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senderoaburrido
18-Dec-2015, 22:15
I'm looking at 90mm lenses and there seem to be quite a few choices out there. Is there any major distinction between the offerings of Fuji, Nikon, Schneider, and Rodenstock? Sharpness is key for me, but sharpness is also something that seems to come from testimony and not on convenient, aggregated sheets of data like image circle information. How important is the shielding conferred by multiple coatings instead of just the one? I've been looking at a Super-Angulon 90mm f5.6 MC, but the dang thing is far too pricey (300 CDN) for my meager funds. I'm setting my budget around 150-200 CDN (so think 100-140 USD).

IanG
19-Dec-2015, 03:19
The coatings on the pre-MC Super Angulons is very good, I have 65mm f8, 75mm f5,6 & f8, 90mm f5.6 and 165mm f8 Super Angulons (all pre-MC) and they are all remarkably flare resistant. In practice I've had no problems shooting in conditions where the zoom lenses on my Canon flares badly.

If your shooting colour my experience is the very early Super Angulons in my case just my 65mm f8 SA exhibit a slight colour shift compared to the later SA's and MC lenses.

At one time I was almost obsessive that I had to use MC lenses but that was after bad experiences with poorly coated new 35mm camera lenses, now I'm more than happy to use coated lenses on my LF cameras.

Ian

richardman
19-Dec-2015, 04:45
The image quality of the modern big 4 is pretty much similar. The color response may be different. Personally I am a big fan of the Fujinon as they are practically underpriced comparing to the other 3.

EdSawyer
19-Dec-2015, 07:36
You should really double that budget to get into the "good" 90mms. The best is the 90mm f/8 from Nikon. Objective testing was done on many lenses, details here:

http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html

Richard Wasserman
19-Dec-2015, 08:11
What will you be photographing? If you don't need a lot of movements get a late-model plain 90mm Angulon (not Super) which will be within your budget, and go make photos. You can always get another lens later on if you need to and if you can afford it.

senderoaburrido
19-Dec-2015, 09:56
RichardMan: How does colour transmission differ? Is it just that each pulls different tones better than others? Or are some objectively worse across the board?

EdSawyer: How do I read these numbers? I assume the "cnt/mdl/edge" data is what is salient here.

Reading the review comments is quite astounding. LF lenses in some cases underperform the resolution of MF lenses! That's mad. And sort of depressing. I had thought the premise of LF photography was to squeeze more detail onto the negative.

Bob Salomon
19-Dec-2015, 10:04
You should really double that budget to get into the "good" 90mms. The best is the 90mm f/8 from Nikon. Objective testing was done on many lenses, details here:

http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html

This "test" leaves out so many lenses That it will not lead one to what are the "best" lenses. Nor does it use MTF or graph distortion or color curves. Lastly it isn't objective as it was done under uncontrolled conditions.

senderoaburrido
19-Dec-2015, 10:27
Bob: Are MTF curves provided on manufacturer data sheets a more reliable way to determine which lens I should look at?

Bob Salomon
19-Dec-2015, 10:33
Bob: Are MTF curves provided on manufacturer data sheets a more reliable way to determine which lens I should look at?

It is the only way to see what the lenses can do. That's why the lens manufacturers use them.

IanG
19-Dec-2015, 10:46
RichardMan: How does colour transmission differ? Is it just that each pulls different tones better than others? Or are some objectively worse across the board?



With early coated lenses the coatings themselves had a colour, early Zeiss Jena coated lenses were particularly blue and needed a warm up filter for colour work. I found my 65mm SA slightly warmer than my Grandagon & Sironar both MC.

There can be slight dfferences between different makes due to their coatings even with MC lenses.

Ian

Dan Fromm
19-Dec-2015, 11:06
OP, you're trying too hard for optimality. Modern lenses from the big four are functionally equivalent. The differences between them that most people report are badly measured and suspect.

Since you have to buy used lenses, the most important consideration is condition. Given than you buy a lens in decent condition in a shutter that's in good working order, you'll have a hard time making a bad mistake.

If you're terrified of making a really bad mistake, buy a mountain of these lenses, test them all, and then resell all but the one you decide is the best of the lot. There's really no other way to solve your problem. Asking people what they think of their lenses will get you answers that have little bearing on the lens you buy.

Alan Gales
19-Dec-2015, 11:21
Pick an F/8 lens if you are trying to save money. They are also popular with the landscape photographers because they are smaller and lighter.

senderoaburrido
19-Dec-2015, 12:13
Dan: You've nailed it: I'm definitely terrified of making a horrendous mistake. My funds are so few that I feel like I can't afford to. I'm beginning to understand what you mean. I might just settle for something less than the super-angulon, at least for now. Usually you can resell and get just about what you paid for them, right?

Dan Fromm
19-Dec-2015, 12:33
Um, I doubt you can get a clean 90/8 SA or Fuji SWD in a good shutter for USD 140. You're probably limited to 90/6.8 Angulons and Raptars/Optars and even with them getting a clean lens in a good shutter may be hard. Remember, there's a law of nature to the effect that used shutters always require overhauls. If you can't do the job yourself your budget is blown.

If I were you I'd keep on dreaming and accumulate my small monetary units until I have enough to buy 90/8 SA or Fuji SWD. A Loonie here, a Loonie there and you'll soon have enough.

About reselling for at worst a minimal loss, I dunno. That's been my practice but every once in a while I get a lens that I can't turn around at all. Your biggest risk is that you'll buy what turns out to be an unsaleable (by an honest person) dog through a channel that gives you no recourse. I have a few of them. My 250/6.8 Boyer Beryl (= Dagor) isn't a dog but ... I got it as part of a bundle, recovered my expenses by selling the rest of the bundle but no one wanted the Beryl. Its a good lens, I kept it and now won't part with it, but at the time the lack of interest in it stung.

No matter what this forum's wheeler-dealers (I'm sometimes one) say, buying used photographic equipment isn't risk free.

Luis-F-S
19-Dec-2015, 12:43
At one time I was almost obsessive that I had to use MC lenses but that was after bad experiences with poorly coated new 35mm camera lenses, now I'm more than happy to use coated lenses on my LF cameras. Ian

And the uncoated Dagors aren't too shabby........most people stress over issues that they'll never see in the real world.......remember, Edward Weston made images that sell for tens of thousands if not more with a lens he paid $5 for and his friends thought he paid too much for it......I have both a 90 SA XL and a 90 angulon, and the "little" lens gets a whole lot more use these days, that is after my WA Dagors! L

Oren Grad
19-Dec-2015, 12:55
Reading the review comments is quite astounding. LF lenses in some cases underperform the resolution of MF lenses! That's mad. And sort of depressing. I had thought the premise of LF photography was to squeeze more detail onto the negative.

LF gains its technical advantage from the size of the film, not from the lenses. In general, the larger the film area you need to cover, the disproportionately harder it gets to design and manufacture a lens to a given performance standard across the field. If manufacturers had tried to build LF lenses that match or exceed the bench-test performance of the best 35-format or medium format lenses across the much larger image area required by LF, just about nobody could have afforded to buy them.

I second Dan's advice. If you're trying to minimize risk and hassle, best to save up until you have $250-300 and look for a clean sample of the least expensive (f/8 or f/6.8, depending on the manufacturer) versions of a late model Nikkor-SW, Fujinon-SW, Rodenstock Grandagon or Schneider Super-Angulon, whichever you can find at an attractive price. You can sometimes find better deals on private-labeled versions - for example, the 90mm Caltar II-N is a Grandagon, the Caltar-W II is a Super Angulon. Also, sometimes one can find inexpensive Fujinons on eBay from Japanese sellers - read the description carefully, make sure the glass is clean and the shutter in good working order, take into account shipping cost, and stick to sellers with good feedback.

richardman
19-Dec-2015, 13:23
RichardMan: How does colour transmission differ? Is it just that each pulls different tones better than others? Or are some objectively worse across the board?


First, you do have to raise your budget to ~$200-$230 for a Fujinon. The other 3 are more expensive.

Many people say the Japanese glass produces "colder" images. I have mostly Fujinon and a few Cooke (British) and a Schneider 110XL. I concur with this assessment. I mainly shoot C-41. Since I scan and post-process, it doesn't matter to me much.

richardman
19-Dec-2015, 13:37
Someone (not me, no idea who they are etc.) over on APUG just dropped the price of their Fuji 90/8 to $175. This seems to be the earlier one with Seiko shutter. Regardless, it's a good buy if the lens and shutter are in good conditions.

David Karp
19-Dec-2015, 14:45
I had a single coated 90mm f/8 Fujinon. It was a nice lens. Only reason I sold it was because I picked up a 90mm f/8 Nikkor for the larger image circle.

Alan Gales
19-Dec-2015, 14:58
No matter what this forum's wheeler-dealers (I'm sometimes one) say, buying used photographic equipment isn't risk free.

What Dan is saying is very true but if you buy the common lenses at a fair price you are less likely to lose money if you later sell. I look at a small loss as a cheap rental fee.

With Ebay it's sometimes who is looking when on how much an item sells for. I have listed items that didn't sell only to relist them for $50 less and have them sell for more than my original price. Once in a while I get burned or do not make a profit. Sometimes buyers get in a bidding frenzy and over pay for one of my items. In the long run it equals out and I've made a little money to help support my hobby.

senderoaburrido
19-Dec-2015, 23:08
I might go for the Nikkor, as it is slightly less expensive than the Super-Angulon MC. If things don't work out, I guess I'll resell it. I can also fund it with the jammed-shutter hasselblad 80mm and a few crumby 35mm lenses I could sell. Thanks for the advice you guys!

Bob Salomon
20-Dec-2015, 07:07
I might go for the Nikkor, as it is slightly less expensive than the Super-Angulon MC. If things don't work out, I guess I'll resell it. I can also fund it with the jammed-shutter hasselblad 80mm and a few crumby 35mm lenses I could sell. Thanks for the advice you guys!

As was pointed out earlier these types of lenses all have fall off which can mostly be corrected with a center filter, if required and desired. However Nikon never offered one for their wide angles so you might want to spend just a bit more for one of the ones whose factories did address this problem and offered center filters to their users. Nikon did not face up to this issue.

Jim Jones
20-Dec-2015, 08:09
What will you be photographing? If you don't need a lot of movements get a late-model plain 90mm Angulon (not Super) which will be within your budget, and go make photos. You can always get another lens later on if you need to and if you can afford it.

I agree. Certainly the somewhat similar Optar and probably the 90mm Angulon should be well stopped down for optimum image quality. If the small working aperture and limited coverage aren't too much of a handicap, one of these lenses lets you be photographing while perhaps waiting for a bargain in a better lens. Pursuit of the perfect lens gets in the way of photography.

neil poulsen
20-Dec-2015, 23:01
I had a single coated 90mm f/8 Fujinon. It was a nice lens. Only reason I sold it was because I picked up a 90mm f/8 Nikkor for the larger image circle.

As the largest aperture of a lens increases, the image circle also typically increases. This makes the 90mm Nikon f8 SW interesting, because at 235mm, it has an image circle that's about as large as f5.6 or f4.5 90mm super wides.

David Karp
21-Dec-2015, 00:06
Yes. That is exactly why I switched to the 90mm f/8 Nikkor. I kept running out of room with my older Fujinon. However, the Fujinon was a great budget friendly option when finances were tighter.

Thinking of finances, if I was starting out in LF and had to buy lenses on a budget, but knowing what I know now, I think I would buy Fujinon lenses on from Japan on EBay, as suggested by Oren. In the last year or so, I picked up a single coated 135mm Fujinon W and a 250mm f/6.7 Fujinon W at extremely reasonable prices.

Kodachrome25
21-Dec-2015, 00:11
This "test" leaves out so many lenses That it will not lead one to what are the "best" lenses. Nor does it use MTF or graph distortion or color curves. Lastly it isn't objective as it was done under uncontrolled conditions.

Be that as it may, I replaced a good 90mm 6.8 Grandagon with the Nikkow SW 90/8 and the Nikkor just blew the Grandagon away in terms of micro-contrast and resolving of fine details, one of my sharpest LF lenses by far.

I have no issues with fall off either.

ottluuk
26-Dec-2015, 04:12
I think the camera is an important factor here. If your camera is a modern wide angle friendly design with supple bellows and bright screen, it'll be easier to tame a slow 90. If you have an older camera with a simple ground glass, things are not so simple. Do you invest in a brighter screen (that may or may not have other problems) or a faster (larger, heavier) lens?

Another point is that the flange to film distances of various 90s can be quite different. For example, according to http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenseslist.html it's 103 mm for the f/5.6 Super-Angulon MC and 94 mm for the 6.8 Grandagon. I'd guess it's pretty close to 90mm on the old Angulons. Depending on the construction of your camera's focussing system and bellows, these extra millimeters may be very helpful or not necessary.

One thing is for sure, though. The f/5.6 models are BIG. On the left multicoated SA 90/5.6 in Compur 1, on the right a folding 6x6 camera with a coupled rangefinder and 75/2.8 Xenar lens.

143984

Bob Salomon
26-Dec-2015, 04:58
The problem with your comparison is that one lens covers 5x7" + while the other only has to cover 6x6cm. That makes one much larger then the other.

pdmoylan
26-Dec-2015, 20:25
Having used the Nikkor 90 f8 most of my career and having compared to the 90 f8 single coated Fuji which I owned for a while, if you are shooting color I would choose the Nikkor. Otherwise it is a tossup except for coverage, the Nikkor having more as has already been said.

I don't usually have a reason to disagree with Bob S, but I concur with Ed Sawyer and K25, you do not need a center filter with the Nikkor 90 f8.

Best choice for the money IMHO. Money being no object I would probably go with the Schneider 90 f5.6XL which gives a bit more pin sharp appearance to images or the Nikkor 90 F4.5, both of which are heavy, but both excellent. You will need a center filter with the Schneider.

PDM

Drew Wiley
4-Jan-2016, 16:56
Similar vintage late lenses from Fuji, Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikon are going to be quite similar. I happen to own a Nikkor 90/4.5 because I wanted something
relatively bright for interior architecture. It had a very good reputation at the time, with lots of movement room on 4x5. I generally use a center filter with it. Those of us who routinely shot chromes found center filters essential. With black and white work, it all depends how you feel about illumination falloff toward the corners. And that would apply to any brand of wide angles. Many of these lenses are such a bargain at the moment that I'd be more concerned with condition than brand per se.

Drew Wiley
4-Jan-2016, 17:02
Bob - the 82mm Schneider CF intended for the SA works perfectly on the faster Nikon lens. There was no need to market their own CF. Exactly 1-1/2 stops of
correction, densitometer measured.