View Full Version : 150mm XL or 155 Grandagon N

jens peter
7-Mar-2005, 03:03
For images of buildings/interiours I need a more powerfull wideangle for the 8x10 with the possibility for some shift (40-50 mm).

After investigating the internet, especially the various large format forums I have narrowed the selction down to 150mm XL from Schneider, or the 155 mm Grandagon N from Rodenstock.
I generally have a preference for Rodenstock lenses, however it is the best owerall image quality I am looking for and would go for the Schneider if it is better (I am doing up to 4-8x enlargements from 8x10).

There seem to be a general preference (forum) for the 150 mm XL, several people state that it is sharp and easy portable - but apparently the lightfall off at the corners is noticable - and many recommends a centerfilter. The 150 XL is the newest design of the two and is f 5.6.
On the other hand the Rodenstock has been described as having a very even light distribution over the full image, quite sharp, and people use it without centerfilter. The lens is 6.8 and some more heavy than the XL, but weight is less important.

I already own 2 Grandagon N's as well as the 110 XL, all of them good lenses.

Anyone with experience in one or both lenses who could give an advice?


Armin Seeholzer
7-Mar-2005, 04:52

I have the Sinar version of the Rodenstock Grandagon 155mm f 6.8 and like it alot but if I would have the chance to got the 150 Nikkor f 8 imagediameter of 400mm would be my first choice. Rodenstock has only 382mm in the brochure but it will be a tiny bit more.
But Rodensock did stop the production of the 115mm and 155mm Grandagon as far as I know. Same also for Nikkor 150mm.
So new you have only the Schneider left!
Good luck.

J. P. Mose
7-Mar-2005, 09:15
I ended up with a 150mm Super Symmar XL only because I found one new for less than they sell used on Ebay. I lucked out. I would have been happy with either lens however. I think with 8x10, any optical differences would be hard to detect unless you are going for murals! The 150mm SS uses 95mm filters which I already have....that was one bonus. I did notice that www.glennview.com has a couple used 155mm Grandagon-Ns. Good luck!

K. Nicolaisen
7-Mar-2005, 09:50
I use the 165/8 Super Angulon, which I years ago bought secondhand.

It is not a bad lens either.

Ralph Barker
7-Mar-2005, 18:49
I use a 150mm SS XL on 8x10, and love it. Very sharp, and reasonably compact, all things considered (at least in comparison to the typical symmetrical designs of traditional wides). But, I've never used one of the large Grandagons, so I can't help with any direct comparison information.

Lars Åke Vinberg
7-Mar-2005, 19:05
The 150 SSXL is very sharp and contrasty. all the way out to the corners. I have one photo where I used full rise to use the entire IC, corner resolution is impressive.

Filters can be costly for these lenses, so it is something to consider. The 150 XL can take a 62mm filter in the rear, pardon my language, whereas the front thread is 95mm or 112mm if you use a CF. If you feel that you need a CF with some other lenses then you most likely will want one for the 150XL (as well as the other lenses mentioned), especially if you will use full rise.

Michael S. Briggs
8-Mar-2005, 00:20
Most LF lenses have illumination as a function of angle off-axis that goes as cosine angle to the fourth power. Most modern super-wide coverage designs use an optical trick of tilting the pupils to improve the illumination to cosine to the third power.

Schneider seems to have listened to what people say here and, in their recent Super-Symmar-XL series, made super-wide coverage lenses that are relatively small and light. However, compared to other modern super-wides, they have the drawback that their illumination goes as cosine to the fourth. The PDF datasheets available from Schneider's website include graphs of the off-axis illumination that closely follow the cosine to the fourth law.

The Grandagon-N and Nikkor-SW series lenses belong to the family of super-wide lenses that use the tilting pupils "trick" to improve the illumination. Theoretically, the illumination can be improved to be cosine to the third power. Rodenstock provides illumination graphs in their paper brochures -- these show the 150 mm Grandagon-N to be better than cosine to the fourth, but not quite as good as the theoretical ideal of cosine to the third.

Nikon doesn't publish graphs of performance data for their LF lenses, but the design is clearly in the same category as the Grandagon-N.

So the Grandagon-N and the Nikkor-SW have more even illumination than the Super-Symmar-XL. This means that you are less likely to feel that a center filter is necessary.

Some example figures for these lenses centered on 8x10 film without movements: Schneider's graph for the 150 mm Super-Symmar-XL shows that the corners receive 25% of the illumination as the centers -- a 2 stop reduction. This is in perfect agreement with cosine to the fourth. Rodenstock's graph shows the 150 mm Grandagon-N to deliver 32% of the center illumination to the corners, which is a reduction of 1.6 stops. This is better than cosine to the fourth, but slightly worse than expected from cosine to the third (i.e., 35%).

I think the main tradeoffs amongst these lenses are cost, size/weight and evenness of illumination. The Grandagon-N and Nikkor-SW are probably more available on the used market, and at more reasonable prices, then the 150 mm Super-Symmar-XL.

One caution about using filters on the rear of a lens: this will cause a focus shift of about 1/3 the thickness of the filter. At the typical taking apertures used with 8x10, this usually won't matter much, but in some cases the shift in the region of acceptable focus might be noticable.

Lars Åke Vinberg
8-Mar-2005, 17:00
Re focus shift when using filter behind the lens - to clarify for readers of this forum - this is only a problem if you focus before attaching the filter. If you attach the filter before focusing then this is a non-issue as what you see on the GG is what you get on film.

I shoot 8x10" color transparency film, most often used filters are color correction, UV, and ND grads. With the 150XL I can use a Lee filter holder in front of the lens (Lee 115mm slip-on holder) and no more than one filter (two filters in vertical orientation). The color correction filter goes behind the lens. Other wideangle designs are less convenient when it comes to filtering as the rear element usually is almost as wide as the front element.