View Full Version : Schneider Sper-Angulon f/8 question

26-Mar-2011, 20:19
Considering getting this lens as opposed to the f/5.6 version (size and weight savings basically).
The question is since it's relatively "slow" (f/8) how hard is it to compose and focus with, center, corners ?
Anyone have/had one ?


26-Mar-2011, 21:11
I own the lens though I've used a f/5.6 as well. The 90mm f/8 is pretty sharp without and ghosting or such. It's not too difficult to focus or compose, just might have to take some time with it. Overall, it's pretty easy to find a good deal for one (I got it in a trade) but I would still go for the f/5.6 if I could.

Roger Thoms
26-Mar-2011, 22:00
I own a 90mm f8 SA and it's one of my favorite lens. I am able to focus without to much difficultly. I do carry two small flash lights which are helpful in dimly light scenes. Another favorite lens is my G-Claron f9 maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.

I'd buy one and try it, you can always sell it if you decide you need the f5.6.


Doremus Scudder
27-Mar-2011, 03:13
This question comes up regularly, and I suggest the following... regularly. It doesn't seem to be getting through very often though... Maybe I'm on everyone's "ignore" list :-)

Anyway, if you wish to see how bright an f/8 lens is, and how difficult is is for you to focus with your ground glass, just stop a lens you already have down to f/8 and then focus with it. Easy and definitive.

Hope this helps,

BTW, I have a slug of f/8 and f/9 lenses which I focus with no difficulty whatsoever, with both Fresnel screens and regular ground glass. With the latter, a good dark cloth is a necessity, but once your eyes adjust to the dark, the image is more than adequately bright.


Doremus Scudder

Dan Fromm
27-Mar-2011, 05:12
Doremus, I'm sort of with you but not completely. In my experience long slow lenses are much easier to focus than short slow lenses. Much much easier to compose with too, 'cos they illuminate the corners better.

So your advice to Fred to try focusing stopped down isn't all that good unless he already has a short fast lens.

FWIW, my slowest short lens is a 60/14 Perigraphe that I use on a 2x3 Century Graphic. As expected, hard to focus. As not expected, not that hard to compose with.

Bob Salomon
27-Mar-2011, 05:30
Or split the difference and go for the 6.8 Grandagon-N. It is half a stop faster then the f8 SA and only half a stop slower then the 5.6 SA. But not much larger then the f8 and much smaller a lighter then the 5.6.

Lynn Jones
30-Mar-2011, 11:25
Great, Bob, how did I know that you would say that? We have known one another as friends from competing companies for over 40 years.

However, for the rest of us there were improvements between the f8 and the f 5.6, the biggest difference from a user standpoint is 100 to 105 degrees of coverage. Obviously none of use ever shoots wide open, in fact I rarely shoot wide angles wider open than f16.


31-Mar-2011, 08:06
If weight is an issue remember the f/8 is lighter. Especially when you find one with a Synchro-Compur #00 shutter instead of the newer #0 Copal.

Doremus Scudder
31-Mar-2011, 10:44

Yes, I know that the angle of incidence from a shorter lens will affect the apparent brightness of the image some, especially at the corners. I should have mentioned that. But, this is more of an issue with Fresnel lenses than with regular ground glass. Keep in mind, that the film doesn't need extra exposure for a shorter lens! F/8 is f/8.

With a longer lens stopped down to a particular stop, the corners may be easier to see than with a shorter one. This effect is secondary, however, and one can still get a good idea of how bright the ground-glass image will be. Maybe stopping down another half-stop would be a good idea, as would using the closest focal-length lens one had to do the test.


Doremus Scudder

31-Mar-2011, 11:46
Fred, given that you're in Tucson the bright desert sun should make it easy for you to focus the f/8 90 SA. :)

I have this lens as well, and to be honest when under tree cover I can have a hard time focusing it. a fresnel would help, but my 4x5 back is just a GG.
The listee who said that slow long lenses are easier to focus than slow short lenses is absolutely right. a 300/f9? No trouble to focus at all. a 90 f/8? enh...not so much.

The 90SA is fairly large *for an f/8* lens, but that's supported I guess by the image circle which should even cover 5x7 straight-on. (not tried it myself)
Lastly, the brighter options at this focal length take 82mm filters, but the SA keeps it to 67mm.

If I were buying now, I might actually look for a 75mm instead, or an 80XL. Those are brighter, still take 67mm and are fairly lightweight. but, obviously not quite the same FOV. good luck.

31-Mar-2011, 11:50
Yes, I know that the angle of incidence from a shorter lens will affect the apparent brightness of the image some, especially at the corners. I should have mentioned that. But, this is more of an issue with Fresnel lenses than with regular ground glass. Keep in mind, that the film doesn't need extra exposure for a shorter lens! F/8 is f/8.

Well, in the corners, the short lens is likely to be f/16 when the dial says f/8. But the two or three-stop dropoff is true for both f/8 and f/5.6 lenses.

Some cameras make it easier to point a loupe into the center of the lens than others. I use a Silvestri tilting loupe and it works well in this application.

I have an f/8 SA in 121mm, and f/5.6 SA lenses in 47, 65, and 90mm. The 121 isn't really that short, and I have no trouble focusing it, even before I bought the Maxwell screen. Even though it's a stop slower, it's still the easiest of these to focus, because its length makes it easier to see into the corners. The 47 does not cover 4x5 and I use it right to its limits with 6x12 roll film, and without the Maxwell screen, I could never really know if the corners were illuminated even at f/5.6. It's too hard to maneuver a loupe that deep into the corners.

I would say that for ease of focus with short lenses, the focal length is a bigger issue than the maximum aperture. So, I guess I'm with Dan on this question.

As an aside, I also have a 65/8 Super Angulon that I intend to use for a 4x5 point-n-shoot camera. I'm still pondering the parts list and saving pennies. It's easy enough to focus in the center of the image without using the center filter (which I have). But with the center filter, it's no picnic to focus. I think I'll make my project scale focus and use small apertures and big tripods.

Rick "depends on how short" Denney

31-Mar-2011, 20:17
I have a 120mm f8 super angulon, and don't recall ever having a problem focussing or composing with it. But it's been used outside pretty much exclusively, as a landscape / urban lens in the daytime. I don't know how it would be in more challenging conditions, or how big an improvement the extra stop is on the new version.

Killer lens, by the way. I love it.