View Full Version : Non"Big 4" lenses questions

Martin F. Melhus
31-May-1998, 02:15
I've been particularly intrigued by the prices of the Congo lenses (http://www.cosmonet.org/~congo/index_e.htm) and the Osaka lenses (dist by Bromwell marketing, see http://www.bromwell.com/bromwell.htm). The rea son for this interest is primarily the price. The Congo 210 mm is listed at $450 right now (with an old list and a fal ling Yen, this might be too high,) as compared to the Rodenstock APO Ronar 240 mm, at $1100 and change.

Does anybody out there have direct experience with either of these less expensiv e lenses? They apparantly lack the APO designation (or at least I couldn't find it listed.) How much of a difference does this make in final image quality? H ow do these lenses compare with a Rodenstock or Schneider, and how do they compa re with each other? The Osaka lenses are available in fewer focal lengths, and seem to cost more (bu t that may just be the distributor's cut.)

Any info appreciated.


Ron Shaw
5-Jun-1998, 13:20
I have a friend who has the 150mm (6 element) lens, and his chromes look as good as any. While I dont know if they are the latest in hi tech lens making, they c ertainly seem good enough, and certainly are more modern and capable than all of the 'classic' lenses everyone loves.

Ted Brownlee`
8-Jun-1998, 02:19
I have had a 180mm f/6.3 "Bogen Arcar" lens for 21 years now. It was produced by Yamaziki Optical Company (Congo). It's a Tessar type design, and is quite good if you're aware of it's limitations. It is a 4 element, 3 group lens. A lower nu mber of elements to make reduces the cost. It also has limited coverage. I use m y 180 for 4 x 5, although it will barely cover 5 x 7 (I have tried it). Look at the specifications on the web sites; If the lens says it will cover 5 x 7, use i t on 4 x 5. Other Tessar formula lenses: Rodenstock APO Ronar, Nikkor-M, Schneid er Xenar, Zeiss Tessar. I don't remember the Fujinon as they're not imported to the US. I also have a fairly recent Nikkor-M that is noticeably sharper tnan the older Congo 180. I don't know how the latest Congo lenses are. The bottom line? If you're on a tight budget or have stringent weight requirements (backpacking) , these could be good choices.

Patrick Raymore
8-Jun-1998, 19:03

What Nikkor M lens do you have and how would you rate its overall performace.

Martin F. Melhus
12-Jun-1998, 04:29
I was right about the Yen, by the way. The 210 mm lens, at 49,500 Yen, converts to $350.00. Conversion rate as of 6/11/98 was 1000 Yen = 7.07 U$D. So knock off 2/7 of the price on their list.


Steve Rasmussen
1-Jul-1998, 21:50
The APO designation is not a guarantee optical superiority. As of late it seems to have become more of a maketing tool by companies looking for a sales edge ov er their competition. Just because a lens is corrected for three colors at the f ocal plane, doesn't necessarily mean it has a small secondary spectrum. There ar e no companies that I know of that will give out secondary spectrum to focal len gth ratio information. Don't be bothered by the lack of APO designation on the C ongo lenses. SR