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Thread: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

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    Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Hi,

    I have just purchased a Chamonix 45N-2 which will be my first LF camera and I'm currently looking for an appropriate lens. I'm about to embark on a project in the north of England using a combination of 35mm and 4x5. Im using a 35mm lens on my 35mm camera and would like a similar focal length for the 4x5 to maintain a consistent aesthetic (I plan to shoot predominantly architecture and portraiture). After some preliminary research I have come across both a Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 and a Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 which both look to be suitable lenses and affordable lenses. Could anyone please give any recommendation as to which one may be a better choice? (and which focal length is closer to 35mm on a 35mm camera). I appreciate both are heavy lenses but I would like the flexibility of a large image circle.

    Thanks in advance.

    Charlie

  2. #2

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Can't go wrong either way. Both are top-quality, professional-grade optics. Buy on condition and price. I think my 90/8 and 75mm Nikkor-SW lenses are superb, btw; I'd own the 120/8 in a heartbeat if I didn't already have a Schneider 121/8 Super-Angulon.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    The 115mm Grandagon-N is heavier (740gm vs. 610gm) and takes larger filters (82mm vs. 77mm) than the 120mm Nikkor-SW. The Nikkor also has a larger image circle, though that's pretty much irrelevant if you're only working with 4x5 as either lens has more coverage than you would likely ever need. If those are the only choices, I'd go with the Nikkor. And as Mark pointed out, there's also the 121mm Super-Angulon to consider, as well as the later 120mm Super-Angulon. I'm sure any of these would meet your needs.

    There's been a great deal of discussion and argument over "equivalent focal lengths" over the ages. As a strict equivalent, I consider 135mm to be a better match to a 35mm lens in terms of angle of view, based on the ratio of the short dimension of each format. The useful short dimension of a 4x5 sheet is about 96mm, which is 4 times the short dimension of a 35mm frame. 4x35 = 140, for which 135mm is the closest focal length. Others will give different answers by considering the ratios of the formats' long dimensions or diagonals. I've always found the diagonal argument the least compelling, but that's me.

    Should you choose 135mm, either an old "inside lettering" Fujinon-W or a Wide Field Ektar will give you the most coverage as far as I'm aware (though much less than the 120mm Nikkor-SW or 115mm Grandagon-N), and either can be had relatively easily at reasonable cost. The 125mm inside-lettering Fujinon-W will have a slightly smaller image circle than the 135mm, though still well more than 4x5, and the slightly wider field of view will allow you to crop a bit. Whether these would do for your architectural work is a question only you can answer, I'm afraid. All three of these lenses are in a different size-and-weight class from the Nikkor-SW or Grandagon N.

    The price of used LF lenses seems relatively stable at the moment, so if you're not happy with your initial decision you can sell on the lens without losing much or anything and buy another.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    These are both wide angle designs and as such both have fall off, center to edge. If you find that you want to correct this fall off then it is important to know that Rodenstock made center filters for their WA lenses. Nikon never did.
    Also this is not a common or popular focal length choice for 45. A 90mm is far more popular.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Bob, none of these lenses is particularly wide for 4x5. Rodenstock and Schneider don't recommend center filters for lenses [edit to correct an error in the original post] that cover less than ~100. The 115 is intended for 5x7, covers 85 on that format shot straight ahead. On 4x5 it covers 66 shot straight ahead. Both made center filters that will fit the 120 Nikkor and work on it. See my article on CFs.

    If I were the OP, I'd use the 120 or so lens I buy to find out whether I can live with the falloff. The 115 will be down ~ 1 stop from center to corner shot straight ahead on 4x5. More with movements, of course. Test first, then buy a CF if needed.
    Last edited by Dan Fromm; 16-Dec-2017 at 13:31.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Bob, none of these lenses is particularly wide for 4x5. Rodenstock and Schneider don't recommend center filters for lenses longer than 90 mm. Both made center filters that will fit the 120 Nikkor and work on it. See my article on CFs.

    If I were the OP, I'd use the 120 or so lens I buy to find out whether I can live with the falloff. The 115 will be down ~ 1 stop from center to corner shot straight ahead on 4x5. More with movements, of course. Test first, then buy a CF if needed.
    Granted, but maybe, since he will use them on a view camera, he decides that he wants to use movements and no longer is in the center of the optical path.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Seems like overkill for a 4x5 field camera. I clicked on the thread thinking this would be a discussion of using those lenses for 8x10
    Though, for architecture with the N115, I suspect the keen user could maximize the cameras performance with some parallel movements, assuming the bellows behaves.

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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Bob all that you say is true. It is interesting, though, that the consensus of users here seems to be that w/a lenses no shorter than 90 mm give acceptable evenness of exposure on 4x5 without a CF. Shorter than 90 need a CF, 90 mm is a judgment/personal preference call.

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    Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    Both lenses overkill for 4x5. Id recommend a Fujinon 125mm/5.6 as smaller, cheaper and with enough coverage. This lens comes in numerous versions with different filter ring sizes - so pick the one that matches the size you use for filters. The CM-W version is the newest, then the W with outside lettering, then the one with inside letters. Filter sizes run 67mm, 52mm and 46mm. The smaller the older I think. Some 46mm versions may be single coated.


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    Re: Nikkor SW 120mm f/8 vs Rodenstock Grandagon N 115mm f/6.8 for Chanomix 45N-2

    I've had such a great time with my 120mm f/8 Super Angulon - for 5X7 (and even for some 8x10 use). But it seems to me that either this or the Rodenstock 115 would tend to "overweight" the front of the Chamonix...which would either indicate the somewhat lighter Nikkor 120, or perhaps the smaller Schneider 120 Symmar (which covers...just), or maybe the Super Symmar - but this is a bit rare and somewhat expensive. But there are great options for 135's - inexpensive, small and lightweight. Sironar-N, Nikkor-W (which some claim is a bit "soft"?) Schneider Symmar, Fujinon, WF Ektar, etc.)

    Rereading your post...if I were to do just architecture I'd go with the 120, or even consider a 90. But you'd mentioned both architecture and portraiture...and with one lens. If this is indeed the case...then your best compromise might be the 135 - unless you're wanting to do "environmental" (typically full body with equally important background), in which case a 120 would work. I keep wanting to recommend that you take a 90/150 (or even 210) combo...but it sounds like your need for a "consistent aesthetic" might indeed dictate the use of one lens only.

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