View Full Version : 150mm-ish Lenses for 8x10?

Kevin Crisp
28-Jun-2005, 10:29
The 159mm Wolly lens is not, in my experience, particularly sharp outside the middle 2/3 of the circle. (Maybe this is a problem with just mine, I have the f:12 version, I have other Wolly wide angles that are plenty sharp enough for me.) The current 150 Schneider lens that covers this format is almost $2000 new and very hard to find used. Between those two extremes is there something else? Cheaper than the Schneider and sharper than the Wollensak? If you have the same Wolly lens and think it does hold up to enlargement I would be interested to know that. Thanks in advance.

Ed Burlew
28-Jun-2005, 10:46
There really is no alot of choice. The choices are the Nikon 150mm, Rodenstock 155mm, Schneider 165 or the 150mm. You just have to look for a good deal on a used lense. The modern glass is wonderfully sharp and color corrected and HEAVY. I am willing to put up with the weight for the better quality and I am willing to save my money up to get tthe modern lense. I really stretched the wallet to get the Rodenstoch 155 but now 4 years later I am always amazed at the detail. I use 30x40 inches as my minimum enlargement and sometimes go to 5 feet by 6 feet. The detail is wonderful, the color spot on. I have no regrets. The money was well spent.

Steve Hamley
28-Jun-2005, 10:50

Cheap, wide angle, and 8x10 are not terms that are not usually mutually compatible. I'd suggest a 165mm WA Dagor, but the gold ones in good shape go for almost the same price as a used 150mm SS XL. However, MPEX has one listed now, 8++ at a reasonable price. If weight were an issue I'd go for the Dagor, if it wasn't I'd hold out for a used 150mm SS XL.

I'm assuming you want something coated; in uncoated lenses there are some more choices.


Herb Cunningham
28-Jun-2005, 10:53
Ed's right- I have the wolly and a Nikon SW 150, gotta be the heaviest lens I use, I don't pack it unless I really have a serious need for that focal length, but it is incredible. I think the image circle is over 400mm. I don't trust the wolly for highly detailed stuff.

tim atherton
28-Jun-2005, 11:11
They made the Wollensaks over quite a range of years (20? 30?) and they went through a lot of changes.

I'm not sure which model you have. I have a somewhat later f12 coated version and while it's not the absolutley sharpest lens I have, it seems as good as many of the more modern ones I do have.

I had a 5' enlargement from a shot with it in a show recently and it held up perfectly well.

I do have a 165mm Super Angulon which is, yes, darned heavy and big. I use it mainly for the extra coverage when needed

It does seem there is quite a lot of variation from model to model. But apart from the Dagor (which can also have some softenss in the corners), it seems to be just the big and more modern lenses. Super Angulons seem to be going for a bit less on ebay these days.

I just bought a Gundlach Radar 175mm f16 on ebay.... I'll see how that puppy looks - who knows

Armin Seeholzer
28-Jun-2005, 11:47

I have also the 155mm Grandagon and it is a heavy beast but I never regret to buy it and it was used still high in price. But it is so sharp I prever it over the 150mm Symmar S for table top work in 4x5 also and run never out of coverage on 4x5. It is contrasty and sharp and MC version to.
In wider lenses I never buy old ones they have not any chances against the modern lenses.
There will be almost non differences between the Nikon 150 and the 155 Grandagon and the Super Angulon 165mm. But the 150mm Nikkor has the most covering power 400mm the Grandagon only 382 the Super Angulon 395 but the Grandagon is the only one with f 6.8 the others are f8.
Take ure poket and go for it!

Eric Leppanen
28-Jun-2005, 11:49

The Nikon 150SW is fairly common on the used market, and if I recall sells for around $1100 or so. A nice feature of the Nikon is that light fall-off is well controlled and a center filter is not required (at least for my taste).

The SS150XL has more light fall-off and (at least for me) requires a center filter for use with chrome film. However, it is smaller and lighter than the Nikon, has a large maximum aperture, and to my eye produces slightly more brilliant chromes. Also, the SS150XL's rear element is much smaller than the Nikon, enabling the lens to be mounted on a Technika-style lensboard, rather than a Sinar board (the Nikon's rear element is so huge that a Technika lensboard attachment won't work well). Between the Technika board and its generally smaller size, the SS150XL is far easier to fit in a backpack.

Personally, I used the Nikon until a used SS150XL became available, then I replaced it with the SS150XL.

Jim Galli
28-Jun-2005, 13:51
Kevin, You know I'm a bit of a horse trader. Never-the-less there are a couple of lenses in my kit that aren't for sale at any price. One of those is a diminutive Cooke Series VIIb 6 1/4" in an ancient Volute shutter. I'd love to upgrade the shutter some day when I'm rich, but the lens is a keeper just as it is. It produces 8X10's that have an etched look. Pin sharp. They are hard to find. Probably because when you get lucky and find one, you keep it.

Kevin Crisp
28-Jun-2005, 14:32
And one of those 140mm f:18 Protars wouldn't be any better than the Wolly?

lee nadel
28-Jun-2005, 14:39
i use a 165mm gold rim dagor for under a 1000k i can put it in my pocket with a 12" and a bag and can walk around awhile it's a good lens but has to be used carefuly as all very wide angle lenses on 8x10 .form real world experienses make me focus fairly close 6-8 feet at f-45 everything is sharp in a landscape photo. i shoot b&w

Mark Sawyer
28-Jun-2005, 16:05
I have two of the Wollensak F/12.5 159mm's. My old uncoated one is sharp enough for contacts, maybe 11x14's, in the center but softens detail slightly more at the corners. My later coated one is quite sharp all the way to the corners; I'd trust it to at least 16x20. Both open up well beyond f/12.5 for focusing, and I haven't found any focus shift stopping down. The fall-off towards the corners is there, but not bad enough that I'd bother with a center filter, and I'm reasonably demanding of my b/w negatives. By my experience, the coated version is a great lens for the price.

I doubt I'd enjoy composing/focusing with the f/18 Protar. These strike me as an overpriced "cult" lens, like the Dagor.

I'm curious whether anyone has tried a 6" Metrogon lens on an 8x10. They seem fairly common and inexpensive, but I never hear of people actually using them. They look rather unfriendly, (heavy, clumsy mounts, don't know how you'd control the aperture...) Anybody?

Linas Kudzma
28-Jun-2005, 19:03
I own a coated Wollensak f12.5 159mm and find it a very sharp 8x10 lens. I dont enlarge 8x10, but I have other uncoated lenses that have a very different look. I belive that coated Wollensak 159mm's are a real sleeper. I'll never part with mine.