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Thread: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

  1. #1
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    I'm looking to add a 210mm f/5.6 lens for my 4x5 work and trying to decide between the Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S, APO-Sironar-N, and the Nikon Nikkor W. Not sure it matters, but just in case, let me give you some background on what/how I photograph. I use black and white film exclusively. I primarily photograph "Man-Altered Landscapes", historic farming communities, and Carnegiea gigantea (saguaro cacti). I don't do any table-top photography. A review of my notes finds me making most images at f/22 or f/32, with the occasional deviation to f/45. I mention these things in case it might inform your comments recommendation(s) - maybe not.

    For the sake of this discussion, let's not make money a factor. It is, but... I'm somewhat confident I can negotiate the necessary financial arrangements with The Boss

    What should I be considering in my decision making process? What would you recommend? What 210mm f/5.6 lens to you own/use and why?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Lens you should have bought first, IMO. Nikkor.
    Keith Pitman

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    They are both very bad.

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    There's no wrong answer here. Buy on availability/condition/price. Disclosure: I have extensively used a 210/5.6 Sinaron (Rodenstock) and own a 180/5.6 Nikkor-W. Both are superb optics.

  5. #5

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    They are both very bad.
    I'm trusting that the OP having been here since 2006 knows that you are speaking tongue-in-cheek.

    David

  6. #6

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    most images at f/22 or f/32, with the occasional deviation to f/45.

    4x5 lenses are diffraction limited by f/22.

    Diffraction limit at f/45 is 35 Lp/mm, so a pre WWII lens will be as sharp as an APO Sironar S, you'll find a difference in the contrast because of the MC coating.

    At f/32 (extintion at 50Lp/mm) 1960s lenses will work equal, also coating apart.

    At f/22 diffraction limit (contrast extintion) is 71 Lp/mm, but it also damages contrast at 35 Lp/mm, all those 3 lenses will perform the same.

    At f/11 or f/16 you will notice the sample to sample variation in lab tests, if you notice that in real photography is another matter.



    If you open aperture then diffraction won't be a problem but then you have lower DOF.

    ____


    All those glasses are incredibly good, of the Nikkors I used the W 210 and 360, they are crazy good. The Sironar-N and the APO Sironar N are 99% the same, beyond lettering, but the APO stamping is more expensive. The Sironar S has expensive ED glass (in the front element IIRC) which makes it a bit larger and heavier, but it allows a larger circle allowing movements for 8x10".

    I have a Sironar N 300 MC and it's extraordinary, never tried an S.


    My guess is that both three glass are very good, all will have some sample to sample variation, but with those glasses what makes a difference (regarding resulting optical performance) is photographer.

    ____

    I would be more worried about if the shutter that comes with glass is in shape !


    Those lenses have 300 to 370mm circles, so perhaps 15% of the light goes to 4x5 film and the 85% bounces in the bellows, a compendium shade may be interesting.

  7. #7
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lindquist View Post
    I'm trusting that the OP having been here since 2006 knows that you are speaking tongue-in-cheek.

    David
    Yes I know

  8. #8
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    4x5 lenses are diffraction limited by f/22.

    Diffraction limit at f/45 is 35 Lp/mm, so a pre WWII lens will be as sharp as an APO Sironar S, you'll find a difference in the contrast because of the MC coating.

    At f/32 (extintion at 50Lp/mm) 1960s lenses will work equal, also coating apart.

    At f/22 diffraction limit (contrast extintion) is 71 Lp/mm, but it also damages contrast at 35 Lp/mm, all those 3 lenses will perform the same.

    At f/11 or f/16 you will notice the sample to sample variation in lab tests, if you notice that in real photography is another matter.



    If you open aperture then diffraction won't be a problem but then you have lower DOF.

    ____


    All those glasses are incredibly good, of the Nikkors I used the W 210 and 360, they are crazy good. The Sironar-N and the APO Sironar N are 99% the same, beyond lettering, but the APO stamping is more expensive. The Sironar S has expensive ED glass (in the front element IIRC) which makes it a bit larger and heavier, but it allows a larger circle allowing movements for 8x10".

    I have a Sironar N 300 MC and it's extraordinary, never tried an S.


    My guess is that both three glass are very good, all will have some sample to sample variation, but with those glasses what makes a difference (regarding resulting optical performance) is photographer.

    ____

    I would be more worried about if the shutter that comes with glass is in shape !


    Those lenses have 300 to 370mm circles, so perhaps 15% of the light goes to 4x5 film and the 85% bounces in the bellows, a compendium shade may be interesting.
    Thanks for all the information Pere. Other than slight differences in covering power and image circle, I've often wondered what the primary performance difference is between the APO-Sironar-S and APO-Sironar-N lenses from Rodenstock? Obviously, there is a significant cost difference.

  9. #9

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    My own experience is that sample to sample difference is larger than manufacturer to manufacturer, at least among Schneider and Rodenstock. I would encourage you to pick up two or three 210mm lenses from a reliable source, test them, and keep the best one. Confirm with the seller they are ok with it first...it's a bit poor form to do it without asking them if it is ok.
    In my own case, my 210mm APO Symmar L is slightly better than a 210mm APO Sironar S that I tried, but both were good.

  10. #10

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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    APO-Sironar-S and APO-Sironar-N lenses from Rodenstock?
    This has been debated a lot !!!!

    Technical information says no for the image center (this is the 150):


    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Rodenstock graph says that for 20Cycles/mm the 150mm S is slightly better in the center but slightly worse in the 4x5" corners (red bar), green bars say where the N is better, but the S can shift more...


    ...so as you shift-rise or as you want to cover a larger format then the S rules, for example the S 210 is a 8x10 lens and the N 210 not, the S 150 makes 5x7 with room, while the N 150 is in its limits.

    The ED glass in the S front allows for a better correction of secondary chromatic aberration (green-magenta fringes) in the corners, which allows for a desing sporting a larger coverage.

    Sorry, I had not the chance to test a S, probably I'll have the opportunity soon.

    4x5" only takes 150mm of the 300/370mm circles of the 210 N/S, so my guess is that the N should perform perfectly.

    Then we have to consider that S vs N is a product segmentation, and perhaps the top notch Pro product had a more refined manufacturing and QC. Many S owners are absolutely satisfied, citing less flare an "better color", me I'm impressed with my Sironar-N 300 MC, I don't find the way to reach its limits, it's very difficult to find a shot where such a lens is the limiting factor for the IQ.


    Sadly there is no side by side around showing real IQ differences, or aesthetic differences in the OOF, many opinions but no technical explanation beyond coverage difference.

    Regarding contrast/flare, I insist, with those large circles what is important is a compendium shading and a not having bellows too compressed.

    Want the very best ? Take the S.

    ...another thing is when it makes a difference or not. What is LOL is people not using a compendium shade, having 85% of light bouncing in the bellows... and saying that they see an amazing difference !

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