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Thread: How different are Tessars from different companies?

  1. #31

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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Tessar's are pretty interchangeable. Company to company, the characteristics are the same. The differences from an f3.5 to an f4.5 and from f4.5 to f6.3 are greater than any inter-company differences. The difference from non-coated to coated is greater than company to company. We could have some fun with the wine bottle in the bag type competition and shoot a lowly Ilex 8 1/2" next to a vaunted Commercial Ektar 8 1/2" and I defy anyone to actually find some difference.

    The same is true of Petzval's. A petzval is a petzval is a petzval. We worry about differences between Tessar's and then we put the dullest things in front of our lenses. I probably have over 200 lenses that can make world class photographs. The problem is the photographer, not the lenses. I have a world class grand piano in my house and can't play it either.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  2. #32
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Words of wisdom spoken by a true soft-focus photographer. There are other perspectives on the question, however. I'd imagine the aliens would know, since they seem to visit the Tonopah area. I wonder how many of them went into town for pizza after their last invasion? I have an upright grand piano which was my Grandmother's wedding present in 1907. True ivory and ebony keys, exquisite swirly walnut elsewhere, with deep deep coats of hand-applied real shellac. A thing of beauty to behold, but now next to impossible to tune. So making good-sounding music might involve more than just the person punching the keys, and it certainly wouldn't involve me!

  3. #33

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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Both Nikon and Fuji can be somewhat secretive at times about lens details.
    Drew, the M is a low performance and low weight lens, compared to a regular plasmat. Let me compare Nikon M 300 vs Nikon W 300:


    Speed: W is f/5.6 , M is f/9

    Coverage: W is 70, M is 57

    Circle: W is 420mm , M is 325mm

    4x5" Corner performance: W is around 60Lp/mm , M is around 35 Lp/mm

    Field: W is well flat, M is a bit curved

    W is 6/4 elements/groups , M has 4/3

    Weight: W is 1250gr - M is 290gr


    The M loses any comparison aganist the W, except weight/size. No doubt that an M can be a more suitable glass for the field because of weight/size, but not because of performance.

    An M it is a substanstially lower performer compared with regular plasmat, say a Nikon W, a Sironar N/S or a Symmar-S, no secret.

    No alien glass in an M, it is just a well made basic lens optimized for lightweight, rather than for top performance.

  4. #34
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Pere, maybe you're the only person on this forum who thinks M's are "low-performance", maybe on the whole planet, at least among those who actually shoot with these lenses. Where do you come up with this nonsense? They're incredibly sharp, have exceptionally high microtonal contrast, and superb hue differentiation. That's one of the genuine advantages of less air/glass interfaces, though you'll no doubt come up with some second-hand math derived from some half-baked website as faux evidence otherwise. The only area where even the best plasmats exceed is in image circle coverage, and in a few specialized cases, close-up performance. I have such choices routinely available in the same pack, and can judge the result with my own eyes, both on the groundglass, evaluating resultant negs on a lightbox, and in actual print form. I shot a Symmar S 210 for ten years straight, a nice classic lens; but replaced it with a 250 Fuji W/6.7, which was noticeable sharper and better corrected, then a 240 Fuji A Super Plasmat, which was better still, among their deservedly termed "Super Plasmat" series. But the Nikor 200 and 300 M's are right up there, every bit as good as if the film format size is not itself excessive, in fact, even a tad better in microtonality and hue contrast. I even use the 300M as my long lens for roll film backs, and things are as sharp as they get in this application.

  5. #35

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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Pere, maybe you're the only person on this forum who thinks M's are "low-performance"
    The M it is lower performance compared to the Nikon W, which is a better lens, but it weights x4.

    Do you really think that a M is a better lens than a W?

  6. #36
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    "Better" needs to be defined. So yup, better in terms of the parameters I already described, visibly so. But certainly not better as a bookend, where sheer weight and mass counts. But I have no need for a 300W anything, because my Fuji 360 will outperform it anyway - massive image circle in a lightweight no. 1 shutter, and better corrected than any general purpose plasmat. But a 300 M is even a bit sharper and better color corrected, though scant circle-wise on 8x10 per se. My 305 and 360 Apo Nikkors (graphics barrel lenses) outperform em all, but are less practical, and have miserably busy background blur.

  7. #37

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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    "Better" needs to be defined.
    Better coverage angle, better circle, better speed, sharper corners, better field flatness, exactly the same contast and worse weight.

    John Sexton used a lot the W 210 (Quiet Light , Listen to the Trees...), but the M 200 folds in his Linhof, and performance difference cannot be seen in a 16x20" print, he says, so he also uses M. Probably you should go to 30" or 40" to notice a difference. In a 20" print even my RB 67 MF camera is totally sharp...

  8. #38
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    I've seen some of those prints in person, and it would be hard to detect any difference between any number of modern lenses of similar focal length, especially since Sexton tended to print that tree series rather soft or quiet, just like the title of the book states. Such distinction are more apparent at higher contrast and larger scale. But your mind is made up, and the topic of religion is off limits to the forum, and it seems you belong to some lens religion based on somewhere else in the universe, where light bends differently in the gravitational field of the latest LF rendition of tessar design than it does here on earth.

  9. #39

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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    Tessar's are pretty interchangeable. Company to company, the characteristics are the same. The differences from an f3.5 to an f4.5 and from f4.5 to f6.3 are greater than any inter-company differences. The difference from non-coated to coated is greater than company to company. We could have some fun with the wine bottle in the bag type competition and shoot a lowly Ilex 8 1/2" next to a vaunted Commercial Ektar 8 1/2" and I defy anyone to actually find some difference.

    The same is true of Petzval's. A petzval is a petzval is a petzval. We worry about differences between Tessar's and then we put the dullest things in front of our lenses. I probably have over 200 lenses that can make world class photographs. The problem is the photographer, not the lenses. I have a world class grand piano in my house and can't play it either.
    ... and I’d suggest that a “reverse Tessar” - Radar - is in the same performance camp as a regular Tessar.

  10. #40
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: How different are Tessars from different companies?

    Sexton's work tends to be 4x5 and enlarged, so there's a whole 'nother lens involved. Just to muddy the waters...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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