View Full Version : About the Nikon lenses

9-Jan-2013, 01:13
Hi all!
I'm trying to buy a new lens for my 4x5 camera. I'm looking for a 210mm f. 5.6 and one 135mm f.5.6
I know that the Rodenstock S series they are a good lenses, but also expencive.
The Nikon it's also good quality, but the big difference of price makes me think about the difference of quality...
Please tell me what do you think about this.


9-Jan-2013, 03:12
Hi Igor,

All of the lenses from the four major manufacturers are excellent. Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, and Fuji.
I use Rodenstock, Nikon, and Fuji lenses myself, and get excellent results with all of them.

Of course Schneider and Rodenstock are the only companies still making lenses for large format cameras. So if you want to buy new rather than used, those are your only options. I prefer Rodenstock, but that's just personal opinion.

You'll find some lenses are better than others, but much of that can be attributed to manufacturing variation from one individual lens to another. Modern computerized manufacturing has greatly reduced individual variation.

Two features that might indicate superior optical performance are apochromatic color correction and the use of ED glass to reduce aberrations. Multi-coating would fall into this category. Although it's been used for the last 50(?) years, you'll still find used lenses for sale that are single-coated.

I think Schneider is the only company to use aspheric elements to improve image quality near the edges.
(Hope the Rodenstock distributor will forgive me if they also use aspheric elements.)

- Leigh

Brian Ellis
9-Jan-2013, 05:33
I've had both the 135 Nikon and Rodenstock S. I saw no obvious differences in quality of the photographs using either lens and regretted selling the Nikon to buy the Rodenstock. However, I didn't conduct a serious lens tests with either lens, I just looked at the photographs.

9-Jan-2013, 08:22
the rodenstock S is/will be sharper than the nikon if you use generous movements. Even w/o movements, there's a difference between the two. Most of that is price but the S is sharper at 22&32 and has a larger image circle to work with.

Drew Wiley
9-Jan-2013, 10:17
There are lots of Fuji 210's out there on the used market right now at very tempting prices, and they're just as good as the German ones. All the modern ones are multicoated.

9-Jan-2013, 10:57
Yeah, what Drew said. My 210 fujinon w is wicked sharp and the image circle is huge.

9-Jan-2013, 16:43
the rodenstock S is/will be sharper than the nikon if you use generous movements.
I've always thought the Apo-Sironar-S is the best lens available.

That's why I have all of them from 135mm through 300mm. I can't afford the 360mm.
They're my standard lenses in those focal lengths.

- Leigh

Drew Wiley
9-Jan-2013, 17:10
The Apo Sironar S might give a little better edge performance at large apertures than
some of the others; but at typical working apertures, most of these modern lenses are
high perfomance. If you're talking 360, the sharpest one I have is an Apo Nikkor f/9,
followed by the Fuji A. Both are higher performance than typical faster plasmats and will easily cover 8x10. Nikkor M's are also deadly sharp. The whole subject really starts to get
silly at a certain point. It's more important to think about coverage, portability (wt/size),
etc. Sharpness is ordinarily more affected by film plane flatness than most of the
nitpicking we read about the lenses themselves - it's the variable many LF shoots seem
outright ignorant about.

9-Jan-2013, 17:23
I like and use all Nikons (5 in all). Dykinga cut his teeth using the 75mm, 180mm and 360T. Clifton used and loved the 240mm. They're well priced.

For my taste I see a color difference with the Nikons that I prefer. I am not sure what the extra sharpness gives you using other brands, if that is indeed the case. For me it's all about the color. For B&W, well that may be a different kettle of tea and I defer to those who shoot B&W and find significant differences (and some do).

9-Jan-2013, 18:06
If you're talking 360, the sharpest one I have is an Apo Nikkor f/9...
I've never heard of that lens. The Nikkor catalogs I have only show the 105/9, 300/9, and 450/9 in the M series.

I have the 300/9 and the 450/9, and they're both great performers.

- Leigh

adam satushek
9-Jan-2013, 18:15
The one thing to look out in a 135mm is coverage. I had the nikkor for many years and and thought it was great. Then I started using more movements and found I was running out of image circle. I was really fond of the 135mm focal length, and looked at the 135 sironar s as a replacement, but ended up getting a150mm sironar s and a 120mm nikkor sw to fill the gap. Very happy....I guess my point is the 135 nikkor w is great and suited me for many years. You may find at some point you desire more movements than it allows...but maybe not. You mention 210mm also. That is probably my second favorite focal length. Any from the big four probably has plenty of coverage and will be a great lens. I find that you can do a lot with just a slightly wide and slightly long lens.

9-Jan-2013, 18:23
Just for reference, the ICs of the 135/5.6 lenses in my database range from
190mm (Symmar S) to 228mm (Fuji W EBC). The Nikkor W is 200mm. The Apo-Sironar-S is 208mm.

The 4x5 diagonal is 163mm.

- Leigh

Kevin Crisp
9-Jan-2013, 19:04
When did Fujinon stop making LF format lenses as indicated in this post? Badger seems to have lots of them.

9-Jan-2013, 19:08
OK. My error. I had not seen any new ones recently, but then I don't visit Badger.

- Leigh

9-Jan-2013, 20:16
On second thought, look at the dump of Fujinon lenses on Ebay for very low prices. Good luck.

Kevin Crisp
9-Jan-2013, 21:05
It has been some time since I've checked the prices on new lenses. Holy smokes!

Gary Tarbert
10-Jan-2013, 04:20
I have 4 nikkor lenses including the 135 you ask about the others are 120 mm which i mainly use as a wide on my 5x8 format a 90mm and the 450M for 8x10 or 5x8 only ,I have no issues with the quality of these lenses , The 135 funny enough was the bargain of the century I bought it as a job lot with a linhof monorail some film holders genuine linhof cable release etc finished up selling the bits i didn't want for the same price i paid for the job lot ,End result perfect 135mm nikkor on linhof board and cable release and 2 film holders FREE!! .Cheers Gary

10-Jan-2013, 07:26
So, Many thanks to all! It's amazing read so many answers, it's great be part of a big family!

Drew Wiley
10-Jan-2013, 10:00
Fuji still makes a superb selection of LF lenses. The problem at the moment is that the
dollar is weak in relation to the yen, so dealers are reluctant to import many of them,
esp at a time when all types of LF lenses are popping up used at relatively good prices,
unless you're fishing for an alleged "cult" lens. Nikon's LF lenses are also superb, though
no longer being mfg. Just depends exactly what you need. All four of the big manufacturers
had a full selection of general-use plasmats and wide-angle lenses. But they often differed
in their specialized lens selection.