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Thread: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

  1. #1

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    Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    They both appear to be the same, except the Xenar is slightly larger physically. Without having both in hand at the same time, I cannot be sure. I own the Tessar, and I have an opportunity to own the Xenar that's attached to a camera I want to purchase. I may be able to work out something where I don't have to take the lens. However, the cost differential isn't that much. I found information on the Xenar, but not the Tessar. Is there a difference in image circle at all? Does anyone have any specs on the Tessar? The one thing I can say from experience....it ain't got a heck of a lot of spare image circle for movements. Maybe an inch either way. But it gives a lovely image. Will the Xenar give a bigger image circle?
    Michael W. Graves
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  2. #2
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Xenar is just Schneider's brand name for their Tessars. Nice lenses.

    "Tessar" is originally a name for the 4-element/3 group Paul Rudolf/Zeiss lens design, but sometimes Zeiss used the Tessar name on non-Tessar designs.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    So they're probably going to be identical then? I may just take it with the camera and play with it for a few days. If I decide they're too close to one another I only have to get a hundred bucks out of it to break even.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  4. #4
    loujon
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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Graves View Post
    So they're probably going to be identical then? I may just take it with the camera and play with it for a few days. If I decide they're too close to one another I only have to get a hundred bucks out of it to break even.
    Yep.

  5. #5

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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Not necessarily. It depends on the vintage and on the maximum aperture.

    I don't have any of Thiele's Zeiss data books so don't know when the various Zeiss Tessars were recomputed, am not aware of any similar resource for Schneider lenses. I do know that in general the newer the Tessar the better and for Tessars of the same vintage f/6.3ers are better -- sharper, larger coverage -- than f/4.5ers are better than f/3.5er. Also, I believe, with no firm evidence to support the belief, that late 210/6.1 and 150/5.6 Xenars are the best of all.

    Zeiss and successors (Docter) made Tessars for at least 90 years, starting in 1902. Schneider made Xenars from no later than 1931 until fairly recently. There are many of both around, and of many vintages. Generalizing about them isn't safe.

    Michael, which focal lengths, maximum apertures, and serial numbers are you trying to decide between?

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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post

    Michael, which focal lengths, maximum apertures, and serial numbers are you trying to decide between?
    The one I have and the one that is coming with the camera are both 150 f4.5. The Xenar has a Linhof marking on the shutter. My Tessar has a Compur shutter and I've used it quite a lot. But as I say, I find sometimes the lack of movements shows up (usually in vignetted skies).
    Michael W. Graves
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    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  7. #7

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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Michael, thanks for the reply. Without knowing more (shutter engraved Linhof probably means 1950s-60s, Compur shutter isn't informative, serial number would have been), they'll have the same coverage. That's tessars' nature. For f/4.5ers, 110% of focal length is a safe slightly conservative bet. As I wrote, the 150 Xenar to want most is the late 150/5.6.

  8. #8
    Luc Benac lbenac's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    As I wrote, the 150 Xenar to want most is the late 150/5.6.
    I have one and it is a lens I really like. Coupled with the 210/6.These are great value. I shoot B&W only so cannot comment on color.

    Cheers,

    Luc
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  9. #9
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    You already have the Tessar: Buy the camera WITH the Xenaron it. Test both lenses and sell off the one you don't want.
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    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between 150 Tessar and 150 Xenar?

    Which Tessar is it ? Not a stupid question as there's the earlier ones in a dial set Compur, pre WWII uncoated on the rimset Compur and coated from 1938 onwards still made by CZJ after WWII, and later the West German Tessars.

    My 1950's CZJ 150mm f4.5 T (coated) Tessar is a great lens better coatings than the equivalent Xenars of the time but it's coverage is about the same as my late 150mm f5.6 Xenar, by f22 both are very sharp right to the corners. I found you need to be very carefull centering these lenses if using tilt as they quickly vignette the corners.

    Ian

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