In Need of a Sharp 4x5 90mm

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Xander Fischer, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Xander Fischer

    Xander Fischer Member

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    So, other that perhaps Linhof/zeiss lenses (which are a way out of my price range) What's a SHARP 90mm for 4x5 with enough covering power for good movement? I know the Schneider 90mm XL is great, but I really don't want to pay $600+ for a center filter... Also looking for a 150mm of similar qualities.


    Suggestions?
     
  2. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    How about a 90mm Super Angulon and a 150mm Symmar? Both are easy to find in good condition and not very expensive.

    Steve
     
  3. Trond

    Trond Subscriber

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    I have a Fujinon-SW 90 f/8.0 which is very sharp. They are not very expensive either. Similar lenses are/were made by Nikon, Schneider, Rodenstock, etc. and probably perform on a similar level.

    Trond
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    i have a 90mm f6.8 Grandagon and also a 90mm f5.6 Siper angulon, bot are extremely sharp lenses, and you don't need a centre filter for 5x4 with a 90mm. I paid about £150 ($230) for teh Super Angulon which is in excellent condition.

    Ian
     
  5. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I own a Schneider 90 XL, but I'd bet any 90 made my Nikon, Rodenstock or Fuji would be just as sharp. Some personal perspective after having gone through this recently:

    With wide angles I personally have trouble seeing at f/8, so I prefer faster lenses. The downsides to faster lenses of course are bulk and price.

    How much movement are you are likely to really need? Unless you need massive amounts of movement (which might even exceed the limits of your camera), you can save a lot of $ and some headaches by going with a smaller lens than the 90 XL - which by the way also has a unique "issue" if your camera uses Linhof-type boards: the diameter of the rear cell on the lens is a few mm too large to get into the front standard without unscrewing the protecting ring on the rear element. If you read Schneider's literature on this lens you'll see a reference to that.

    Accessories such as filters and lens hoods/shades can be problematic (at best) with lenses as large as the XL. Even without the center filter, the front thread is huge (95mm). A proper lens hood or compendium shade becomes a near impossibility. And filters can be difficult to find and very expensive. The Rodenstock 4.5/90 is slightly smaller (82mm front thread), but with center filters attached, the front threads on both the Schneider XL and the Rodenstock are a whopping 112mm.

    Center filters: keep in mind the "requirement" for a center filter is not a property of the XL per se. The falloff is an optical property you can't get around. Any other 90mm lens will have the same amount of falloff (or worse). So just because Fuji and Nikon don't/didn't offer dedicated center filters for their wide angle lenses doesn't mean they had less falloff. Turning this around, it means you don't necessarily need the center filter on the XL either. 90mm is not an excessively wide focal length and many people find they get by just fine without a center filter. It's something you'd have to judge for yourself and you might only run into noticeable falloff with large movements.

    For the 150mm, much easier. They are all awesome. For the longest time I used a Nikkor W 150mm. Fantastic lens. I'm now using a Schneider 150mm Apo Symmar only because I gave up large format for a while and had sold the Nikkor. People also rave about the Rodenstock 150mm Apo Sironar. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them in terms of image quality. Some have slightly larger or smaller image circles but the differences are not huge.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2012
  6. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    The Nikon 90/8 is THE 90mm to beat. Check the tests by Perez, et al, and the lens optical diagram. Simply the best 90 out there, IMNSHO. For 150s, the Apo-sironar S is considered about as good as it gets, though the Apo Symmar 150 and Fuji NW-S 150 are also top shelf.

    -Ed
     
  7. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I would say that any modern 90 is sharp. It is more about the stability of your tripod and camera setup.
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I dont understand why you think some lenses are sharp and others not.
    Schneider super angulon
    rodenstock grandagon
    nikon nikkor sw
    fujinon sw

    All these lenses are top-notch and super sharp. I dare you try to tell the difference.
    It is probably more important to find one in mint condition.
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    And use a sturdy tripod, and focus with a good loupe, and make sure your GG is properly located, filmholders within spec.......

    The lens is just a link in a chain.
     
  10. Xander Fischer

    Xander Fischer Member

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    Thanks guys, really appreciate the input. I know falloff happens to all 90s, but I'd rather pay ~$200 for a center filter that $$$$$$$ for the 10000000mm filter for the XL. I haven't seen any tests, I'm still getting my feet wet in the intriguing LF waters. Good to know they're all sharp. I have the Nikon 65mm, and it's great, but the movements are so limited. I'll keep poking around and see what I find.

    Thanks all! Other perspectives still welcome.
     
  11. Xander Fischer

    Xander Fischer Member

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    Also, is there a quality difference between the nikon 90 f/4.5 and the nikon 90 f/8? I assume faster doesn't necessarily designate better lens quality with LF lenses like it tends to for DSLR lenses?
     
  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    In LF the max aperture has more to do with image circle and brightness for focusing (and the size of the lens of course). I doubt the Nikkor f/8 would be any less sharp than the f/4.5.

    Regarding center filters, keep in mind they need to be matched to the lens, so it is not as easy as finding a generic center filter that will fit into the front threads. I could be wrong about this but I don't know of any center filters for the Nikkors.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Lens speed and lens quality are utterly unrelated, whether the lens is used on a DSLR, a view camera, a microscope........ of course the ad copy writers will have you believe differently.

    The faster lenses are easier to focus (which makes a big difference in the corners of the GG when using an extreme WA lens, as you are) and more expensive - that's it.
     
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  15. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    The nikon 90/8 is widely regarded as better than the 90/4.5. Empirical testing bears this out, which should be obvious anyway from the optical design. the 90/8 nikon has a greater image circle than basically all other slow 90s (f/6.8 - 8).
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    get an old chrome barrel super angulon, they are not very expensive, and if you
    decide you want something else, they retain their value so you can just sell and upgrade ..
    i have had and used wollensak 90mm raptar and a 3 1/2 " wollensak exwa lenses which were very sharp stopped down
    and very small ... i sold them years ago and got a super angulon 90, and to be honest i can't tell the difference between any of them ...
    as EvH suggests, focus well, use a sturdy tripod, make sure your gg + film holders are "right" stop down ... and you should be good to go,
    unless you get a lens whose previous owner mixed up the cells, or lens / shutter spacing &c, then no amount of perfection will help you ..


    the main difference is the one with the larger aperture will be easier to focus wide open.
    some people have a hard time focusing lf lenses whose largest fstop is f8 ...
     
  17. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    How about a nice late model all black 90mm f/8 SA in nearly mint condition... the later model with the factory writing on the side. How does $225 shipped CONUS sound?
     
  18. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    The Nikon 90 SW f8
     
  19. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    The f8 has 8 elements and is highly corrected. The f4.5 has 7 elements.

    I have owned both. The f8 is really impressive in sharpness - provided you get a good sample. The Nikon 90 f4.5 is just *OK*.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I've not only heard it the other way around, but know a number of nitpicky people (myself included) who consider the Nikkor 90/4.5 to be the best 90 wide ever made up to that point. It's extremely crisp, and a Schneider 82mm CF works perfectly on it.
     
  21. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    The important thing is not to get confused between the sharpness of a slightly older lens and the contrast of more modern lenses. It is easier to increase contrast in processing than the impossible task of increasing the sharpness. Give or take most fairly modern era large format lenses are pretty damned sharp, the main improvements in evolution being in colour rendition and micro contrast, not sharpness.

    Steve
     
  22. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    All the modern 90s are sharp.

    The only thing I'll add is that you MAY get sharper results from a faster lens (f4.5 or 5.6) for two simple reasons.
    1. you will be able to see the ground glass better which aids focusing.
    2. When the 4.5 and 5.6 lenses are wide open for focusing they through the out of focus elements slightly more out of focus than an f8 model, which may also allow you to focus more accurately.

    I used to use a 90mm SA f8 and switched to a 90mm Nikkor SW f4.5 for these reasons.

    Assuming you are focused properly I believe all the modern 90s will give similar results.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2012
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Most DIY alleged sharpness tests are basically BS for at least one simple reason, esp with short focal
    lengths like the one in question: the variations in film plane in a conventional holder affect focus more than variations between lenses! You'd have to use a vacuum holder or glass plate, or compare
    aerial images w/o film. In the specific comparison of a Nkkor 4.5 vs f/8 it's mainly a tradeoff between
    portability vs brighter viewing. The difference in optical performance per se is probably miniscule.
     
  24. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Drew is right to a certain point. I doubt in 8x10 or even 16x20's prints one can easily tell the difference between the Nikon f4.5 vs the Nikon SW F8 Nikkor.

    But do know Drew's opinion of the Nikon f4,5 being sharper than the f8 is in the clear minority. Do a web search and go back to threads over the last dozen years. He's clearly wrong here.

    I cherry picked from three brand new 90 f4.5 and kept the one that was acceptable. This cherry picked sample is a competent optic but it's not even in the same league in terms of resolution performance as the Nikon 90 f8.

    PS: The f8 is not difficult to focus in daylight conditions. It's also half the size and weight of the f4.5.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2012
  25. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    +1 What Andre said.
     
  26. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Ummm, guys. Here's what Drew said:"In the specific comparison of a Nkkor 4.5 vs f/8 it's mainly a tradeoff between
    portability vs brighter viewing. The difference in optical performance per se is probably miniscule."