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Thread: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

  1. #1

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    Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Picked up one of these today mostly on a lark.

    I've been looking for a versatile longer lens for 4x5, thinking around 300mm that I could use for both portraits and landscapes, slightly softer wide open but sharp stopped down.

    Came across a store here in Europe that had the T-X 270 in stock at what I think was a reasonable price, and pulled the trigger. They also had an APO Ronar 300mm f9, but it was at least twice as heavy, and without a shutter. the Tele-Xenar seems reasonably light and compact. The Schneider is in a Compur shutter with what looks like an almost perfectly round aperture, which is nice. Not sure the size, maybe #3, although it looks a bit smaller than what I'm used to. Silver face, T, B and 1 - 1/200 seconds on the timer, all speeds sound pretty accurate.

    Have googled quite a bit and don't find a whole lot about this lens. Obviously I will test it out when I get home, but would love to hear others' experience with it. Judging from the serial number, it was made around 1953, same year as my Rolleiflex. More than that I don't really know. As a tessar/dialite design (as far as I've been able to ascertain), it should be good for my intended use.

    From what I can tell it is not multicoated (started in the 70's around serial number 12M), but it may be single coated.

    Would love to hear any other experience or thoughts regarding this lens!

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    I have a chrome Schneider 270mm f5.5 Tele-Xenar and recently I've been using it on my 9x9cm reflex Plaubel Makiflexes. I enjoy using it and it does very well on 9x9cm, although I guess I am using just the sweet center of the image circle. I'm very glad I have it. It's in barrel mount and I don't remember paying much for it, so I'm happy-happy. Great to look through.

    I just put a Hoya K2 filter and hood on mine, it takes 58mm filters which is good. I've been using it for shooting still life close-up in the studio. It's excellent for my uses. Optimum stop seems to be about three stops down, like my other Tele-Xenars so for me about f/16 as a minimum. Works well for what it is.
    Last edited by Daniel Unkefer; 12-Jun-2022 at 08:41.
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

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  3. #3

    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Found this data in an old LFF thread:

    "I have a Tele-Xenar 5,5/270 coated (red triangle, single-coated), made in 1951. It's 480g mounted in a Technika board. Filter size is 58mm. FFD is 162mm (not a typo). Mine is in a Compur #2 dial-set shutter, with a min aperture of f/57. Image circles at infinity (full pupil) are: f/5.5-f/16= vignettes; f/16= 154mm; f/22= 170mm; f/32= 184mm; f/45= 191mm; f/57= 194mm. Full cut-off of pupil occurs at 215mm -- it's a 4x5 lens with very little movements. Sharp all across the image area. "
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

    The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    I had one of these as one of my earliest 4x5 lenses. Like you, I got it mostly on a whim. I did not wind up using it very much as the coverage is very tight for 4x5. It is soft wide open. I figured out pretty quickly that I preferred the look of my 210mm APO Symmar L, which was my main lens. I have it at my studio, but will have another look tomorrow. These days I do not do too many portraits, but if I do, I am doing them on a 210mm. For longer lenses, I use a Nikon 360/500mm tele lens, which I find quite good, though not quite as sharp as the 210mm. I have some 300mm+ lenses that I use on 8x10, but none of them fit my 4x5 camera, as they are all either on a Sinar board or too large to fit in the technika-sized hole in the ebony, even if they are on a technika board. I tried getting my 300mm Fujinon to work on it, but I think the Copal 3 fouled on the camera somehow? I remounted it on Sinar (which is the native board of my 8x10). The only long lens I have tried on the 4x5 is the Fuji 450mm C lens, which barely focuses to infinity on my camera. I think the Nikon does a better job in 4x5.

  5. #5

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    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Picture of this 270mm f5.5 Tele Xenar? Could be quite old as the 270mm does not appear in Schneider literature going back to the 60's. Here is a chart from a page in the Linhof LF book noting the 240mm Tele Xenar has a image circle of 150mm at f22, the 270mm Tele Xenar is likely not going to cover 4x5 at full aperture of f5.5.

    This is likely a lens for 6x9 or 2x3 and pressed for 4x5 only at smaller apertures or closer up or much less than infinity focus at full aperture for 4x5.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 300mm f9 APO ronar would easily cover 4x5 at infinity focus (265mm at f22, per chart) and have better optical performance at f16 to f45 over the Tele Xenar. Was this APO ronar in barrel (no shutter) or in shutter? APO ronar was also made for many decades like the Tele Xenar.

    These are two very different lenses designed / intended for specific image needs. The Tele Xenar is ideal for images at full to near full aperture. Tele Xenar at f5.5 has good optical performance long as it is not pressed for image circle, ideal optical performance about f11, surely good performance at f8, smaller than f16 the optical performance begins to degrade. Primary reason for using a Tele Xenar, reduced camera-bellows draw for the effective focal length of the lens. Due to the telephoto design, applying front tilt/swing camera movements can be a-typical. Tele Xenar contrast rendition can vary depending on vintage.

    APO ronar is a Dialyte lens formula, about identical to APO artar, APO nikkor. Symmetrical 4 element air spaced design. Excellent optical performance from 1:1 to infinity focus, typically optimized at f16 or f22, good optical performance at full aperture, very low distortion, excellent color rendition, typically moderate contrast. Tradeoff is smaller image circle. The Dialyte lens design has been made for many decades.

    Deciding on a lens choice based on weight is not a wise criteria, lens choice should be made based on image goals and needs with the camera to follow that meets the needs of the lens choice.



    Bernice

  6. #6

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    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    I should update and say that mine was the 240mm, not the 270mm, so you may be able to get an ok shot. I believe mine barely covered 4x5 at portrait distances, stopped down slightly. I don't have any pictures close at hand, unfortunately...I think by infinity there was vignetting.

  7. #7

    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Picture of this 270mm f5.5 Tele Xenar?

    270mm F5.5 Barrel Mount Tele-Xenar on 4x5 Peco Profia by Nokton48, on Flickr

    Here is mine. I believe it's a telephoto for the Baby Speed or such?? In a shutter, for the Baby Technikas. Works great on my Makis which are 9x9cm on 9x12cm. Shown on my 4x5 Plaubel Peco Profia with 120x120 Peco Jr flat board and recessed Peco Jr Adapter
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

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

  8. #8

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    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Hi Bernice,

    Pics attached. The APO Ronar was in barrel.

    Ive been wanting to pick up something more aimed at portraiture, yet still useable for landscapes or general photography (when stopped down). Since portraits dont typically call for much movements, I hope the Tele-Xenar will be ok. It was reasonably priced.

    Xenar as well as APO Ronar are both on my shortlist, all my Rollei lenses are Schneider and Im very pleased with their performance, despite all my other LF lenses being Rodenstock.

    I already have a APO Sironar S in 210mm so was hoping for something 300mm or slightly more, again more suited to portraits.

    From what Ive seen its quite common to choose lenses based on weight (and size), especially for hiking or portability. But Im still new to LF and learning every day.

    What kind of formula is the Tele-Xenar, tessar?





  9. #9

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    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Normal xenar lenses are essentially tessar designs (4 elements, 3 groups) but a tele-xenar is a telephoto lens. So it will have some extra elements to shorten the flange focal distance. I’d be curious is the main part of the lens is a tessar, or if Schneider just reused the name. I’ve never seen a diagram of the elements.

  10. #10

    Re: Schneider Tele-Xenar 270mm f5.5

    Schneider Tele Xenar by Nokton48, on Flickr

    Lit from Burleigh Brooks regarding Tele-Artons and Tele-Xenars. Enjoy Note the drawings of the optical designs.
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

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

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