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neil poulsen
6-Dec-2011, 08:17
Being on Kerry's site for a bit, for the first time I learned that the Nikon 90mm SW f8 lens has the same image circle as my Schneider S.A. 90mm f5.6, which is 235mm! Plus, I seem to recall that both are 8 element lenses.

Any reason why I shouldn't swap it out? I'd be interested in people's perspective who've used the Nikkor f8 lens.

I also have the S.A. 121mm f8, and from using that lens, the loss of an f-stop isn't a problem.

Of course, the f4.5 Nikon S.W. would be even better, and would have same image circle at f16 instead of f22. But, I like the idea of cutting back on weight.

Gem Singer
6-Dec-2011, 09:19
Hi Neil,

The Nikon/Nikkor f8 90SW has the most "bang for the buck" of the smaller size wide angle lenses..

It weighs 360gms and takes a 67mm screw-in filter,yet it has a 235mm image circle.

Nikon/Nikkor f8 90SW's don't appear on the used market very often, and when they do, they usually demand a premium price. KEH has one listed for $695.

I use mine for 5x7 and also have a Fujinon f8 90SW, with a slightly smaller image circle, that I use or 4x5.

Since I usually shoot outdoors, there is no disadvantage to the slower f8 aperture.

Robert Oliver
6-Dec-2011, 09:23
To get my Nikkor 90mm SW F8 from me, you'll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers!

David Karp
6-Dec-2011, 09:56
I like mine very much. I have been thinking about doing the same thing as you are proposing. My wonderful 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N has been sitting in a drawer. I don't do so much architectural work any more. No more color film, and the Nikkor will meet any needs I might have in that regard anyway. I had an older 90mm f/8 Fujinon which was also very nice, but like all of the rest of the f/6.8 or f/8 90s, the image circle was significantly smaller.

Ron Marshall
6-Dec-2011, 11:37
What Gem said.

Mine is one of my sharpest and most contrasy lenses. f8 is not a problem.

john wood
6-Dec-2011, 11:51
Echo the above...doesn't weigh a thing. I did try out an f4.5 and noticed a difference after the sun hit the horizon, the extra stops helped on the gg...but, heck, 'f8 and be there'...set up 10 minutes earlier than needed and kick back... A great lens.

Corran
6-Dec-2011, 13:55
Nikon/Nikkor f8 90SW's don't appear on the used market very often, and when they do, they usually demand a premium price. KEH has one listed for $695.

While this is true, they do seem to show up on ebay occasionally and never seem to fetch the premium they do around here or at KEH. I've seen several go for $400 or so. I got mine on ebay for $325 after waiting and watching for a while. I had a Schneider 90/8 so I was in no rush, just wanted to try it out and I ended up definitely seeing the advantage of a bigger IC.

That reminds me, I still need to sell my Schneider SA 90/8 MC...

luis a de santos
6-Dec-2011, 15:24
Love my Nikkor 90mm one of the best and most used lenses that I have.
All Nikkor lenses are very good and do not require center filters.

Luis

Bob Salomon
6-Dec-2011, 15:28
"and do not require center filters."

No, Nikon simply didn't offer them. They can be just as needed with any modern wide angle from any manufacturer.

Ed Richards
6-Dec-2011, 16:14
I have the 4.5 and loved it. But once I got the 80SS I quit carrying the 90. Same view angle, 4.5, and tiny. Hard to get one at a good price, so the Nikon is still the best bang for the buck.

Ivan J. Eberle
6-Dec-2011, 18:57
I do a fair amount of rock art and deep canyon work with my Nikon SW 90mm f/8 and it frankly can be hard to focus on low key or low contrast subjects without a Fresnel. Factor in a Fresnel and it may not be quite the bargain, but it is astoundingly sharp and relatively light.

Per Madsen
7-Dec-2011, 00:04
I have one too. Light, very sharp and very good coatning.

When i bourgth the lens on E-bay the 90/8 Nikkors was as expensive
as the 90/4.5 lenses.

In low-light conditions it is quite dim, when you focus the lens.

Letoco
7-Dec-2011, 05:01
It is indeed a very good 90mm lens. The point not to be forgotten, when comparing lenses of the same focal length but a different aperture, is that generally the lenses with a smaller aperture have an advantage in their optical performance. This is due to the fact that it is easier to tweak the design of lenses with smaller apertures. The price for a bigger aperture is quite high, not only in a bigger weight. Therefore photographers do well if they are wiling to sacrifice a stop or two of the maximum aperture on their lenses in exchange for many other advantages - weight, dimension, IC and not the least, the optical performance.
Eyes are different for everyone, but personally, I never choose a lens with a greater aperture only because it is easier for eyes on the gg. It seems to me to be a futile reason for leaving the better optical performance of a smaller aperture lens. It is better to choose higher speed lenses for more important reasons, such as shorter shooting speed or similar.
I have the Nikon 90/8 -it is a workhorse and I never looked for its bigger aperture equivalent, even in dark interiors. But again, eyes are different for everyone.

Bob Salomon
7-Dec-2011, 07:30
"The point not to be forgotten, when comparing lenses of the same focal length but a different aperture, is that generally the lenses with a smaller aperture have an advantage in their optical performance. This is due to the fact that it is easier to tweak the design of lenses with smaller apertures."

Nonsense! The faster and slower W/A lenses in the same focal length from the same manufacturer are not identical designs with one simply having a larger front element to speed it up. They are quite different in performance with the faster version always outperforming the slower version. Go to the manufacturer's web sites and download the curves. You will see that the faster lens has better MTF curves, better coverage, better distortion curves, better longitudinal color aberration curves and better light fall-off curves then the slower version.

Plus, of course, better illumination on the GG thanks to its faster speed.

Letoco
8-Dec-2011, 00:37
It could be that we are both right, but passing each other, probably. Yet, refusing (quite rightly so, I have to say) a sweeping comment with another sweeping comment you fell, Iím afraid, to the same hole as me.
So, for a starter - I stand behind my affirmation that high speed lenses are much more difficult to tweak for high performance than their slower equivalents. Therefore - now I add what I know - in order to put them on the high level you often tweak them with a different lens design, much more demanding in their manufacture. Which is not always better, as you affirm. To say an example -in order to beat spherical aberration and coma, the eternal enemy of high speed lenses, they pay the price of tweaking with contrast performance and definition, to name just some of the necessary compromises. (Flare is a different story yet parallel one.)
On the other hand, it is also true that these different designs come with higher manufacturing precision and can therefore (always?) have better performance in some of the optical aspects. There youíre right. But in sharpness? I dare to guess not, as that depends on the compromised contrast.
The sweeping comment of mine came, (years ago, still before Schneider came with the bettered Symmar L) from a lens designer who told me that comparing two lenses (did he mean of comparable design? Obviously, I suppose so) differing in speed, the lower speed lens is easier corrected.
But were the new designs for higher speed equivalents always better in all optical aspects, as you seem to say, why would they bother to make even the slower lenses? For the simple advantage of their smaller weight and price? Seems there must be more to it.
So, rightly, should I have said more precisely - lenses of a comparable design are optically better off in their slower versions?

neil poulsen
8-Dec-2011, 06:22
Thanks for all the responses.

As to comparing the f8's with their faster, bigger brothers, it's often the case that the f8 versions are six element lenses, whereas the faster version is an 8 element lens. So, the faster version is a better performer.

But that's one of the things that intriguing about the Nikkor 90mm f8, it's an 8 element lens.

Letoco
8-Dec-2011, 07:30
Itís not that a lens with more elements is automatically a better performer than a lens with fewer elements. Not in all aspects. Take for example the spherical aberration mentioned above. A lens design is more complicated than that.

pdmoylan
8-Dec-2011, 16:28
Have used the 90F8 Nikkor for > 10 years. Concur with others on its great contrast and sharpness and lack of noticable falloff.

Since I shoot the at the edges of daylight most often, even with a fresnal, it can be too difficult to obtain exact focus in certain situations, particuarly when using extreme movements (drop bed with back focus for instance). An f5.6 of f4.5 is advisable if you are shooting regularly in very low light. Otherwise, go for it. A clear competitor is an EBC coated Fuji 90mm F8. Carr Clifton used one for years with wonderful results. Similar in color characteristics to the Nikon.

EdSawyer
8-Dec-2011, 19:23
The nikkor 90/8 is superb, the best 90 by anyone at any speed. It clearly surpasses the nikkor 90/4.5, which disproves Bob's diatribe about faster lenses always being better ( if anyone believed that to begin with). It also surpasses all other 90s, and equals or betters the schneider 80 xl, IMNSHO.

meerkat
22-Dec-2011, 13:29
The nikkor 90/8 is superb, the best 90 by anyone at any speed. It clearly surpasses the nikkor 90/4.5, which disproves Bob's diatribe about faster lenses always being better ( if anyone believed that to begin with). It also surpasses all other 90s, and equals or betters the schneider 80 xl, IMNSHO.

I have a chance to pick up the 90/4.5 for a decent price. I'm not new to LF and own several German lenses but no Nikkors, and have yet to use one.

I'd appreciate if you could tell me (empirically) why the 90/8 "clearly surpasses the Nikkor 90/4.5." And how it also "surpasses all other 90s." Again, I'd like the empirical evidence. If the 4.5 is inferior, then I'll start looking for the 8 instead.

(btw, the physical size of the lens is of no importance to me as I'm not a backpacker/landscape photographer.)

Thanks very much.

Richard Mahoney
22-Dec-2011, 15:33
...

Nonsense! The faster and slower W/A lenses in the same focal length from the same manufacturer are not identical designs with one simply having a larger front element to speed it up. They are quite different in performance with the faster version always outperforming the slower version. Go to the manufacturer's web sites and download the curves. You will see that the faster lens has better MTF curves, better coverage, better distortion curves, better longitudinal color aberration curves and better light fall-off curves then the slower version.

Plus, of course, better illumination on the GG thanks to its faster speed.

Putting aside the rest, the illumination by itself is more significant than many people are making out. A 90/4.5 arrived the other day and I've been using it with available light along with my standard 5.6s -- I've nothing slower -- for architectural interiors. Anything slower and I would have found focusing next to impossible -- and I _always_ focus wide open using the depth of field calculator on my Cambo. I did consider whether or not to get the 90/8 but am pleased I didn't. For the work I'm doing it simply wouldn't be up to scratch. And with interiors with available light -- despite the weight and size -- I'd be hesitant to use anything slower than a 5.6.


KInd regards,

Richard

John Conway
22-Dec-2011, 17:16
I agree with Richard. I have been putting together my 4X5 lens kit and I have found the f8 lenses very difficult to use under low light. When I received my Nikkor 65 f4 I was delighted. Focusing on the center of the ground glass is not a problem with the f8 lenses. But the outer edges are where I struggle. I will keep my f8 lenses, since those models are not made any faster. But from now on I will seek faster lenses.

meerkat
22-Dec-2011, 18:02
Putting aside the rest, the illumination by itself is more significant than many people are making out. A 90/4.5 arrived the other day and I've been using it with available light along with my standard 5.6s -- I've nothing slower -- for architectural interiors. Anything slower and I would have found focusing next to impossible -- and I _always_ focus wide open using the depth of field calculator on my Cambo. I did consider whether or not to get the 90/8 but am pleased I didn't. For the work I'm doing it simply wouldn't be up to scratch. And with interiors with available light -- despite the weight and size -- I'd be hesitant to use anything slower than a 5.6.


KInd regards,

Richard


I agree with Richard. I have been putting together my 4X5 lens kit and I have found the f8 lenses very difficult to use under low light. When I received my Nikkor 65 f4 I was delighted. Focusing on the center of the ground glass is not a problem with the f8 lenses. But the outer edges are where I struggle. I will keep my f8 lenses, since those models are not made any faster. But from now on I will seek faster lenses.

This consideration is important to me, too. I'll be documenting the interior of dwellings where light is relatively dim. That's why I initially started my search for a good Nikkor 90/4.5 sample.

But I'm still curious as to why the 8 "surpasses" it and "all the other 90s." Is there something inferior about the 4.5 that makes the 8 such a better lens? I wouldn't think that would be the case, but it was mentioned specifically on this thread in post #19 http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=815221&postcount=19

What is that specific quality or qualities (aside from physical size) that makes it so much better? I'm about to go ahead and purchase the 4.5 as planned, but now my curiosity has gotten the best of me.

Anyone else think the 4.5 is less of a lens than the 8?

Thanks again.

EdSawyer
23-Dec-2011, 08:56
Meerkat - have a look at the Thallmann/Perez lens tests for empirical evidence on the 90/8 nikon being the king of the 90s. It's also a more sophisticated design with less compromises than the 90/4.5 nikkor.

-Ed

meerkat
23-Dec-2011, 10:47
Meerkat - have a look at the Thallmann/Perez lens tests for empirical evidence on the 90/8 nikon being the king of the 90s. It's also a more sophisticated design with less compromises than the 90/4.5 nikkor.

-Ed

I have seen that website many times in the past. There is no Nikkor 90mm 4.5 lens in their tests. Aside from physical size why does the 8 'surpass' the 4.5? How specifically is it a 'more sophisticated design' over the 4.5 and what exactly are those 'compromises.' And what does that actually mean; i.e., where does all this show up in real world. (I'm not photographing lens charts but I do need some fine detail to be well resolved given all the usual parameters that affect image quality.)

When someone says these things, I just want to know the quantitative answers to those statements. Thanks.

David Casillas
24-Dec-2011, 02:22
Meerkat:
The only one reference of somebody commenting in both lens is in this thread http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=41880&page=3 in post 23, however it may not be the answer you are looking for. Most comments there agree on f 4.5 being useful.
As for me, I only have owned two F8 and both are great.

Jack Dahlgren
25-Dec-2011, 10:21
I have a chance to pick up the 90/4.5 for a decent price. I'm not new to LF and own several German lenses but no Nikkors, and have yet to use one.

I'd appreciate if you could tell me (empirically) why the 90/8 "clearly surpasses the Nikkor 90/4.5." And how it also "surpasses all other 90s." Again, I'd like the empirical evidence. If the 4.5 is inferior, then I'll start looking for the 8 instead.

(btw, the physical size of the lens is of no importance to me as I'm not a backpacker/landscape photographer.)

Thanks very much.

I'd hardly say it "clearly surpasses" as both lenses produce excellent images. The one thing the f/8 has overwhelmingly in it's favor is the smaller size and weight.

meerkat
25-Dec-2011, 15:58
I'd hardly say it "clearly surpasses" as both lenses produce excellent images. The one thing the f/8 has overwhelmingly in it's favor is the smaller size and weight.

Exactly. It's really all about size/weight priorities or brighter viewing. No one is going to say "yuck, that image was made by using version X or version Y lens." But when I see it stated that 'version X or brand X surpasses all others' without tangible evidence and to the point where version Y is supposedly notably inferior, then that raises the question of "what does that really mean?" In the real world of image making (i.e., making photographs that will have an audience of viewers) it usually means very little.

But I didn't want to spend money on something that is not worth anything because it's so inferior to be clearly noticeable (and it's not my money, the project is being funded 100% by a grant.) I came across this forum and this thread while doing a Google search and shopping for a 90mm lens.

In the meantime, a colleague has offered me the use of their Rodenstock Grandagon 90 4.5 (a Sinaron W version.) I need the brighter focusing aperture since I'll be in fairly low light interiors. They gave me the option to buy it afterwards if I like it and can use it in the future.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
26-Dec-2011, 06:59
I like mine very much. I have been thinking about doing the same thing as you are proposing. My wonderful 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N has been sitting in a drawer. I don't do so much architectural work any more. No more color film, and the Nikkor will meet any needs I might have in that regard anyway. I had an older 90mm f/8 Fujinon which was also very nice, but like all of the rest of the f/6.8 or f/8 90s, the image circle was significantly smaller.

David, is the Grandagon-N sitting in the drawer because of any image quality issues or is it just because it is so big? None of the Rodenstock 90mm lenses are included in the Thalmann/Perez tests.

Edward

EdSawyer
31-Dec-2011, 20:00
Meerkat , do more research, the info is out there on why the 90/8 is better. I read it all did my tests too, and am convinced. Looking at the optical formulas will tell something, if you are familiar with lens design, too. There's a reason the 90/8 sells for as much or more than the 90/4.5 and size is not the only reason.

fuegocito
2-Jan-2012, 16:58
I like mine very much. I have been thinking about doing the same thing as you are proposing. My wonderful 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N has been sitting in a drawer. I don't do so much architectural work any more. No more color film, and the Nikkor will meet any needs I might have in that regard anyway. I had an older 90mm f/8 Fujinon which was also very nice, but like all of the rest of the f/6.8 or f/8 90s, the image circle was significantly smaller.

Hi David, did you ever put both Nikkor and the Grandagon F4.5 to a side by side test? I picked up a G/4.5 while back and it was a dud, its center focus was sharp enough but then it goes whacky like a Petzval toward the outside edge of the frame. I had to return it and am still making do with my newer to me F/8 Nikkor ;)

David Karp
2-Jan-2012, 22:43
Hi Robert,

I have never done a side by side comparison, but my example of the 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N is beautiful. I really like it a lot. Never noticed any weirdness at the edges. The photographer who sold it to me was the first owner. He used it on a Sinar P2 in a DB shutter mount to do architectural work. I was a client, and we had lots of nice photos of architectural lighting installations made with that lens. Never any problem at the edges.

I had it mounted in a Nikon-style Copal No. 1 for a 90mm f/4.5 Nikkor! Works fine.

Was yours a Grandagon, or Grandagon-N? Maybe that is the difference.

meerkat
3-Jan-2012, 01:23
Meerkat , do more research, the info is out there on why the 90/8 is better. I read it all did my tests too, and am convinced. Looking at the optical formulas will tell something, if you are familiar with lens design, too. There's a reason the 90/8 sells for as much or more than the 90/4.5 and size is not the only reason.

Thanks for the update. It's kind of moot for me now since as I mentioned in my last post I have a Grandagon-N 4.5 to use for the project. I exposed a few sheets several days ago and we did a drum scan tonight. It looks really great and it will definitely produce the large prints I'm wanting. No one viewing them will be concerned which lens was used and there are no visual issues as far as I can see (and I'm always the harshest critic of my own prints.) And if the content itself doesn't upstage any perceived resolution/sharpness issues for the viewer, then I've simply failed with the image in the first place. It won't be the fault of the lens.

The bright screen from the 4.5 is very necessary for me in this specific circumstance. It is a big lens but again, that's not a concern in my case. I may end up buying it afterwards.

Thanks again.

fuegocito
20-Jan-2012, 08:47
Hi Robert,

I have never done a side by side comparison, but my example of the 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N is beautiful. I really like it a lot. Never noticed any weirdness at the edges. The photographer who sold it to me was the first owner. He used it on a Sinar P2 in a DB shutter mount to do architectural work. I was a client, and we had lots of nice photos of architectural lighting installations made with that lens. Never any problem at the edges.

I had it mounted in a Nikon-style Copal No. 1 for a 90mm f/4.5 Nikkor! Works fine.

Was yours a Grandagon, or Grandagon-N? Maybe that is the difference.

Thanks David, it sounds like you have a healthy collection of 90's there :p

I don't remember which version of the Grandagon I had there but which ever one it was, it was definitely a dud and not because of the different versions.

David Karp
20-Jan-2012, 10:26
Hi Robert,

I have had good luck with my 90s, although it is probably one of my two least used focal lengths.

My Grandagon-N is a great lens, it is just so much bigger than all of the others. It was perfect for night architectural/lighting photography. The colors were great for the commercial work that it was used for before I purchased it. It is really sharp. It is an older lens, with a Sinar label on it, so it predates Sinarons.

The older Fujinon I sold after I purchased your Nikkor 90 f/8 was also a really nice lens. It was light and sharp. The only reason I was interested in your lens was the larger image circle. I was used to the bigger circle from the Rodenstock, and always felt a deficit.

The Nikkor is such a nice combination of some of the best attributes of the other two lenses. It is smaller and lighter than the Grandagon, and uses smaller filters. It has the image circle of the Rodenstock. It is nice and sharp. The only drawback is the f/8 maximum aperture, which is really only a problem when photographing in dim indoor environments, or at night. It is so nice, that I use it more than I ever used the other two 90s.

I do have a couple of nice 90s. At least it is not as bad as having two 180s and three 210s. (What is wrong with me? :) )

Steve Goldstein
20-Jan-2012, 10:47
At least it is not as bad as having two 180s and three 210s.

Only three 210s? What is wrong with you? :)

fuegocito
20-Jan-2012, 18:39
LOL, David and Steve, there has to be a thread one can go, like the AA people, lament about having too many lenses/cameras, while sharing a few good laughs :)