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Thread: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

  1. #1

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    Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Does anyone have experience with Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12? Looks like a nice telephoto for 8X10, but it is quite expensive. About 14K. Not anytime soon, but I would like to learn more about this. I have experience with non APO telephotos in medium format. Specifically I mean the 250 mm lens for the Mamiya RZ system. Images from the 250 mm lacked snap and seemed poorly focused compared to my shorter focal length lenses for that same camera. Not surprisingly Mamiya came out with an APO version of the 250 mm. So I am going to be particularly careful before getting a telephoto for 8X10. I am interested in any opinions, not only about the subject lens, but also APO vs NON APO telephotos in general.
    Last edited by carterwj; 3-Oct-2021 at 10:53. Reason: Clarity

  2. #2

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    At that list price, I imagine that very few of those lenses have been made. So finding a user's perspective may be difficult... but who knows? Perhaps someone here will share their experience.
    Purely guesswork here, but I suspect that Schneider will have done a good job with such a premium optic.

  3. #3

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Optical performance limited by the film flatness of 8x10 (always a serious issue), then diffraction limits at f22 and smaller apertures. Uber high contrast can be achieved via modern multi-coatings.. all of which will NOT make the 8x10 image magical. BTW, 8x10 not ideal at all for longer than normal focal lengths for a very long list of facts imposed by the way Nature is.

    All that plus cost is likely why few were sold.



    Berncie

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Optical performance limited by the film flatness of 8x10 (always a serious issue), then diffraction limits at f22 and smaller apertures. Uber high contrast can be achieved via modern multi-coatings.. all of which will NOT make the 8x10 image magical. BTW, 8x10 not ideal at all for longer than normal focal lengths for a very long list of facts imposed by the way Nature is.

    All that plus cost is likely why few were sold.



    Berncie
    That, and good 'ole atmospherics for long lenses...

    Think of air like it is a "liquid", and is clear when still, but when disturbed it ripples like the surface of a pond etc distorting an image...

    Air is in constant motion, and if disturbed enough, it causes refraction blurring detail... From early in the day when there might be an equilibrium, the sun causes heating which causes air to rise, causing refraction... Other air masses collide causing disturbances... There might be a period of equilibrium after sunset when objects stop cooling, but the upper night air can be disturbed (stars "sparkle" in the sky)... So the air limits resolution...

    Then there's a slight breeze that induces vibration to camera rig to slightly shake that large camera...

    A good primer for long lens use for terrestrial photography would be to use a telescope or strong binoculars during day time to see how the atmosphere behaves during your viewing session...

    Not impossible, but can be difficult...

    Steve K

  5. #5

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Here is a review I wrote back in the day regarding the APO Tele Xenar HM's successor product:

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...mm-Convertible

    And here is a more recent post I wrote about long lens LF photography:

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...=1#post1405066

    Eventually, due to the resolution-killing challenges of camera stability and atmospheric dust/haze/convection, I reluctantly gave up on 8x10 long lens photography and switched to smaller formats for long focal lengths.

    In the world of recent vintage LF lenses, I've been hard pressed to see any practical differences due to APO vs. non-APO.

  6. #6

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    OK. Thanks everyone for the input. It sounds like anything longer than a standard lens is not good for 8X10. I had someone knowledgeable about LF tell me that there is a practical limit to the distance between the standards. Not sure what that means. From my Navy Nuke days it makes me think of PRIME STANDARS (i.e., calibration sources). Does it mean the distance between the lens and the film plane? This discussion about air turbulence within the bellows makes supports that. I think shooting on a cold day in the twilight / dusk hours (without solar heating) might mitigate this problem. Also allowing the camera and lenses to come to thermal equilibrium with the environment might help (i.e., leaving the camera and lenses out all night prior to morning shooting Or perhaps another fluid inside the bellows with a much lower Reynolds number (such as hydrogen) might be better than air. Then again I can see issues with trying to implement that. Probably best to refrain from smoking near the Camera. Can anyone expand on distance between prime issues?

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Not much issue within camera, but the stuff in the sea of air hundreds of yards to miles to infinity means you have to shoot through that...

    Telescopes can fog, and heat can move through imaging space, but worse than in a camera...

    Steve K

  8. #8

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Quote Originally Posted by carterwj View Post
    OK. Thanks everyone for the input. It sounds like anything longer than a standard lens is not good for 8X10. I had someone knowledgeable about LF tell me that there is a practical limit to the distance between the standards. Not sure what that means. ... Also allowing the camera and lenses to come to thermal equilibrium with the environment might help (i.e., leaving the camera and lenses out all night prior to morning shooting Or perhaps another fluid inside the bellows with a much lower Reynolds number (such as hydrogen) might be better than air. Then again I can see issues with trying to implement that. Probably best to refrain from smoking near the Camera.
    Hmm. OP, I see that the nattering nabobs of negativism have got to you.

    If there is a practical limit to the distance between standards, it is set by bellows sag. The standard solution is to use intermediate standard(s) to support several shorter bellows. Another solution is to add support loops to the upper edges of the bellows' pleats and run a support rod through them.

    A number of photographers -- the late Joerg Krusche comes to mind -- have used quite long process lenses successfully out of doors. They used a variety of ways to support their cameras. Several tripods, a single tripod with Manfrotto Magic Arms (I hope I got the name right), ... Remember, for the same focused distance process lenses require more extension than telephotos of the same focal length.

    Get the longest process lens you can afford, find a way to add enough extension to your camera -- it doesn't have to be 8x10. Although 8x10 is more difficult than 4x5, "bad air's" effects depend much more on focal length than on format. -- and go play.

  9. #9

    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    A good primer for long lens use for terrestrial photography would be to use a telescope or strong binoculars during day time to see how the atmosphere behaves during your viewing session... Not impossible, but can be difficult... Steve K

    In his legendary book "New York" by Reinhart Wolf, it is mentioned that he used a good pair of binoculars to pick his subjects. Yes!

    Then he set up his Sinar 8x10 Norma with 1000mm Apo Ronar

    I have a 760mm f14 Apo Ronar I bought years ago from JimmyA at MPX. Cost $200 Happy-Happy

    Much smaller and lighter than the F9 Dialytes
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  10. #10

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    Re: Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM 800 f/12?

    8x10 is simply difficult in so many ways to achieve GOOD image results. Much of the problem is rooted in the innate film size which places extreme demands on lens focal length, camera capability and it's support system.

    There appears to be a populous Foto fashion belief 8x10 is the Ultimate Film Camera endeavor and means to the ultimate image, this is absolutely and completely false as each and every image recording format be it digital, cell-phone or film has good and bad completely dependent on the image goals of the creative artist.

    As for longer than normal focal lengths for view camera, tele photo design lenses aid in reducing bellows/camera extension by optical design. While the last generation of view camera lenses made such as the Schneider APO-Tele Xenar HM are optically excellent in many ways, they cannot violate the way Nature IS.
    That said, the APO label on many modern lenses have become a marketing moniker to project this lens is better and greater than your lens.. Except in real world image making, too many other factors negate this potential lens design "advantage". Add to this, the point of reference for "APO" varies and is not a term with unified agreement among all involved.

    That said, "APO" process lenses (APO ronar, APO artar, APO nikkor, APO saphir, and ...) make excellent longer than normal focal length lenses and macro to life size 1:1) or larger image ratios.

    Have a look at this Sinar camera set up on a granite table to assure stability and reduction vibration.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This set up with a Sinar which is modular and can be configured with ease to support the demands of the lens is what would be required to achieve what the longer than normal focal length lens demands. Portability, light weight and many of the highly valued current fashion of view cameras will never apply.

    Another example with the Sinar bits available here, this was a quick lash-up example done some time ago.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Smaller sheet film format is an absolute plus if really long focal length lenses are required.

    As for real world tele images, seriously consider any of the Canon "L" lenses with fluorite such as the 300mm f2.8. This classic Canon tele remains one of the prime work-horse lenses for sports to wildlife to BIG production cinema. The images the Canon 300mm f2.8 is capable of exceeded the capability of any view camera telephoto lens, camera and set up.


    Bernice

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