View Full Version : 360mm lens

8-Mar-2008, 20:11
Has anyone done a comparison?
I am interested in the comparison between fuji 360A and rodenstock apo sironar S 360. regardless the weight.

Bjorn Nilsson
9-Mar-2008, 07:52
You have probably already all the search results on hand, but here goes:
Not a direct comparison, but you can find some testing results about the fuji 360A and on several Sironar S lenses (not the 360 though) on http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html.
I do own a 360A and I'm very happy with it. However, I do suspect that a Sironar S would be slightly sharper than the Fuji, but in the end it would probably come down to individual lenses. They are definitely in the same league when it comes to general sharpness, contrast etc. I have also seen reports on the 360A not being as razor sharp as the shorter A-series lenses, but the 360 lenses are few in numbers and seem to be tested one lens at a time instead of having a few lenses to choose from.
I have seen a comparison 'ween my 240A and a Symmar S 240mm. There was no visible difference in normal pictures, but when shooting something similar to USAF charts the Fuji was ever so slightly above of the Symmar. I wasn't surprised, but the owner of the Symmar (who had not heard about the A-series lenses), was quite disappointed. Pointing him to the Kerry Thalmann site didn't help much either. And no, at the end of the day I didn't want to swap lenses with him either. :)
(Some individual Symmars give test chart results on par with the Sironar S lenses, as you can see in the link given above.)
The final word on these kind of comparisons is as usual: MTF charts will differ, but you cannot see any difference in the real world.


9-Mar-2008, 08:40
Bjorn, thanks for your input.

9-Mar-2008, 08:52
I did a side by side with a 240mm A and Caltar 240mm II-N: in terms of sharpness both lenses perform the same using a 4x and 8x loupe, hardly a real resolution test. The real advantage of the Caltar is light, f/5.6 makes a significant difference, particularly in low light. I think the Caltar has slightly more contrast but that is up for debate.

The 360mm A I recently had is sharp. I await a 360mm Sironar to test and my guess is the extra brightness will be a significant welcome.

For back country the Fuji's are like no other. For me I want bright rich contrasty color and the Copal 3 Sironar lenses deliver.

Bjorn Nilsson
9-Mar-2008, 09:38
Just a thought about f/5.6 vs. f/9 being a problem or not.

The current 360 plastmat lenses are all "choked" by the size 3 shutter, so it's not f/5.6 anymore, it's f/6.8 in most cases, so the difference isn't 1 1/3 stops anymore, it's more like 2/3.

If the lens is longer than the "normal" focal length, there isn't much difference as long as you are somewhere in the center of the (useable) image circle. This becomes more of a problem when the lens is a normal or short focal length, as anything but the sweet spot in the middle falls off more quickly. A good fresnel lens helps here, but 67% more light to begin with is 67% more light...
As weight didn't matter for Songyun (and probably nor does money, given the price of any of the two lenses he considers :) ) the Sironar S seems like the way to go. The Sironar may cause the wallet to be even lighter after purchase than a 360A though ;) , but they are in the same league when it comes to money too.


9-Mar-2008, 11:44
just add a little bit fuel to this discussion. How does these two lens compare with 360 Apo Symmar. I can tell one difference, that is coverage. 360A has 70 degree, apo symmar has 72 degree, while sironar s only has 68 degree. Are there some specific reason that Rodenstock all in sudden reduce the angle of coverage on the last lens of this series. All other sironar s lens has angle of coverage 75 degree.

Eric Leppanen
9-Mar-2008, 13:03
At various times I have owned a 360 Sironar-S (one copy), 360 APO Symmar (one copy), and Fuji 360A (two copies). My second Fuji copy (which I recently purchased) is the only 360mm lens I own at this point.

I did directly compare the image quality of the 360 Sironar-S with the 360 APO Symmar, and for me the two lenses differed primarily in personality. The Sironar produces higher contrast, slightly more dramatic looking images while the Schneider produces a smoother, creamier look. However, I could not discern any significant resolution differences when inspecting chromes under a 10x loupe. I ended up using the Sironar for roughly two years and was happy with the images it produced, but it has trade-offs (bulk, filter size) and I ultimately found it too huge for field use and sold it. The APO Symmar has the advantage of a slightly smaller front lens barrel diameter (115mm) which is compatible with the Lee FK-115 press-on filter holder (a special order item which is also compatible with the SS150XL center filter), which made it reasonably compatible with the Lee filter system (which I use). The Sironar front barrel is slightly larger and incompatible with the FK-115, and I had to tape filters to the rear element (a pain).

The first Fuji 360A I owned produced only middling optical performance. However, the second copy I recently picked up performs better; I briefly compared it with my 300 Sironar-S (moving the tripod location to compensate for the different focal lengths) and saw little difference between the two based on inspection with my 10x loupe. Based on anecdotal discussions with other photographers, I suspect that the Sironar will perform better near the edges of the image circle (one well known photographer who used to post here once told me that his Fuji 300A produced chromatic aberration at the corners while his Sironar-S did not), but since the Fuji 360A image circle is so large (504mm), the edge of the image circle will rarely come into play and I question whether any CA (if any exists) will be visible in practical field use.

As far as comparing f/6.8 (360 Rodenstock and Schneider) with f/10 (Fuji 360A), there is a difference of 1 1/6 stops, which is noticeable in dim light. However, I would first suggest making sure your ground glass and dark cloth are optimal before pursuing such large glass. A better ground glass and fresnel might make enough of a difference to satisfy your needs.

Ken Lee
9-Mar-2008, 13:40
The core value proposition of the Fujinon 360A (and others in the A series) is their combination of compact size, wide circle of coverage, and excellent image quality, both close and distant.

While there are other lens designs which meet or exceed the performance of the A series in one category or another, few come to mind which can outperform them in all categories at once.

For the record, they also have rather smooth bokeh when shot wide open. If Fuji had only given them a 18-bladed diaphragm instead of 5, they might have been the summum bonum of lenses.

12-Mar-2008, 17:06
I evaluated a 360A and 360 Sironar-S side by side in outdoor fog, garden setting. At f/10 there is not a lot of difference. The color fidelity of both lenses is excellent. Both lenses are sharp. The Sironar did a little better in closeup then the Fuji. The Sironar is brighter and has a excellent bokeh wide open. The Sironar is more contrasty when the light opens up a bit. The Fuji would benefit from the MC coaring of the Sironar. They are both keepers. The 360A hands down is designed for back country landscapes where carrying gear means something. The Sironar is a small tank suitable for short walking distances and the studio.

12-Mar-2008, 19:32
Actually there was no way to really evaluate contrast because the light kept changing. Both lenses produce beautiful color reproduction.