View Full Version : Real deal on 210 lens

John C Murphy
16-Jul-2005, 11:05
I am planning to buy a 210mm lens for my 4X5 system which I use for both portaits and landscapes. I want the sharpest possible lens; coverage is not an issue.

The usual opinions on this topic usually go something like this: the newer models (APO-Symmar-L and Sironar-S) are much sharper than the older, cheaper designs (Symmar-S or Caltar/Sironar-N) but it's on paper only. Supposedly you can't see the difference with the naked eye.

So why do people buy the newer models? Is it kind of like when the doctor says, "It's all in your head"?

Or is there really an appreciable difference in sharpness?

John Kasaian
16-Jul-2005, 11:38

IMHO. you'll get more mileage out of a circa 1950's 203 mm f/7.7 Ektar---but OTOH I wear big thick glasses ;-) Jim Galli has done some very very sharp stuff with a 210 G Claron. Maybe the extra $$ are worth it if you're going to blow up your prints to billboard size or maybe (probably) the latest and greatest technology would be worthwhile if you're using some high end digital process. As for me, I can't ell the difference (but I wear big thick glasses!)

Good luck!

ronald moravec
16-Jul-2005, 11:50
The biggest difference is in contrast and color saturation.

16-Jul-2005, 11:57
Sharpness is like a box of chocolates.

Bill Harwell
16-Jul-2005, 13:05
I made my living as a commercial product photographer during the 70's, 80's and 90's and used a 210mm Symmar-S and a 150mm Sironar-N. Both were extremely sharp. Their transparencies filled both full page ads and magazine covers.

Per Madsen
16-Jul-2005, 13:05
The newer lenses (Nikkor W, Fujinon CW, Apo-Symmar,Apo-Sironar) is also

multicoated (i.e. less flare and better color saturation).

If you only shoot B/W it is not as important as in color, but a multicoated lens

is better at handling specular reflections in for example metal in B/W.

16-Jul-2005, 13:41
The difference between a new lens and one that's uncoated or single coated can be very visible to the eye, depending on lighting circumstances.

The difference between a new lens and an older multicoated lens typically only shows up as you move away from the axis, from the optimum aperture, or from the optimum magnification range. They're getting better at making lenses that perform well under a range of conditions.

If you go to the Schneider site and compare the MTF curves of the latest lenses with some of the older ones they still publish, you'll see this. On axis at 1:20 and f16, they've all been really good for a long time.

Alan Davenport
16-Jul-2005, 14:40
Supposedly you can't see the difference with the naked eye.

Nowhere is it more true, than in photography, "What you see is what you get."

If'n you cain't see the difference, there ain't no difference.