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Thread: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

  1. #1
    walbergb
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    Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    I had my mind set on a Nikkor M 300mm/9 to go along with my 90mm & 150mm for 4x5 until I came across an APO-Ronar 300mm/9 for sale for about half the price. Intrigued, I did some research and was pleased to find that it is a sharp lens and good for 1:1. I know I can't go wrong with the Nikkor, but what are your thoughts on the APO-Ronar? My bellows extends to 390mm.

  2. #2

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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    I have a modern 240mm Ronar in copal, I think it is my sharpest lens, sharper than a sironar s maybe except at infinity where it is still good. Coverage isnt too bad either, better than one would expect from the stats. The detail in this is amazing, much better than the jpeg can show, it can resolve aphids that you would not notice with the naked eye, wonderful tonality and blur in out of focus areas. The corrugated iron is out of focus. The 5x7 with development problems was also made with a 240 Ronar. You can also convert them into a long focal length by using only one element, with reasonably acceptable results stopped down.

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  3. #3

    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    I have the 300 APO-Ronar. Don't hesitate to get it. It is a great lens. You can't go wrong with the Nikkor either though.

  4. #4
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    The Ronar is a process lens, so one would expect it to be quite good at 1:1.

    Nikkor describes their M lenses as "Apochromats to infinity", meaning that they're optimized
    for a full range of subject distances, not just for close work like the Ronar.

    On your camera the M would allow ~96mm extension, for a 1:3 ratio and close focus of ~3.1 feet.
    I don't have the FFL for the Ronar so I can't do the calculations for it.

    I have the Nikkor M 300/9 and it's a superb lens. I do not have a Ronar.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  5. #5

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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    The 300mm APO Ronar extends to 296mm at infinity out of a Rodenstock brochure!

    Cheers Armin

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    Is your priority infinity or close-ups? And you might want to double check the vintage of the lenses and get the opinion of Bob S. on this. As I recall, there was a bit of a lens spacing issue regarding apo-ronars for general use, and certainly also a distinction in which
    were or were not multicoated. The quality of both lens options is legendary, at least among
    us LF dinosaurs. If the ronar is single-coat it might have a tad less contrast (being dialyte
    contruction) versus the M series, which have only 6 air/glass interfaces in addition to being
    MC. The older single-coat Nikkor tessars were Q's. I don't own a ronar, but have made comparisons with my M and the Fuji C's, which are multicoated dialytes. Any real-world
    difference in performance other than image circle size is extremely subtle.

  7. #7

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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    I have a late-model 300 Apo-Ronar, the one with the blue stripe. I've never used it for closeups, but it's a very sharp lens at and near infinity which is where I normally use it. In fact, when I got it, I tested it next to my 210 Apo-Sironar-S and the sharpness and contrast at infinity were very, very close if not identical. I know it's not a scientific test and it's silly to compare lenses of different focal lengths, but I'm sure that, while it is optimized for 1:1, the Apo-Ronar is very good at infinity.

    I've never used the Nikkor so I can't really compare.

  8. #8
    God loves a tryer Scotty230358's Avatar
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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    My 300 APO ronar (in compur electronic shutter) is a very fine lens. Sharp and contrasty at infinity plus its small and light. The only bummer with mine is that the electronic shutter does not enjoy a stellar reputation for reliability and is probably unrepairable should it go wrong. Mind you mine is probably a rarity.

  9. #9

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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    Quote Originally Posted by walbergb View Post
    I had my mind set on a Nikkor M 300mm/9 to go along with my 90mm & 150mm for 4x5 until I came across an APO-Ronar 300mm/9 for sale for about half the price. Intrigued, I did some research and was pleased to find that it is a sharp lens and good for 1:1. I know I can't go wrong with the Nikkor, but what are your thoughts on the APO-Ronar? My bellows extends to 390mm.
    First make sure your price comparisons are the same (e.g. both in shutters, or both in barrels).

    The Apo-Ronar in a barrel is optimized for 1:1, but I seem to remember from somewhere they are more optimized for regular use (infinity) when factory mounted in shutters. I have a 420mm f9 Apo-Ronar factory mounted in a shutter, and for the limited use I have done with it, seems an excellent lens.

    I have and used a shutter mounted 355mm f9 Repro-Claron (another dialyte design like the Apo-Ronar) on a Technika with about a 16" bellow draw, and on a flat lensboard (versus a top hat board) could focus no closer than about 10 feet. With a 300mm you should be able to focus closer than my 355mm.

    How important is image quality (i.e. how high are you going to blow up your prints where image quality will be critical), versus money in your pocket to buy film? Although not certain at what point if at all, any difference will relevant.

    With regard to coverage, on 4x5 there should not be any problems, as I have used my 355mm on 8x10.

    Hope that helps,

    Len

    P.S. Many years ago I lived in "Winterpeg". Is the Brandon you refer to the same one west of there?

  10. #10
    walbergb
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    Re: Nikkor M 300 or APO-Ronar 300?

    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experiences. It has been most helpful. I can't call my self "new" at LF photography, but still have a lot to learn.

    Initially, I wasn't looking at LF macro photography until I came across this Apo-Ronar for sale. It go me thinking. Both lenses are in shutters without barrels. I take it from Len's reply that I would need a barrel if I were doing 1:1.

    I make 16x20 prints from most of my 4x5 negatives. I think a 16x20 of a 1:1 close-up would be exciting to create. Also, I have Ilford MG IV FB mat paper and MG IV RC pearl in large rolls. I'd like to try a very LARGE print some day before the paper gets too old. I have full use of the local art gallery's darkroom because I teach b&w photography there. It has 2x8ft sinks. I just have to figure out a system for trays.

    To Len M. Yes, your geography is correct. "Winterpeg is living up to its reputation today. Winnipeg and Brandon are expecting 20-30cm of snow. I have a couple of winter landscape scenes I want to capture on LF as soon as the wind dies down.

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