View Full Version : Super Angulon 120 vs 121

Robert Brown
16-Apr-2004, 20:58
Hi Can anyone tell me the difference between the Schneider Super Angulon 120 and the 121 f/8 lenses (besides the 1 mm). I have checked the spec sheets and been to the Schneider website for info and both are 100 degree lenses and have almost the same angle of view-maybe the main difference is in the shutters they are mounted in? I am courious as to why Schneider had two SA lenses with such close specifications. Also anyone have experience with sharpness comparisons between the two. Have heard that the 120 may not be as sharp? Thanks in advance for any info.



David G. Gagnon
16-Apr-2004, 21:27

I seem to remember that a few of the 121mm f8 lenses for sale on eBay were described as covering 8X10, while the 120mm would not. I don't know if there is any truth to this, but I have seen them listed a couple of times like this. If it DID cover 8x10, my guess is that it would be at f22 or smaller with little to no movements available.

Hopefully, someone else can answer you more concretely.


Martin Patek-Strutsky
17-Apr-2004, 03:56
The SA 121 is the predecessor of the SA 120. I tested both some weeks ago. The 121 had a very poor performance in the corners, the 120 was in all aspects excellent.

The SA 120 could be a perfect bargain, but be aware that it needs 82mm filters. Buying a new set of filters could become more expensive than the lens itself. Thats why I decided against it and plan to get a Super Symmar 110 (67mm) or Nikkor-SW 120 (77mm) instead.

neil poulsen
17-Apr-2004, 05:44
Using this lens, I've gotten some great results. The 121mm was one of Ansel Adams favorite lenses, and he used it on many well-known images. A.A. comments in his books that the 121 will indeed cover 8x10 on-axis. No translational movements.

As to a difference between the two lenses, the 120mm is multi-coated and the 121 is single-coated.

I'm interested in Martin's comment. I need to check this out on my lens.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
17-Apr-2004, 08:58
As mentioned, the main difference between the two is that all 121mm are single-coated, while most 120mm are multi-coated. I think also there was a design change, as I have heard that the 121mm has a bit more coverage. I have compared results from the two, and have found little difference. Of course, the 121mm usually sells used $200-400 less.

In terms of sharpness, I have found that both lenses are pretty much equal, sharp enough for a 4x enlargement, but not, in my experience, more. Oddly, my 111mm WA Dagor is noticeably sharper than either of the Super Angulon's I have used.

jerry brodkey
17-Apr-2004, 11:04
According to info that I have, the 120 is MC, image circle is 288, and has 8 elements in 4 groups. The 121 is SC, image circle is 290, and has 6 elements in 4 groups. It's an older lens. I wouldn't want to use either on an 8X10 which would require an image circle of about 325.


Martin Patek-Strutsky
17-Apr-2004, 13:43
Reading all the different opinions one could think Schneider had a serious problem with sample deviation. Never read that divergent opinions about a Symmar or other Schneider lenses. Is this maybe a specific problem with wide angel lenses?

Neil, I wouldn't worry too much about your SA 121. Probably the answer is simply that you have a good sample and I used a lemon for my test shots.

Jason, I have a SA 8/90 MC which I believe has the same optical formula as the SA 120. I made prints with a magnification of 10 with tack sharp results. On the light table slides taken with a SA 120 show a similar quality.

Mark Sampson
19-Apr-2004, 06:03
I have a 121 and think it's a fine lens. I use it for architecture on 4x5 so I've never come close to the limits of coverage. To avoid the huge filters on the front I have a Calumet "Xenophon" on the back and use 3" gels.

Neil Miller
20-Apr-2004, 11:06
I have a 121 super angulon and have found that it is a fine lens - very sharp, more movements than I could use on my 5x7 and I have been told that it will cover 10x8. The only drawback is its size - it is a bit of a monster and very heavy. It has a bit of a weird-looking shutter. I think that it is far larger than the 120, but I could be wrong. I think that it has more coverage than the 120, too. Regards, Neil.

john boy
30-Apr-2004, 12:41
The 121 and 120 are each 121mm lenses, FAPP the same circle of coverage, same angle, each is a 6,4 lens grouping. The 121 is lighter and smaller. The 120 is multicoated.

John Hurlock
20-Aug-2005, 09:41
Neil Miller above says that the shutter for the 121mm Super Angulon is "far larger" than the shutter for the 120mm Super Angulon. I recently purchased a 121mm SA on a Sinar board and am interested in mounting it in a Copal shutter. The Schneider website lists the only the 120mm SA. The 120mm Super Angulon takes a copal 0 shutter. What size Copal shutter does the 121mm SA fit?

Thanks John

Mark Sawyer
20-Aug-2005, 12:03
I have a 121mm Technica-select SA, and can confirm it illuminates the whole 8x10 area, but has considerable "stretching" effects at the corners. This may be why Schneider quoted 290mm of coverage, as opposed to the 312 needed for 8x10. (While I like very wide angle lenses, this one sees little use as I also have a $40, 19th century brass-barrel Neuhring 125mm that covers better w/ less distortion and close-enough to the contrast and definition performance. The Neuring is also the smallest and lightest of my dozen-or-so 8x10 lenses, while the 121mm SA is the largest and heaviest.)

"The 121mm was one of Ansel Adams favorite lenses, and he used it on many well-known images. A.A. comments in his books that the 121 will indeed cover 8x10 on-axis."
--neil poulsen

Neil, was this on a 4x5 or 5x7? I can't remember any of the Ansel's images made with such a wide angle lens as the 121mm would be on an 8x10. Would love to see some if he did, as it would be far outside his usual moderate lens choices.

Struan Gray
22-Aug-2005, 02:03
I have a 121 mm Super Angulon that I have used a fair bit on 4x5. It's almost exactly the same size and weight as an f4.5 90 mm SA, so although large and heavy, it's still practical for field use if you need the coverage. I never found it lacking in sharpness, but then I wasn't looking in the corners of 8x10.

The 121s seems to have been offered in various shutter configurations. Mine is in a '0' shutter, but the lens elements do not mount directly into the shutter. Instead, they screw into a barrel, and the shutter is mounted inside the barrel, with a cut out to access the controls. I assume this was done to prevent the large elements putting undue torque onto the shutter housing. If you get one of these with a dead shutter, you cannot use the elements with a new shutter. Later 121s I have seen on eBay screw directly into a Copal '0'.

André Thomas
22-Aug-2005, 05:36
I have tested both lenses with my 13x18cm (5x7") camera. I got tack sharp images with these lenses but the colours of the SA 121 are warmer - and the colours of the SA 120 are more realistic. On the transparencies I could see light fall off in the corners. I deceided for the SA 120 MC with center filter and I'm very happy with my decision! I couldn't detect any differences in sharpnes or colour between this lens and lenses e.g. SA 72 XL or SS 150 HM!

Before I brought the SA 120 I talked to a mechanic by Schneider-Kreuznach they recommanded the SA 120 for architecture photography over the "new" SS 110 XL. But the SS 110 XL should be more universal because it delivers better results in near distances.

At the moment I havn't used the SA 120 on my 8x10" camera so I can not say if it covers this format. But I remeber an impressiv image in the Sinar largeformat book taken with the SA 121 on 8x10".

Best wishes,