View Full Version : Schnieder 47Xl vs 58Xl

25-Jun-2008, 12:06
This may sound silly and I am sure "it will depend on your vision" would be a common theme but, I have no experience going this wide with 4X5 and was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on which of these two lenses might be a better choice. Any advice technical or personal would be much appreciated.


Ron Marshall
25-Jun-2008, 12:42
I have a 55mm; it is my least used lens. I rarely feel the need for a lens wider than 90mm.

For the subjects I like to shoot, I think a 47mm would be too wide. However, as you have said, this is subjective.

What I advise, is first try the 58mm, if it is not wide enough, then re-sell and buy a 47mm. If you buy a used 58mm you should be able to sell it without a loss.

John Brady
25-Jun-2008, 12:49
Hi Dan,
I have a 47xl and a 58xl, the 47 is by far my favorite lens for 4x5. The 58 is easier to use, flat board versus recessed etc. As Ron mentioned this wide of a perspective isn't for everyone but for me it works. I may be parting with my 58xl soon to raise money for an ebony slw810. Contact me if you want to discuss.

Aender Brepsom
25-Jun-2008, 12:51
My experiences are the same as Ron's. I almost never used my 55mm on 4x5. Even 75mm was very wide. The 90mm was my most used wide angle lens on 4x5.
On 6x9cm however, I have used a 47mm and a 65mm for a while before replacing both by the 55mm, which was the right decision for me.

25-Jun-2008, 12:52
You don't say where you live, but Calumet lists both in their rental catalog. $35/day for the 47 and $25/day for the 58, so you could pick them both up for a night or two cheaply enough.

Ole Tjugen
25-Jun-2008, 13:22
One is wider; the other one offers more movements. Both are about ar easy or difficult to use.

I like wide lenses, and find them very easy to use for the kind of photography I usually do.

I recently bought a 47mm after realising that much of the time 90mm on 5x7" is less wide than I would like. I skipped the 58mm since I have a 65mm, and then went and bought a 75mm...

Eric Woodbury
25-Jun-2008, 13:30
If you're not adamant about using the whole frame, use the 47. When that is too wide, crop it down to whatever you'd like. Also, consider the spacing of your other lenses. What is the next lens up in your collection? I have a 58mm and I like it. I also use a 72mm on both the 45 and 57. I tried the 58mm on the 5x7, but I had to put the camera in a vice to be able to focus to infinity and still the corners were clipped by about 1/2". My next lens is the 110mm.

When I travel light with the 4x5, I leave the 72mm at home and carry a 100mm Ektar, but the image circle on that isn't very big, so I have to use the 58mm for more image and more circle in that case. A big step, but I'm not afraid to crop.

FWIW, here's a full frame 4x5 w/58mm and red gel. No CF.

Have fun.

Brian Vuillemenot
25-Jun-2008, 13:57
I use the 58 quite a bit; I've never tried the 47. To me, the 58 is extremely ultrawide, and can be challenging to use. I've been able to use it on a Shen-hao with the regular belows and lensboard, but movements can be tricky, and the image is very dim. I can't make out the whole image at once, so I have to visualize it in steps, although that's also due to the dimness of the Shen-hao groundglass. Compositionwise, I find that I have to get the camera down low to the ground so that I can have a foreground object within a foot or so of the lens. If not, everything just looks so far away! There's a lot of interesting possibilities with this lens, but as has been pointed out, it's not the easiest or most versatille lens to use.

Walter Calahan
25-Jun-2008, 14:02
My 58 mm has always been plenty wide enough, but then there are those times one can not step backwards through a wall, so I'm sure there are rare times when a 47 mm is useful.

Armin Seeholzer
25-Jun-2008, 15:45
Since I have the 47 mm the use of the 55mm in my case troped down to 1% or lesser!
Buy the 47mm you always can crop!

MFG Armin Seeholzer

Don Hutton
25-Jun-2008, 16:18
I've owned both - they have pretty much identical image circles, so in reality, you get a lot more effective movement with the 47... I believe that the 47 is a superior lens - a little snappier and sharper. IME, when you need ultra wide, you probably want as much as you can get and that's the 47mm not the 58mm...

26-Jun-2008, 13:33
Wow... Lots of great advice!!! I live in Arizona, and renting maybe a good idea to get a feel for the coverage. I would like to build a lens kit of 47xl or 58xl. Then 72xl, 110Xl then 150 rodenstock sironar-s. I curently have a Schiender SA 90/5.6 that I will likely sell and a nikkor-m 300. What about long Telephoto? Fuji or Nikon T-ED?

Thanks again,


Bob Salomon
26-Jun-2008, 13:50
Wow... Lots of great advice!!! I live in Arizona, and renting maybe a good idea to get a feel for the coverage. I would like to build a lens kit of 47xl or 58xl. Then 72xl, 110Xl then 150 rodenstock sironar-s. I curently have a Schiender SA 90/5.6 that I will likely sell and a nikkor-m 300. What about long Telephoto? Fuji or Nikon T-ED?

Thanks again,


Photomark in Phoenix rents large format lenses and Rod at Photomark is an excellent large format instructor.

Eric James
26-Jun-2008, 17:07
Perhaps you know what you’re getting yourself into, but 58mm is REALLY wide on 4 by 5. When I started out three years ago I thought that I would find myself using wider lenses. I now own seven lenses ranging from 90-300mm. I just returned from a weeklong trip where I used all of my lenses, except the 90mm - I wasn't even tempted. Sure, it all comes down your personal vision. Just be aware that the 4X5 aspect ratio confounds the 35mm to 4X5 focal-length conversions that many of us go through when trying to decide on a lens set.

The Fuji 450mm C is a great long lens - plenty of coverage and very small - I wish that my current camera could focus it.

26-Jun-2008, 17:18
Thanks Bob, I know Rod quite well and sat in on his class for a couple of semesters. 58mm is quite wide. Between my 90 and 300 I shoot 90% with the 90. Personal vision I guess. I have been playing around with 4X5for 3 years; it's now time to get serious so I am going to invest in some lenses to fill in the gaps.

Thanks to all,


Eric James
27-Jun-2008, 15:49
Since you mention the Rodenstock 150mm, I assume that you aren't too brand loyal. Perhaps you're trying to limit your investment in center filters, but have you considered the Rodenstock 55mm? Many here have reported that it out performs the 58XL.

andrew vincent
28-Oct-2008, 08:23
I've used both on a linhof master technika classic - they're both a pain, but the images are spectacular if you love ultrawide. I had a linhof selected 58mm, which might have been a really fine sample, but felt that the images were razor sharp. I loved it, and did a whole series using that lens for 90% of the images. But I eventually sold it to get the 47mm, just to have the widest large format lens available. It's amazing too. No complaints whatsoever. Just be sure you understand what you're getting into. A 47mm is nothing, nothing like a 90mm on a 4x5mm - it's not wide angle so much as ultra-extreme-bordering on ridiculously wide angle.

28-Oct-2008, 08:32
47- when you need it, it's there-

I also use a 72 and a 90-
and they get far more use-
but sometimes, as has been mentioned,
you just can't get back far enough-

The point about image circle (compared to a 58) and cropping is a good one too-


28-Oct-2008, 09:36
I agree with those who have suggested you try renting the lenses first! I did this when I was trying to decide on 90/8 versus 90/5.6, and it worked out great.

I used to rent lenses for a weekend for my 35mm camera from PhotoMark when I was in Phoenix, before I would purchase them (online, or used) so that I knew that I did (or did not!) like the lenses. It's a great way to be sure you like the lens.

Bjorn Nilsson
28-Oct-2008, 09:50
I've been contemplating these two lenses too and one thing that isn't mentioned here is that they both have the same image circle (166mm) at infinity. The 47 casts a 120 deg usable circle while the 58 casts a 110 deg circle. The flange to film distance does indeed vary by 11mm (59.1 vs. 70.0mm).
Personally I decided to pass when I found my 80mm plenty wide and quite seldom used. Also, as Andrew said, there is no comparison to e.g. a 90mm, as the 47 is a totally different experience. (Which is why I did give the 58mm a thought in the first place.)