View Full Version : Thoughts on 90mm Angulon 6.8

John Mauser
2-Jul-2005, 23:52
I just purchased my first 4x5, a tachihara which also came with a 210mm lens. The camera will be used exclusively for landscapes, so I'm looking to purchase a 90mm lens ASAP. I had been looking for a super angulon or something of similar quality. Unfortunately nothing has popped up in my price range. There are a few 90mm f/6.8 Angulons around for a decent price, what do you all think of this older lens? I've heard that it just covers a 4x5 without movements and that it wasn't super sharp. I've also heard some say that it was very good for the price. Are these 40-50 year old lens's good enough for large landscape prints. I mean after all, Ansel's best photos were taken in the 30's-40's so those old lenses can't be that bad. Please let me know exactly what you think of this lens for landscape work and prints up to 20x24". Should I just keep looking for a super angulon? Thanks, John

David A. Goldfarb
3-Jul-2005, 05:19
I have both. The Super-Angulon is sharper from corner to corner and has more usable image circle. The Angulon is inexpensive, sharp within its usable range, and is very small and compact.

90/8.0 Super-Angulons tend to run around $300-350. If you can hold out for one, I'd say it's worth it.

Ole Tjugen
3-Jul-2005, 05:34
I have both too - and everything you have heard about the Angulon 90/6.8 is correct!

It covers 4x5" from f:32, and it can cover 5x7" from f:45 - but only the old uncoated ones.

It isn't super sharp, and it can be sharper than the Super Angulon. The latest ones are generally sharper, but some of the older ones can be super sharp. It depends on Schneider's quality control, which wasn't very good in the 50's and before. Today they're among the very best, but older lenses may or may not live up to their full potential.

They are convertible too, but only some of the pre-WWII ones were sold with dual aperture scales. Then the formula was adjusted slightly, presumably to give better definition, and the "convertibility" was dropped. But it still works in a pinch...

Dave Moeller
3-Jul-2005, 06:22
Remember that you can still use back tilts even if the lens just covers 4x5. You can control the plane of sharp focus this way, but this will change the geometry of the image.

I have both, and although the Super Angulon is a hands-down better image maker, the older lens is much smaller and much easier to throw into a backpack without a second thought. Keep it at f/32 and you'll get good enough negatives to enlarge to 16x20. (I don't know how well the image would hold up beyond that as I've never tried.)

Mine's a "Linhof select" lens; reportedly Linhof cherry-picked the better lenses to put their name on. I don't know how significant this process was, but I do know that my f/6.8 lens is a good one, and I have no intention of getting rid of it even though I have the Super Angulon as well.

Best of luck to you.

John Mauser
3-Jul-2005, 07:37
Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses. Please keep'm coming.

Louie Powell
3-Jul-2005, 07:58
John -

I don't know what your desired price range is, but its possible to buy 90mm lenses in the Caltar line that were actually manufactured by Schneider or Rodenstock for prices considerably lower than the same lens from the manufacturer. And these are available in the used market for prices that are also lower than the prime labels.

For example, several months ago I bought a Caltar 90mm f8, which is a rebadged Schneider Super Angulon, for $315 (via the auction site). It's a little dark for viewing (that's why I have a dark cloth), but the results on film are excellent.


3-Jul-2005, 08:56
I had a 90/6.8 angulon and it would not cover 4x5. No matter how much I stopped down, the corners were always unnacceptably soft.

George Stewart
3-Jul-2005, 09:08
I have the f/6.8 for the 4x5. This camera is primarily for longdistance travel or backpacking which is why I got the Angulon. I've taken some of my best pictures with it, but have always used it stopped all-the-way down to f/32, for coverage. If you're going hiking with the camera then get it! If not, I'd recommend a lens with more coverage.

I also have the 90XL for use with 4x10. A 90 f/8 would be more than satisfactory for use in most 4x5 situations.

Mark Erickson
3-Jul-2005, 10:27
I had one for a while also. Sharpness (stopped down to F22) was good in the center, but mine was just a little soft in the corners. There are lots of subjects for which this doesn't matter, but if you are doing landscape shots with near-far compositions, the corners on the near side can be important.

If you want a relatively small inexpensive lens, you might also consider a 100mm f6.3 wide-field Ektar. These are of similar vintage (late 1940's through the 1950's) and mine is very sharp corner to corner.

james mickelson
3-Jul-2005, 11:54
I love mine. I have used it successfully on my Gandolfi Variant. It doesn't have the coverage of the SA but unless you are needing a large amount of movements, say changing the shape of something with back movements, it's a great lens for the money. I used it for many years until I found an older 90/8 SA single coated which I now use. I still use the 6.8 with my 2x3 and 4x5 Speeds. Better than a sharp stick in the eye. If it is in good shape, I'd buy it. I would buy it from Midwest or PhotoRepro or somewhere who would exchange or give your money back if you weren't satisfied.

Mark Sawyer
3-Jul-2005, 13:03
John- I have a later coated 90mm Angulon, and have found it a wonderful little lens. Sharp to the corners, and enough coverage for modest movement. I've heard others complain about them, so it may be a hit-or-miss quality control thing. Look for a later one that's coated, especially a Linhof-selected one, (marked either "Linhof" or "Technika"). If you use more movements, or might get into architectural photography, it would probably be worth going for the Super Angulon.

Pretty much what everyone else already said!

3-Jul-2005, 19:32
I have two, and a SA also. The first one I got in the 1950s to use on my Graphic View II, the second came with my Technika IV. They are both excellent little f:6.8 lenses, should be used stopped down at least to f:16/22. Take 40.5 screw in filters. My Super Angulon is huge by comparison, hard to see though wide open, but produces a slightly better image over a wider field. For ordinary landscape use I'd pick the old Angulon every time. Be sure you get a late, coated one with a "press focus" button on the Compur shutter.

Joseph O'Neil
3-Jul-2005, 19:45
I have two 90mm lenses.
The first is the "Linhof" Angulon. Nice lens. I bought it because I needed something small and light for backpacking,a nd I was very ahppy to discover my expensive collection of BW 40.5mm filters fit on it too.

My second 90mm is a Komura 90mm. Huge lens, it actually covers 5x7.

For my "everyday" work, the Angulon is perfect. Yes, it has limited movements, but so do my Crown and Super Speed Graphics.

Far archetechual (spelling?), I use my monorail and my Komura for the wide movements.

Biggest prolem, as I see it, is the variable quality of some of the Angulons. That's the reason I bought a "Linhof" Angulon, and in my limited experience, doing so seems to have paid off.


John Mauser
3-Jul-2005, 20:01
Thanks all!
I'm still looking. If I see a SA, Caltar or a Rodenstock cheap I'll go for it. If not I'll get one of the F6.8 angulons but I'll get one of the selects like a Linhof edition. Thanks for the advice everyone. John

Mark Sawyer
4-Jul-2005, 00:58
A quick note to you folks using the 40.5mm screw-in filters: it doesn't take a very thick rim on a filter to reduce the image circle. I have a 52mm slip-on adaptor on mine. I've run into the same situation on several wide-angle lenses...

Jim Rhoades
4-Jul-2005, 07:22
For less money and just as good a chance of finding a sharp lens is an Optar. The 90mm f6.8 Optar has the same specs as the Angulon. Optar/Wollensak mades some good lenses, some dogs too. Don't buy any used lens without a test and return clause. A linhof select can be a dog too. What if Alice Cooper owned it first?

John Mauser
4-Jul-2005, 07:35
I don't know...how does Alice treat his golf clubs???

Joakim Ahnfelt
5-Jul-2005, 07:26
Probably very kindly since he has a handikap of 3.

Christopher Perez
5-Jul-2005, 09:18
If you work primarily in B&W, I seriously doubt if you'd be able to tell the difference between images taken with a 90mm Angulon and a Super Angulon. I recently performed a test to see how my early 1950's Angulon compared against a much more modern 110 Super Symmar XL. The results where shocking, to say the least. I'm left wondering, aside from additional coverage, what we have gained over the past 50 years of optical development.

The only reason I can see to buy a Super Angulon (or any 100+ degree Biogon type wide angle) is for the coverage. I don't know about your landscape work, but I seldom use much rise when working out of doors.

Also, going from 210mm to 90mm is quite a leap. Have you considered a cheap 135mm or 150mm to fill the gap?

John Mauser
5-Jul-2005, 10:15
Christopher, thanks for the info on the Angulon vs SA for black and white. There is quite a big difference between the 210 and the 90. I never was looking for a 210, it just came with the tachihara. I figured if I didn't use it much I could just trade it or sell it for something in the 135 range. I've always shot black and white landscapes in the wide angle range, just not in 4x5. I take a lot of photos in the 19-28mm range on my 35mm camera and that' why I want to get a 90mm for my 4x5.

Richard Schlesinger
5-Jul-2005, 11:08
I had a 90mm f8 WA Dagor. I'm sorry I don't still have it. If you can find one grab it beforeit gets away!