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Thread: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

  1. #1

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    Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Hi all,

    So, before I begin, I should mention that I shoot color, both negative and transparency (Kodak Ektar and Fuji Provia/Velvia, respectively), almost exclusively. Back last April, you guys all helped me whittle down the huge collection of LF lenses I had amassed. I sold a bunch of those lenses, but I sold a few more since then. The lenses that have the strikethrough line are the lenses I’ve since sold that I was recommended to sell. The lenses in bold are the five ones I currently have.

    Anyway, here’s my current list, from wide angle to telephoto:

    -65mm Nikon Nikkor-SW f/4
    -90mm Sinar (Rodenstock) Sinaron W f/8 (Multicoated)
    -135mm Schneider-Kreuznach Xenotar f/3.5
    -150mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 (Multicoated)
    -180mm Fujifilm Fujinon-W f/5.6 (really NW, New Wide)
    -210mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 (Multicoated)
    -270mm Rodenstock Rotelar f/5.6
    -360mm Rodenstock Sironar-N f/6.8 (Multicoated)

    Given that I shoot color negative and transparency, I basically want to know which lenses you guys think should/could be upgraded, and if so, what lenses I should look into getting to replace that particular lens. From what I know and have been told, the lenses I currently have are all pretty good.

    Since I shoot color negative and transparency, how important is it for me to have Apo (apochromatic) lenses? I’ve heard both that it’s vital or that it doesn’t really matter all, given the decent lenses I already have.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Take the lenses and use them. Having to ask on a board won't tell you how they perform with your workflow. Using them will show the character and help you decide.

    What you are asking is the equivalent of asking "what car to get for the Indy 500" when you are starting with Go-Carts.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  3. #3
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    A upgrade in coverage but not necessarily in performance would be to change the Sinar 90/8 to a Nikon 90/8.

    Otherwise, any improvement by upgrading to Apo would not be worth the trouble/cost IMO.

  4. #4

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Well... maybe I’d try to buy back that Xenotar...

    But a Kodak Commercial Ektar would be good groovy...

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Keep anything with a good working shutter

    I also agree with Brian about Xenotar
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Those are all good lenses and I believe that they are also all APO - even if not explicitly labelled as such.

    Are you doing 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10? The 65mm would not be very useful of 5x7 or 8x10 but might or might not be useful on 4x5. The 360 would be the only one I'd keep if I where doing 8x10 but if doing 4x5, I'd sell it.

    Which lenses do you use most? Which do you use least? Are there any that you have never used? Do all the shutters work well?

    Are you dis-satisfied with any of these?

    What subject interest you?

    and, why did you sell the Xenotar?

  7. #7

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    Those are all good lenses and I believe that they are also all APO - even if not explicitly labelled as such.

    Are you doing 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10? The 65mm would not be very useful of 5x7 or 8x10 but might or might not be useful on 4x5. The 360 would be the only one I'd keep if I where doing 8x10 but if doing 4x5, I'd sell it.

    Which lenses do you use most? Which do you use least? Are there any that you have never used? Do all the shutters work well?

    Are you dis-satisfied with any of these?

    What subject interest you?

    and, why did you sell the Xenotar?
    None are Apos.

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    1,609

    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Nice balanced set of lenses. There is NO reasons to change much if any. The only lens that might be worth considering to change is the 90mm f8 (think this would be a Rodenstock 90mm f6.8 Grandagon, not f8), to a Rodenstock 90mm f4.5 Grandagon. This is a physically BIGGER lens, larger image circle, slightly less geometric distortion.. But IMO, not a significant enough "upgrade".

    No good reason to keep the 135mm Schneider Xenotar, it is a cult lens that just covers 4x5 (spec image circle at f22 of 150mm, 4x5 required image circle 152mm).
    Info on Schneider Xenotar and others of that vintage:
    https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/rl/00832/00832.pdf

    "Upgrading" to APO will NOT make your images better. Better images will come from image making skills, understanding of lighting and shadows, exposure control, technique and all those FAR more important things that directly affect the images you're creating. Give up the belief lens is the primary factor that affects the images made, while the lens is one item, it is not THE item.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    Hi all,

    Anyway, here’s my current list, from wide angle to telephoto:

    -65mm Nikon Nikkor-SW f/4
    -90mm Sinar (Rodenstock) Sinaron W f/8 (Multicoated)
    -150mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 (Multicoated)
    -210mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 (Multicoated)
    -360mm Rodenstock Sironar-N f/6.8 (Multicoated)

    Given that I shoot color negative and transparency, I basically want to know which lenses you guys think should/could be upgraded, and if so, what lenses I should look into getting to replace that particular lens. From what I know and have been told, the lenses I currently have are all pretty good.

    Since I shoot color negative and transparency, how important is it for me to have Apo (apochromatic) lenses? I’ve heard both that it’s vital or that it doesn’t really matter all, given the decent lenses I already have.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Bernice Loui; 1-Jan-2020 at 12:12.

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    Those are all good lenses and I believe that they are also all APO - even if not explicitly labelled as such.

    Are you doing 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10? The 65mm would not be very useful of 5x7 or 8x10 but might or might not be useful on 4x5. The 360 would be the only one I'd keep if I where doing 8x10 but if doing 4x5, I'd sell it.

    Which lenses do you use most? Which do you use least? Are there any that you have never used? Do all the shutters work well?

    Are you dis-satisfied with any of these?

    What subject interest you?

    and, why did you sell the Xenotar?
    Ah, I forgot to mention that I’m shooting 4x5 (with the addition of a Horseman 6x12 medium format back and a Shen Hao 6x17 panoramic medium format back), specifically landscapes and architecture a la Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte, Franco Fontana, and Bernd and Hilla Becher. (These people are my heroes. I’ve studied nearly all of their works in painstaking detail (especially Andreas Gursky), so I go out of my way and make a concerted effort to try to not copy their style... not that I really can anyway.)

    I’ve used all of my 5 lenses. All of the lenses seem perfectly fine, but the image circle of the 65mm Nikon Nikkor-SW f/4 is almost nil; I can barely make any camera movements without getting into some serious vignetting when stopping down, but that seems true of the other lenses of that focal length. Then again, I’ve read great things about the Nikon Nikkor-SW 65mm lens I have.

    The shutters all work fine. The person who owned the camera (Linhof Technikardan 45) and lenses before me only used it several times. Even though the Linhof Technikardan 45 was built in the early 90s, it looks completely brand new, as do all the lenses.

    The 360mm Rodenstock Sironar-N f/6.8 (Multicoated) is a beast, but it’s insanely sharp. Perhaps that lens is the weakest link, given it’s hefty weight and size?

    I sold the Xenotar because I really needed the money at the time. Plus, it didn’t really work for my shooting style where I want nearly everything in the frame to be in focus. I know the lore about this lens, and yes, I do regret selling it and wish I used it more.

  10. #10

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    None are Apos.
    Bob,

    Do you think I should upgrade any of my lens lineup?

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