View Full Version : Your favorite 4x5 90mm lens?

26-Feb-2011, 13:08
What is your favorite 90mm lens that fits a 4x5? Why do you like it?

Tony Evans
26-Feb-2011, 13:25
I only have one. So I guess that's it :).

Roger Cole
26-Feb-2011, 13:32
I only have one. So I guess that's it :).

What Tony said!

I have a 90mm Angulon that I got with the camera, so it's my favorite. To be fair, there have been plenty of times I'd like more coverage so the Super version would have been nice (or equivalent) but the regular Angulon is a very small, light little lens and definitely has that going for it.

26-Feb-2011, 13:49
Nikkor f4,5...sharp and beautiful

26-Feb-2011, 13:53
I had an Angulon but found that the one I had (very late serial, 1970) wasn't fully sharp right out to the corners, which was a shame. I sold it and for less money I got a single-coated Fuji 90mm SW f/8, which seems excellent on 4x5 and 6x17.

I very much doubt that in real life use there's anything to choose between any of the relatively modern 90mm lenses. Probably more sample-to-sample difference.

Scott Walker
26-Feb-2011, 13:58
Schneider SA 5.6 because that's what I have and if it covered 8x10 I would love it :D

Joanna Carter
26-Feb-2011, 14:06
Nikkor f4,5...sharp and beautiful

Couldn't agree more :D

Gem Singer
26-Feb-2011, 14:24
I'm a big fan of the Nikon/Nikkor f8 90SW.

This wide angle lens has the same size image circle as the f4.5 version (235mm).

However, it is 240gms lighter weight and takes 67mm instead of 82mm filters.

It covers 5x7 with minimal movement capability.

Mark Sampson
26-Feb-2011, 15:05
I traded in a '63 Schneider 90/8 Super-Angulon for a used Nikkor-SW 90/8, around 1989 or so, and have never looked back. it's hard to imagine a better lens.

26-Feb-2011, 15:11
90mm 4.5 nikkor. sharp, big but easier to focus than the 90mm 6.8 grandagon it replaced. The grandagon was sharp as hell though.

Brad Rippe
26-Feb-2011, 15:25
Nikkor SW f8. Exceedingly sharp, light and with good coverage. Its my widest lens!

David Karp
26-Feb-2011, 20:19

I have a Rodenstock Grandagon-N 90mm f/4.5 that is really very nice. Great for shooting architecture. The f/4.5 max aperture makes it very nice for focusing in dim light. It renders colors nicely with color film. Sharp. Its just a bit big for backpacking, plus it needs 82mm filters.

For backpacking I have a 90mm f/8 Nikkor SW. As Doc Singer said, a very nice lens, with a smaller 67mm filter ring. The image circle is just as big as that of the Rodenstock, but the lens is smaller and lighter. I like it a lot, but I have only used it for black and white, so I cannot comment on the color. I really could sell the Grandagon now that I have this lens, but have not been able to convince myself to pull the trigger yet.

Per Madsen
26-Feb-2011, 23:19
I traded in a '63 Schneider 90/8 Super-Angulon for a used Nikkor-SW 90/8, around 1989 or so, and have never looked back. it's hard to imagine a better lens.

I have the same setup but my Super-Angulon is from 1961.

The Nikkor is extremely sharp and multicoated.

The Super-Angulon is sharp, but is very prone to flare.

27-Feb-2011, 02:56
I have a Super Angulon f8. It is multi coated. It is sharp, contrasty and reasonably compact. The 67mm filter matches all my other lenses so I carry only one set of filters. Many years ago I used an old Angulon with my MPP. It performed well but my current lens is visibly superior.

Doremus Scudder
27-Feb-2011, 05:12
Small for me, since I backpack and hike with my kit a lot.
My 90mm is the Schneider SA f/8, multi-coated. It is the largest lens I carry regularly (I also have a Fujinon 75mm that's about the same size, but don't carry it all the time). The 67mm filter size matches the 75mm and the Nikkor 450mm I have. All my other lenses are adapted or made for 52mm filters

The SA f/8 is really a great lens for me. Mine is one of the sharpest lenses I've ever had and it is still practical to carry. The Nikkor f/8 would be a choice if I were in the market for its slightly larger image circle (I do vignette the SA from time to time...).

The larger f/5.6-f/4.5 versions are just too big for me. If you're doing studio photography, however, they would be a tad easier to focus...


Doremus Scudder

Ron Marshall
27-Feb-2011, 07:05
Nikon 90mm f8. Sharp, lightweight, not too dark.

Kimberly Anderson
27-Feb-2011, 07:15
90mm f/8 Super Angulon. I have owned this lens for about 14 years and it's never let me down. I really like it now because it will cover 4x10 with some movements, which was a surprise.

Frank Bunnik
28-Feb-2011, 00:05
My favorite 90mm is the one I own, a multicoated 5,6 90mm Schneider Super Angulon. It came with the Technika (and the focussing cam) when I bought that camera.

28-Feb-2011, 07:50
WOW, this is a great thread, in fact i was asking about which 90mm, my mind was going first for S.SA then for Rodenstock, didn't realize that Nikkor one is as capable and great, so now i really don't know which one to go with.

Carsten Wolff
3-Mar-2011, 05:55
Used 90/8 Nikon-SW prices are pretty high these days, as they were made in smaller numbers than the Schneider and Rodenstock ones, and compounded perhaps by Kerry Thalmann's Future Classics article. I decided I wanted optically equally excellent, but cheaper and a bit brighter and as I could live with a few mm less image circle (still very good though), I bought a Grandagon-N f6.8 (my first one in Caltar-IIN guise) for a 1/4 of what the Nikon usu. sells for. :)

3-Mar-2011, 06:38
This information is certainly helping! It seems that there are no bad choices amoung the big 4. So to help narrow it down a bit what if I said, I have a large selection of 67mm filters. I want to be able to carry the lens out in the fields without a Sherpa???

It seems that an f/8 lens is what many of you have suggested. My only concern is the ability to focus in dimmer light? Since I do not have the experience with any of these lenses, how much of a "real world" concern is the focus issue?

3-Mar-2011, 06:42
I've got a nikkor 4.5, and it makes nice sharp images. However, the hugeness of it (at the rear especially) make it difficult to get much for movements on my speed graphic. I'm limited by the fit of the lens, not the pacemaker front standard/bellows setup as is usually complained about! A slightly less compact camera would be ideal for this lens.

Michael Graves
3-Mar-2011, 07:03
I have a tiny 90mm f6.8 that I carry with my Crown Graphic, and a 90mm Caltar (Schneider) f8 that I kept with my monorail for times when I needed more coverage. When I print the negatives I can see little or no difference in the negatives (save for a couple where I stressed the coverage of the 6.8 a bit too much and got the Atget Effect. Both are excellent lenses.

Gem Singer
3-Mar-2011, 07:07
Since you need to limit your choice to lenses take 67mm screw-in filters, you will need to compromise and choose a lens that has an f8 maximum aperture.

I've never experienced difficulty focusing my Nikon/Nikkor f8 90SW wide open in dim light using a good loupe. That lens has a large enough image circle to make it brighter in the middle.

If you still have doubts, look for a Rodenstock f6.8 Grandagon N 90SW or a f6.8 Caltar II-N 90SW. They are slightly brighter at maximum aperture, and both take 67mm screw-in filters.

3-Mar-2011, 07:20
With your 67mm filter requirement, the f/8 lenses are the only choice, but that would not hinder me. I use a 121mm f/8 Super Angulon and have no trouble focusing it even on a standard ground glass, with a good dark cloth. It's especially no problem with my Maxwell focus screen.

As to which 90 is best, I doubt that many have tried them all to perform a comparison. I have two: A Graflex Optar W.A. f/6.8 and a Schneider Super Angulon multicoated f/5.6 from the early 80's. I know which one of those is better!

Rick "who would prefer a choice in a larger shutter than a #00" Denney

Frank Petronio
3-Mar-2011, 07:29
The Rodent-stock 90/4.5 Grandagon is not really that large unless you are backpacking. It is quite luxurious to have plenty of room for movement and sharpness at all apertures.

The 90/6.8 Grandagon is a fine lens, 67mm filter, not much larger than the ever popular 90/8s from the other guys so I don't understand why someone wants to be half a stop slower for the same size and price point?

But the tiny 90/6.8 Schneider Angulon -- a later >6million model or a Linhof-select -- will be just as sharp as anything at f/22. You just have to stop them down.

Noah A
3-Mar-2011, 07:36
I use a 90mm Grandagon f/4.5 and it's an amazing lens. It's actually the only 90 I've ever had so you can take that for what its worth. I do prefer it to the 80 SSXL I used previously.

However, I don't think you'll have problems with a slower lens. Judging from the view on the groundglass when I stop down to f/8, it's still relatively easy to view and focus, especially outdoors. I do prefer the brighter view, but each photographer needs to decide about their own priorities--bright aperture, filter size, lens size and weight, etc.

If you plan to shoot a lot of interior or low-light work, then the added aperture would help. I don't backpack long distances and don't use filters, so I like the Grandagon.

It seems like the very well-regarded Nikkor 90SW would be perfect for you, and it's unique in that it is a more compact, slower lens but still has as much coverage as many fast 90mm lenses.

Steve Goldstein
3-Mar-2011, 15:52
<some snippage>

The 90/6.8 Grandagon is a fine lens, 67mm filter, not much larger than the ever popular 90/8s from the other guys so I don't understand why someone wants to be half a stop slower for the same size and price point?

<some more snippage>

One possible reason might be weight - the 90/6.8 Grandagon weighs about 100gm more than the 90/8 Nikkor. Sure, it's not a lot, but if you're carrying it a long way you might care about the difference.

Thanks for pointing out that this Grandagon also takes 67mm filters, I hadn't realized that.