View Full Version : APO process lenses, Differences?

17-Oct-2010, 18:10
Is there a lot of difference in the optical performance of the various APO process lenses in the 600-760mm range? How do the APO Ronar, Germinar, Nikkor, Artar, etc compare? I know some are much larger than others, but I'm interested only in performance. Are we in hair splitting territory here? Would like to hear from users of these lenses. Thanks.

Don Dudenbostel
17-Oct-2010, 18:43
I've used artars for years and also used APO ronars. Were splitting hairs.

Daniel Unkefer
17-Oct-2010, 19:15
Yes splitting hairs. I own long Apo-Ronars, up to 760mm.

Daniel Stone
17-Oct-2010, 21:54
ronars and artars are both excellent choices. super high resolving, and they work nicely for color too. lower contrast(which can be raised via digital methods in the scanning process) from what I've found, and oh yea.. super high resolving?

just heavy suckers from what I've found

most aren't multicoated(some are), so flare is more of a problem if shooting into the sun. a good lenshood/shade is your friend with these.


Brian Stein
17-Oct-2010, 23:38
Biggest difference is going to be in coverage and as many of these are not brand spanking new, how well they have been treated by Father Time and their various owners.

I think this is the thing we take for granted far too often in discussion about what are often older lenses. Ignoring any issues like QC at assembly, statements of the order of my crud-tar lens outdoes the mundo-performing super-gor *often* means the "better" lens hit the deck and is no longer in optical alignment or some similar fault. (yes there are grossly under-rated lenses out there, and AA will always make a better photo with a pinhole than I will with the best glass in the universe)

Take home message for me is if the lens is less than 50 years old is that the quality of the particular lens in front of me trumps the manufacturer differences.

Dan Fromm
18-Oct-2010, 00:43
I can't address differences between process lenses in the 600-700 mm range because I have only one, but at shorter focal lengths there are indeed differences.

I've noticed that my dialyte type Apo Nikkors (2x305, 420, 480, 610) are better centrally at apertures larger than f/16 than my dagor type G-Clarons (210, 3x240, the 240s have all been sold), Apo Saphirs (135, 180, 240, 300, 360), and tessar type TTH process lenses (6", 10.16", 30 cm). My 14"/10 Apo Process Lustrar Ser. II isn't really sharp enough at apertures larger than f/22 and is flary at all of the apertures tried. In a 6 incher shoot-out, the rankings were Apo Ronar, Apo Ronar, Cooke Copying Lens, G-Claron (plasmat type). My one Process Nikkor (260/10, engraved Nikkor-Q but it seems to be the same 4/4 double Gauss type later sold as Process Nikkor) is quite poor at distance. Konica Hexanon GRIIs (150, 210; these are two different designs) are nearly as good as dialyte type Apo Nikkors but are flary. I recently retired the 210 in favor of a 210/7.7 Beryl S; the Beryl S isn't as sharp at apertures larger than f/16 but has less flare, better contrast.

Note on testing: I shoot 2x3, so for these lenses performance at the center of the field is all that matters. To economize on film I test by hanging the lens in front of a Nikon. All tests with the same target, all tests with the same film, all tests relying on TTL metering by the Nikon. The results are reproducible, but don't yield lp/mm.

If you're going to shoot wide open or near wide open on a format smaller than the lens was made for, yes, there are differences and they're not just hair-splitting. If you're going to use the lens on its intended format at the aperture its manufacturer recommended then the differences seem to be much smaller.

surfotog, based on my experience and our discussion of your plans, I think you should chase a 610/9 Apo Nikkor. But I can't address long Apo Ronars (the 600/9 Klimsch Apo Ronar I had was much heavier than my 610/9 Apo Ronar, I understand that long ARs not for Klimsch process cameras are lighter than the Klimsch ones) or any Apo Artars. I'd be leery of any uncoated dialyte for your application; that rules out really old Apo Artars.

IIRC, you have 5x7 in mind. For a 600 mm process lens, that's not much larger than 2x3, so I'd expect that my results will hold for your situation.

Brian's comment about condition trumping name is bang on. To which I'll add that no matter what you buy it will have to go through acceptance testing. Each lens is unique. All of my lenses gone through acceptance testing (or are queued up for it) and some have failed. They really aren't all equal.