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Thread: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

  1. #1

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    Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Hi Folks,

    I know I may be going against the grain (pun not intended), but thinking of getting into LF for landscape photography. I am interested in light, good quality lenses that don't break the bank and so the two in the title attract me (also as Caltar Pro f6.1 and Caltar E f6.8 versions too, including one for sale at the moment in on this forum).

    What are the weaknesses of these lenses? Is flare control good? Will I realistically see any differences against say a nikkor/fuji/rodenstock/schneider symmar s 210 mm f5.6 at apertures that are commonly used? Will the differences be apparent when using larger apertures and how common would that be in any case?

    Thanks in advance

    Graham

  2. #2
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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Both have excellent flare control, being simpler designs with fewer air surfaces than modern plasmats.

    The Xenar is a tessar design of good quality, and the Geronar is a modern version of a Cooke triplet. Both work best stopped down a bit (to, say, f/22). The Geronar has been sold in greater quantities more recently so there's a better chance it will be a more modern shutter, but the Xenars were installed in modern shutters, too. (Modern plasmats are derived from air-spaced dagors, and are wider in coverage.)

    These have less coverage than a plasmat and do not perform quite as well at wide apertures. If you need the best performance wide open, then the plasmat might be a better choice. But at usual working apertures of f/22 or so, you'll find both to be quite sharp. Geronars often came multicoated and are really contrasty lenses, moreso than the Xenar, probably.

    I'd select either unless I needed more coverage or better performance wide open. Both were usable as normal lenses for 5x7, so they have decent enough coverage on 4x5 at that focal length. Of the two, I'd pick the one in better condition unless I particularly wanted a tessar look.

    Rick "who has a 150mm Geronar and a number of tessars" Denney

  3. #3

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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    I'm hardly an expert but I expect a Xenar to be sharp in the center and a bit less so at the edges. A Symmar should be evenly sharp across the frame.

    Apologies for the next posts correcting me....

  4. #4

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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    The modern Xenar is quite sharp stopped down anywhere past f11. The geronar.... is actually a lovely little portrit lens for 4x5. Wide open, it is just sublime. Very gentle but not quite soft and mushy. It is also fairly sharp when well stopped down. I have all three - 210mm Geronar, Xenar and Sironar-N as well as a Ysarex. They each have their own place in my kit but the Xenar is by far my favorite.

  5. #5
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    The Xenar is OK an excellent performer at F22, edge & corner sharpness is just acceptable at f16 but soft at f11 and wider. If you can find on e of the last ones sold in the early 2000's these are the best of all, quite a few were sold in the UK by Robert White and I think MrCad at bargain prices. The last Xenar's were redesigned and had slightly slower apertures 150mm f5.6, & 210mm f6.1.

    My Xenr's a 150mm and like the 210mm is light weight and good for bbackpacking but like all Tessar designs it doesn't have a large image circle, so you need to be very careful using movements. If you want to use the 210 on a 5x4 camera then you'll have far better coverage also sharpness will be better at the edges /corners of your image area.

    I a;so have a 150mm Geronar and stopped down it's as good as the Xenar and image quality is on a par with my 150mm Sironar N, I've not really used the lens at wider apertures so can't comment but I have experience of the Xenar and other Tessars and as Frank pointed out a Symmar (or Sironar) is much sharper across the frame at wider apertures. The Xenars are coated while the Geronars are Multi coated but I've not found that an issue even shooting into the light in Turkey.

    That's a good price for the Caltar E. You might also look for a 203mm f7.7 Ektar, very small and light and extremely sharp at all apertures - the British made ones are the best as they come in Compur #0 or Prontor SVS #0 shutters, or Kodak modified Epsilon #0. (The US versions are in Supermatic shutters).

    Ian

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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    I've found both to be of highly questionable quality. If you are looking for a tessar type sharp and contrasty lens, Caltar f 6.3 or Commercial Ektar f 6.3. Stop them down a stop and a half and you'll be happy.
    Lynn

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    Luc Benac lbenac's Avatar
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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    If you can find on e of the last ones sold in the early 2000's these are the best of all, The last Xenar's were redesigned and had slightly slower apertures 150mm f5.6, & 210mm f6.1[/URL].
    These are the two I have in my secondary kit and I find them excellent. The Sironar-N 150mm might be a smudge sharper (specially on corners) and more contrasty = different look but if need be I could leave with these two as a main kit (along with the Nikkor-M 300/9).

    Cheers,

    Luc
    Field # ShenHao XPO45 - Monorail # Sinar P, F2
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    http://www.lucbenacphoto.com/

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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Sharpness is over-rated. There is only so much that is needed and beyond that the sharpness makes little difference. Flare control is best accomplished with a lens hood. A good landscape phtogograph depends much more upon one being there photographing a good landscape than it ever will depend upon which lens you are using.

  9. #9
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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Sharpness is over-rated. There is only so much that is needed and beyond that the sharpness makes little difference. Flare control is best accomplished with a lens hood. A good landscape phtogograph depends much more upon one being there photographing a good landscape than it ever will depend upon which lens you are using.
    Well I've large prints made using my 150mm Xenar and an older 150mm CZJ Tessar (T coated) and there's no difference in apparent shrapness compared to images made with Sironars/Symmars/Super Angulons etc. You just need to use care & f22 if you need overall sharpness.

    Both lenses the OP asks about can be found newer and have better glass than old Kodak/Caltar (pre Schneider/Rodenstock) Tessar type lenses and they have better contrast as well. Both my Xenar & Tessar have been used in conditions where the Multi Coated lens on my Canon DSLR is useless and are remarkably flare free.

    Ian

  10. #10

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    Re: Weaknesses of Schneider Xenar or rodenstock geronar 210 mm?

    Yes, Ian... f/22 and be there (or something like that).

    But I'll tell you... I bought a Kodak Comemrcial Ektar a few years ago and if I could only have one lens for the rest of my life I would gladly stop using all of my Plasmats.

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