If I already had an 80 SSXL with CF then I would stretch my budget to the 110 SSXL.

Jerry Fusselman
4-Mar-2005, 18:13
Eugene, thanks for clarifying. In answer to your question, good "micro detail" means to me

that as I move my eyes closer to a large color print, I keep seeing more information. I

suppose micro detail must refer to mostly to resolution and contrast, and furthermore

good micro detail would require low levels of chromatic aberration, coma, and

astigmatism. I am not sure whether acutance or spherical aberration should be included. I

have never seen "micro detail" defined.


Lars, thanks for your clarifications. I got it now.