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View Full Version : Nikkor-M 200/8 twice as good as a plasmat???



Kirk Fry
3-Oct-2010, 22:18
Nikkor-M 200/8 USD 525

Other than if you are a backpacker, is this lens really twice as good as any number of 210mm plasmats one could buy instead??? All of which can be had for about half this price. Keep in mind a Nikkor-M is a Tessar design from about a century ago. If you want small, a G-Claron at f9 is about the same size and will cover 8X10. Educate me, what am I missing??? KFry
PS I own a 300mm Nikkor-M and it is an awesome chunk of glass. But at this focal length a 300mm plasmat is in a whole different universe in terms of size and weight.

John Whitley
3-Oct-2010, 22:50
I think you sunk it in one: this lens is priced for light weight combined with moderate rarity. When weight is a concern, one could carry two such lenses for less total weight than a single 210/5.6 plasmat.

According to the LFF 4x5 lens page (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses/LF4x5in.html) the G-Claron won't cover 8x10 -- its image circle at f/22 is only 260mm. Is that not correct?

IanG
4-Oct-2010, 00:10
Remember that Schneider were still selling new modern f6.1 210 Xenars up until the early 2000's, they have an angle of view of 60, the G-Claron is only 64.

The 210 Xenar like the Nikkor-M is better corrected for normal photography than a G-Claron which is a flat field lens. The Xenar's can often be found at very reasonable prices and are smaller and lighter than the older faster versions, also optically better as well.

Ian

Doremus Scudder
4-Oct-2010, 02:16
You've hit the nail on the head. The Nikkor M 200mm is worth more to many of us just because of it's lightweight and uncompromised performance. It's priced at a premium these days due to its comparative rarity in the marketplace.

If you can deal with the weight of a plasmat, it will give you more image circle and equal or better performance.

If you are looking for lightweight lenses in that focal length, there are some alternatives. I own both a Kodak Ektar f/7.7 203mm and a Fujinon L 210. Both are smaller than plasmats and are superb performers. The Ektar is a dialyte, single-coated and really small. The Fujinon, a Tessar design I think, is slightly larger, but still smaller than a plasmat. It's single-coated as well. The Xenar that Ian mentions is also nice and significantly smaller than a plasmat. G-Clarons perform well at infinity despite their being optimized for closer work if you stop down a bit. These are also single-coated, I believe (which is all that's needed for four-element designs usually. The plasmats, with six elements and more air-to-glass surfaces really benefit from multi-coating though).

There are also the Fujinon A lenses in 180mm and 240mm focal lengths. These are on either side of your 210mm focal length, but both are sweet lenses, small due to the smaller maximum aperture, but plasmats indeed and multi-coated. All the above normally sell for a lot less than the Nikkor M 200mm on the used market.

That said, I'm still waiting to get my hands on one of the Nikkors at the right price :-)

Best,

Doremus Scudder

jeroldharter
4-Oct-2010, 06:35
My G-Glaron 210mm covers 8x10, with room for movements stopped down. It is a good lens. I have not compared it on 4x5 relative to my Caltar 210 plasmat style lens. Nor have I compared it to my Sironar-W 210 which I have not had a chance to use yet.

I think the cost is for the light weight, small size, rarity, and good press from Kerry Thalman and others regarding "classic" status.

Kevin Crisp
4-Oct-2010, 07:04
The G Claron 210 is not very big in a Copal 1. Excellent coverage. An overlooked option is the Repro-Claron which covers 5X7 and is in Copal or Compur "0" so is very small.

I've never totally understood and/or accepted this "flat field" argument on the graphic industry lenses like the G Claron and the R Claron. Other lenses are designed for curved subjects? Or 3d objects? Isn't having something "flat" uniformly sharp a worth goal for any lens?

Ken Lee
4-Oct-2010, 08:12
I've never totally understood and/or accepted this "flat field" argument on the graphic industry lenses like the G Claron and the R Claron. Other lenses are designed for curved subjects? Or 3d objects? Isn't having something "flat" uniformly sharp a worth goal for any lens?

My guess is that process lenses (designed for the Photo Engraving industry) have adequate, but modest coverage. When shot straight ahead, they are razor sharp. Hence the association with "flat" subjects. They generally open no wider than f/9 - which is what makes them relatively compact and light. They are corrected for 1:1, but we know that many people use them at other distances too with fine results.

Lenses designed for "table-top" photography, are modified plasmats, which give excellent correction over a wider circle of coverage than process lenses. They enable the kind of View Camera movements we often need when shooting "3-D" subjects with adequate depth of field and perspective control. They open to f/5.6, a more comfortable level of brightness for composing and focusing. They are corrected for a range of ~1:3 to 3:1.

You might find this brief article (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/index.html#Macro) interesting.

Ron Marshall
4-Oct-2010, 08:19
Twice as light; out of production; many pros have dumped their plasmats: hence the price differential.

Frank Petronio
4-Oct-2010, 09:03
People pay $5K for an Ebony with the intention of traveling or backpacking with it. So why pay through the nose for a lens too?

I wonder how many actually travel more than a mile from the car?

Ivan J. Eberle
4-Oct-2010, 09:11
Price probably reflects what Ron mentions. It's maybe not that the Nikkors have become so expensive; it's that the so many of the 210mm f/5.6 Plasmats as pro/aspiring pro/student lenses have been dumped en masse that they've become astoundingly cheap. (And, yes, they're astoundingly good. I have Caltar IIN's in both 135mm and 210mm. Think I sniped the 210mm for ~$185 a couple of years back.)

IanG
4-Oct-2010, 10:31
The G Claron 210 is not very big in a Copal 1. Excellent coverage. An overlooked option is the Repro-Claron which covers 5X7 and is in Copal or Compur "0" so is very small.

I've never totally understood and/or accepted this "flat field" argument on the graphic industry lenses like the G Claron and the R Claron. Other lenses are designed for curved subjects? Or 3d objects? Isn't having something "flat" uniformly sharp a worth goal for any lens?


Process lenses can cause distortion, how much depends on the individual lens, it's because they aren't optimised for distances or Infinity, the lens cell spacings are set for close distances and a flat image field. The distortion is often to foreground objects in images dependent on plenty of DOF when stopped down.

A small number of East German Repro lenses were designed for dual use and had a spacer ring which is removed for normal camera use - this wasn't a shimming ring more like a small extension tube that altered the lens cell separation.

Schneider don't recommend G-Claron's as normal camera lenses they merely say they can be used stopped down to f22.

A lens designed to be flat field and give good coverage & sharpness at 1:5 to 5:1 isn't going to perform as well at Infinity as a lens designed for that purpose, and vice versa a standard plasmat doesn't perform as well as a macro lens for close up work.

Ian

Drew Wiley
4-Oct-2010, 10:31
Both the Nikkor M 200 and the 210 G-Claron were fairly inexpensive brand new just a year or two ago, until all the new ones finally sold out. There seems to be quite a bit
of misunderstanding about the G-Claron. The image circle and angle of coverage listed
by Schneider are extremely conservative, apparently being based upon the same
parameters as process lenses, in other words, much stricter than general taking lenses.
These lenses actually have big image circles and are extremely sharp way out. I have
little doubt that the 210 G-Claron has a far bigger image circle than the 200 Nikkor
and will be at least as sharp. What the Nikkon will give you is only six air to glass
interfaces with multicoating, so relatively high contrast and good resistance to flare.
Either lens is highly desireable and very lightweight, though the G-Claron has the
added advantage of being usable on 8x10 with limited movement.

Drew Wiley
4-Oct-2010, 10:35
Ian - the typical G-Clarons which were marketed for "tabletop" shooting are extremely well corrected even at inifinity. In fact, their performance at typical apertures will
surpass that of most general-purpose plastmats corrected for infinity. They're ideal for
landscape work, and will conspicuously surpass general purpose lenses close up.

Kevin Crisp
4-Oct-2010, 11:48
I wouldn't say the coverage on the G Clarons is particularly limited. A 210mm that can cover 8X18 with up to an inch of rise? A 150mm that covers 5X7 with lots of movement? Not bad. The repro-clarons are not nearly so generous, but for the 4X5 and 5X7 shooter, small and useful.

I honestly have seen no difference in sharpness at infinity with the repro lenses versus the traditional MC plasmats. My repro claron 305mm lenses in the probably my sharpest lens for 5X7 if I had to pick one.

Kerry L. Thalmann
4-Oct-2010, 13:29
I think the cost is for the light weight, small size, rarity, and good press from Kerry Thalman and others regarding "classic" status.

I plead innocent of all charges. The 200mm Nikkor M is not on my list of Future Classics (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/future.htm). It's slightly bigger brother, the 300mm Nikkor M is - and the little 200mm M shares many of the same desirable characteristics (excellent sharpness and contrast, small, light, modern reliable shutter, and standard 52mm filter size).

Of course, the 200mm Nikkor M is on my list of lightweight lenses for backpacking (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/mid-rang.htm), but so are several other lenses in this focal length range. The 200mm Nikkor M and 240mm Fujinon are the only two modern, multi-coated lenses in the 200mm - 240mm range that come in Copal 0 shutters. So, that saves a lot of weight and bulk and makes them desirable for backpacking.

The 200mm Nikkor M makes part of a nice four lens ultralight lens kit (90mm Congo WA, 135mm APO Sironar-N, 200mm Nikkor M and 300mm NIkkor M). When I want to limit myself to 3 lenses, I take the 240mm Fujinon (90mm Congo WA, 150mm Germinar-W and 240mm Fujinon A).

BTW, there is another 240mm modern multi-coated lens that also falls in the same, ultralight class as the Nikkow M and Fujinon A. If you can find one of the very late 240mm APO Ronars in a Copal Presss shutter, it will actually weight less than the 240mm Fujinon A. These late APO Ronars (with the stylish blue racing stripe) came in very light aluminum cell mounts and a Copal No. 1 Press shutter gives you a No. 1 size shutter for the same weight and a standard Copal 0. I always use Copal No.1 Press shutters for all my remounts for this reason.

And, if you don't need multi-coating, but want more coverage, a 210mm f9 Graphic-Kowa will cover 8x10 with room to spare and weighs about 205g in a Copal Press No. 1 shutter. It's my lens of choice in this focal length for 4x10 or 8x10 work.

Kerry Thalmann

Ed Richards
4-Oct-2010, 13:38
Hi Kerry,

Any reason other than cost to not use the 80mm SS XL rather than the Congo 90mm?

Oren Grad
4-Oct-2010, 13:40
Schneider don't recommend G-Claron's as normal camera lenses they merely say they can be used stopped down to f22.

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=65248&postcount=3

Drew Wiley
4-Oct-2010, 14:19
Kerry - one big difference in the 240's: the apo ronar has very limited coverage and is
suitable only for 4x5 with modest movement, while the 240 Fuji A easily covers 8x10, with a fair amount of room to spare if stopped down.

Mark Sampson
4-Oct-2010, 16:43
I assume that to OP is referring to one of these lenses currently available in the 'For Sale' section. My take is that if the 200/8 performs like the 300/9 it's a top quality lens, and that asking prices are often higher than selling prices.

IanG
4-Oct-2010, 22:43
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=65248&postcount=3

Unfortunately that's not what Scghneider say at all. The problem then is that if spacing has been adjusted on a lens by a third party how do you know ? many G-Clarons were mounted in a shutter much later.

Schneider published a data sheet for the late shutter mounted G-Claron's and it clearly states they are optimised for 1:1 and the ideal range is 1:5 to 5:1.

Ian

Oren Grad
4-Oct-2010, 23:52
The problem then is that if spacing has been adjusted on a lens by a third party how do you know ?

You don't, unless you test it and know what to look for. In the real world, f/45 hides a multitude of sins.

More:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=14422

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=72876&postcount=12

http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=481640

http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=481817

Dan Fromm
5-Oct-2010, 02:37
Hmm. FWIW, I'd swear that ancient Rodenstock propaganda asserted that long Apo Ronars outperformed equally long telephotos and were preferable to them for general use. No mention of cell spacing.-au

Also FWIW, my coauthor and friend Eric Beltrando wrote a ray-tracing program that can be used to explore lens performance. For more on it, see his site www.dioptrique.info

The Polaroid Copal #1 Press shutter used in Polariod CU-5 cameras is somewhat thicker end of tube-to-end of tube than the #1 standard. Since I've remounted plasmats received in barrel in these shutters I asked Eric what difference the change in cell spacing made. He replied to the effect that plasmats aren't particularly sensitive to spacing and that the errors I had (< 1% of focal length) had negligible effects on lens performance.

Many of the G-Clarons in shutter sold on this site and on eBay are in ex-CU-5 shutters.

IanG
5-Oct-2010, 02:49
Some longer process lenses from East Germany had a removable spacer, more like a small extension tube, for use as normal long focus lenses. The 750mm Germinar from memory.

Ian

Oren Grad
5-Oct-2010, 08:29
To summarize:

* What we have about possible intentional re-spacing of process lenses for different optimizations is basically hearsay. As Ian points out, the Schneider product literature, for example, doesn't mention it.

* As for whether you can assume that a lens bought second-hand is spaced to any particular standard, there's ample evidence of users happily swapping cells, barrels and shutters - some of them folks who understand about cell spacing, many of them folks who don't.

* As Dan points out, and as has come up before in connection with more exotic recent designs like the SA XL and SS XL, some designs are more sensitive to cell spacing than others.

Drew Wiley
5-Oct-2010, 09:16
Ian - Schneider did indeed "optimize" their G-Clarons for closeup tabletop work, just as
Fuji did for their similar "A" series, but that does not mean that they sacrifice anything
at infinity, at least at reasonably stopped down working apertures. It just means they
are better close-up than conventional plasmats. And that has certainly been my own
experience. Both my G-Claron 250 and Fuji 240, for example, are even better at infinity than any general purpose lens I ever used of similar focal-length. But close-up
the improvement in performance is even more obvious.

IanG
5-Oct-2010, 10:14
Drew you could say the same for any film format Macro lens, they are optimised for close up work but will work at Infinity. But it's similar to using a standard lens as a macro neither is as good as the lens optimised for the correct focus distances.

They do sacrifice image quality at Infinity because a process lens or macro lens behaves far worse at wider apertures than a conventional lens

I guess it also depends what lenses you compare to each other. A G-Claron should be compared to a late Symmar or Sironar, rather than a Xenar.

Back in the 70's there was something in a book or maybe an article comparing a process lens to a standard lens with illustrations (photos) and the differences where very obvious. The only way to describe it is by analogy to the two Zeiss Biogon Hasselblad lenses one fitted to the SWC the other interchangeable, both are superb lenses but they draw differently towards the edges. That's similar to a process lens compared to a plasmat or Tessar at Infinity.

I own Process lenses, however they can be rather variable, my 150mm f9 Hexanon easily covers 10"x8" with a little room for movements others don't, but respace them and they do.

Don't assume I'm anti-process lenses, I'd rather there was a more open realism about their short comings.

If I get a chance while I'm next in the UK I'll test a 150mm G-Claron against a Sironar, Tessar (T coated 1950's) and the 150mm Hexanon, I'll possible add a 135mm 1930's Tessar, and a 135mm Symmar.

Ian

Drew Wiley
5-Oct-2010, 10:40
Ian - what I'm stating is based upon actual experience, not upon second-guessing the
literature. I shoot these lenses all the time, and there are quite a few other folks on
this forum who could no doubt confirm my own experience. Fuji A's and the later
G-Clarons are not process lenses - they are extremely versatile, highly-corrected lenses which generally exceed most general purpose current modeern plastmats in several categories of application, but do have smaller max apertures. Modern versions
of these will probably outperform any current Symmar of comparable focal length.
Apparently, you haven't actually worked with these lenses and are basing your assumptions upon generalized stereotypes about older design lenses to which there are many notable exceptions.

IanG
5-Oct-2010, 11:28
What I write and say is also based on use & experience.

It's 30+ years since I last did practical comparisons, my experiences matched exactly what was written at that time, and more importantly Schneider's Data

G-Claron's are process lenses, stop denying it :D They ARE not macro lenses

Ian

Drew Wiley
5-Oct-2010, 11:49
Well, Ian, that explains a lot. If you haven't done any testing of these kinds of lenses
for the last 30 years, you obviously aren't aware of what's really going on. And you are
terribly mistaken about process lenses in general due to a blunt stereotype. I know a
fellow who uses apo-Nikkor process lenses on an 8x10 camera with a Nikon camera
attached at the back because the optical resolution at infinity is superior to any
telephoto of similar focal length available from Nikon. And he's a specialist in long lenses and extreme telephoto and telescope photography. You also seems to be
unaware that G-Clarons were mfg in several distinct series, and those of late sold
in shutters were specifically marketed for closeup tabletop photography, not process
work, which is a completely different market and generally involved electronic shutters
on process cameras, hence barrel lenses.

Kevin Crisp
5-Oct-2010, 12:02
My oldest G Claron is from 1967. Are we seriously arguing in 2010 whether they are acceptable general purpose landscape lens when stopped down a little? If anybody has one that isn't just super, let me know what you want for it.

Drew Wiley
5-Oct-2010, 13:02
Well there's another myth that needs a bit of debunking - that "landscape" shooting
only requires a lens with a bit of extra coverage, as if only back tilts were routinely
used. Heck, a lot of times in the redwoods or amidst the peaks I need all the front rise
I can get, just like in architectural photography. Since the G-Clarons and Fuji-A's have
such big image circles relative to their compact size, and a 240 lens will give a fair
amount of movement even on 8x10 film, it means that I will probably never run out
image circle using the same lens on 4x5. On more big plus for these lenses. I can't
think of a single thing I dislike about them.

Ken Lee
6-Oct-2010, 03:48
The diagrams of the G-Claron (http://www.schneiderkreuznach.com/archiv/pdf/gcn.pdf) and Fujinon A (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/as-sfs.htm), look very similar.

Is one, a copy or modification, of the other - or do all plasmats look similar ?

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 10:31
Ken - I guess you could call both based upon a plasmat formula, but much more highly corrected for closeup photography than general-pupose plasmats. And it was probably
easier to factor in these corrections at smaller max apertures. But someone would have to be an insider to know what kinds of special glass types or coatings have been
used. Parallel lens design has been common in most lens categories among the major
manufacturers, so one is not necessarily a "copy" of the other. One conspicuous difference is the multicoating present on the later Fuji-A's, while G-Clarons stayed
with a single coating. So a slight difference in contrast, but this should not be taken
as a quality difference. Both lens lines seem superb and very similar in those instances
when similar focal lengths can be directly compared in the field. The spec sheets are
a bit misleading, because the Germans are very conservative and tend to present a worst case scenario in terms of coverage and angle, whereas the Japanese tend to list the best case scenario.

Ken Lee
6-Oct-2010, 11:55
Thanks - That makes good sense.

Fuji says they will do close work nicely, but they don't call them copy lenses, or process lenses, or modified macro lenses - just lenses.

What we don't see in the Fuji literature (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/as-sfs.htm), is any indication that the A series was designed for close work, but also does nicely at a distance when stopped down.

Could it be that because the A series opens to f/9, people presumed they were copy lenses, or modified copy lenses ? To my knowledge, they were never offered in barrel, like APO Nikkors, G-Clarons, Ronars, Artars, etc.

I'm just curious, that's all.

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 13:04
Ken - maybe someone like Kerry could answer that question better than I. But I think
both Schneider and Fuji lost quite a few sales in earlier years by classifying these as
closeup lenses and not giving enough emphasis in their literature to their sheer versatility. In my old brochures, Fuji hints at it, but the Schneider G-Claron sheets only
refer to their own lens as great for tabletop. Indeed, when push comes to shove, and
I take the 360A, for example, and photograph some lichen from eight inches away, then enlarge the 8x10 to a 30x40 Ilfochrome, the closeup performance is downright
spectacular. And even at infinity it is probably superior to general-purpose plastmats of similar vintage, although certain of these lens lines have improved in the
meantime. Nowadays there's certain restrictions on potential toxic or radioactive
elements in glass mfg, so I wonder whether or not this has factored into the
discontinuance of certain of these classic lenses. It's really hard to get the inside
story.

IanG
6-Oct-2010, 13:45
Well, Ian, that explains a lot. If you haven't done any testing of these kinds of lenses
for the last 30 years, you obviously aren't aware of what's really going on. And you are
terribly mistaken about process lenses in general due to a blunt stereotype. I know a
fellow who uses apo-Nikkor process lenses on an 8x10 camera with a Nikon camera
attached at the back because the optical resolution at infinity is superior to any
telephoto of similar focal length available from Nikon. And he's a specialist in long lenses and extreme telephoto and telescope photography. You also seems to be
unaware that G-Clarons were mfg in several distinct series, and those of late sold
in shutters were specifically marketed for closeup tabletop photography, not process
work, which is a completely different market and generally involved electronic shutters
on process cameras, hence barrel lenses.

The G-Claron's Schneider sold shutter mounted in the 90's and early 2000's have the same technical specifications as the earlier process lenses, all that changed was the marketing which we both agree on, the Schneider data sheets show clearly that they are optimised for the same range, regardless of which market they were aimed at.

I don't doubt that they may well be better than telephoto designs, but then I never mentioned telephoto designs I was comparing to similar focal length Plasmats or Tessar types.

The G-Claron hasn't changed in 30+ years, Schneider's Tessar type lenses the Xenar's did. Schneider stepped back and reduces the maximum aperture making for much better overall sharpness, they were re-designed to compete with lenses like the Nikon 200 & 300 M lenses which had taken a similar approach by restricting the maximum aperture.

As I said before there has to be some realism, if lenses like the G-Claron had all the attributes you seem to think then they would have been marketed much more aggressively as taking lenses for normal LF cameras. In the UK I don't remember them ever being sold as taking lenses, and I used to visit the Schneider importers stand regularly at trade shows.

It's important to remember that some lenses don't work as well at wider apertures, softer edges & corners, that's a failing of the Tessar design, Plasmats like Symmars & Sironars are far sharper across the whole field wide open, and then process lens like the G-Claron are even worse than Tessars at distances because of their close focus optimisation.

Stopped down to f22 or less and most process lenses are very sharp at infinity. It's why people use them, and as mentioned earlier some like the longer Germinars have the facility to change the cell spacing for more distant work which means they perform far better at wider apertures.

As to coatings, the term Single coating is a bit misleading as many pre-Multicoated lenses have more than one coating. I have an early 50's CZJ 150mm T coated Tessar and it's heavily coated and as good as Multi-coated in terms of flare, just has a very noticeable Blue bias. A late 150mm Xenar (early 2000's serial no) and a 70's 75mm Super Angulon (just pre-MC) didn't flare when a modern Canon zoom was unusable when I made some shots into the sun last year.

I was quite anti non Multi-coated lenses after some bad experiences with Sigma & Hoya lenses, but these so called Single coated lenses have made me re-think. The Tessar has made me realise why the warm up filters were once sold for colour work :D

Ian

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 14:09
Ian - I use the 360A not only as a general purpose and closeup lens for 8X10 film, but
as a long focal length on 4x5 not only because it is more compact and portable than
any comparable telephoto, and not only because it has a far greater image circle, but
because it is a helluva lot sharper too, even one stop down from max aperture! Think
whatever you want. Those of us who actually use these specific lenses know how
well they work. As far as marketing went, both Fuji and Schneider could be remarkably
vague. You learn a lot more from talking to actual photographers with direct experience
with these lenses, which have a very high reputation.

Dan Fromm
6-Oct-2010, 14:29
Ian, I'd like to know how y'r 150 G-Claron works out. I had one, shot it at distance and closeup against both of my tiny Klimsch 150/9 Apo-Ronars. I sold the G-Claron, have one Apo-Ronar too many. Both good on 2x3 at all distances, both better than the G-Claron.

Against this, I've had and sold three (3) 240/9 dagor type G-Clarons. Tried all three out on near and far subjects before selling them; all shot very well hung far out in front of a Nikon. I tested on a Nikon because for my purposes only central performance matters and 135 film is cheaper than 120. Sold them because of mounting difficulties; no rear filter threads and rear cell larger than mounting threads so no cheap easy front-mounting, and too long for my little Graphics if in shutter or on board.

I have a 210/9 dagor type G-Claron, its just fine but I'm not sure what to do with it. Have to shoot it seriously against my 210/7.7 Beryl S, also a dagor type.

Cheers,

Dan

p.s., I wonder how much of the differences of opinion re process lenses usefulness in general photography are due to differences in how much of their coverage is used. Most of the ones I've tried out are just fine centrally wide open, as good as they're going to be by f/16. Farther out they're no doubt worse until f/22 or smaller, and the farther out the more stopping down required.

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 15:27
Dan - as you probably already know, some of these lens brand names have quite a
lineage, such as Symmar, Dagor, Artar, spanning many decades. In the case of G-Claron, you're got a 4-element repro-Clarons, older dagor types, and finally the modern
plasmat-derived ones which I'm emphasizing. That's quite an evolution, and it's
inevitable that the different vintages have different characteristics. Lens coatings and
glass types have also changed over that time span. Just look at what happened to
Tessars or Dagors within the same span of time, and it should make apparent just how
unreliable stereotypes are. I'm not in the business of selling lenses, so have nothing
to gain from endorsing one particular design over another. But between the G-Clarons
and Fuji A, I have half a dozen lenses which I shoot every week, and they all outperform any of the general-purpose plasmats which I owned twenty years ago. Probably on this forum there are dozens of people shooting these kinds of lenses routinely with equal confidence.

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 15:54
I should have added that one of the reasons why the plastmat design has become so
prolific not only in general-purpose lenses, but also in some of these specialized types, is that it allows for a significantly wider field and hence better definition at a larger angle than the tessar, dagor, or dialyte/artar type did. Add to this fact the significant
advances in coating and computerized lens design which were transpiring in the 70's
and 80's, and you have the ingredients for significant improvements in performance
which are pretty hard to upstage except in incremental nuances.

Dan Fromm
6-Oct-2010, 17:03
Drew, I'm not knocking plasmat type G-Clarons in general, but my little gift 150 wasn't the best slow 150 I've ever had.

The VM comments that the difference in performance between dagor type Symmars and the first plasmat type Symmars, the ones we call convertibles, was small. That said, I'm sure Schneider had reasons for switching design types. FWIW, the VM says that the big jump in image quality in the Symmar line came with the non-convertible, at least offically, -S versions.

Computerized lens design came in in the late 1950s. Optical engineers saw and seized the possibilities as soon as they got access to computers. Anything to eliminate all those hand calculations.

mdm
6-Oct-2010, 17:22
Kerry - one big difference in the 240's: the apo ronar has very limited coverage and is
suitable only for 4x5 with modest movement, while the 240 Fuji A easily covers 8x10, with a fair amount of room to spare if stopped down.

Mine covers 5x7 very nicely thank you.

Drew Wiley
6-Oct-2010, 19:46
Dan - I've never owned a 150G-Claron, but did use a 210 Symmar-S quite a bit. It
was a nice lens, but I started leaning to a slightly longer perspective, so switched over to a Fuji 250/6.7, which absolutely blew away my Symmar-S with respect to
both resolution and contrast (plus the added benefit of being usable on 8x10, while
still in a no.1 shutter). When this lens got stolen, I bought both a 250 G-Claron (latest plasmat type) and a 240 multi-coated Fuji A, and these conspicuously outperformed even the 250/6.7, though with minor differences in contrast between them. In the meantime, the general purpose lenses of all the major manufacturers have probably caught up to some extent; but I certainly do not intend to go out and test all those relatively heavy clunkers! I also own a couple of 180 Fuji A's and a
couple of MC 360's, the latter of which dramatically outperform any Kern MC dagors
I have owned in terms of coverage and resolution (especially at significant tilts or
close-up), but not with respect to contrast or sheer purity of hues (where the double
triple formula in its last rendition is an almost impossible act to follow). I mention
this last "cult" lens as a comparison simply because it is a cult lens with a solid
reputation. But stereotyping it according to decades of previous 14-inch dagors would be as irresponsible as stereotyping modern G-Clarons according to something
made in the 1950's. And I feel fairly confident that computerized lens design in this
day and age is quite a bit more efficient than it was in the day of punch cards, not
to mention all the new innovations in diagnostics and mfg in the meantime.

IanG
7-Oct-2010, 05:21
Ian, I'd like to know how y'r 150 G-Claron works out. I had one, shot it at distance and closeup against both of my tiny Klimsch 150/9 Apo-Ronars. I sold the G-Claron, have one Apo-Ronar too many. Both good on 2x3 at all distances, both better than the G-Claron.

Dan

Well I have a newish G-Claron 150mm (plasmat type) sat waiting for me in the UK, the Xenar & the Hexanon 150mm lenses are there too, I'll be taking my Sironar back with me, if I have room (not over weight) I'll also take my early 50's Tessar. I might add a pre-WWI 165mm f6.3 Tessar to the test.

I'm particularly interested in how the 150mm f9 Hexanon performs, so will test that on my 10x8 as well.

Ian

Dan Fromm
7-Oct-2010, 06:17
Ian, I had a 150/9 Konica Hexanon GRII, still have a 210. Both very sharp, both somewhat flary. Never bothered to make hoods for either, probably should have.

I gave the 150 to a friend, now use a fairly modern 150 or 160 f/5.6 plasmat for that focal length (Saphir BX, Pro Raptar). The 210 sits in the drawer, I usually use a 210/7.7 Beryl S as my 210; smaller, lighter, not quite as sharp at apertures larger than f/16, much less flare (higher contrast).

IanG
7-Oct-2010, 06:30
I have a set of 3 Hexanons, sold together quite cheaply, the 150 and a 210 & 300, I have to admit it's hard to spot any coatings, I might try the 150 on my Speed Graphic. It always surprises me how much some people try to sell them for.

I may add my tiny 151mm f16 Ross AM lens to the test, it's a Protar and covers 10x8.

Ian