My change of lens direction

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Gary Tarbert, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Gary Tarbert

    Gary Tarbert Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought of calling this thread turning japanese , Which is a popular song from the 70's . But in light of light of the recent developments, i found it in bad taste .When i first got involved in large format photographyI was told you must buy Schneider or Rodenstock because european is the way to go. So when a hapless vendor suggested i look at Fujinon i was reluctant to take the step, I am glad i did , because in my humble opinion the Japanese lens manufactures cater for landscape photographers better , I have gone from a must have European to a person who has 75 % of my lens collection based in Japan. The lenses are every bit as good as the european counterparts, With in IMHO some coverage and weight advantages. My Japanese collection is as follows (i shoot both 5x4 & 5x8)90mm f8Nikkor, 135f5.6 Nikkor ,120f8Nikkor ,450mf9 Nikkor 240a f9Fujinon,300c f8.5 Fujinon 150 Fujinon f6.3(very first lens i ever bought made in Japan), I do own 3 european lenses a 58SA 75SA and a symmer s 180 all Schneider , I have never owned a Rodenstock lens !! Not for any reason just the s/h market in Aus seems to have more Schneiders Cheers Gary
     
  2. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Almost all lenses used in modern cinema projection are made by Isco Optic which is now owned by Schneider-Kreuznach. They are such the standard in projection that, when you walk into a projection room and look for the lens, you expect to find an Isco/Schneider. They are also, pretty much, the standard on Hollywood movie sets, these days, as well.

    However, Japanese manufacturers ain't no slouches, neither. :wink: When it came time to choose a new lens for my enlarger, I ended up having to make a choice between a Schnieder and a Nikkor. I thought long and hard about the question. I ended up buying the Nikkor and I was not disappointed.
     
  3. pgomena

    pgomena Member

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    It all comes down to personal preference in the end, doesn't it? All my LF lenses are Schneiders. My first lens was a Schneider, and I stuck with the brand through six purchases, new and used, all from the same era, the 1980s. I have not been disappointed once.

    I've worked in a studio that used all Nikon LF glass. I've met photographers who use only Nikon glass. I've seen work from Fuji LF glass. Not once could I stand in front of a picture and tell you what brand of lens made it. My personal lens choices were made from experience with one maker and a desire to be consistent. I doubt anyone could stand in front of any of my pictures and tell you what brand of lens made it.

    Your pictures have more to do with you than with your gear.

    Peter Gomena
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you people think there is a different design philosophy between Japan and German lens manufacturers.
    I don't have extensive LF experience (all my 4x5 work was with american single coated optics) but I have used a wide variety of 120 and 135 systems.

    It seems that Japanese optics favor sharpness over "character".
    Maybe this is too general a statement but I've noticed it comparing mamiya 645 to 6x6 Zeiss/hasselblad,
     
  5. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

    Messages:
    1,493
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    There is definitely a distinct difference between my Mamiya 7 lenses and my old Zeiss lenses. Hard to pin down....more contrasty, sharp and cool if that makes sense. Either way, both are phenomenal and I don't think any of do ourselves a favor by not experimenting. Find what works, use it, and always tinker on the side....ya never know.
     
  6. Gary Tarbert

    Gary Tarbert Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I could not agree more, Exactly !! the point i am trying to make, But what lens does Schneider make for the backpacking photographer from the 240-450 range ???That is why i went Fujinon compare my old symmer S with my current 240a Fujinon well the shutter size says it all 0 versus 3!, Don't get me wrong i have a great respect for the Schneider product , But it is horses for courses , and size and weight are a major criteria for me . Cheers Gary
     
  7. Gary Tarbert

    Gary Tarbert Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Bruce, Yes this is probably the way most people would say the difference is . But it is more about contrast , i would say in some instances but not all Japanese lenses tend to be more contrasty . What we tend to do these days is modify some of these things in PS anyhow.Remember for me its all about Size/Weight. Cheers Gary
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Strange, in small format the opposite is usually observed. Leica and Zeiss lenses were always shown to be more contrasty than Nikon, Canon etc, although there is likely no longer much of a difference.
     
  9. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Umut, a member that you guy's might know, has a very interesting philosophy on the difference in character between East Asian & European lenses.

    I hope he chimes in, but basically he asserts that lens makers have choices when designing their lenses and in ye olden days before computer design came into play, these decisions were very much influenced by the individuals. Their choices were based off of the history of art; the culture that a particular lens maker came from defined the colors that were most appealing. Hence, European lenses favor a "Byzantine" look that is strong in reds, yellows, browns; tones of the land. Japan lenses favor blues, greens; tones of the sea.

    An intriguing theory if nothing else.
     
  10. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,571
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Chris ,

    Thank you , you summarized what I think of art history and lens history. Everyday I put a new milestep when I am researching art technology. Production of colored things started with rock paintings to pottery making. Pottery firing and glazing is approximately 10000 years old at the world and I believe Shan culture of Northeast China influenced the Greek pottery in 2000 years. Well archaeology is not very old science and people shifted their views strongly in time. When you look at Oxford Cambridge books , they try to brain wash as history or beauty started from greeks. But Romans and Middle Ages have more influence on color theory at europe. I am researching church paintings , glasses , sculptures and architecture was the library which era scientists put their knowledge on to stone.

    If you have will to study this , you will find colors are used as soldiers and there are strong backup behind of colors , degrades , contrast selection , etc. and art.

    I believe Kodak have more influence on foreign coutries than cia. You and I have strong brain washing towards the kodak colors and we strongly defend the analog because of it.

    Same as lenses. Take few shots with Leica and put in a gallery , people instantly recognize it.

    Umut
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My pleasure Umut. I think you're on to something good.

    The past is the biggest thing we know, perhaps bigger than the Universe (or equal in size.... expansion theory anyone??) and therefore it's nearly impossible to know what effect it has on us, what influence we are victim to and what legacy we have been born from. To circumvent modern interpretations and go back to the source objects is probably the only way to understand our own history.

    And you thought this was just a simple discussion about lenses! :wink:
     
  12. pgomena

    pgomena Member

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    I'd say the difference is contrasty sharpness versus smooth sharpness, Japanese lenses being crisp and contrasty-sharp, European lenses being smoother and less contrasty. As to color rendition, it's been so long since I've used color film intensively, I couldn't say.

    I see a distinct difference between my Fuji 6x9's 90mm lens and my Hasselblad's 80mm lens. The Fuji lens produces crisp, sharp, contrasty images. The Hasselblad produces a smoother, less contrasty image. Under a 6X loupe, negatives from the Fuji look sharper. Hands down. Does that mean the 'Blad isn't as good? No. The detail is all there, it's just not as abruptly delineated as it is by the Fuji. I prefer the Hasselblad's tonal rendition, but I won't deny for a minute that the Fuji has a fabulous lens. It's nice to have a choice, nice to own both, each camera has its purpose.

    Peter Gomena
     
  13. n0npr0phet

    n0npr0phet Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Identical Shots?

    Can someone post an identical shot with both German and Japanese lenses of equal focal length exposure etc?

    I would love to see the difference for myself in a few photographs.
     
  14. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

    Messages:
    1,493
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'll see if I can find a good comparison in my files and post it to the gallery. I don't have identical shots, but I do have similar shots taken with both German and Japanese lenses that should kinda show it (granted, scanned images...).
     
  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd really like to see this too. I wish I had a German lens!

    Ideally a Nikon, Canon, Zeiss, & Leica lens of identical vintage, identical focal length and maximum aperture, and with the same subject and exposure settings.

    A guy can dream I guess...

    Looking forward to your shots Klainmeister
     
  16. pgomena

    pgomena Member

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    I think it's something you have to see in person. I know my scanner is not up to the task of making reasonable comparisons of minute details on film. Borrow a lens or two and try it is the best advice I can give. Same focal length, f/stop, film and processing will tell you right away when you compare with a loupe. How the comparison translates to a print probably is more important.

    Peter Gomena
     
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,441
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I never owned any Japanese lenses until I got into LF photography. Most of my current LF lenses are Fujinons. I have quite a few Topcors that are also excellent and not many people know about them.