View Full Version : late 90/6.8 sharpness versus modern lens

Frank Petronio
18-Feb-2004, 06:45
I am getting tempted to put together a "mini" large format kit and have been reading Kerry's articles religiously. Assuming I found a late model Schneider 90/6.8 in good condition (from the 1960s, not the 1950s), am I safe in assuming that it will be as sharp as a modern 90 at f/11-16? I understand that the single coated Angulon will be subject to more flare and maybe some distortion/softness at the edges, and may not be as contrasty overall, but in terms of absolute sharpness, is their a distinguishable difference?

I don't mind a little falloff or softness at the edges if it isn't extreme. I scan and manipulate my images quite a bit and print moderate sized inkjets, so I can control contrast, etc.

Has anyone done a side by side comparision between a good Angulon and a modern Rodenstock or Schneider 90mm?

Also looking for a small 200-300mm so email me off the forum if you have anything interesting, Mr. Galli, et al.

David A. Goldfarb
18-Feb-2004, 07:25
I've owned a later Linhof 90/6.8 Angulon and replaced it with a 90/8.0 Super-Angulon, and the S-A unquestionably has better sharpness at the corners and more room for movements. That said, I wish I hadn't sold the Angulon, because it was so small and compact and was still pretty good in the center, so I'm looking to buy another one, for exactly the same purpose as you are.

My ultralight LF kit: Gowland front-moves 4x5" with a Graflex folding GG shade, Symmar 135-235 convertible, Linhof "Report" tripod with a small Linhof ballhead, Linhof 42mm shade and drop-in filter kit, 2 Grafmatics (Quickloads would be even lighter, but I like Tri-X), and I'd like to add a 90/6.8 Angulon to that (not only small, but takes the same Linhof 42mm filter holder. Alternately, both use 40.5mm screw-in filters). If I want a handholdable option, I bring along one of my folding MF rangefinders.

Brian Ellis
18-Feb-2004, 07:46
It's my understanding that back in the days when this lens was made Schneider's quality control wasn't what it is today so there is a wide variation in the quality of these lenses (or so I've read, I obvously haven't personally tested a bunch of them). If you want to spend the money the Schneider 80mm Super Symmar XL would be a better choice IMHO but perhaps too expensive for your "mini" purposes. However, it's an excellent lens plus it isn't much larger or heavier than the 90mm Angulon. If you get the Angulon I'd make sure that it can be returned without a restocking fee. I saw about ten of these at a recent camera show and almost without exception they were cloudy or had fungus or otherwise just looked doggy, plus the shutters on lenses this old are often problematical.

Ted Harris
18-Feb-2004, 07:53
I have owned two 90mm f6.8 angulons. One many moons ago and one fairly recently. Simply stated their ONLY advantage over modern lenses was size. Of course when I owned the first one it was so many moons ago there were no other choices.

Any of the more modern (think 70's onward) 90's outperform them significantly. IMHO the weight and size tradeoffs for something like the 90mm f 6.8 Grandagon are well worth it. Take a look at the Fujinon f8 and the Schneider f8 both are somewhat lighter and smaller. You may be satisfied with the performance of the Angulon, I no longer am given what else is available.

Frank Petronio
18-Feb-2004, 08:28
Yes, I understand that the older Schneiders vary, but I am talking about a 8million plus serial number + which is well into the 1960s when they were shaping up their QC. I'd avoid an early serial number version like the plague!

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
18-Feb-2004, 08:56

I have owned a number of Angulons, most recent issues and a few Linhof marked. In any case, I have found them to be mediocre performers, at best. The Angulons, in my experience, work best as medium-wides, for example using a 120mm Angulon with 4x5, or a 165mm with 5x7. Sadly, I can't really suggest an alternative, other than the much larger 100 degree Super-Angulon types, which is what I am using.

Eric Wagner
18-Feb-2004, 09:00
I tested 90/f6.8 #7077683 side-by-side with my 90/f8 Fuji several years ago. With carefully made black and white enlargements viewed at normal distance, the print from the f6.8 Angulon appears equally sharp out to about 75 degrees, after which it deteriorates rapidly. The greater light fall off with the Angulon is very noticeable. As I mentioned recently in another thread, I found the 100mm Kodak WF Ektar better suited to my needs.

18-Feb-2004, 09:34
For historical purposes, I'd like to point out that it hasn't been all that long since this lens was state-of-the-art. 90mm was about as wide as it was practical to go on a 4x5. In addition to the Angulon, there was the Goerz WA Dagor, and Wollensak WA. Kodak "Wide Field" were only 100mm in FL. An Angulon was probably the "best" choice.

Ted Harris
18-Feb-2004, 09:45
I agree with Bill (see my earlier post), but only up to a point. I am not a fan of 'classic' lenses unless there is a specific reason. As for history, it has been less than 20 years since most of us were computing (if we were computing at all) with CPM operating systems oro early versions of DOS running on IBM 8086 machines, I remember that in 1984 I was using a PDP 11 as my main 'micro/mini' 'machine ..... no way I would want to go back to those days.

Dan Fromm
18-Feb-2004, 09:46
Frank, have you visited http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html#65mm_thru_125mm ?

tim atherton
18-Feb-2004, 09:53
"For historical purposes, I'd like to point out that it hasn't been all that long since this lens was state-of-the-art. 90mm was about as wide as it was practical to go on a 4x5."

35 years or so? Thats quite a long time to me... what's that - about 1/4 or 1/5 of the life of the medium so far.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
18-Feb-2004, 13:59
For what it is worth, the Angulon was based upon the 1895 Goerz Dagor, while the Super Angulon is based upon the 1952 Wild Aviogon. That amounts to 57 years, or just over a third of the history of our medium, begining (randomly) with Daguerre's announcement...

Eric Pederson
18-Feb-2004, 14:56
I have a clean 1960's exemplar. Handy lens, but I won't happily use mine at f11. If I wanted relatively sharp at f11, I think I would go with a big modern lens. As it is, my lens is almost permanently at f22 to get enough coverage and even sharpness. (I mostly shoot still-lifes anyway.) It really needs a hood too.

Řyvind Dahle
18-Feb-2004, 17:02
I did a side by side comparision between all my lenses, and what surprised me was the resolution of my 135/4.5 Kodak Anastigmat, very close to the rest,non-coated and beginning separation. Else from that, my 75/5.6 Mamiya/Polaroid turned out to be a underachiever (planning to use it on 6x12cm, but changed it for a pack-film Polaroid) and my 210/5.6 Apo-Symmar was a tiny bit overachiever. Else, the 150/9 Apo-Gerogon, 150/4.5 Rodenstock Rogonar-S, 90/6.8 Angulon, 305/9 G-Claron, 360/9 Apo-Gerogon and 480/9 Apo-Ronar was pretty equal IN THE CENTER, because I tested those with 35mm and some of them with the smaller 9x12cm Polaroid 55.

These lenses was up to the resolution of my Canon FD 300/4.

Find a lens that has just been serviced, because nobody do that to a bad lens!


18-Feb-2004, 18:30
Does this discussion mean that the 1940s and 1950s photographs in a book that I'm reading - Julius Shulman's Photographing Architecture and Interiors - aren't any good?

steve simmons
18-Feb-2004, 18:34
I try and discourgae people from using these older lenses. First of all their image circle size is limited and secondly the image gest soft as you go out to the edges of the image circle. IMHO do not use one of these. A Super Angulon is a much better lens as is an f8 Fuji, Nikon, Rodenstock, etc.

steve simmons