View Full Version : Best 90mm Large Format Lens for 6x17

Snowy Smith
20-Oct-2001, 17:05
Best 90mm Large Format Lens. I intend building my own 6x17cm Camera. I will be using 120 film. The Camera will be used for Mountain Landscape Photography. I feel the best size lens is a 90mm. I want to buy the best quality 90mm Large Format Lens. The lens does not need to be the fastest lens, as I never shoot at apertures lar ger than f16. I also shoot 4x5 and 8x10 inch. I presently do not have a 90mm lens in my Large Format Collection and intend to buy a new lens for my 6x17 project. I would appreciate some advice from the experts and anyone who has a 90mm. Best Regards, Snowy Smith. Republic of South Africa.

Bill Glickman
20-Oct-2001, 18:21
Snowy, 90mm is a great fl, plenty to choose from. The Nikor is excellent in this fl, and has two sizes, 4.5 and I beleive 9.

I am curious how you plan to build the roll film holder portion of the camera? To me the ultimate 6x17 camera would be one that accepts LF lens boards so you can share them with your view camera. Rise and tilt would also be very beneficial. I think Keith Canhams 6x17 back for a 5x7 is the closest we will ever see to meet this requirement.

paul owen
21-Oct-2001, 06:40
Snowy, IMHO you'll need one with plenty of coverage inorder to ensure no light fall off. Linhof utilises the Schneider 90XL 5.6 on its 617 so this may be a good lens to look at. Regards Paul

Stuart Whatling
21-Oct-2001, 07:05
I'd second the recommendation for the Schneider XL. I have the non-XL version of the SA 90/5.6 for 5x4 and although it's my favourite lens, I don't think the coverage would be enough for anything bigger than that - so it's probably worth bulking up the muscles/credit card and getting the XL. Although you might not need the 5.6 aperture for shooting, you'll certainly need it for viewing. Viewing the ground glass with anything slower than a 5.6 at these wider focal lengths is like walking around on a dark night with sunglasses on.

21-Oct-2001, 08:18
Another vote for the 90XL, not just for optical quality but because it could most plausibly be utilized on your 8x10 (not full coverage, of course, but a surprising amount).


Tom Mangan
21-Oct-2001, 11:41
Snowy: I shoot lots of 6x17 pans with my Art Panorama mostly Mountainscapes here in Colorado. A 90mm is an excellent all around lens for 6x17, especially for mountains. You need about 190mm of coverage to cover a 6x17 so pretty much all the 90mm have enough coverage. I currently use a Schneider Super Angulon 90 f8. It has plenty of coverage but optically is not all that great especially at the corners. I would avoid the 90XL as its going to be huge. Why not go with the Schneider 80mm f4.5XL. Has more than enough coverage for 6x17, has aspheric elements alowing you to avoid flare(very common with 6x17) not to mention its a very, very tiny lens, the f4.5 apt. is also helpful for focusing on a GG. I own the 80mm XL and use it mostly on my 4x5 as I cant quite squeeze it on my art pan. Keep in mind that you will need a Center Filter with a 6x17 and 90mm so the falloff present with the 80mm, even when used on a 4x5 is circumvented with the filter. Not to mention the cost of the 80mm XL with Center Filter is still much cheaper than a 90XL with filter. So my vote goes for the 80mm XL f4.5. If you really want a 90mm I would suggest the 90mm Nikkor f8. Great coverage and very sharp. Tom Mangan

Walter Glover
21-Oct-2001, 17:30

Having had the 90mm XL (and 72 XL, don't disregard) I would suggest it as being an ideal choice. And the earlier posts are correct - a centre-filter is a must. Another 90mm I have been seriously considering lately is the Grandagon 90mm 1:4.5. By all accounts an absolute cracker. I am about to ask Tony about his 80mm SS XL so you might keep an eye on that discourse.




I divested myself of the 90mm XL recently because it didn't fit my Linhof and I sold the last remaining Sinar. Tonight I am phoning London to order my replacement and would like to pick your brains about the 80mm SS XL. Would you kindly respond to the following queries?:

Image circle is my first concern - 213mm isn't copious by any means and may prove restrictive if rise/fall is combined with tilt/swing.

I was told by two competent high profile users that the lens is so unsharp wide open that the GG image can only reliably be used to frame and compose - stopping down to 5.6-8 is necessary for accurate focus. According to one source the official explanation was that this was an outcome of giving extra viewing speed.

I have been using the 110mm SS XL for 18 months and am well pleased with the results as is an 8x10 colleague who has the 150 and 210 SS XLs. The reputation of the 80mm seems to contradict the findings with the other lenses.

My alternative is to purchase the Rodenstock Grandagon 90mm 1:4.5 which, from all reports is stunning. Price is not an issue, nor is size or weight - just the quality on film and ease of operation.

Considerable impact will be made by your response (or others) so please be honest.



Ellis Vener
21-Oct-2001, 22:10
I use the 90mm f/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon on my 6x17 V-pan. An excellent lens! if you aren't going to be using a groundglass for focusing (or even if you are) the 90mm f/8 SW-Nikkor is also an excellent lens -- small, sharp, big (235mm @ f/22 according to Hikon -- I haven't measuered it) image circle, The Scheneider 90mm f/5.6 Xl Super Angulon is also an excellent choice.

But with any 90mm currently on the market you are definetely goingto need a center weighted filter to balance your exposures from center to edge. This is according to my tests.

22-Oct-2001, 05:30
is the 90mm f/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon N fit the super technika V ?

Bob Salomon
22-Oct-2001, 10:23
"is the 90mm f/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon N fit the super technika V ? "

Yes on a flat lensboard

Ellis Vener
22-Oct-2001, 13:45
To clarify my hasty comments last night:

"But with any 90mm currently on the market you are definitely going to need a center weighted filter to balance your exposures from center to edge.This is according to my tests. "

Per the underlined section, I meant when shooting on the 6x17cm format.

Tom Mangan
22-Oct-2001, 19:10
Walter: I have mixed feeling about my 80mm XL. I too own the 110 XL and was expecting simmilar results. Without a doubt my 110 XL is not only my sharpest lens, but also my favorite. The 80mm XL has a few positives and a few negatives. First off it is a sharp lens. Previous to this lens I owned a Schneider SA 75mm f5.6. The 80mm is a bit sharper than the 75. Its a tiny lens, for the backpacking I do it really helps to have such a light lens. The aspheric elements are nice especially when shooting into the sun. It also very bright the f4.5 apt. is really nice for those dark mornings. Now the Negatives. Although its sharp its certainly nothing spectacular. Its better than my old 75mm SA but does not have near the snap of my 110 XL. A Center Filter on this lens when shooting 4x5 is a must. There is considerable falloff when no filter is used. With my old 75mm I never felt the need to use a CF the falloff was hardly noticable. The CF with the 80mm XL is a must. Lastly its a very expensive lens alone, than add in the $350 for the IIIB Center Filter that is needed and that extra 200 grams of weight that most of the 75's add does not seem all that bad. Also trying to use other filters with the CF can be unbearingly annoying and difficult in the field. All that being said one really has to decide what they are looking for in a Wide Angle. Personally I kind of wish I bought a Rodenstock 75mm f4.5. I may still sell my 80mm but I am not really sure at the moment. Its not a bad lens at all, it just does not come close to meeting the early hype. When one can buy a nikon 90mm f8 for almost half the price of the 80XL with CF, its hard to figure the logic in paying that extra money for a lens thats just pretty good, not legendary. That being said if weight and size is a huge issue and one does not mind using a CF or already owns one its a pretty nice lens to have. The must have CF and great coverage make it a very good 617 lens, probably more useful for that than 4x5. I guess to sum it all up I look at the 80XL as a luxry lens, if you own one you might as well keep it, if not I dont see all that many reasons to purchase one. Again all this is based off of my experience with this lens the last 7 months. Tom Mangan.

metairie christophe
23-Jan-2002, 10:44
i have one super symmar 4.5 80 xl, it s a great lens, i bought it one month ago, and i want to sell it. 1200 euros or 1055 $ include shipping for europe. maybe you want to buy it ?? (i'm in france)

David Karp
24-Jan-2002, 12:40

I have a 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N. I bought this lens because I really wanted the extra light from the wider maximum stop for focusing. It is an excellent lens. I am very pleased with the images taken with it. I know its original owner, and he was very happy with it and used it professionally until he retired.