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Oren Grad
1-Jun-2006, 21:26
There's a 180 Sironar (first generation, not the later N or S series) on eBay at the moment with a couple of unusual features: the Copal shutter is marked with a double aperture scale for use as a convertible, and the lens is engraved with "APO" on the rim. Does anyone know who may have originally marketed the lens in this form, and when?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Rodenstock-Sironar-APO-180mm-1-5-6-4x5-Format_W0QQitemZ7625680802QQihZ017QQcategoryZ30076QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Arne Croell
1-Jun-2006, 22:13
The double aperture scale is not unusual for the 1st generation Sironar, although not all of them have it, and refers to the use of the front (!) cell alone, with three times the combined focal length. The APO designation, however, I see the first time on this type Sironar - and from the shape (large front cell, small back cell) it is pretty clear that it really is the 1st generation type. I have no clue there.

Oren Grad
1-Jun-2006, 22:27
Thanks Arne. The serial number is also consistent with the original Sironar type. But the "APO" engraving is quite different in style from the familiar brand and focal length markings on the rim, so it may well have been added later by someone other than the factory.

Perhaps Bob S will have some idea...

Kerry L. Thalmann
1-Jun-2006, 22:33
Arne is correct. The early (plain) Sironars were sold as convertibles - probably to compete with the contemporary convertible Symmars. One of my first large format lenses was a 210mm Sironar with the dual aperture scales.

The APO designation is more puzzling. I don't mean to accuse the seller of anything (perhaps the lens was this way when he purchased it), but the APO lettering appears to be engraved in a different (thicker) font. I suspect it was added after the lens was made and by someone other than Rodenstock. I could be wrong, but the earliest Sironars I've seen that were engraved "APO" are the 80-degree 150mm and 210mm APO Sironar models from that late 1980s. Based on the serial number (8 914 265), the lens in question dates from 1974 - about a dozen years before the term APO began to be used for general purpose large format lenses. Also, there was no 180mm focal length in the 80-degree APO Sironar series from the late 1980s through early 1990s - just the 150mm, 210mm and eventually the 300mm. The only "APO" 180mm Sironars in any of my literature are the 180mm APO-Sironar-N and 180mm APO-Sironar-S starting in late 1992, and the 180mm APO-Sironar-Macro. This lens is clearly none of these (they all have colored trim rings and are, of course, multicoated and have much higher serial numbers).

Watever the origin of the lens listed on eBay, it's a 30+ year old single coated lens and IMHO not worth anywhere near his extremely high Buy It Now price ($885.00).

Kerry

Oren Grad
1-Jun-2006, 22:58
Watever the origin of the lens listed on eBay, it's a 30+ year old single coated lens and IMHO not worth anywhere near his extremely high Buy It Now price ($885.00).

Agreed. I don't have the slightest interest in buying it myself - I have a 180 Apo-Sironar-S that I'm extremely pleased with. Beyond that, I've used the Sironar in other focal lengths and don't especially care for it at any price, let alone this one. But I am curious as to the provenance of this peculiar specimen.

Bob Salomon
2-Jun-2006, 04:53
That is a 1973 version of the lens so there are earlier versions out there. Unless it was sold by BMC in the USA most of these came in Compur shutters. The engraviving looks more like someone's initials then the engraving Rodenstock used on the lenses. And it was not until the Sironar-N came out that the factory began using the term "near Apochromatic correction" on the lenses. And on those and earlier lenses they never engraved APO on the lens.

However, like Zeiss and Schneider and Leitz Rodenstock is in the OEM lens business (lenese for the USPO to scan mail (Apo Rodagon) for instance. These lenses, while having the same focal length and maximum speed are corrected for the task at hand. This could be an OEM lens or a prototype lens for some industry that has been mounted into that Copal shutter.

Joseph O'Neil
2-Jun-2006, 05:40
I have one of these lenses, but mine is older. The ebay one has serial number staring "8 9", and mine starts at "6 2", so that places it between 1966 to 1971 I think. Almost as old as me. :)

My lens is in a compur, not a copal shutter. It does not have the "APO" marking on it anywhere.

Dumb question time - I bought my lens used almsot ten years ago from a local camera store (no longer in business). I never knew at that or any time that it might be a convertable. There is only one scale on the shutter I have. Other than testing it out for myself, is there any way to tell?


joe

Kerry L. Thalmann
2-Jun-2006, 08:09
That is a 1973 version of the lens so there are earlier versions out there.

This could be an OEM lens or a prototype lens for some industry that has been mounted into that Copal shutter.

Bob,

There may be earlier samples of that version of the Sironar, but that appears to be an "original" Sironar. I'd have to check my notes, but I believe the Sironar debuted in 1966 and remained in production until the Sironar-N was introduced. The shutter looks original. Back when I first started shooting LF, I had a 210mm Sironar that was also in a Copal shutter with the dual aperture scales. Yes, the Sironar came in different shutters (Compur or Copal) and with and without the dual aperture scales, but I don't believe there were any changes to the optical design between 1966 and 1974 when the lens in question was made. At least none of the lens specs changed and there was no mention of any changes in any of the literature I have seen.

Perhaps that lens is some sort of prototype, but I think it's more likely that it was a standard production lenses that was later granted APO status through a little creative engraving.

Kerry

Jim Edmond
2-Jun-2006, 08:49
I have one of these 180 Sironars which I believe I purchased in 1975. It is serial number 8765358, and has the dual scale Copal shutter. No APO marking, but it does have the colorful edge separation option :)

Jim

Kerry L. Thalmann
2-Jun-2006, 08:59
I have one of these lenses, but mine is older. The ebay one has serial number staring "8 9", and mine starts at "6 2", so that places it between 1966 to 1971 I think. Almost as old as me. :)

My lens is in a compur, not a copal shutter. It does not have the "APO" marking on it anywhere.

Dumb question time - I bought my lens used almsot ten years ago from a local camera store (no longer in business). I never knew at that or any time that it might be a convertable. There is only one scale on the shutter I have. Other than testing it out for myself, is there any way to tell?


Joe,

With a 6 2xxx xxx serial number, your lens was made in approximately 1967. Other than giving it a try, I don't know of any other way to determine if it is a convertible. As convertibles, these older Sironars weren't very practical. In addition to the reduced performance of a single cell due to the loss of symmetry, there are the issues of focal length and max. aperture. Unlike the convertible Symmars, which used the rear cell alone with a focal length of ~1.75x the combined focal length, the Sironar used the front cell alone at a focal length ~3x the combined length. For the 180mm, this means a single cell focal length of 550mm - which means you're going to need about 21" of bellows to focus it at infinity. I don't recall the single cell focal length of my 210mm Sironar, but it was somewhere in the 620mm range. At the time, I was using a Speed Graphic and it didn't have nearly enough bellows to focus the 210mm Sironar in the single cell configuration. Also, at the converted focal length, the max. aperture is reduced to f16 (compared to f12 for the convertible Symmar). Unless you have a camera with a very long bellows, and don't mind the f16 max. aperture, these old convertible Sironars aren't very useful in their single cell configurations. That may be why Rodenstock didn't promote the convertible feature as much as Schneider and why they may not have even bothered to engrave all samples with the dual aperture scales. In the dual cell configuration, they are OK, about what you'd expect from a single coated 1960s era plasmat. Not bad, but nothing special.

Also, lest anyone get teh mistaken impression that they are rare, there is a 210mm Sironar and two 150mm samples currently listed on eBay in Copal shutters with the dual scales. Also, checking completed auctions, there are a couple 180mm Sironar samples, again in Copal shutters with dual scales, that have sold recently in the $163 - $183 price range - quite a bit less than the $885 Buy It now price of the lens that started this thread.

Kerry

Joseph O'Neil
2-Jun-2006, 12:21
Joe,

With a 6 2xxx xxx serial number, your lens was made in approximately 1967.

-good stuff snipped-

For the 180mm, this means a single cell focal length of 550mm - which means you're going to need about 21" of bellows to focus it at infinity. I don't recall the single cell focal length of my 210mm Sironar, but it was somewhere in the 620mm range.

Kerry

Hi Kerry;
I wasn't holding out much hope, I was more or less curious. I likely paid to much for rmy lens ten years ago (about $550 US), but there wasn't much choice locally, and that was before I got onto Ebay (my ebay account is only 9 years old) :)

As for a 600mm FL lens, I already have an APO - Ronar in that size. Mind you, there seems to be run of those lenses in the buy/sell section. I often wondered if I should assemble a set. But the thought of backpacking with all that heavy glass.... :)

The date of the lens - many thanks. I always wondered for sure. I've used this lens a lot over the years, and never regretted buying it. I like the 180 format because it's jsut different enough from the 210 "standard". The best thing, to me, about the 180mm size is that it's designed to cover 5x7 with movements, so it's really nice to use in the field.

I agree with you - Sironars are a very common lens - a good lens - but not rare. I love my 135mm I bought new. But that's the big point - you can still buy them brand new. I looked up Badger - brand new 180mm Sironar - $1,065. Compared to $885 for the Ebay one, especially for a near 30 year old lens, personally I would go new at that price.

One last thought - pure esthetics here, but i like the Compur shutter on my 180mm better than the Copal pictured on Ebay. Most of my lenses are in Copals, a couple in Ilex, but I just like the Compur. Dunno why, just do. Maybe it "feels" more refined somehow.

joe

Michael S. Briggs
2-Jun-2006, 19:14
....
I agree with you - Sironars are a very common lens - a good lens - but not rare. I love my 135mm I bought new. But that's the big point - you can still buy them brand new. I looked up Badger - brand new 180mm Sironar - $1,065. Compared to $885 for the Ebay one, especially for a near 30 year old lens, personally I would go new at that price.

....


You can't buy this exact lens new, only its descendent. Rodenstock uses the "Sironar" name for their plasmat-type lenses. The plain Sironar was circa 1960s/1970s. The current versions are the Apo-Sironar-S, and in fewer focal lengths, the less expensive Apo-Sironar-N.

All Sironars that I have seen on eBay with the convertabilty feature have been in Copal shutters. It's probably just that the aperture scales on the Copal shutters give more room for the extra numbers. The aperture scale on Compur shutters are smaller and the stops aren't equally spaced so the numbers get crowded at the high f-number end. Or it might be the result of some marketing decision.

But in either case I think it very unlikely that the optical design of convertible and non-convertible Sironars are different. (I mean Sironars and not later lenses that have "Apo" in the name from the factory). So if you have a Sironar without a conversion scale, all that you need to try it as a convertible lens is to remove the rear cell and up the f-number on the scale by 3 stops. So f5.6 becomes f16, f8 becomes f22, 11 becomes 32, 16 becomes 45 and 22 becomes 64. This was pointed out by Denton Hoyer at http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00FhwX for a 150 mm Sironar. You can see this in the photo of the 180 mm Sironar on eBay -- it is because the focal length changes by x3.

I have an original brochure for the Sironar. Rodenstock didn't promise a lot for the converted mode: "satisfactory definition" by moderate stopping down.

On the eBay lens, as already said, the word "APO" is in a different font. It is also in the wrong location, spaced well after "Sironar".