View Full Version : Just Finished Testing My 300-M and 300 APO Ronar

Scott Rosenberg
18-Jul-2006, 17:56
i am presently assembling a lens kit designed specifically for backpacking... small and light is the order of the day. for my moderate long lens, i decided on either the 300mm Rodenstock APO Ronar or the 300mm Nikkor-M. the ronar, with a blue stripe on the barrel, is from the latest run. the Nikkor looks like new, while I can't date it, it's SN is XXX404.

i understand that my findings are valid only for the two particular lenses in my possession, and a different 300-M and 300-Ronar might have yielded vastly different results. so, should these findings be considered gospel applicable to all 300-M and 300-Ronar lenses - absolutely not. i am posting them simply to share what i found about these two particular lenses, as i thought others might find it interesting. that said, here's the good stuff...

i should preface this analysis by saying that i was biased towards the 300-M from the beginning. it is slightly smaller than the 300-Ronar, though not appreciably so, but remember, i am on a quest for small lenses. so, the 300-M was in my favor straight out of the gate.

i took images (f/16) of small objects with fine detail, as well as a USAF resolution chart, ranging in distance from around 8 feet to infinity. i then analyzed 14 image pairs cut from the larger images to zero in on the details i was interested in. using this method, i could fit both small crops under my 6x loupe at the same time, making careful analysis possible. i then went back with a 50x loupe to corroborate my findings.

in all cases save one, i observed the whilst the Nikon lens was slightly more contrasty, the Rodenstock resolved fine detail far better. in the cases of the really small stuff, the Ronar enabled me to make out what i was looking at, while the Nikon softly blurred out.

i was so surprised by these results, or maybe i was just hoping that the smaller 300-M would win the day, that i repeated my study. the results were identical. both lenses are very sharp, and had i not bothered to go to these lengths, I'm sure i would be happy with either. if the ronar is this good now, i wonder if it will be even better if i send it to linos to be optimized for infinity!

again, these results are only applicable to the two lenses i have presently, but i thought some of you might find it interesting.

18-Jul-2006, 18:08
Your results are interesting as I have a 360 Apo Ronar in a "very solid" barrel. The results are really stunning. I have not compared it to a similar size lens but can vouch for the wonderful qulaity of the lens. I also have a 240/f9 Apo ronar in a copal 1 which is also a stunning lens.

Armin Seeholzer
20-Jul-2006, 12:15
Hi Scott

If your Ronar was put from the factory into the shutter then its optimised at 1:20!
I wrote to a tech rep from Linos in germany my motherlanguage is german and was asking him if it would make sense to optimise mine 300mm APO Ronar which came in shutter from the company, up for infinity and he told me clear no in this case definitly not. It only make sence to the barrel ones which are optimised for 1:1 he wrote me back!
Hope it helps, Armin

Scott Rosenberg
20-Jul-2006, 20:38
hi armin,

thanks for the info WRT ronar optimization. mine did in fact come from the factory in a copal shutter, so i guess there's no need for any more work on it. it sure is a beauty of a lens!


Steve Clark
26-Jul-2006, 19:02
I`m not surprised at your results at all. I went through the same exercise a few years ago...sold the Nikkor...

Rob Vinnedge
26-Jul-2006, 23:15
I have some barrel mounted Apo Ronar CL's (800mm - 1200mm) not yet tested. If I find their performances less than optimal at infinity is there an option for adjustment?

Scott Rosenberg
27-Jul-2006, 06:24
rob, see this (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=14422&highlight=linos) thread.

Ted Harris
27-Jul-2006, 08:56
Interesting observations. I have never used nor owned either of these lenses. I do have a 300 Fuji A and a 300 Apo Symmar. I haven't done side-by-side comparisons of these two lenses since I use them for very different purposes. I wonder if the APO Ronar performs as well as the Fuji A?