View Full Version : Fair price for Rodenstock 150mm APO-Sironar-N?

1-Oct-2011, 14:02
Hi all, just wondering what a fair price for Rodenstock 150mm APO-Sironar-N might be? I've been trawling the net, specifically KEH and the closed auctions on Ebay, and EX+ condition samples seem to be going for about $450 - $500USD. Is this about right?
Also, is this lens worth the premium over the lesser valued Nikon-W 150mm?

Steve Hamley
1-Oct-2011, 14:19
I think that's too high for a 150. More like $225-250 for a "N". If it's the latest "grey stripe" and Rodenstock branded versus say Caltar, maybe 275-300. If it's Linhof select, maybe $300-325.

Cheers, Steve

1-Oct-2011, 14:26
Wow, really? That cheap? Thanks for the heads up. I'm finding it really hard to source a high quality 150mm lens. The big stores, like B&H and KEH seem to charge a premium (which sometimes I'm willing to pay for peace of mind in being able to return if it's not as described etc,) and Ebay offerings aren't that far off.

Steve Goldstein
1-Oct-2011, 14:30
Tim, be sure when you're looking at closed auctions that there were actually bids! A lot of lenses get listed with high starting values and never attract bidders as a result.

1-Oct-2011, 14:35
Yeah, I've noticed that. Good point. The ones that sell do seem to go for a lot less, although I notice at KEH the turn around on samples of that value is relatively quick.

This is the auction that sparked my interest: http://www.ebay.com/itm/170704757410?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_500wt_1413

Tim, be sure when you're looking at closed auctions that there were actually bids! A lot of lenses get listed with high starting values and never attract bidders as a result.

Frank Petronio
1-Oct-2011, 14:43
I think prices are going up in general but $250 to 300 for a nice one sounds right. Don't forget to consider the Caltar-II and Sinaron-S alternatives that are the same lens, rebranded.

I would pay 20% more for the later ones with the stripe or for a Linhof or Sinaron select or one in a late, black Compur. I would avoid the Prontor shutters, they loose a higher speed versus the Copal/Compur and also because they are self-cocking, they require a harder "push" to fire which could lead to more vibration.

(Note that a Sinaron-S is a Sironar-N; a Sinaron-SE is a Sironar-S. Funky naming system!)

Some of the early Sironars, pre-N, 1970s, seem to be more prone to separation than other lenses but that is just because I've seen a lot of auctions for funky ones more than others, it is not a statistical fact.

I never thought Nikkor large format lenses were as sharp but it is just a silly prejudice because my first lens was a Nikkor and I wasn't thrilled by it after I got my Rodenstocks. I think Fuji versions are as sharp as anything, so it isn't a Japanese versus German thing. John Sexton and many other good to great photographers used Nikkors just fine so it is just silly old me who avoids them.

Oren Grad
1-Oct-2011, 14:44
Look for a Sironar-N MC or a Caltar II-N instead of an Apo-Sironar-N. For practical purposes, they are the same lens. You just avoid paying for the late-production pixie dust.

1-Oct-2011, 14:46
All good information, thanks. Can anyone recommend another trusted source for used LF lenses that sells via the web? I'm not exactly spoilt for choice here in New Zealand.
Thanks again.

Oren Grad
1-Oct-2011, 14:48
Also, is this lens worth the premium over the lesser valued Nikon-W 150mm?

They're both fine modern lenses. There are subtle differences in the way they "draw", notably in their rendering of out-of-focus zones. Some of us have preferences in that respect, many don't care. But if you don't already have the experience to know for yourself whether you even care about such differences, let alone which "flavor" you prefer, don't get hung up on it. If the immediate problem is just to find a lens you can afford and start making pictures, then by all means take a Nikkor W if that's what becomes available.

1-Oct-2011, 15:00
I've been borrowing a modern Topcor 150mm lens from work that was originally purchased packaged with a Horseman 45FA. I've never read anything about the lens, but it seems sharp enough. I bought my own Schneider 90mm f8 SA MC, which seems okay but I haven't taken it to task with extreme enlargements yet. It was what I could afford at the time. I'd like a 150mm lens that I won't have second thoughts about as my LF technical skills progress, especially since it's likely to be my favoured focal length. I could justify spending $500USD on something special, but am obviously open to spending less if one brand is cheaper than the next with comparable resolution. I mention the Nikon-W because even on Ebay a near mint sample mounted on a lens board one can be had for $300. I know others here have suggested a more appropriate price for the Nikon is $200, but from my part of the world beggars can't be choosers!

Oren Grad
1-Oct-2011, 15:16
I'd like a 150mm lens that I won't have second thoughts about as my LF technical skills progress, especially since it's likely to be my favoured focal length.

The problem is that you won't know what subtleties of lens performance, if any, really matter to you until you have some experience under your belt. The same is true of cameras, BTW.

Modern plasmat-type normal lenses from all four of the major manufacturers - Rodenstock, Schneider, Fuji, Nikon - perform well. To get started, buy whichever you can find and afford, go make a lot of pictures, and learn from your results. If you find yourself with a particular problem, come back and tell us what it is. If you eventually get a grass-is-greener itch, then borrow or buy something else, compare, and keep the one you like more. If neither of the above applies, then keep making pictures and don't lose sleep.

Steve Hamley
1-Oct-2011, 15:33
There's A Rodenstock N on eBay now for a BIN of $285, and a Fuji for $280. Fujinons are under rated, and very, very sharp. There's also a 150mm f:5.6 Schneider Xenar at $229, and while tessars don't have the sharp coverage of the plasmats and Fujinon NW/CM-W, I've always liked them.

Cheers, Steve

Gem Singer
1-Oct-2011, 16:44
KEH has a Fujinon f5.6 150W listed for $350.

Fuji lenses are excellent performers, as are Nikon/Nikkors.

Frank Petronio
1-Oct-2011, 16:50

Right here on the forum, for only $200, Luis is selling a perfectly fine Rodenstock Sironar-N 210/5.6, which arguably is a more expensive lens new.

If you can be patient, a similar deal on a good 150mm will come along. Or maybe get the 210 now and keep looking for a deal on a 150.

1-Oct-2011, 19:21
I don't know the general desire for a 135mm over a 150. My range of lenses is 90, 135, 180 and 250. I tend toward 135.

I recently posted a Rodenstock Sironar-N 135 5.6 in Copal Shutter and excellent plus condition. I listed it for $275, after researching it at length on eBay closed listings and dropped $25 of the average closed listings on eBay.

I immediately received an offer of $250 and took it. Deal done, shipped and delivered.

I can't make the reach in my mind to $350-400 for the 150, but ?????

I do know that it would be very difficult to beat the condition and operating quality of the lens I sold. I even included the test list on shutter speeds, which were all within spec except one.

Hope that helps. This was just a few weeks ago. Less than a month.

2-Oct-2011, 03:41
Thanks all. I've ended up buying a Nikon-W, including Technika lens board. I paid higher than what may be considered fair but compared to buying locally it's still cheap. So I can't complain, really. I figure it'll be nice to be able to use only gear I actually own for once. This way I'll get to know the limitations and strengths of each component quickly and be in a better position to judge if spending extra money on lenses is worth it.

Shooting LF has been a total roller coaster ride lately, what with film getting ruined at the lab and the usual noob technical jitters – mainly forgetting to zero each setting before packdown or general setup and movement tricks. But I love looking at that ground glass, slowing down and really composing the the edges of the frame.

Steve M Hostetter
2-Oct-2011, 04:51

Try Jack's camera in Muncie IN

2-Oct-2011, 12:38
Thanks for the tip!


Try Jack's camera in Muncie IN

3-Oct-2011, 20:18
For the record, probably the best way to get cheap lenses is to buy a camera which comes with one or more lenses, some holders, etc. Very typically these outfits sell for a small fraction of the prices of individual items. I've picked up several "free" cameras and or "free" lenses that way. Go to the Ebay large format camera section and use lens as your search term... you'll find a lot of cameras packaged with lenses.

6-Oct-2011, 01:37
Interestingly, the Rodenstock lens on ebay I linked to before has dropped in buy now price from $475 to $349. Another lesson has been learnt in the merits of patience...