View Full Version : 58mm Super Angulon XL

Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 08:36
What's everyone's experience with this lens?

I'm in the process of purchasing one and making it my 'super-wide' angle. I want to make sure I'm making a good choice. Does anyone use a center filter with it? Anything else I should know?

Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 08:53

I've used one that belongs to a friend and use a 55mm Apo Grandagon myself. You will need a center filter if you're not comfortable with noticeable drop off - which isn't always a bad thing.

Here's a link to a photo he took with the 58mm SA XL without a center filter, so you can see about what the fall off is going to be.



John Brady
16-Feb-2006, 08:58
I have both the 72xl and the 47xl. They are both incredible lenses! With the 72 I do not use a center filter, this lens has plenty of movement on 4x5 and will cover 5x7. I suspect on 5x7 you would want the cf.

When I purchased the 47 I had hoped to not use a cf, my experience was that needed it. I considered the 58 at the same time I made this purchase but when you compare the coverage on the 58 it is about the same as the 47, so I figure if you want to go wide go all the way. This is my go to lens, very sharp. It will bring your toes and the hilltops and the clouds all into the same frame.

Thats my experience, I hope it helps.


Andre Noble
16-Feb-2006, 08:59
Steve, which (58XL vs. Apo Grandagon 55) do you like better and why?

Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 10:03

I actually like a little light fall off, it gives more emphasis on the subject. I went ahead and ordered the lens (new) hopefully I won't be disappointed.

Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 10:22

I doubt you'll be disappointed, it is a fine lens.


I haven't shot with them side-by-side so I can't really help you much. If either lens had been available used, that's the one I would have bought. Neither was available used, so I bought the Apo Grandagon because I generally prefer Rodenstock glass except for the Schneider Super Symmar XLs. It's also a tiny bit wider and a 110 degree lens. Both use low dispersion glass.

I'm not under any impression that one would be any better than the other in actual use. That said, I like my 55mm Apo Grandagon very much and use it more than I thought I would. It is extremely sharp.

I'd like to try a 47mm SA XL, but I'm not ready to plunk down the money without giving it "test drive".


Dave Aharonian
16-Feb-2006, 11:22
Hi Emre,

I purchased a used 58xl a couple of years ago and while I loved the perspective, I found the corners weren't as sharp as I'd expect them to be. I tested it at a variety of apertures and was still not happy so I sold it and bought a new Rodenstock 55 from MPEX. It is noticably sharper in the corners so I'm now a happy camper. The Rodenstock has a slightly smaller image circle but they are both pretty tight for movements. Hope this helps.


Eric Leppanen
16-Feb-2006, 11:40

I owned a 58XL for roughly five years (I recently sold it since I no longer need an ultra wide lens) and was very happy with it. I was advised at the time of my original purchase that the Rodenstock 55 had slightly better MTF characteristics, but I went with the 58XL because it shared the same center filter as my SS80XL and SS110XL. I shoot a lot of chrome film, for which the center filter is absolutely necessary in my opinion, as the fall-off is quite noticeable. With B&W and color neg film, the center filter is usually not needed.

Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 11:51
Just a comment on center filters on these 2 lenses: the Rodenstock 55mm has a little wider view, 110 degrees and Rodenstock recommends a center filter that's a tiny bit stronger than the one for the 58mm, 80mm, and 110mm Schneiders.

But I tried the Schneider filter on the Rodenstock 55mm Apo Grandagon and it works fine. I can see little if any fall off. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot chromes with the Rodenstock 55mm and the Schneider CF for th other lenses.


Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 12:15
Strange, a lot of people seem to suggest that the Grandagons are sharper than the Super Angulons. Since I've already ordered this lens, I guess I'll have to live with it now :)

My next lens will probably be the 75mm Grandagon-N however, since I want to try at least one Rodenstock lens. Everything else I currently own is either Nikon or Fuji.

Also, don't most of these wide-angle lenses outperform the capabilities of most films anyway, in terms of resolution?

Jack Flesher
16-Feb-2006, 12:20
I also tend to prefer the look of Rodenstock over Schneider, and make the same exception as Steve with respects to the 80 and 110 SSXL Schnieders.

I recently had a 55 APO Grandagon alongside a 58 XL for testing. Both are very good lenses. The copy of the 55 I kept was sharper than the copy of the 58XL I sold, but the differences could easily be copy-to-copy and not generic. In the end, I felt the "look" of the 55 more closely matched the other lenses in my stable, so I kept it, but they were very close and both very good lenses.

FWIW I can also concur that the Schneider center filter for the 58, 80 and 110 works perfectly on the 55 Rodenstock APO.


Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 14:01

If you want to swap, the dealer should be O.K. with that. The prices are probably within $50 of each other so the dealer isn't going to lose much if anything on the sale.

Jack, I tend to agree with you; my general impresssion is that the Rodenstock has a bit more "punch" on the GG and it's certainly as sharp as anything comparable. but I didn't do any critical testing and can't defendably endorse one over the other.


Eric Leppanen
16-Feb-2006, 14:08

The 58XL is an excellent lens, you'll have a lot of fun with it! Jack Dykinga uses Schneider lenses, and he used his 58XL for the cover shot of his book "Large Format Nature Photography":


I think his photograph came out just fine! :-) The full-frame version of this shot reproduced inside the book is even more stunning.

Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 14:09

The only problem is that Adorama (the place I bought it from) doesn't have the 55mm Grandagon.

Then again, it's a Schneider lens. I trust their quality and craftsmanship. I'm sure it's not THAT bad, and it's probably better, optically, than my Nikkor lenses. Chances are that I'll probably won't even notice much difference with this kind of focal length anyway.

Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 14:12
There was a comparison test done between the 58mm SA XL and the 55mm Apo Grandagon out there on the net somewhere. You can probaby Google and search, but it was done by Rod Klukas at Photomark?? They seemed to like the Grandagon better.

Here's where I started my research:



Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 14:13
Eric - I think so too, that I will have no problems with this lens. After all, I'm buying it new (and it's not the 80XL that suffers from that fog or fungus, or whatever it is :) and plenty of people use this lens. You don't see them too often on eBay or other used sites, so I'm assuming they are good lenses. Although I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to photos...whether it produces maximum sharpness or not will probably be irrelevant in the end, as I use a consumer flatbed scanner for my 4x5 slides.

Henry Ambrose
16-Feb-2006, 15:14

I have the 58 and find no fault with it. Shooting it along side the 80 and 110 Schneiders shows all three are excellent with the 110 just a slight cut above. But thats the just how excellent the 110 is compared to about anything else.

Emre Yildirim
16-Feb-2006, 16:43
Here's a positive update:

Adorama has just informed me that the 58mm f/5.6 SA XL is out of stock and that they will ship it in 6 weeks.

I told them that's too long of a wait and to cancel my order.

I ordered the 55mm f/4.5 Apo-Grandagon-N from B&H instead.

Jack Flesher
16-Feb-2006, 20:04
For the posterity of the thread I will share my results. But please keep in mind I do not consider this a conclusive test as I only tested a single copy of each lens.

In my case the 58XL made 51 lp/mm at the center and the 55 APO made 59 lp/mm. To put this in perspective my 110 XL also makes 59 lp/mm at the center. Frankly, I find anything over about 48 lp/mm delivers excellent results in 4x5.

Here is a shot I took a few years ago using the 58 XL:


Ed Richards
16-Feb-2006, 20:20
Terrific image! How big was the foreground rock?

Jack Flesher
16-Feb-2006, 21:09
Thanks Ed!

I don't remember exactly, but not very ;) Maybe about 18" or so across the long dimension and the front of the lens was maybe the same 18" from the rock. A bit of tilt, a bit of swing and f16.

andrew vincent
30-Jun-2007, 11:00
"a lot of people seem to suggest that the Grandagons are sharper than the Super Angulons. Since I've already ordered this lens, I guess I'll have to live with it now"

I'm not sure I'd leap to the "a lot of people" conclusion. Jack Dykinga can certainly choose whichever he thinks is better, and he shoots with a 58mm.

I'd love to have a 55mm to test against, but I have a Linhof-selected 58mm XL in a prontor shutter and a linhof board, and I've always found it to be razor sharp to the edges. Remember that with the superwides, the smallest variation in mounting is going to show up. Aside from that, I think any different is just as likely individual variation as to the sample lens. For the new buyer, that means test to be sure. For the used buyer, it means roll the dice and take your chances!

30-Jun-2007, 18:29
Andrew, not sure I get this as most pro shops selling used equipment will offer at least two weeks to test and return the product if not satisified. I would like to think that most sellers on this forum would also offer a money back guarentee should the buyer not be satisified.

1-Jul-2007, 04:28
It is a great shot. The foreground rock was in fact a grain of sand :)

1-Jul-2007, 10:47
i used to have a 55, i've sold it to buy a 58xl !
reason ? the 55 was sharper, but too cold for my taste and the light where i shoot !
The 58 brings more life in the picture !

This is a question of taste !

2-Jul-2007, 10:34
I found my (sold) Grandagon 65 4.5 spectacular. I am not sure it was sharper per se than other lenses I have used but perhaps gave an impression of sharpness due to higher contrast. The issue was coverage. Its a shame they did not make the 58XL a 120 degree design like the 47 as a touch more coverage would have been handy with this lens also. Theres quite a leap between the 72 which offers masses of movement and the 58 which allows almost none. Maybe it was to keep the price down?

2-Jul-2007, 12:15
the 55 was sharper, but too cold for my taste and the light where i shoot !
The 58 brings more life in the picture !

Would adding an 81B/C or 81EF not compensate for the "coolness" of the 55mm? For those of us scanning with a digital output endpoint, color nuances between lenses is not really a factor, but sharpness certainly is. Sharpness trumps color in the digital darkroom.

2-Jul-2007, 17:11
Would adding an 81B/C or 81EF not compensate for the "coolness" of the 55mm?
i prefer to have a clean slide to start with... with my 55, the shadows were too much blue !

in the same idea, i just order a zeiss 35 for my 5D...

3-Jul-2007, 05:04
The image circle is about 155mm for the 55 Grandagon-N, right? I found the 155 IC of the Schneider SA 65 f8 (olde one) a problem for the off centre image area on my Ebony. Got slight softness in corners on one side. Might be an issue with the 55 grandagon if you camera also has a slightly off centre image area. For this reason alon the 168 of teh 58XL seems the better bet, assuming I got the IC of the grandagon right.

FWIW, Joe Cornish commented on the surprisingly high image quality of the Grandgons when he tested the Horseman 612. He seemed quite blown away.

Bob Salomon
3-Jul-2007, 06:45
The image circle is about 155mm for the 55 Grandagon-N,

The image circle for the 55 Apo Grandagon is 163mm. How did you come up with 155mm?

3-Jul-2007, 10:14
The image circle for the 55 Apo Grandagon is 163mm. How did you come up with 155mm?

My mistake.

3-Jul-2007, 14:11
My mistake.

OMG, you got served.

3-Jul-2007, 21:39
OMG, you got served.

Is this one of those infantile poking fun type of comments? If so, hilarious!