View Full Version : best working aperture for 58 mm Symmar XL?

Henry Carter
21-Jun-2009, 17:27
I just read that the recommended working aperure for the Rodenstock Apo Grandagon 55 mm was f 8 - 11.

I have been using my 58 mm Symmar XL on 4x5 mostly at f 22. Now I am wondering if I should be shooting a little wider for optimal rersults.

Does anyone know what the recommended working aperture for the current production 58 mm XL is?

Ron Marshall
21-Jun-2009, 19:21
Where did you read that?

Here are test results at f11, f16 and f22; not much difference:


Henry Carter
22-Jun-2009, 01:50
Rodenstock's printed literature states:

"The excellent image error correction allows f/8 to be used as the working stop, shorter exposure times can be used for outdoor shots for better sharpness, and less light is required for indoor shooting".

Recommended working aperture f 8 - 11 (see table below):

That said, the 55 is probably more of a MF (6x9 and smaller) lens, while the 58xl is a standard ultra wide angle on 4x5 and 6x12.

So, the Rodenstock literature about the 55 makes me wonder about the best working aperture for the 58xl. As far as I can determine from the Schneider brochures that I have, they do not give a hint...

Aender Brepsom
22-Jun-2009, 03:27
The Apo-Grandagon-N 55mm has an image circle of 163mm at f/11 (so, at f/22, its IC will be larger), while the Super Angulon (not Symmar) 58XL has an IC of 166mm at f/22.
Both lenses have a similar image circle, and neither of them allows much movment on 4x5.

I have used (mostly on 6x9) the Rodenstock 55mm at f/22 without any noticable loss of image quality. I suppose that the same is true for the Super Angulon 58XL.

Armin Seeholzer
22-Jun-2009, 03:51
This f 8-11 is for very criticall sharpness, but for this you need a very perfect and precise camera, of course a wooden one would not be exact enough!
I preferred the f 16 - f 22 on my cameras on 4x5!
Because if you need the DOF you just have to stop down!
At f 32 it starts to show a tiny bit of sharpness loss, this is true for the APO Grandagon and the 47 XL from Schneider.
I had booth of them, now only the 47 XL. They are masterpieces in optical design.
If you test it on a expensive MTF machine then you would be best at f 11 but the MTF test is on a flat picture not on 3D parts!!!

Just do not worry to much regarding picture degradation from stopping down, I lost more good pictures because of not enough DOF in it and not one because of degradation from stopping down.

Cheers Armin

Henry Ambrose
22-Jun-2009, 05:52
I've used the 58 a good bit although I don't own one now. My rule was to stop down only as much as needed for the particular picture I was making. Which is in general a good rule to follow with any lens. I usually shot mine at f11 or 16. This is a real short focal length on a 4x5 so depth of field is very large.

You'll get a smidge more coverage when its stopped down a lot - say to f32. There's not that much room for movements so if you want to use all its got then stop down as needed. On the other hand, you'll get less diffraction at larger openings.

For most landscape type scenes I don't think you have to stop down that much. I did sometimes for what I considered to be extreme cases shooting interiors, where I wanted an object close to the camera to be in focus along with the rest of the scene.

Henry Carter
25-Jun-2009, 03:03
Thanks for all the replies.

I started using a 58 xl last year on my 4X5 Linhof Technika 3000, and as a rule of thumb I have shot at f/22. Results are spectacular in traditional fibre prints up to 30x40". I will now try also shooting at f/11 or f/16 as a stop or two of extra light is always welcome! This camera is very precise and has special provisions for using ultra wide angle lenses. It almost feels like it was built around the 58 mm xl.

I recently started using a 6x9 'Baby' Technika as a portable/travel camera, and I have a 55mm Grandagon for it (which I have been setting at f/11). I am on my first trip with it, and I look forward to the results. Travelling with a 6x9 roll film camera sure is a whole lot easier than with a 4x5 camera and sheet film (or a 6x12 back on 4x5).

I cannot really compare the 55 vs. the 58 mm (nor do I wish to) as I have them set-up for two different formats, but they are both spectacular lenses.