View Full Version : Rodenstock Geronar 210mm, f6.8 lens evaluation

James Ring Pepoon
26-May-2001, 21:44
I have recently purchased a Toyo 45C camera outfit with a 210mm, f6.8 Rodenstock Geronar lens. The 45C has seen more than moderate usage judging by the paint m issing from the back of the front vertical geared rails, but the outfit did incl ude a Polaroid 545 back, and Graflex 23 roll film holder plus five film holders and hard shell case. I needed a system for an impending job and wanted to get a s much capability as possible for the money I spent ($850).

My question concerns the quality (or lack of it) of this Rodenstock lens and wha t are the limitations on camera movements imposed by it. Also how does it rate for edge to edge sharpness?

I purchased the outfit/lens for portrait and table-top studio work. After readi ng several negative comments on the lens on this website I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of my purchase.

This is an outstanding website and I feel very fortunate to have discovered it. I would be very grateful for any comments buy your experts as I am new to 4X5 st udio/location photography and need advice on lenses etc. I also photograph build ing interiors.

Thank you!


Jim (Jpepoon@aol.com)

John Hicks
27-May-2001, 02:22
The Geronar has somewhat less coverage than many other 210mm lenses; whether tha t's a factor in your work only you can decide.

Since you already have the equipment all you need to do is try it out in your intended usage. You'll quickly learn about its coverage limits and image quality . If you find it satisfactory then someone else's negative opinion will be of no importance, or otoh if you find serious insufficiencies in your usage then some one else's positive opinion wouldn't matter either.

FWIW, I've used a 210 Geronar and found it to be fine, but that was in landsca pe use with pretty much no movement other than rear tilt, so that may have no be aring on your intended usage.

If you try your lens and decide you don't like it, I highly recommend the Rode nstock 210 f5.6 Apo Sironar-S as a replacement.

Charlie Stracl
29-May-2001, 16:15
The Geronar is not the finest lens in the world, but you should try it. Many times LF doesn't require the best of lesnes, since the enlargement ratios for the finished prints isn't very high.

As far as image circle, when you use the lens at closer distances, the circle gets larger, so you may find it very adequate for portrait & close-up shots. Portraits don't usually use much in the way of movements, and close-up table-top shots have the lens racked out so far that I would doubt this will become a limitation.

In short, try it. If you find it lacking, and the rest of the equipment that came with it is in serviceable condition you still got a bargain even if you replace the lens.

Wellesley Browning
2-Jun-2001, 12:48
That 210 6.8 lens is the same as the Calumet one bundled with their starter 4x5's. It's a dandy lens which covers a full 5x7 and still has movements. And it's tack-sharp in the middle f-stops.

I've used one cranked out to life-size macro and for unforgiving architecture shots, and found it to be great. Yes, you can buy a 210 with even bigger movements and even sharper, but you could also use this lens for a professional lifetime and no one could ever tell from your photos that you didn't have the finest lens available.

That said, I upgraded my 210 to one which cost as much as your entire package, but only after 12 years of shooting catalogues, ads, and portraits with that Geronar. I see no difference in the photos taken with my newer lens (and I kept the Geronar too).