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Thread: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

  1. #1

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    "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    Hi,

    Ken Rockwell may prefer to choose a lens over
    another because of "personal heritage".

    https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/135f56.htm

    Are the Japanese lenses as good as the German?

    Fuji has a line of 'NW' and 'CM' lenses. What do
    you think of them?

    Which Japanese lens do you already own or appeals
    to you?

    Have you tried the lens of the article, the 135mm. W
    from Nikon?

    Thank you, kind regards,

    Ig

  2. #2

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    I have a fuji 135 and used to have a Schneider 135. Personally the differences are so small between the two that I'd be hard pressed to say what is what on a print. Modern lenses are so refined at this stage that they are essentially the same in my opinion (barring exotic designs - i mean these common designs). My current kit consists of Fuji, Rodenstock, and Nikkor for modern lenses. All sharp, all a little boring. Like a Toyota Corolla, reliable but a little bland.

  3. #3

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post
    Are the Japanese lenses as good as the German?
    Of course, not better and not worse. With any lens you will do a lot, but design can be specialized for architecture, landscape, portrait, objects...

    There is a sample to sample variation, peak performance varies from one unit to the next, tht variation may not be noticed in practice, and it is larger than any difference between manufacturers for equivalent glasses.

    Some color photofographers say that you have to use only german lenses or only japanese lenses, if wanting consistence, because color transmisions are slightly different, personally I've not well tested it.

    All four principal manufacturers had lenses in different market segments.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post
    Fuji has a line of 'NW' and 'CM' lenses. What do
    you think of them?
    Here you have extensive information:

    http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/fujinon.htm

    Comapring to other:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...s/LF4x5in.html




    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post
    Which Japanese lens do you already own or appeals
    to you?
    I shot with Fujinon 65mm and 90mm, Nikon W 210 and W 360.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post
    Have you tried the lens of the article, the 135mm. W
    from Nikon?
    IIRC John Sexton (http://www.johnsexton.com/) made his career with those, if you have any doubt...

    This: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125592...5/32535835184/ is not a W 135 but a W 360 in 8x10, anyway see the bolts on the wood, in the real negative is even well sharper, seen with a microscope.

    In LF you have anyway tons of insane image quality, usually the phootographer itself is the weak link, not the glass, making an optimal shot can be challenging, you have to nail DOF vs Diffraction vs Movements.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post
    Ken Rockwell may prefer to choose a lens over
    another because of "personal heritage".
    Ken Rockwell has very, very good articles for learning, it's a very good website, as in any place also there are some mistakes, it's also a business so he also has to get web traffic to make money, it has many personal opinions and some salt, fortunately he tries to make clear what is a technical fact and what is a personal preference.

  4. #4

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    I got a japanese camera (Wista) so I got japanese lenses with it. Mostly because my experience with japanese lenses in medium format has been good (Mamiya 645, Fuji 6x9). So I got Fujinons SWD and CM-W as they are the most recent of the line. Only german LF lens I have is an old Symmar 180/5.6 convertible. Never really compared them like taking the same picture with both lenses.

    I have far more problems with shutters than with glass. It is a good thing you can just swap shutters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    In LF you have anyway tons of insane image quality, usually the phootographer itself is the weak link, not the glass, making an optimal shot can be challenging, you have to nail DOF vs Diffraction vs Movements.

    Ken Rockwell has very, very good articles for learning, it's a very good website, as in any place also there are some mistakes, it's also a business so he also has to get web traffic to make money, it has many personal opinions and some salt, fortunately he tries to make clear what is a technical fact and what is a personal preference.
    I have no doubt that I'm a far worse photographer than my lenses. Certainly if I take development, scanning and post-processing into account. I'm glad if I have an image.

    Ken Rockwell is a site you need to learn to use. He has tons of information but most is very personal opinion. So you have to keep that always in mind. If your idea of what you look in a piece of gear doesn't line up with his then it can be misleading. On the other hand he is rather consistent so comparing works fine if you know how to filter it.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  5. #5
    darr's Avatar
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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ig Nacio View Post

    Are the Japanese lenses as good as the German?
    Absolutely. My first LF lens was a Schneider 210mm purchased new with a Cambo 4x5 that I used in commercial photography school back in the early 1980s. I thought in the beginning the Schneider and Rodenstock lenses would be better quality lenses because they had cost more. But over the years, I have owned and used Schneider, Rodenstock, Cooke, Nikon and Docter lenses and learned I appreciated the Nikon lens most for size, quality and price. A few years ago I sold off all my LF lenses because I went medium format digital (MFD). I once again bought Rodenstock and Schneider lenses, but now made for digital work and Nikon had ended their LF lens line all together so they would not be making any digital LF lenses and I was disappointed. A few years later, I decided I like MFD, but I also missed shooting 4x5 film. Then I decide to save up for my "retirement 4x5 kit." Guess what lens line I decided I wanted ... Nikon! So today I shoot with a few Nikons (SW 90/4.5, W 150/5.6, W 210/5.6) and a Docter 240/9.



    Fuji has a line of 'NW' and 'CM' lenses. What do
    you think of them?
    The only Fuji lenses I own and use are their XF line for my XPro-2 and X-E2 cameras, so I cannot comment about their LF lenses, but I know photographers that are happy with them. I totally enjoy the Fuji XF lenses I have and their APS-C XPro-2 camera made me decide to sell off my entire Nikon full frame kit and I have never looked back. I still shoot a Nikon F3 occasionally with black & white film.


    Which Japanese lens do you already own or appeals
    to you?
    see above (Nikon)

    Have you tried the lens of the article, the 135mm. W
    from Nikon?
    I had a Rodenstock 135mm years ago and although it was a nice lens, I prefer the 150mm perspective more, so I have not tried a Nikon 135 and probably never will.

    Thank you, kind regards,

    Ig
    You are welcome. I would say buy whatever appeals to you as long as you can return it if you find it does not work for you. I had to return a brand new Schneider lens once because there was something wrong with it. The dealer quickly sent me out another which was a great copy and I still shoot with it today on my MFD camera.

    I think Ken Rockwell has worked hard to have a large footprint on the web as a "photographic expert" and many photographers do read his writings. I have read a few of his reviews, but I do not agree with everything he has written that I have read. I use to teach commercial photography on the college level and the advice I gave to students fuzzing over gear was this: find out what gear your favorite photographers used to make the prints you remember most; you might be surprised at how humble their camera bag was.

    Getting out and shooting is the hardest part!

    Kind regards,
    Darr
    Website: photoscapes.com
    Photo Blog: darrlene.com

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    All my 8x10in, 4x5in and 6x9cm lenses are Japanese from the "Big Two." Either Topcor or Fujinon. I think I have about 25 of them. I have all the 6x9cm Topcors and all the 4x5 LF Topcors except the 300mm. Then 5 Fujinons that cover 8x10.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    I am slowly buying off this brochere: http://www.kennethleegallery.com/pdf...rmatLenses.pdf

    I buy from Japan as they have many in VGC with good shutters

    so far

    Nikkor-SW 90mm f/8S

    Nikkor-SW 120mm f/8S

    Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6

    Nikkor-W 360mm f/6.5

    I also have a Tokyo Kogaku Topcor P.S 105mm F3.5 MF Lens for 2x3 sheet film with a Topcon Horseman 970 Medium Format Camera

    One day I will buy a Nikkor-AM ED 210mm f/5.6
    sin eater

  8. #8

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    For my LF cameras I only have two Japanese lenses---300 and 450 Nikkor Ms, both are sharp and brilliant.
    I can compare these with a 12" Dagor and a 19" Artar which I also shoot with.
    To say which is better would be difficult, especially since the 300 M and 12" Dagor have entirely different "looks" and I find that brings some nuance to the print party, depending on the subject.
    Of course both Nikkors are multicoated while the Artar is single coated and the Dagor is uncoated, which probably has something to to with it.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    Hmm. I have, sometimes even use, Fujinon, Nikon, Schneider and Rodenstock lenses. I have, also sometimes use, lenses from manufacturers in other countries, including France, the UK and the US. All pass light and form images.

    The OP's question makes as much sense as the parallel one "Which are better? German or Japanese cars?"

  10. #10

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    Re: "The big two" - Please tell me about your japanese lenses!

    I use Nikon, Fuji and Rodenstock for 8x10". Rodenstock and Schneider-Kreuznach for 4x5" as I happen to stumble upon those, not by choice or meaning.
    All lenses produce an image that I like and expect.
    I own the gear, but those don't make masterpieces. My everyday experience.

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