View Full Version : Schneider Fine Art 550XL vs. Tele-Xenar 600

Tim Povlick
13-Aug-2008, 13:13

I am interested if anyone that has used both the Tele-Xenar 600 and 550 XXL could comment / compare them. I am interested in 8x10 and want a high resolution lens. The film will be drummed scan and I would like all of the film area to be in sharp focus with high resolution (mainly landscapes). When I scan an image (at 4000dpi) I look to see all parts are in sharp focus and details are well resolved. For example using a 4x5 and T-X 400, a street sign 75 meters distant serves as a test target. Lettering is very crisp and huge. The bolts holding the sign in place are almost resolved to the point of knowing the bolt type.

The MTF of the TX-600 is very impressive although I do not have a chart for the 550-XXL. Granted the XXL is intended for ULF but will it outperform the TX when some movements are made (since it has a 900mm image circle). The guys at Schneider - Germany said to go with the TX-600 as it has better resolution. This is nice of them not to push the most expensive. One confusion is the glass type. Does anyone know the type of glass used in either lens? I am told it's Schott but is there any ED type glass, say FPL-51?

For field use I am a bit worried about the 122mm filter sizes of the XXL. This really pushes the filter prices high. For the T-X, the 105mm is easier to deal with.



Steve Goldstein
13-Aug-2008, 13:26
If you go for the XXL you'd better use a really good lens shade. With that much coverage, internal flare could become a real issue.

Ole Tjugen
13-Aug-2008, 14:07
4000 dpi - that's about 80lppmm. Since that's clearly unrealistic, I'll assume you just want the sharpest available lens with a focal length of about 600mm, with an image circle larger than needed to cover 8x10"?

I believe the XXL is overkill, and that the TX might be a little bit constraining - as well as being a ryual pain if you ever want to use movements beyond shift/rise/fall. honestly I have no idea about what you would be happy with - in this range I use a converted Symmar (300/500 or 360/600mm), a WWII 500mm f:5.5 Aero-Xenar, or a Suter Aplanat B no.6 (640mm). I have a suspicion that the Aplanat is the sharper...

Eric Leppanen
13-Aug-2008, 22:24
Sandy King's post at the bottom of the following thread provides MTF charts for the 550XXL:


I've never tried the 550XXL but I own a TX 600/800 which I use on 8x10. I would be concerned that the 550XXL trades off center sharpness for extended coverage, and that for the majority of your shots you'd be better off with the TX. The 400mm IC of the TX 600 is indeed a bit tight for this focal length (albeit not as tight as the Nikkor 600T that many folks use), but I've found that it's generally not a concern as long as I apply some rear movement to limit the amount of front movement I'll need. Frankly, if you need more IC then I suspect you might even be better off with a Fuji 600C than a 550mm XXL, if your intent is only 8x10 shooting.

Of course the major advantage of the TX telephoto design is that it requires significantly less extension than non-tele lenses. If your goal is maximum resolution then camera stability with such long lenses will be one of your major challenges, and I've found my TX 600 to be significantly easier to stabilize than a non-tele lens like a 600C.

Pete Roody
14-Aug-2008, 05:37
A coated artar or ronar will be sharper than the lenses mentioned.

Tim Povlick
14-Aug-2008, 20:18
Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

Steve: that's an excellent point about the lens shade (a big one at that).

Ole: overkill is good. :-)

Eric: Thanks for you post about the Tele-X 600 which I have carefully studied 5 times now. I did a search for the XXL in the forums and could not find it, thanks for the link. Camera stability is going to be a challenge.

Pete: The Ronar is something to consider.

At this pont I am leaning towards the XXL as I want everything in good focus if I use a large amounts of movment (this does go against my premise in the first post, but I want it all, huge movements and razor sharp optics). The way I figure it, if I get anything else, it will be a good lens and won't get a change to try the XXL.

The helpful ideas are very much appreciated everyone,


30-Aug-2008, 17:49
Have you considered the Fujinon A 600mm or Fujinon C 600mm?
The A covers about the same as the XXL, while the C is extremely light for its coverage :)

Tim Povlick
30-Aug-2008, 19:55
Have you considered the Fujinon A 600mm or Fujinon C 600mm?
The A covers about the same as the XXL, while the C is extremely light for its coverage :)

I looked at the Fujinon and agree they are interesting and the weight is something I really thought about. I looked at Schneider APO-Symmar-L 480mm/8.4 closely and talked with Schneider about it and went with it.

Thanks for your comments.


Eric Leppanen
30-Aug-2008, 23:19
I looked at Schneider APO-Symmar-L 480mm/8.4 closely and talked with Schneider about it and went with it.Tim, I used to own a 480 APO Symmar L, and I still sometimes regret selling it. In addition to having the wonderfully smooth Schneider "look", it produces images that IMO are "sneaky sharp" (they don't overtly have the high acutance look of some of the Rodenstock lenses, but scrutiny with a 10x loupe will reveal extremely high resolution and excellent contrast for such a high coverage lens). I finally got tired of lugging it around in the field and replaced it with a Nikkor 450M, which is certainly more practical but doesn't have quite the same image quality if one's goal is top-notch big enlargements. Good luck!

30-Aug-2008, 23:46
For those thinking about the XXL -- check the size of your lensboard, and the opening at the lens mounting location for your camera's board.

When I had Keith Canham build my 12x20 back in 1995, I had him build it for 171x171 Arca boards - considerably larger than the standard board he usually uses. I did this because I was sharing lenses with an Arca 8x10 system and I didn't want to keep changing lens boards. At that time, of course, there were no Scheneider XXL's, but I did have a couple of de Golden Busch lenses as well as the Rodenstock W300 and Grandagon 200...all of which had large rear elements. Since then I've acquired the XXL's -- the XXLs BARELY fit the opening for the lensboard in the camera(s). For the 550, I have to ensure that the top and bottom keepers are "opened"

So...Check your camera before buying. Yes you could always open up the bellows and unscrew/mount/rescrew the rear element...what a pain though

Good luck

Tim Povlick
1-Sep-2008, 14:59
Hi Eric,

Thanks for your comments about the 480 APO Symmar L; it eases my anxiety. I have an older 210 "pre-L" that does a good job; I think it's a sharp lens after running various tests on it.

Best Regards,