Schneider Kreuznach Xenar???

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bobbysandstrom, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. bobbysandstrom

    bobbysandstrom Member

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    I bought a graphlex and pulled the Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 4.7 lens off the thing. It is smokin! Very sharp indeed. I was wondering, are there any other sizes in this type lens? I'd love something in the 210 and 75 or 90 range. I got the graphlex with holders for about 200.00. Man what a deal just for the lens!

    Thanks for your help.

    Bob
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Xenars are tessar-types for the most part, and like most they tend to be sharper in the center than at the corners and don't have huge image circles for their focal length, but still nice lenses. They've been made in a wide variety of focal lengths, and some very early ones are actually a different design. You can definitely find a 210. The 75 and 90 won't cover 4x5".
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 4.7. This is the lens I have on my Bush Pressman (4X5). It affords NO MOVEMENTS AT ALL. The Schneider site lists its' coverage circle as 161mm and 4X5 requires 160. Other than that, I agree it is a fantastic lens.
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    At the time, the "Graflex Special" was special because the lens was made offshore, and was $20 cheaper than made in the USA lenses from Kodak and Wollensak.

    The Xenar is very fine: we've become snobs about movement and have lost the awareness of how fine Tessars truly are.

    And we've generally forgotten how remarkable the USA lenses were. The Wollensak Raptars (Graflex Optars) were stunners. And the Kodak Ektars, astonishing lenses.

    Probably the longest Tessar you can conveniently shoot on the Graphic is a 10" or 250 mm. A 12" will fit, but is a little big. Look for a 10" f/6.3 Kodak Commercial Ektar.
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The only non-tessar Xenars were the "Typ D", which were made in the mid-1930's.

    "Ordinary" Xenars were also made in f:3.5 versions, as well as the more common f:4.7 and the most common f:4.5.

    I have used Xenar lenses in all focal lengths from 50mm to 300mm, and they are all very sharp within a circle equal to the focal length.
     
  8. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    There are no 75's or 90's in the series that would cover. Sleepers to look for are "Caltar Pro" series lenses. The Caltar Pro 210mm f6.1 is a Schneider Xenar in a modern Copal 1 shutter that usually goes fairly cheaply.
     
  9. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    As others mentioned, the Xenars were Schneider's version of the famous Zeiss Tessar. They went into production in the early 1920s (basically, as soon as the patent expired on the genuine Tessar) and remained in production until the late 1990s. I think production officially ended in 1998, but I still occasionally see a new one listed for sale. So, some may still be "in the channel".

    The last two focal lengths offered were the 150mm f5.6 and 210mm f6.1 Xenars. These late Xenars are great little lenses - smaller and more compact than the older f4.5 versions. The 150mm is a bit tight on 4x5, but it does cover with a bit left for movements (173mm IC). The 210mm makes a great compact lens (46mm filters, Copal No. 1 shutter) for use with a 4x5 field camera and will even cover 5x7 with room for modest movements (249mm IC). There was also a later model 300mm f5.6 Xenar that was made throughout the 1980s and possibly into the early 1990s. It came in a Copal No. 3 shutter, but was still a lot smaller and more compact (67mm filters) than the standard f5.6 plasmat. Coverage was sufficient for 8x10 with modest movements (347mm IC).

    As Jim mentioned, for a brief period during the mid-1980s, re-badged Xenars were sold by Calumet under the Caltar Pro name. However, not all Caltar Pro lenses are Xenars. Some of the Caltar Pro series were made by Komura in Japan. The easiest way to identify the Schneider-made members of the Caltar Pro line is that they are engraved "Made in Germany" around the lens barrel.

    Other fairly recent Tessar-types include the Fujinon L series (210mm f5.6, 300mm f5.6 and 420mm f8) the 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W and the superb Nikkor M series (multicoated and available in 105mm f3.5, 200m f8, 300mm f9 and 450mm f9 focal lengths). The East German state owned VEB Carl Zeiss Jena continued to make Tessars up until the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s. These lenses, in barrel mount, regulary show uop on eBay at affordable prices. After the reunification, Docter Optics continued to make Tessars, but offered them in modern Copal shutters, until the death of Bernhard Docter and subsequent bankruptcy of his company in the mid-1990s.

    The Tessar is the most copied lens design in the history of photography. Tessar-type lenses have been made by just about every manufacturer to ever make camera lenses - for all formats from sub-miniature up to ulatra large format. While the coverage is less than the modern plasmat types, the perfomance is generally excellent out to about 60 degrees (a bit more or a bit less depending on the implementation), and the simple design is relatively inexpensive to produce. With only 4 elements in 3 groups, it is also possible to make Tessar types that are very small and compact for their focal lengths (lenses like the 150mm f5.6 Xenar, 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W, 200mm Nikkor M, and 300mm Nikkor M are some of the lightest, most compact LF lenses ever made in their respective focal lengths). The Tessar design is over 100 years old, but still going strong.

    Kerry
     
  10. Amund

    Amund Member

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    Kerry, I have a huge Linhof selected Schneider 210mm f/3.5 Xenar. Do you know anything about it?
    I emailed Schneider for some specs, but haven`t recieved any answer.
     
  11. bobbysandstrom

    bobbysandstrom Member

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    Kerry, and all else, thanks so much for your responses. I will definitely look into the 210. What would be the best choice in 75mm? I'm going to sell my rodenstock 90,and 210, keep my 400 tele which is monster along with my 135, then buy a 75 and 210 schneider.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Bob
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've been very pleased with my 75/4.5 Grandagon-N. There's also an equivalent Caltar II-N version that should be a little less expensive, because of the Caltar brand name, but it's made by Rodenstock and identical to the Grandagon-N. I'm sure that preference for the Grandagon-N (or Apo-Grandagon, which I'm fairly sure is the same as the Grandagon-N in optical design), or Schneider 72mm is a matter of taste. They're all fine lenses.

    I used to have a 75/8.0 Super-Angulon that was sharp, nice and compact, but it didn't cover 6x17, so I upgraded to the Grandagon-N.
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have an early version of this lens, which I use on the 5x7" Press Graflex. Great fast lens, and mine has an aftermarket coating by B&J. It doesn't quite focus to infinity on the Press Graflex, but I only need it for indoors. Outdoors, I use the slightly longer B&L 5x8" f:4.5 Tessar, which is the stock lens for that camera.

    My 210/3.5 Xenar is a true Tessar-type (I've disassembled it to clean it and checked), though Ole has noted that some of the early "Typ D" f:3.5 Xenars are of a different design.