View Full Version : Weeding my lenses

Mark Volle
6-Jan-2009, 23:41
I have found myself with more than one lens in several lengths and would like the collective opinion on the "better" of each pair. They are all in at least good shape;

Rodenstock Sironar-N 5.6/210 MC vs. Nikkor-W 5.6/210

Schneider Symmar-S 5.6/135 vs. Nikkor-W 5.6/210

Rodenstock Sironar 5.6/150 (450) vs. APO-Sironar-S 5.6/150

(I think the 150mm choice is obvious, the APO is new and excellent but does the Sironar warrant keeping?)

Input Please?

6-Jan-2009, 23:57
Wouldn't it be better to stick them on the camera and see which one you like better?

John Schneider
7-Jan-2009, 00:01
Neither I nor anyone else knows your subjective, personal preferences. Do you prefer clinical sharpness, or do you find that too harsh? Do you like a lower contrast lens for more shadow detail, is is that too mushy? Unless there is an objective reason to choose one over the other (e.g., if one lens has much greater coverage, and you plan to move up in formats), then the choice is one only you can make.

Because some with a critical eye feel there is a difference in color "palette" from one mfr to another (largely due to the multicoating chosen), they suggest sticking with one mfr if you shoot chromes and need the same look from one lens to the next; this can be a valid objective reason.

In any event, lens testing that I and others have done here suggest that sample-to-sample variation between the same lens can be greater than the variation in performance between different mfrs, especially if the lens has been dropped/knocked/handled roughly/purchased used and therefore of unknown provenance/etc. If you're additionally comparing lenses of vastly different f.l.'s then that adds another subjective variable that only you can answer; between a 135 and a 210 (assuming on 4x5) I know which look I prefer, but I don't and can't know which f.l. you would prefer.

Pete Roody
7-Jan-2009, 08:42
sell the ones you can get the most money for. you most likely will never notice the difference.

7-Jan-2009, 10:54
Personally, I would sell all of the 135mm lenses and all the Nikkors....

I love the high quality of the Nikkors but, the weird filter sizes piss me off.

Frank Petronio
7-Jan-2009, 10:59
Or just sell them all and buy one 150-180 to do it all.

7-Jan-2009, 11:06
Or just sell them all and buy one 150-180 to do it all.

Hmmm...you mean....wait...I don't get it....

Frank Petronio
7-Jan-2009, 11:14
Just use one lens instead, like that 150 Sironar-S or a newer 180

7-Jan-2009, 11:32
....just....one...lens.....uh....ouch! :) :) :)

but seriously, I think you're entirely correct. I just don't know if I have the cajones to sell 'em all and buy just one (or, better yet, sell all but one!).

It is an odd thing really. It is like a security blanket...having way too many lenses....and yet, it kinda works against you (well, me I mean). With all these damned lenses, i can never walk out the door in confidence knowing I have the right one (or three) in the bag....

Glenn Thoreson
7-Jan-2009, 11:33
Nah, they'ye no good and probably radioactive or something. Just send them to me for proper disposal. :D :D

neil poulsen
7-Jan-2009, 12:29
What other focal lengths and brands do you have?

As to the 150's, I'd keep the Apo Sironar-S and sell the Sironar.

John Kasaian
7-Jan-2009, 12:51
Clean the dirt off of 'em.
No dirt=no weeds=no weeding! :D

David Karp
7-Jan-2009, 13:15
Of all these lenses, the APO-Sironar-S is considered "the best." Unless you have a lower performing sample, these are extremely highly regarded. This lens has a larger image circle than the APO-Sironar-N. I don't know if you would ever really notice the difference in quality when looking at your photos, but what the heck, you have the lens, and it has a bigger image circle. Unless there is a problem with the "S" that is the 150 I would keep (if indeed you like the 150mm focal length).

Assuming you keep a 150, I would sell the 135mm because it is so close to the 150.

If you sell the 135, that leaves you with a bunch of 210s. If you want to keep a 210, and everything else being equal (no scratches on the glass, lens is otherwise in good shape, etc.), I would keep the Sironar-N, because it matches with the 150 Rodenstock.

That would leave you with 2/3 of a pretty traditional lens kit: 90-150-210, and funds to buy a 90.

Just one way of looking at things.

Bjorn Nilsson
7-Jan-2009, 13:18
To summarize: These lenses are all of the same type (Plasmat) and are very similar in performance (at least from the specs.). The only lens which should be noticeably (rather, a little bit) better is the one you've already pointed out, i.e. the Sironar S.
If you are into shooting chromes, what John S. says about sticking with one brand for color accuracy makes sense.
BradS touches filter size, which for sure is a valid point. Whenever you are in the field you don't want to fiddle around with stepup rings etc. or even worse, different sets of filters.
But the final choice is up to you. If a certain lens feels better it is better for you, regardless of the specs. Most of us either uses or wants a Sironar S lens, why that particular lens get many "votes". Apart from that it's really up to your personal testing of these individual lenses as they may be either the dog or the shining star of their respecive class and year.


Mark Volle
7-Jan-2009, 21:25
OK... I deserved ALL of the responses. Thank You ALL


I like to shoot color (not to the exclusion of B&W)

I like sharp but hate color fringes

I probably won't keep any lenses "just for B&W"

I've shot with all of these... real pictures and rez charts but experience and stories help keep you out of trouble... I had a lens that wouldn't tollerate UV... but found out after shooting a box of film in the mountains. It looked fine at sea level and totally hazy at 10,000 ft.

I expect every lens to have a personality, perfect color isn't necessary and I shoot for me, so lens to lens color doesn't matter as much to me. (I used to have to worry about it)

I am equally likely to shoot landscape and macro, table top w/ strobe or moonlight from a mountain.

Which lenses are likely to deteriorate at a more rapid rate?

Which lenses cope with high elevation/UV/extreme cold better?

I like all of my lenses, especially the APO-Sironar-S - its designed to cover 8x10 so no matter how pretzeled my 4x5 looks, it always seems to cover the corners.

I haven't cared for the convertable option on the sironar 150/450 and would carry my tele-xenar 360 insead for long shots. (in spite of the weight)

Lest I leave anyone out, none are radioactive (nice try) and the only lens I had for the first 10 years of 4x5 was a Nikkor-W 210

For the deep thinkers... I'm married and would like to stay that way. If I want to keep my eyes open for that "perfect" back-up lens... its easier if it isn't a back-up to the back-up of the same length and I better have the cash in my hobby envelope.


John Kasaian
7-Jan-2009, 21:33
So...which ones do you use the least?
That's one approach.

Deterioration? Unless you've got some put together with balsam, or have a touch of the fungus amongus, you'll likely deteriorate faster than any of your lenses will.

Or ask yourself not "which ones should go" but "which ones should stay?"

Mark Volle
7-Jan-2009, 22:45
Continuing the saga, I also have a angulon 6.8/90 and Tele-Xenar 5.5/360.

Outdoors I tend towards the 90, 135 and 360 and studio I find myself grabbing the 150 and 210 but the new 150 is so clean that I feel guilty if don't take it everywhere (its also the only lens I bought new)

Both Nikkors have minor shutter issues - sync on one and a return spring on the other... maybe that lowers their standing to the sell or trade.

I really want a 65mm

Thanks to all!

7-Jan-2009, 22:50
Personally, I would sell all of the 135mm lenses and all the Nikkors....

I love the high quality of the Nikkors but, the weird filter sizes piss me off.
I don't think 210 nikkor has wired filter size, it is 67mm.