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

  1. #21
    Jeff D. Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Jeff: plasmats from the Big Four render focus transitions, and foreground and background out-of-focus picture content, differently. I happen to prefer Rodenstock, especially Apo-Sironar-S but also (Apo-)Sironar-N (though not the earliest Sironar-without-letter generation, which has a different look entirely). But we're talking about subtleties that are obscured or entirely obliterated in the scans that we can show on the web, and for which we don't have an agreed set of terms that can convey unambiguously in words what the different "flavors" mean visually. And of course what you like or, on the other hand, what bothers you, is your subjective preference, which may be different from mine. So if you think this is something you might care about, I'm afraid there's no real alternative to comparing lenses from the different brands for yourself, with subjects and settings (focus distances, working apertures) that are typical of your pictures.

    It's not that costly to do, though it would obviously require time and effort on your part as well as a bit of working capital up front. Apo-Sironar-S and Apo-Symmar L aside, modern 210mm plasmats are dirt cheap these days. With careful shopping you could probably assemble a complete set of (Apo-)Sironar-N, Apo-Symmar or Symmar-S, Fujinon W, and Nikkor W, for what a single Apo-Sironar-S or Apo-Symmar L would cost, and then keep the one you prefer and sell the rest. Or since you already have a 150 Apo-Sironar-S, you could get 150's from the other three brands so you can compare the different "house styles", then sell the extras when you've reached your conclusions and get a 210 in your preferred "flavor".
    Thank you Oren for your thoughtful comments. It is sincerely appreciated. I'm returning to LF after a long hiatus and late in life. Unfortunately, I'm not in a financial position to put together the set of 210mm lenses as you suggest. Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a good way to evaluate and I think it would be a ton of fun. For now, I'll have to continue my due diligence and make a single choice - hopefully well informed.

  2. #22
    Jeff D. Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Sadly there are "stinkers".. back in the day if one were to purchase a given lens or had the intent to purchase a given lens new there was right of return or time for trial. One example lens being color balance, while the big four offered similar image results their color balance was different and within the same brand there were slight color balance variations. For those who were really into this, they would order up a new set of lenses from one brand as color matched. This way when the lenses were used for color transparency work, shifts in color rendition and such would not be as significant.

    Today given the often unknown history of a used lens, it remains prudent to test before accepting. Brand or type alone is simply not enough.
    Over the decades of doing view camera images, I've got an absurd collection of VC lenses and tried-used a pile more. The keepers have all been very carefully selected and tested to meet a very specific set of expectations which are highly likely different from other image makers.

    Know this was the very common practice of discriminating and demanding still image makers back in the day. Stanley Kubrick began as a still image photographer then went on to film making, yet he kept his habits and ways with lenses cultivated back in his still image days.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb7Meqaz7Aw

    What I'll say, back in the days when VC was primarily the domain of demanding serious commercial image making every notable photographer sorted for lenses they used and were not going to simply accept anything they did not test extensively to decide if a specific lens will meet their needs and expectations.

    Keep mind modern VC lenses today are an absolute bargain compared to when they were new. Back then shelling out $1,000 or more for one good lens was very common. Today that same lens could be had for $200 or a lot less which is no more than a few boxes of film and processing.


    Bernice
    Bernice - I apologize for my terse response. I am getting older and sometimes I don't patiently 'listen' and consider intent before responding. You took the time to provide a well thought out comment and I appreciate that. Much for me to consider. Thank you.

  3. #23
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    Unfortunately, I'm not in a financial position to put together the set of 210mm lenses as you suggest. Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a good way to evaluate and I think it would be a ton of fun. For now, I'll have to continue my due diligence and make a single choice - hopefully well informed.
    Absolutely understand, most of us are cash-crunched at various points in our lives.

    When you do choose a 210 based on whatever information you can gather, there's nothing to stop you from comparing it to your 150. Sure, the focal length will be different, but modern plasmat product lines typically maintain a consistent rendering across focal lengths, so with some allowance for compositional differences, you'll be able to tell how you like the "flavor" of your new lens compared to your Apo-Sironar-S. If you like it or at least don't mind it, then all is well. If not, you can always sell and try another type, one at a time, within your budget and patience for testing.

  4. #24

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

    No worries

    Suggest, if you like the image rendition of your current lens, stay with that brand and lens series. This will go a significant ways to keep the image rendition much the same at a different focal length. Once the choice of brand and series has been made, take your time shopping for the specific lens of your choice. Be patient as good deals on lenses from the big four come up often, be ready to make the purchase once the opportunity appears.

    Once the newly acquired lens has arrived, test-compare to your current lens. This becomes the real world test under the conditions and expectations for the newly acquired lens.


    Bernice




    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    Bernice - I apologize for my terse response. I am getting older and sometimes I don't patiently 'listen' and consider intent before responding. You took the time to provide a well thought out comment and I appreciate that. Much for me to consider. Thank you.

  5. #25

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

    Another option to reduce cost is to consider Caltar lenses, which were typically off-the-shelf Rodenstock and Schneider lenses rebadged by Calumet under the Caltar name. If I recall correctly the 210 Caltar-II N is a rebadged Rodenstock Sironar N, but tends to cost less on the used market due to the reduced name recognition. If you like the "Rodenstock rendering" of your Sironar S then this might be a route to consider.

    At working apertures the central sharpness of the Sironar S and N is similar. The S will have a larger image circle and better edge sharpness, but on 4x5 all the 210 plasmats have such relatively large image circles that for most folks this won't be a factor.

  6. #26

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    Bernice - I apologize for my terse response. I am getting older and sometimes I don't patiently 'listen' and consider intent before responding. You took the time to provide a well thought out comment and I appreciate that. Much for me to consider. Thank you.
    I should say that my original suggestion was not to just return junk lenses to unsuspecting buyer, only to try out lenses and see which work best for you. I have only had one junker, and that turned out to be a scam lens made of components from different companies. I have not resold that, because as you say, I am not going to turn around and scam someone else just because I got scammed. I was mainly thinking that sample variation is real, and some lenses will work better in different cameras or systems. I have found that the variation between single lenses from the same manufacturer is larger than that which I have found between companies. I would not say this for 35mm or medium format, but unfortunately I have found it to be the case in LF. I think it is because they were all making professional lenses to a high standard. I think variations are high because so much time and handling has passed, as well as the lenses being forced to interact with a third party shutter system. In general, I have found the look between my 210mm APO Symmar L and 210mm APO Sironar S to be quite similar. I tested them side to side...I will see if I can find the test to show you what I mean.

  7. #27

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    financial
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	n.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	26.8 KB 
ID:	194236

    (It says Scheneider , but it's a 100% positive seller with thousands of sells)

    Right now there is a 210 N MC in ebay for crazy $135+shipping, if substracting the shutter value then glass comes nearly for free. It is as good as APO Sironar N. I'd take just that one, and if this 1980 glass it's not as terrific as your 150 S for the way you shot (f/22 and up) then sell it, with your S you have a benchmark to compare.


    IIRC Sexton purchased/sold a number of nikons until he gathered the right samples. Not many may feel the difference in real photography between different samples without making lppmm tests, but I guess that I understand why Sexton did that. There is no perfect LF lens, a lens is always more or less a dog... collimation accuracy of elements has a dipersion.


    With used Rodenstocks one has to check shimming if performance is not superb, sometimes lenses are shimmed and sometimes shims are lost or are incorrect.

  8. #28
    Jeff D. Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Leppanen View Post
    Another option to reduce cost is to consider Caltar lenses, which were typically off-the-shelf Rodenstock and Schneider lenses rebadged by Calumet under the Caltar name. If I recall correctly the 210 Caltar-II N is a rebadged Rodenstock Sironar N, but tends to cost less on the used market due to the reduced name recognition. If you like the "Rodenstock rendering" of your Sironar S then this might be a route to consider.

    At working apertures the central sharpness of the Sironar S and N is similar. The S will have a larger image circle and better edge sharpness, but on 4x5 all the 210 plasmats have such relatively large image circles that for most folks this won't be a factor.
    Thank you for the Caltar suggestion, I'll see what's out there. I was talking with a long time LF photographer on Saturday and he mentioned the same thing about image circle and edge sharpness relative to a 4x5 and 210 plasmats. Great info - thanks.

  9. #29
    Jeff D. Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by StuartR View Post
    I should say that my original suggestion was not to just return junk lenses to unsuspecting buyer, only to try out lenses and see which work best for you. I have only had one junker, and that turned out to be a scam lens made of components from different companies. I have not resold that, because as you say, I am not going to turn around and scam someone else just because I got scammed. I was mainly thinking that sample variation is real, and some lenses will work better in different cameras or systems. I have found that the variation between single lenses from the same manufacturer is larger than that which I have found between companies. I would not say this for 35mm or medium format, but unfortunately I have found it to be the case in LF. I think it is because they were all making professional lenses to a high standard. I think variations are high because so much time and handling has passed, as well as the lenses being forced to interact with a third party shutter system. In general, I have found the look between my 210mm APO Symmar L and 210mm APO Sironar S to be quite similar. I tested them side to side...I will see if I can find the test to show you what I mean.
    Thanks for clarifying Stuart. I'd appreciate seeing your test examples between your 210mm APO Symmar L and 210mm APO Sironar S. It would be most interesting.

  10. #30
    Jeff D. Welker
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    Re: 210mm f/5.6 - Rodenstock or Nikkor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	n.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	26.8 KB 
ID:	194236

    (It says Scheneider , but it's a 100% positive seller with thousands of sells)

    Right now there is a 210 N MC in ebay for crazy $135+shipping, if substracting the shutter value then glass comes nearly for free. It is as good as APO Sironar N. I'd take just that one, and if this 1980 glass it's not as terrific as your 150 S for the way you shot (f/22 and up) then sell it, with your S you have a benchmark to compare.


    IIRC Sexton purchased/sold a number of nikons until he gathered the right samples. Not many may feel the difference in real photography between different samples without making lppmm tests, but I guess that I understand why Sexton did that. There is no perfect LF lens, a lens is always more or less a dog... collimation accuracy of elements has a dipersion.


    With used Rodenstocks one has to check shimming if performance is not superb, sometimes lenses are shimmed and sometimes shims are lost or are incorrect.
    Thanks for the reference to the 210 N MC, a terrific bargain. I must admit I know nothing about lppmm tests? Frankly, I don't even know what lppmm stands for? I appreciate your reminding me about shimming, something I need to keep in mind. I like the idea of using my Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S 150mm as the comparison standard for other lenses I may acquire in the future. Regards.

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