Mixing Different brands of lenses?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by fingel, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I have a question about mixing different lenses. I have a pretty good selection of 67mm filters and am looking to add a couple of lenses to my large format kit. I have a 180mm Nikkor with a 67mm filter thread now, and am considering purchasing a 135mm lens, and a wide angle down the road. The 135 I am looking at is a Fujinon 135mm CMW with a 67mm filter thread, but am also thinking about a Nikkor 135 with a 52mm filter thread. After that long explination, what works for all of you? Do you prefer using all one brand of lens, or do you mix them up? What are the benifits of useing all one brand if any?

    FYI: in addition to the Fujinon having the 67mm filter size, it also has a bigger image circle than the Nikkor 135mm. So it is not only the filter size that I like about the Fujinon.
    Thanks for your input.
    Best regards,
    Scott
     
  2. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    Scott,

    don't worry much about your filters as long as your new lens does not have a bigger diameter. You can always use a step-down ring.

    All manufacturers have unique lenses with respect to different features. IMO, it absolutely makes sense to select lenses from different product lines according to your needs. No manufacturer offers all options from one hand. Coverage is one option, size and weight is another and usually contrary option.

    I can comment neither on the 135mm Fujinon nor on the Nikkor. But the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar 5.6/135 is one of the best LF-Lenses I have ever seen. It is tack sharp even at f8 and therefore is able to deliver exceptional resolution. It has a nice bokeh and is of small size and weight. The Sironar-N is even smaller and lighter (but has less coverage). This might be an important aspect for field workers. The Rodenstock 135mm has got a 49mm filter thread. It might look a little odd to step down a filter from 67mm to 49mm, but you won’t see anything from that in your picture.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I mix different brands of lenses, but I shoot mostly B&W (though John Sexton shoots all Nikkors).

    If you shoot mostly color transparency film, like Jack Dykinga, you might make a case for shooting mostly one brand of lens for reasons of color consistency. His lenses are all Schneiders.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    I have a Rodenstock Sironar a Fujinon and 3 Schneiders. I don't see any problems that are caused from this mix of lenses. Again like David I shoot mostly B/W

    lee\c
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I think that, in my experience, as long as the lenses are all modern and coated, the differences noted will be minimal.

    I shoot all Schneiders on my 4X5 system. On my 8X10 system, I shoot a mixed bag of Caltar, Dagor, and soon Nikor. I do notice a definite difference in contrast between my 4X5 negs and my 8X10 negs. The difference is so great that I would normally develop Bergger BPF for approx. 8 1/4 minutes (in a N contrast situation) in ABC Pyro 4X5. My 8X10 negatives are developed under the same conditions for approx. 12-13 minutes.

    The difference, I believe, is due to a combination of lens coatings differences and also shutter differences (all copal in the Schneiders) and a mixed bag of Ilex, Rapax, and Packard in the 8X10 lenses. Additionally, I might add, I enlarge the 4X5 negs and I contact print the 8X10 onto Azo.

    I think that once the inherent characteristics of the differences, if any, are noted that one can learn to work within that system.
     
  6. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I shoot mostly B&W and have Ektars, newer Schneiders and a Dagor. there is differences between contrast, but quite a bit of this can be controlled with proper lens shading and filtering. With color there is a noticeble difference in contrast and color saturation between say the Ektars and Dagor compared to the new Schneiders. So if you want consistency in color one mfg or maybe stick to very current lenses.

    I suppose if I had the money I would upgrade to all Nikors or Schneiders, but every time I think about buying a new Symmar L lens I think about how I can buy a couple of older lenses for the same amount.
     
  7. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I have never been able to tell the difference between lenses. I use Schneider, Calumet (Rodenstock), Rodenstock, and Nikkor.

    The difference in shutters is probably the bigger deal, as each vintage of Copal has its own personality, and they are slightly different from the Compurs, etc.

    dgh
     
  8. fingel

    fingel Member

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    Thanks for your input everyone. I am glad to see that others mix there lenses and that i am not an oddball for considering doing the same. Thanks again.
    Scott
     
  9. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Actually,

    This brings up a question I have always wondered about.

    Can any of us tell the difference between brands of lenses from the same genre? I mean I imagine the differences between coated and non coated lenses are clear, etc. But if I photographed the same scene with a Schneider and a Congo or a Fuji, let's say, and made prints to whatever size you felt you needed, could you tell the difference?

    Admittedly I have always been a little brand conscious about lenses, just to be sure. But I never really knew for sure.

    dgh
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I bet you could see a difference if you looked at images side by side. They're all good lenses, but every lens has its own character.
     
  11. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (David Hall @ Feb 19 2003, 01:52 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>if I photographed the same scene with a Schneider and a Congo or a Fuji, let's say, and made prints to whatever size you felt you needed, could you tell the difference?</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    David,

    It is hard to tell the difference between modern LF lenses as long as sharpness and/or brilliance it your main concern. You may be able to tell the difference in the outer areas of the image circle and for lower f-stop values. However, there are other aspects to take into account. If you need maximum coverage, there is currently no alternative to Schneider, at least for some focals. If size and weight is a primary issue, you’ll have to pick lenses from almost all manufacturers (e.g. Schneider 4,5/80XL, Congo 6,3/90, Rodenstock 5,6/135, Nikkor-M 9/300, Fujinon-C 12.5/450)

    IMO, comparing lenses is merely like comparing TMX vs. Delta 100. Both are sharp but do have different characters in detail. If you take a closer look at the out-of-focus rendering (the so calles bokeh), you may be able to differentiate between modern lenses more clearly. It is a matter of personal taste in the end. I, e.g., do not like the shorter focal Fujinon, but I love my Fujinon-C 12.5/450. So it is not a matter of comparing Fujinon vs. Rodenstock, but of comparing e.g. a certain Grandagon-N with a certain Fujinon SW(D) or simply: picking the best from all lines according your needs and likes.
     
  12. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    FWIW, I think you'd get more of a difference between various types of lenses than makes. Depending on what you're shooting, you might be able to work this to you're advantage if you've got a selection with you to choose from. Right now I have three lenses very close in focal length: A 10"/250mm WF Ektar, a 240mm G-Claron, and a 10.4" Cooke. They each have a distinctly different "look" I find I can use to my advantage, depending on the subject, contrast, and light. Thats really part of the fun of vintage glass(though the G-Claron isn't exactly vintage!) I doubt if you'd have this much variation among like focal lengths in plasmats by contemporary manufacturers like Schneider, Nikkor, and Rodenstock. Good light!