View Full Version : Which 135mm?

Ash Burton-Smith
22-Oct-2008, 03:18
Hi everyone. I am going to be purchasing a 135mm? I have the option of a 135mm f5.6 Caltar II-N or a Nikkor-W 135mm f5.6. If you could give me your opinions or experience's with either of these lense's it would be appreciated. I am going to be using it on a fotoman 45PS. So, as you probably know this camera doesn't have any movements. I shoot landscapes and spend most of my time in the small aperture range, usually F22 - F32 with my 90mm. Not sure if this info is relevant but thought I would put it in. So any info would be great. Thanks.

Aender Brepsom
22-Oct-2008, 03:44
Hi Ash,

welcome to the forum.

You can't go wrong with either of these lenses. Both are excellent performers in the aperture range that you're going to use them. I would pick the one with the more modern shutter (all black Copal) or the best price/condition, assuming that you are going to buy a used lens.

22-Oct-2008, 05:11
As a Sironar & Symmar user I can highly recommend the Caltar. I prefer German lenses, but the Nikon's are also excellent.


Pat Hilander
22-Oct-2008, 08:35
I used to use the Nikkor W 135mm and it was a nice lens. Sharp and contrasty. It's not a focal length I use much so I sold it and bought a 135 Symmar (the older convertible style) and I'm very happy with that too.

If you don't need movements and are going to be shooting stopped down you may as well get an old Optar and speed all the money you save on film and processing :)

Ash Burton-Smith
22-Oct-2008, 23:09
Thanks for the feedback guys. It sounds like either is a good bet. Think I will go for the cheaper one as they are both in good condition.

23-Oct-2008, 07:11
I've never had a complaint with my Caltar 135. Its my most used lens, it folds right up in my Wista 45SP


24-Oct-2008, 07:10
The Caltar 135 was the first LF lens I ever bought, if you don't count the 127 Ektar I got with a camera (I was buying the camera, not the lens). I've used it for 12 yrs and it's always been great. I still have it but recently moved to a Fujinon CMW because I needed the larger image circle. Interestingly, a side by side comparison with the camera zeroed (using EPN) revealed that the Caltar goes a little wonky at the edges (a little soft, with a subtle contrast shift on strong dark borders). The Fuji is right on. Still, not a huge liability if you're not printing too big. For size and cost (on the used market) the Caltar / Rodenstock Ns can't be beat, IMO.