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Thread: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

  1. #1

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    Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Being a total n00b to LF I was given this lens to try out and as far as I can tell I like it, any information you may have about it will be helpful - specifically the good, the bad and the ugly (mostly the latter).

    Schneider 150mm f/5.6, 32 second exposure @ f/32, T-Max 100 4x5 developed in T-Max for 7 minutes:


    Schneider 150mm f/5.6, 40 second exposure @ f/32, T-Max 100 4x5 developed in T-Max for 8 minutes:

  2. #2

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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    I never met a xenar I didn't love. They're fantastic and underrated.

  3. #3
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Great design that allows the lens to be small and light. The only thing you might miss is some movement, due to the smaller image circle. The modern Xenars are single coated, but there are not too many air to glass surfaces, so it should not make a difference in most situations. I have a 210mm version and like it very much.

  4. #4
    LJ Segil
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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Are they not the same design as the Zeiss Tessars? If not, then what sort of fish or fowl might they be? And extending the thread a little beyond the OP's question, how does the Xenotar differ?
    Larry

  5. #5

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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Xenar = Tessar, but note that the prescriptions are different. That's true within Zeiss Tessars and Schneider Xenars too. Not all Tessars are the same thing scaled up/down, and neither are all Xenars.

    Xenotar = Planar, but note that the prescriptions are different. See above caveat. Also note that Planar is a trade name, covers a number of different double Gauss type designs.

  6. #6

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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by ljsegil View Post
    Are they not the same design as the Zeiss Tessars? If not, then what sort of fish or fowl might they be? And extending the thread a little beyond the OP's question, how does the Xenotar differ?
    Larry
    The 150mm Xenar was a 4.5 lens that covered a 180mm image circle at f16 at infinity and had a FFL of 144mm and weighed 250 grams in shutter.
    The 150mm Xenotar was a 2.8 lens that covered a 160mm image circle at f16 at infinity and had a FFL of 139mm and weighed 875grams in shutter.
    The Xenar accepted 40.5mm filters and the Xenotar used 77mm filters. The Xenotar required a larger shutter. The Xenotar was a 5 element lens and the Xenar a 4 element lens with 2 air spaced elements.
    In short, the only thing these two lenses had in common was their manufacturer.

    In the old days Franke & Heidicke used Xenars and Tessars on the Rolleicord series of 6x6 cameras and the basic Rolleiflex TLR cameras. They used the Planar and the Xenotar on the more advanced Rolleiflex TLR cameras like the E and the F models.

  7. #7
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    These Xenar's were the most recent design, last batches were still being sold in the early 2000's

    As Dan says not all Tessar's are equal in quality even for the same focal length, same with Xenar's, due to slight differences in design. The sharpest Tessar's across all apertures were the slowest the f6.3, earlier Xenar's were f4.5, f4.7 and there was an f3.5 (all 150mm), so the f5.6 Xenar is the sharpest version Schneider made

    I bought a late production Xenar f5.6 150mm of this forum, (or APUG, or UKLFP, I answered the same advert on 3 Forums ).

    Mine's a great lens very good performance, the only downside is it has less coverage than my Symmar's & Sironar's, as was mentioned previously. Stopped down f16/f22/f32, results are indistinguishable to my other lenses.

    With care the more limited image circle should rarely be an issue.

    Ian

  8. #8
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    The 150mm Xenar was a 4.5 lens that covered a 180mm image circle at f16 at infinity and had a FFL of 144mm and weighed 250 grams in shutter.
    There was also an f3.5 and a an f4.7 150mm, then much later after Symmar sales outstripped the Xenar Schneider re-designed it as an f5.6, making some new batches in the late 90's.

    It's very mush smaller and lighter that the f4.5 takes 36mm OD lens cap, (that fits inside the front of my 150mm f4.5 Tessar 40.5mm filter ) 34mm filters, weighs 170g in Copal shutter, image circle 156 @ f5.6, 173 @ f22, effective focal length 149.9mm

    It also has better performance.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    "With care the more limited image circle should rarely be an issue"
    That depends on what and how you shoot. For an industrial, commercial or architectural photographer or a product photographer this lens would be sorely lacking coverage. If you use base movements and do much tilting outdoors you can very quickly walk the coverage off the gg with this lens.

    If you are doing press photography, portrait, wedding photography it has plenty of coverage. If you do landscapes with little or no shift/rise. tilt swing then it is probably also OK.

    One question when a photographer says "With care the more limited image circle should rarely be an issue" is are you letting the len's restrictions or the camera's restrictions restrict your work?

  10. #10
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider Xenar 150mm f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    One question when a photographer says "With care the more limited image circle should rarely be an issue" is are you letting the len's restrictions or the camera's restrictions restrict your work?
    When I tell you that my Xenar lens is on a Crown Graphic all becomes transparent

    In this case the camera's restrictive movements match the lens coverage. So it's just a case of ensuring tilt is compensated by rise/fall. But this is my hand-held camera, light levels are rarely less than near the top of the scale in my meters (here in Turkey).

    My main 150mm is a Sironar N, so far in 23 years and a lot of use I've not run out of coverage, I have with the Xenar because I expected too much to start with, I've only lost one shot though .

    But back to you're question, it's the camera/lens combination, I wouldn't shoot architecture (commercially) with a Crown Graphic/Xenar (or Tessar) combination, and I have a choice of LF cameras & lenses to meet most needs.

    However someone like the OP (ThePhilosopher) has to learn to use whatever he has to it's maximum. If all he ever needs is a little bit of rise/fall, or front or back tilt and can compensate with rise/fall, then a Xenar will be a very reasonable choice.

    I have used an older Xenar commercially back around 1976 until 86 so an fully conversant with their Pro's & Con's.

    Ian
    Last edited by IanG; 5-Oct-2009 at 12:05. Reason: typos

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