View Full Version : Best 90mm..wide open..F4.5 etc.

Former Member 8144
30-Apr-2007, 08:45
I am looking for a 90mm lens for a very specific project..I will be using the lens wide open with a fair amount of tilt and swing on an ebony SW45 to get the shallowest depth of field possible and so am looking for any advice as to which lenses perform well when used wide open..i.e. 4.5 / 5.6 etc.

The ones I am looking at for their large apertures are the rodenstock grandagon-n 4.5, nikon sw 4.5, schneider sa 5.6, and fujinon swd 5.6

Thanks for any help,



Scott Rosenberg
30-Apr-2007, 08:59
from your question, i take it that there will be a fair amount of out of focus elements in the frame then? the differences in the plane of focus will be minimal, however, the appearance of the 'blur' will differ. i tend to prefer german 'blur' to japanese 'blur'.

when i'm doing selective focus work nothing beats my heliar.

Former Member 8144
30-Apr-2007, 09:13

Yes that is exactly what i wil end up with.

so 'german' or 'japanese' blur..!!

wonderfull..is it similar to the differences between leica and nikon lenses perhaps?

the heliar you talk about..is that an old zeiss lf lens?

Actually whilst this topic begins to vere this way..if I'm looking to get a particularly soft transition between the in and out of focus parts of my images, and am looking for the out of focus parts to have that magical visual quality, or bokkeh, should I be looking at the older lf lenses in general..I am so used to just using modern schnedier and rodenstocks.

are any of the older heliars or other lenses with a similar look etc made in 90mm (9cm) lenses as this and a 150 approx are the most important focal lengths for my project


Jack Flesher
30-Apr-2007, 09:37
What reproduction ratios will you be working at? I ask, because lens blur behavior can vary somewhat with subject distance -- and of course lens coverage comes into question.

Former Member 8144
30-Apr-2007, 13:40
Hi Jack,
I plan to be shooting mainly my 'documentary landscape ' style images so from middle to far distance..almost allways focussed at infinity...prints will be up to 40x30 inches.

It is really interesting starting to look at these olde lenses with a specific look in mind but having never used them any help I can get here will be greatly appreciated.


Gene McCluney
30-Apr-2007, 15:05
A Heliar lens was a lens made by Voigtlander in Germany. It is not a wide-angle lens.

Jack Flesher
30-Apr-2007, 15:14
Given you will be shooting at distance, it is unlikely a Heliar (or any other Tessar design lens) will provide adequate coverage for 4x5 in a 90mm optic -- 135 is probably about it. The fact you want to be able add significant tilts will exacerbate this problem, so you most likely will need a lens with a pretty decent IC.

I was going to recommend an older Schneider Angulon 90 (Dagor style) f6.8 for a more classic look in the oof areas, but it might be too marginal on coverage as well: Its IC is just larger than 4x5 and sharpness does fade pretty quickly, though light falls off a bit more gradually than current super-angulon designs so maybe it would work? The good news is they're cheap, so might be worth at least experimenting with...


30-Apr-2007, 20:48
The Nikkor SW 90 f4.5 is a fine lens. The IC is 235mm. It is not small or cheap but I find it performs well and can recommend it. The Nikkor SW 90 f8 tends to get carried on more backpacking trips but the f4.5 works well for car trips.
Dave B.

Scott Rosenberg
30-Apr-2007, 21:02
regarding coverage... for selevtive focus-type shots like i think marc is intending, i really like the look of a little fall-off. i think darkened corners heightens the narrow focus effect and further brings out the intended subject.

i've done this a lot with my 150 heliar and consider it the PERFECT lens for this sort of shooting. unmatched smoothness in the OOF areas, and wonderful fall-off as the lens is tilted and swung right out of it's IC.

Scott Rosenberg
30-Apr-2007, 21:05
oh, and marc, bookeh preference is a VERY personal thing. to my eye, and YMMV, the only bokeh i like less than fuji bokeh is nikon bokeh. in modern glass, i like the sironar-s series best... but nothing new holds a candle to the old stuff.

Former Member 8144
1-May-2007, 00:33
Yes the idea of a older lens is very appealing for that smoothness of image for this project, particularly in the OOF areas..but it's case of trying to find an older lens with these qualities that is both as wide as 90mm and has the imge circle for full tilt and swing movements.

Now if none of the true older classic lenses (heliar, dagor, etc) fit the bill in technical terms for width and coverage will I see the difference simply by going for the older versions of the modern lenses..something I assume to be dated for example between the dagor lens Jack mentions above and the latest super angulons..not sure which versions that would mean of the schneiders, rodenstocks, etc but it would be fairly easy to find out..I imagine.......but then if these slightly older versions are not really visually different perhaps it's not worth it!

Ole Tjugen
1-May-2007, 09:08
First of all the Angulon is not a Dagor; it's a reverse Dagor. A very different lens altogether, even if both are 3-3.
Coverage of the Angulon is not as tight as some believe, see http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras/Angulon/ for some examples of 90mm Angulons on 5x7" (really 13x18cm) film. Light fall-off with an Angulon is significantly worse than with a later Super-Angulon, see http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=234199&postcount=25 for an example. note the difference in falloff - no filters used on either shot.

The Heliar is not a Tessar, but a 2-1-2 triplet derivative. Coverage for most practical uses is better than a tessar, so a 150mm Heliar might just do the job (it almost covers 5x7" with a little softness in the corners, less than the 90/6.8 Angulon).

Getting a 90mm to cover 4x5" with significant swing & tilt at large apertures limits your choise to newer "wasp-waisted" wide angle lenses. There's nothing to do about that, I'm afraid.

If you step up to 120mm, there are a lot more options - including Angulon, Heliar and WA Aristostigmat...

Unfortunately I know little about newer lenses, preferring to buy 5 different "oldies" instead of one bright new supersharp one. :)

Frank Petronio
1-May-2007, 10:19
For a romantic look I'd probably go with the 90 angulon and let the corners fall dark and accept the slight softness on the focused area too.

Otherwise I'd bite the bullet and get a 90/4.5 Grandagon and do it right, controlling the corners in printing.

Former Member 8144
1-May-2007, 11:44
I'm not looking for the romantic corner darkening at all..I'm looking for a lens that will work well when used wide open with very narrow and selective focus so one having a 'magical' quality in the out of focus areas and the transition areas is what I am after..but one with enough coverage to take the large tilt and swing movements..

Jack Flesher
1-May-2007, 12:21
Marc said:

I'm looking for a {90mm lens that when used on 4x5} will:

1) work well when used wide open -- Implies sharp wide open

2) with very narrow and selective focus -- Implies wide maximum aperture

3) so one having a 'magical' quality in the out of focus areas and the transition areas -- Implies the look from more classic lens designs,

4) but one with enough coverage to take the large tilt and swing movements.. -- Implies large IC


The problem is that's asking an awful lot for a 90 while covering 4x5. Specifically, number 2, 3 and 4 are at odds; you can get two but not three... Reminds me of the "Choice Triangle" sign hanging in my mechanic's garage: "You can have it done fast, properly or cheap -- pick any two." :D

Seriously, your best bet is probably a Grandagon f4.5 or Super Angulon f5.6 and pray for good enough results for your #3 requirement...


Former Member 8144
1-May-2007, 12:34
Agreed Jack..It does look like, and I am happy to admit that I can't have my cake and my ice cream and eat them both.

So I'll go back to my initial search for the good performance wide open by looking at the two you say and choose one of them...this way I will be getting the basics of good performance on my two technical requirements right...its pointless having number 3 without the others!



Benno Jones
1-May-2007, 13:14
I've had good results in this kind of image on 4x5 with a 100mm Wide Field Ektar.

justin mueller
1-May-2007, 13:26
a 90mm super angulon would fit the requirements as it is designed to be sharp open as opposed to an angulon which is sharp only if stopped down past f11. my grandagon seems a similar lens to my stolen s/ang. don't get an f/8 super angulon as they are very dim on the groundglass.

Former Member 8144
1-May-2007, 18:03
O.K. That's a lot of really usefull info there.
So basically this is where I now am.

I am going to be running 2 personal projects at the same time..so I need my set of lenses to work for both...these projects are really important to me so I'm not worried about these lenses being suitable for more modern jobs (interiors, architectural etc)

I need a lens set of something like a 80/90mm, 120/135mm, and a 180mm.

The 'classic look' will work really well for both projects...as discussed in previous replies.

Darkened corners are not wanted but can be cropped out if necessary on the wider lens.

All lenses need to cover good range of tilt and swing so for the 90 its looking like a super angulon F5.6 is the one choice but for the two longer lenses I assume I'll have more choice.

Which version of the super angulon..there are so many different versions from what I can see all with similar 5.6 and 235 image circle.

For the 120/135 and the 180 lens where there is I assume more choice...ektars, heliars, more schneiders, etc..what are the best bets there..with the 'classic look' in mind but one not wildly different from that of the super angulon that seems to be the one 'has to be' lens of the three!

I do think it's important for the 'look' to be the same across the board of lenses I use so perhaps a set of super angulons is good and easy choice overall?

Again thanks for all the great help here!

2-May-2007, 15:47
masterful portfolio, scott.

12-May-2007, 09:42
Can any one help me with any information concerning a 90mm lens that I have recently purchased. It is a G.Leitmeyr from Munich (Munchen) and is a weitwinkel anastigmat 1:6.8F 9cm in a prontor-sv. shutter. Would this be the same as an angulon or a raptar? (Are they different?). Ole and Jim have posted on a 105mm and a 121mm.

Ole Tjugen
13-May-2007, 01:45
You'll have to ask the lens about that - some Leitmeyr Weitwinkelanastigmats are double Gauss, some are "Angulon clones".

13-May-2007, 07:17
So that Dan does not admonish me, should he read this thread, I have done my googling here and elsewhere. I read his and your interchange on this and I have looked at my lens.
From the front the outside lens appears to have three reflections of equal strength but different sizes, i.e. small, small,big. My flashlight reflection appeared in order warm, cool, cool.
the rear lens viewed from the front appeared to have three reflections of equal strenght and were big, small, small and were cool, cool, warm. My take on this is 6 elements in 2 groups I.e. a angulon clone. I presume the colour shifts mean that the front and back surface have a coating.
Am I on track?
Thanks in advance

Ole Tjugen
13-May-2007, 08:45
Bill, an Angulon has two bright and two very dim reflections from each cell, and they all move the same way (at different speeds) when the lens is tilted (my Leitmeyr does this, too).

I think you may have missed one reflection from an almost-flat surface, and that your lens might be a double-gauss type. It took me a while to find the last reflection in my (uncoated) Meyer Weitwinkelaristostigmats. The reflection sizes are small, smaller, big, and HUGE.

Dan Fromm
13-May-2007, 08:55
Bill, FWIW I have a 105/6.8 Leitmeyr Weitwinkel Anastigmat. I just took it out and looked at it. 4 bright reflections from each side; big, small, small, big. You may not be counting the big reflection from the front surface. Sounds like yours is a 4/4 double Gauss type.

Ole, as long as this thread is drifting, do you have any experience with f/6.3 Meyer Aristostigmats? I ask because about a month ago I got a coated 100 mm one in barrel, probably made 1959 +/-. Light little thing, I suspect the barrel is aluminum. Haven't shot it yet, many are the excuses. Among the excuses is the unfortunate fact that the cells won't go into a standard shutter; too big for #0, too small for #1.



Uli Mayer
13-May-2007, 08:58
Those Meyer Weitwinkel-Aristostigmats are of the double-gauss type: 4 menisci in 4 groups, the outer lenses positive. In principle the same design as WA Ektars or Plaubel's Rapid-Weitwinkel-Orthar.
(source: H.M.Brandt, "Das Photo-Objektiv", Braunschweig, 1956, p.84f )

Ole Tjugen
13-May-2007, 09:04
I recently did some shots with the 120mm Meyer Weitwinkel-Aristostigmat - just haven't got around to developing the negatives yet. That's an f:9 by the way - and so is my 160mm.

I've used the 121/6.8 Leitmeyr Angulon-clone quite a bit. The mounting is a little different from a real angulon, so it doesn't quite cover 5x7".

I know that most of them are double-gauss, but mine is definitely a 3in1 "reverse dagor" Angulon clone.

Uli Mayer
13-May-2007, 09:11
I overlooked your post. I sold an uncoated Meyer WA-Aristostigmat 6.8/165 to a friend who uses it on a 8x10. His verdict: quite sharp, ample coverage, but prone to flare ( using a lens shade is a must). He is now testing another WA-Aristostigmat 6.3/120 that is coated. First impression: a very nice, sharp and contrasty lens for 4X5 and even 5x7. The only caveat: The lens cells do not fit in any usual shutter type. For 4x5 one can front-mount the complete lens easily into a #1 ( with one or two turns of ducttape around the barrel thread), but with 5x7 you get some vignetting because of the shutter's thickness.

Coated WA Aristostigmats have a "V" ( for: "vergütet"= coated ) engraved on the front rim.


13-May-2007, 09:37
Dan and Ole. You are quite right I did not count the very large reflection in front. I figured every lens had that. so why count it. Thanks for your great and prompt replies. I will continue to do my homework on my other lens
Regards Bill

Dan Fromm
13-May-2007, 13:26
Uli, thanks for the reply. By an odd coincidence that won't bear close examination, I have a copy of the English translation of Brandt. Very odd book in some ways. He ignores most UK and French lens makers and lists designs for what seem like millions of projection lenses.

My 100/6.3 Aristostigmat seems to be threaded 38.7x0.75, just grabs my M39x1-to-M40x0.75 adapter. So I can probably use it front-mounted on a #1 on my Century Graphic. That or on board on my 2x3 Speed. Thing is, its coverage seems wasted on 2x3. Just another hint that I ought to move up in format, eh?

Bill, good for you for trying to answer questions for yourself.



Gene McCluney
13-May-2007, 13:50
You've got to be careful when you attempt to use wide-angle lenses in front of shutters, either leaf or packard shutter types, as the shutter barrel itself can cause vignetting. It can be very frustrating.

Dan Fromm
13-May-2007, 15:45
You've got to be careful when you attempt to use wide-angle lenses in front of shutters, either leaf or packard shutter types, as the shutter barrel itself can cause vignetting. It can be very frustrating.Um, er, ah, Gene, I already knew that.

How much of the outer parts of the cone of rays that the lens projects will be cut off by a, um, restriction between the back of the lens and the film depends on how close the lens' exit pupil is to the restriction. The restriction is usually the shutter's diaphragm, even when the diaphragm is wide open but with deep shutters it can be the rear end of the shutter's barrel. In the case of my tandem Graphic, the restriction is the rear camera's lens throat.

Thing is, on 2x3 where I'll use the lens, vignetting isn't a problem with a front-mounted 100 mm lens. Honest. Try it, you'll see. The more likely problem, especially with long mount adapters on a 2x3 Speed, is minimum extension too long to allow the lens to focus to infinity.

17-Dec-2010, 16:50
Can any one help me with any information concerning a 90mm lens that I have recently purchased. It is a G.Leitmeyr from Munich (Munchen) and is a weitwinkel anastigmat 1:6.8F 9cm in a prontor-sv. shutter. Would this be the same as an angulon or a raptar? (Are they different?). Ole and Jim have posted on a 105mm and a 121mm.
I have just purchased (wisely or unwisely) a 105mm 6.3 Leitmeyr Munchen Weitwinkel Anastigmat. http://lh6.ggpht.com/_V_XSy7owF9I/TQv0AMZiw8I/AAAAAAAAIP0/iLT0YUH3Rmg/Weitwinkel105.jpg
4 reflections of my ceiling light in both the front and rear cells. Shutter works, but no retainer ring, so will contact SK Grimes for that, but will get the lens CLA'd locally.
Anyone have any ideas on the lens history, coverage, etc.? I'm guessing its something like a 90/6.8 Angulon, but really would appreciate any info you can provide.

Dan Fromm
17-Dec-2010, 17:16
Old question to which no one has ever produced a good answer.

FWIW, it is a 4 elements in 4 groups double Gauss type like the 90/6.8 Raptar (barely covers 4x5 so about an 80 degree lens), Wide Field Ektar (also around 80 degrees), Cooke Ser. VIIb (100 degrees @ f/32), Aristostigmat (100 degrees, Meyer claims).

Ask your Leitmeyr what it can do and tell us.

I have one, in a knackered Prontor II shutter, can't ask it 'cos I shoot only 2x3.