View Full Version : Which 240 for 8x10?

Roger Richards
19-Sep-2005, 20:35
Hi all, I am in a quandary at the moment on 8x10 lens selection and would appreciate any comments. The lenses I am comparing are the Schneider 240 f5.6 Symmar-S MC, Fujinon 240A f9 and Rodenstock 240 f5.6 APO Sironar-S. I have the 240 Symmar-S, which has 'Schneideritis', but am considering the Fujinon for reason of compact size and weight, and the Rodenstock 240 because of image quality and coverage. Would it be worth it to trade up the Symmar-S for either of the other two? Your advice would be most welcome.

austin granger
19-Sep-2005, 20:43
Hello. Though it's not on your list, if you're considering the fujinon 240A, you might also look into finding a good used Schneider g-claron 240. They will cover 8x10 quite well stopped down (maybe more coverage than the fuji-anyone?) and can be had fairly cheaply too. Also, the g-claron, like the fuji, is tiny and very sharp.

For the record, I have nothing against fujinon lenses; besides my g-claron, my other 8x10 lenses are the fujnon 300C and 450C.

Michael Kadillak
19-Sep-2005, 21:08
I have found out the hard way that there is simply no substitute for having excessive coverage for the time when you need it. Finding the edge of your circle of illumination on your ground glass just flat out sucks.

Based upon my experience, your list of "options" simply put cannot hold a candle to the 240mm Computar that covers 11x14 with room to spare. Small optic that is sharp as a hand full of razor blades and contrasty as hell, but the downside is that it needs to be mounted in a Copal 3S. A small price to pay for nirvana.

Just throwing in my $0.02.


John Kasaian
19-Sep-2005, 21:28
I have no experience with any of the lenses you've mentioned, but I really like my 240 G Claron on the 8x10---a great little lens at a great price. Its not the only 240mm, but is certainly worth considering when you're trying to choose a new pup from amongst the 240mm litter.

OTOH, I've never heard of Schneideritis being fatal---what is it about the Schneideritis that is interfering with your Symmars performance?

Eric Leppanen
19-Sep-2005, 22:00
The 210-240mm focal length in 8x10 is a difficult one to navigate. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, I feel your quandary!

The difference coverage among the lenses you are considering (4.3 cm of rise in landscape orientation with the Sironar-S; 1.8 cm with the Symmar-S and Fuji-A) is moderately significant but not earth-shattering. For my type of shooting the 240 Sironar-S was a bit of a "tweener"; it fell into a no man's land between lightweight process lenses with moderate coverage (Fuji-A, G-Claron) and high coverage lenses like the SS210XL. I finally sold the Sironar and broke the bank and bought a used 210mm SSXL (500mm image circle); the SSXL is used near the car, while my Fuji-A is used for hiking. But I know other people who swear by the 240 Sironar-S, so it really comes down to your individual shooting style.

Perhaps the best of both worlds is the extremely rare multi-coated 240mm Docter Germinar W (close to an 80 degree angle of coverage at f/32 according to Kerry Thalmann, which equates to an image circle approaching 400mm), or the also rare Computar mentioned by Michael above. Another option is the single-coated Fuji W 250 6.7.

Since the laws of physics apparently preclude lightweight, high coverage wide angle lenses for 8x10, you'll have to either prioritize between coverage and weight, or purchase two lenses (like I did). Or you can just try one or more lenses out. Midwest Photo Exchange has a used 240 Sironar-S in stock, you could purchase that lens on a trial basis to determine whether or not it meets your needs. Or you could pick up a used lens on Ebay for testing. The nice thing about buying used is that, if you get a decent price, you can always resell your lens at around the same price if you don't like it.

Good luck!

Eric Woodbury
19-Sep-2005, 22:01
I haven't tried the lenses of which you write, but I have the Fujinon W 250/6.7. Covers 400mm circle. A very handy lens on 810 and doesn't have to be expensive. Different than the 6.3.

tor kviljo
20-Sep-2005, 02:17
I have a Fujinon 250mm (don't remember if it's the 6.3 or 6,7, but mine is multicoated, so I belive it's the newer 6.3 version) , and it's the sharpest lens I have ever owned. Used it extensively on Sinar Norma with Velvia, so sharpeness were certainly an issue when slides were studied.

Scott Davis
20-Sep-2005, 05:09
I would also consider the Nikkor 240 F5.6, which is also not on your list. It has the same coverage as the Fuji F9 at which you are looking. It is also probably a fair sight less expensive than the Schneiders and Rodenstocks that have larger image circles. It gives outstanding performance to the edge of its image circle.

Brian Ellis
20-Sep-2005, 06:54
You mention size, weight, and image quality as reasons for possibly changing. I've never used any of the three lenses you mention but for size and weight the 240 G Claron that I use is hard to beat. For image quality, I don't know, I suspect you wouldn't find a noticeable difference if any at all between your Symmar S and the Rodenstock that you mention as being a candidate because of image quality, especially if you only contact print. The image quality of the 240 G Claron has seemed fine to me though I acquired it only recently and so haven't used it all that much. I did use a 210 G Claron on 8x10 for several years and it was excellent.

Oren Grad
20-Sep-2005, 07:19
My favorite 240 is the Apo-Sironar-S, for its excellent performance in plane of focus that holds up remarkably well even as wide as f/8, exquisitely refined rendering of out-of-focus backgrounds, and big, useful 75 degree coverage.

If I had to carry a very small lens I'd take a G-Claron over a Fujinon-A, though IMO it's not in the same league as the Apo-Sironar-S.

I hope to be testing a 240 Computar soon - that may change my choice of small lens, although in Copal 3S it won't be quite so small.

Roger Richards
20-Sep-2005, 08:00
Thank you all for your advice and feedback on lenses in the 240mm family.

John, I have not noticed anything that would indicate the 'Schneideritis' is affecting my image quality. I do wonder if it degardes the image just a little, as the manufacturers of lenses paint that area of the lenses black for a reason, and maybe image contrast woudl be better without flare bouncing around from the reflected area. Just conjecture on my part..I have not used any other 240mm lenses so cannot compare.

The main thing for me at the moment is image quality at print sizes up to 40x50 in color. I have not yet printed this large, but a project I am working on envisions this as the finished product. In 4x5 I have the APO Sironar-S and it is marvelous even wide open and using mid range apertures. I have read opinions, such as Oren's, that the 240mm APO Sironar-S is similar. I do not always shoot stopped down, so this is a plus for 8x10. As Eric suggested I am considering giving Jim a call about the used 240 Sir-S he has in stock to give it a try.

Appreciate all your comments, this is truly a great board. Any other advice on these lenses is welcomed :-)

20-Sep-2005, 08:43
Oh, yeah, throwing away money on a new lens to replace the great 240 you already own is really gonna improve your images.

Oren Grad
20-Sep-2005, 08:54
In 4x5 I have the APO Sironar-S and it is marvelous even wide open and using mid range apertures. I have read opinions, such as Oren's, that the 240mm APO Sironar-S is similar.

Roger, the character of the Apo-Sironar-S is very consistent across the different focal lengths.

If I recall correctly, Chris Jordan used the 240 Apo-Sironar-S for some of the mega-pictures he's currently showing. Perhaps he would have some more directly relevant advice as to its strengths and weaknesses for that sort of application.

Ken Lee
20-Sep-2005, 09:02
I'm not a wide angle person, so I use my Fujinon 240A more on 5x7 than 8x10. At infinity, it covers 8x10 but with little room to spare. That being said, I use it often on 8x10 for close shots, since coverage increases as we focus closer. It's an awesome lens for close work.

If I changed style, and started making wide images in 8x10, I would definitely get something with greater coverage. I would get either one of the big Kahunas (for example Sironar S) , or one of the "wide field" types that contain the letter W in their names (like the Fujinon). Since I don't like huge lenses and huge filters, I would actually try one of the W lenses first.

Roger Richards
20-Sep-2005, 09:12
Oren, I read Chris's comments on the APO Sironar-S after a search of the site, and was particularly interested his opinion of its performance when producing extra large prints. Seems it does the job well. But before I part with my 240 Symmar-S, which is a beautiful lens and very sharp, it would be ideal to hear from anyone who has made large prints from color scans with it, and who also has experience with the APO Sironar-S and can comment on any differences.

Hi Bill, yup, the APO Sironar-S might make me a great photographer. Maybe I'll be so good that I might even be able to make a career of this photography thing :-)

Roger Richards
20-Sep-2005, 10:31
Thanks to all of you for the advice, there are several options you have given me for a lightweight lens. Perhaps I will end up with two down the line, one for when I need speed and coverage and the other for compact travel. Cheers, Roger

Rob Vinnedge
24-Sep-2005, 19:11
I have a Schneider 240 Symmar S w/Linhof name and a Fujinon 240A. I love them both, but use them differently - the Schneider for more coverage and the Fujinon for weight and compactness. I performed critical resolution tests on both and found the Linhof-select Schneider sharper. The Fujinon was no slouch, however, and was well within the limits of acceptability. They are both beautiful lenses.

Roger Richards
25-Sep-2005, 10:52
Thanks for your help, Rob. I agree, the 240 Symmar-S is a beautiful lens. I am curious about your comment regarding image coverage, though. Both the Symmar-S and the Fujinon 240A are rated a coverage circle of 336mm, but you find the Symmar-S has a bit more than the Fujinon? Interesting. Perhaps the Schneider is underrated.

Rob Vinnedge
26-Sep-2005, 22:48
Roger, You're absolutely right, they do claim the same coverage. I haven't made a critical comparison, but have just found that the Symmar S seemed to handle more movement than the Fujinon. I do work at close range and midrange more often than at infinity where I might notice. Perhaps I'm noticing greater sharpness at the edges of the Symmar and less vignetting simply because of my choice of range.