View Full Version : sharp and cheap 90mm ?

23-Jul-2009, 00:59
Hello everyone!

I just got myself a lovely tachihara, and I'm now looking for a wide angle 90mm lens to go with it :)

I just finished my studies and don't have much money to spend trough, but I would like to get the sharpest lens that I can afford.

I was thinking about the super angulon F8.
Someone offered me one of those dated from the '60, but I'm still trying to understand which model is it, and I was said that it doesn't have a previev lever, and that I'll have to use the B setting with the cable release. would that be all right?

I'm a bit new to LF, and I'm a bit confused.

I saw some auction on ebay of that same lens, but some of those goes for 100$ and others for 600$.
Do you have any advice? I'd like to understand if there is any big difference between those models, and if there is any other recommended brand as well.
I'm starting a project in which a bit of architecture will be involved and need something sharp :D


23-Jul-2009, 01:51
The early 90mm Super Angulons are excellent lenses, the coatings are good although obviously not multi-coated, and they are extremely sharp.

The difference in prices may well reflect the age and whether MC.

Other good 90mm's are the Rodentsock Grandagon f4.5 or f6.8 also sold rebadged as Caltars, Both Nikon & Fuji made good 90mm's as well.


Ole Tjugen
23-Jul-2009, 01:58
Early 90mm f:8 Super Angulons came in size 00 shutters, which do not have a preview lever. Later versions have better coating, and size 0 shutters which do have preview levers.

I use one of these old ones with a locking cable release, and it's a very good lens. However I frequently use a simple old 90mm f:6.8 Angulon instead, if I don't need the extra coverage of the SA.

The 90/8 should be just about the best available for your use - on your budget.

23-Jul-2009, 02:08
thank you!
I just found a caltar 90mm W 300 $ and a W II for 300$ as well..
but I'm still trying to figure out what to choose.
I still have to make an offer for the super angulon, I'm trying to understand how much i should offer to the seller :) any idea?
Does the caltar lens has a preview instead? I'm a newbie and I'm a bit of afraid of screwing up without it.

23-Jul-2009, 02:18
There's no real differences in quality between the Super Angulon's (bar the very first in a 00 shutter) and the Grandagons/Caltars.

I have a f5.6 90mm Super Angulon (not Multi coated) in the UK, and a Multicoated f6.8 Grandagon here in Turkey and the results are indistinguishable.

The Caltars should have a preview lever.


David Karp
23-Jul-2009, 07:34
I used to have a single coated 90mm f/8 Fujinon SW in a Copal shutter that I found very sharp. It was very inexpensive, as 90mm lenses go, and the photos looked just as good as anything taken with one of my expensive lenses.

23-Jul-2009, 07:46
thank you IanG!

the lens I was going to buy had a 00 shutter, so it's good to know that is not as good as the other ones :)

I found another super angulon on ebay for about 270$ on a #0 shutter. I'm also looking at a Grandagon F 4.5 mounted on a 1 shutter and a caltar W mounted on 0 shutter and finally another caltar W II mounted on 0 shutter as well.

Would the shutter 1 or 0 make any difference? I'm thinking about getting the last caltar. there is a buy it now for 300 $ that is actually my budget.

Please if any of you can, let me know if it would be a good deal or it would be better to look some more!


Frank Petronio
23-Jul-2009, 07:47
The tiny, inexpensive 90/6.8 Schneider Angulons can be just as sharp as anything so long as you stop down to f/16 and have a later model (2 million serial # to 7 million just got better) or a Linhof-selected one.

Even wide open they are fun. You can find them for $200 or so.

The 90/4.5 Grandagon is a dream lens with lots of movement, sharp wide-open, modern, bigger and heavier and more expensive. Very Nice!

23-Jul-2009, 08:11
It's hit and miss finding a good 90mm Angulon, I've had 3 and only the current one has been sharp (6746***) it's very usable but there 's no room for any movements, mine's with my hand-held Crown Graphic kit.

It may be the lens spacing that's an issue, and tolerances with Compur shutters that's the problem. I know Dean (razzledog) has found there's a marked variation in overall length and has improved lenses by changing the cell spacing.


23-Jul-2009, 08:19
you might look for a wollensak 3 1/2 inch exwa lens
they are usually in a tiny alphax shutter.
covers a 5x7 sheet stopped down and it is
great little lens that is often overlooked ...

23-Jul-2009, 08:19
Hi Flo,

Fujinon SW f8...

Email sent.


23-Jul-2009, 08:29
AVOID the 90/6.8 Angulon. Lousy coverage. Will not even cover 4x5 sharply.

Frank Petronio
23-Jul-2009, 08:58
Angulons don't have the coverage but they are sharp, at least the good ones are.

Duane Polcou
23-Jul-2009, 10:52
I think it is worth mentioning that some people spend years trying to understand lens models, because company A who bought out company B will hire out lens company C to manufacture a lens for them which now has some multi-brand name. It can become extremely confusing, so the only real advice is to just get the lens and see if it works for you.

I have a 90mm f8 Calumet Caltar Wll, which is a multi-coated Super Angulon design manufactured by Schneider for Calumet. Mine is blazingly sharp, as sharp as a 90mm f8 Nikkor I used to own, and the copal shutter has the "preview" lever. I believe I paid $300 used.

Another great choice is a 90mm f8 Ilex Calumet Caltar. Made for Calumet by Ilex, they are single coated, great coverage and sharpness for 4x5, and are usually found in a modern shutter with preview lever. About $225 used.

Kirk Fry
23-Jul-2009, 23:02
My 90mm angulon is very sharp. Stopped down it has some movement on a 4X5. On a speed or crown they are great. KFry

24-Jul-2009, 10:05
just wanted to thanks again everybody. and letting you know that I got a lovely Calumet Caltar WII f8!I can't wait to receive it to play with it ;-)

Bob McCarthy
24-Jul-2009, 10:19
Hello everyone!

I'm a bit new to LF, and I'm a bit confused.

I saw some auction on ebay of that same lens, but some of those goes for 100$ and others for 600$.


You have to be very careful with ebay prices. Most price activity takes place in the last 5 minutes (more like the last 10 seconds) so current bids are not representative. Guidelines are "buy me now" less a bit.

If you have an account and tag to "watch" the item, you can see it's closing price, which is what you're looking for.


24-Jul-2009, 11:01
You should have an excellent lens there Flo, (the Caltar WII is an SA) I have 4 Super Angulons, 65mm, 75mm, 90mm & 165mm and they are all superb lenses.


24-Jul-2009, 11:05
thank you Ian :) I'm very excited to try it!