View Full Version : Who still makes large format lenses?

Ed Richards
22-Feb-2006, 18:46
Is Fuij still making lenses? Any more news on Nikon's long term plans?

Eric Biggerstaff
22-Feb-2006, 19:35
Last I heard Nikon was out for good and working through available inventory.

Fuji still makes them as does Rodenstock and Schnieder.

Can't recall if Calument still has the rebranded line of Caltar lenses from Rodenstock ( pretty sure they do).

Bruce Watson
22-Feb-2006, 19:43
Fujinon hasn't introduced a new LF lens in decades, but continues to produce their excellent existing designs. Nikon threw in the towel. New Nikon lenses will probably still be available from stock for a while however. And of course there is the used market where you can still get excellent glass by the bucket full.

Without Nikon, you have the "big three" of Schneider, Rodenstock, and Fujinon still active. Cooke makes a couple of very nice and very expensive lenses also. There are some smaller companies as well.

Of these, only Schneider, Rodenstock, and Cooke(?) are actively designing new lenses, and that at a leisurely pace.

If I'm wrong or left a company out, I'm sure someone will correct me ;-) Kerry? You out there?

22-Feb-2006, 19:53
What about Osaka lenses (http://www.bromwellmarketing.com/lenses.htm) ? Are they still being made ? And how about Congo/Yamasaki lenses (http://www.cosmonet.org/congo/kakaku_e.htm) ?

John Kasaian
22-Feb-2006, 20:02
What about Russia? Are any LF lenses made there?

David Karp
22-Feb-2006, 21:54
I believe that the Osakas are Congo lenses. Congo lenses still appear to be available: http://www.cosmonet.org/congo/index_e.html

Calumet still sells Caltars. They are rebranded Rodenstocks.

Kerry L. Thalmann
22-Feb-2006, 22:59
Bruce - Fujinon hasn't introduced a new LF lens in decades, but continues to produce their excellent existing designs.

A common myth, but incorrect. The Fujinon CM-W line was introduced in 1994-95. Until Schneider introduced their APO Symmar-L line a couple years ago Fujinon had the newest line-up of "standard" large format lenses. While Rodenstock had a flurry of LF introductions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they haven't produced any new lenses for sheet film use since 1994. Rather than introduce new designs, Rodenstock has been steadily discontinuing major parts of their LF lens line-up (APO Ronars, APO Sironar-Ws, most APO Sironar-Ns, the longer Grandagon-Ns, etc.).

Large format lens designs have always been slow to evolve. New products from large format lens manufacturers have never been introduced at a rapid rate. In fact, it's the exception rather than the rule for any LF lens model to have a product life of less than 20 years. Some lenses, like the Goerz Dagors and Artars and the Zeiss Tessars were in continuous production for 70 or 80 or more years without major re-design.

In new lenses, we currently have Schneider (most active), Fujinon and Rodenstock (about equally active/inactive) and Yamasaki Congo (mostly producing "classic" designs) and Cooke (small selection, but recently active).


Mark Sampson
23-Feb-2006, 06:52
This made me think for a moment. In 25+ years of LF photography, I have personally purchased *one* new LF lens. All my other ones have been found on the used market. And for my employers, I've spec'd out four new LF lenses, which they purchased. All of them still perform very well, even my Kodak WF Ektar made in 1948. For the sake of the industry, I hope that I'm an unusual case. There can't be large sales volume for any LF lens these days, so perhaps we should be thankful that any new ones are available at all.

Arne Croell
23-Feb-2006, 08:41
What about Russia? Are any LF lenses made there?

John, AFAIK not at the present time. All the Russian manufacturers that used to make lenses directly for or at least useable for LF (KOMZ, Lomo, KMZ, Belomo) are still around, but don't show lenses that would be of any use for LF. With enough money, they might be happy to do a series, most of them advertise custom production on their web sites ;-). The "FK" tailboard cameras were made only until about 1987, and I assume the production of the "Industar" barrel lenses (Tessar types) accompanying them stopped at the same time. These cameras were succeeded by a medium format (6x7cm) monorail camera named "Rakurs", made by Belomo. I doubt that one is still in production. Lomo made a variety of process lenses ("Industar-11M", "RF", "O"), and I have no idea whether these are still available new, but it, too, seems doubtful. I only see them on the used market and the latest models seem to be from the early nineties.

For China, Shen-Hao lists two "Seagull" models on their web site, a 150 and a 180mm model. These might be actual production.

Michael Chmilar
23-Feb-2006, 10:37
Shen-Hao lists two "Seagull" models on their web site

This is an odd choice for a name. I do not associate seagulls with "positive" traits.

Do all of the photos taken with a Seagull lens look like guano?

Arne Croell
23-Feb-2006, 11:03
Seagull is a common brand name for Chinese photo products, see:
www.made-in-china.com/products/show/freemember/com/TUwOTkM/mic/Shanghai_Seagull_Camera_Co.,_Ltd..html (http://www.made-in-china.com/products/show/freemember/com/TUwOTkM/mic/Shanghai_Seagull_Camera_Co.,_Ltd..html)

Christopher Keth
24-Feb-2006, 19:58
C'mon Michael. Seagulls have lots of good traits...they're "assertive"...they can fly...they sing like earthbound angels... :)