Schneider SuperSymmar XL 80mm 4.5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by roteague, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    All,

    I am getting ready to order a Schneider SuperSymmar XL 80mm 4.5 lens, and was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with this particular lens. Everything I read tells me that it is extra sharp, with a big image circle (212mm). The literature talks about the need for a center filter (+$300) under some circumstances (big movements).

    Thanks,
     
  2. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Robert,

    I have this lens.

    Get one and you won't be disappointed. Contact Jim at Midwest Photo Supply (www.mpex.com) if you need a center filter - I don't with this lens.

    Steve
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    There is one selling on e bay right now, you might get a better deal than through a store. Good luck!
     
  4. Emile de Leon

    Emile de Leon Member

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    I was thinking of getting the 80mm XL too but decided to try a tiny coated 80mm Protar V (4 1/2 x 6 1/2) on 5x7 instead at $150.00. I just tested it and it is pretty amazing. I'm sure that it is not as contrasty as the 80mm XL but there is great coverage and shadow definition and very low distortion visible. F18 is borderline but doable and with just a lenscap (a kodak 35mm film canister top works perfectly) is a charm to use. This is really wide on 5x7. A perfect cheap alternative WA lens, and about the size of a quarter. Emile/www.deleon-ulf.com.
     
  5. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    I like this lens, although I don't use it very often because it's so wide. I don't use it with the centre filter: the fall off is very visible in skies, but I quite like it. I've got a couple of photos on my website made using it (e.g. this one).

    Make sure that if you buy second hand, you don't buy an early one. There was an issue with impurities in the glass that eventually causes a grey smear to appear between some of the elements. Mine is currently being replaced under warranty. However, I understand that Schnieder have fixed this problem so if you buy a new one then I expect it should be fine.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Thanks Guys for your feedback. I'm going to buy new on this items, since it is a lens that I have wanted for a long time - and I suspect it will become my most used lens (it will replace my 90mm Nikkor). I will order the filter with the lens; I may not use it much, but it won't hurt to have it - As Ian points out the falloff is noticeable on the skies.
     
  7. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Robert, I've been using it for a couple of years and found it to be an exceptional lens. Previously underestimated how handy the large image circle is, and with a bag bellows the movements available are just great.
    It is very sharp and gives a very defined negative (if that makes sense). Chances are you'll notice the increased contrast by comparison with your other lenses, quite noticeably. At first I wasn't keen to spend the extra on the schndr cw nd filter, but I have to admit mine has practically lived there since new. The only time I take it off is when I particularly want the effect of exposure dropoff to the edges.
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Thanks John, we will have to get together and compare notes. My favorite lens right now is my Schneider 135mm. It is shart and has good contrast; I suspect the 80mm will takes it's place as my favorite; and I can dump the Nikkor 90mm.

    Did I mention that I may be in New Zealand in October? I told Sean I might. Anyway, I'm going to start looking at travel arrangements this coming week, and I will know for sure in a couple of weeks - Air New Zealand flies twice a week from Honolulu, and I would be stopping over on my way to Sydney. It would be great to get together.
     
  9. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    That's good news Robert! Would be great to catch up. I should be back from a trip on Sat 8th Oct. Would be a nice time to catch some spring landscapes North or South :smile:.
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    replacing a 90mm nikkor 4.5 or f8? replacing the latter should be against the law. Massive coverage, light and the sharpest LF lens on the planet! Perez tests show this quite clearly. I would not sell mine unless I had a very very good reason. The 4.5 is a whopper and does not appeal to me as a field user. I have read too many mmixed reviews of the 80mm XL.
     
  11. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Replacing the latter. I find the Nikkor 90mm F8 just too difficult to use; it is just too dark in the ground glass (I have a SatinSnow). All my lenses except this one are bright enough that I can focus with just the hood, I don't need the dark cloth. With this lens, I can't even see the image without the dark cloth.

    Given what you say about this lens, I must have a bad one, because I don't find the coverage to be that great (I have the transparencies to show it), and I don't feel (just a feeling) that it is as sharp as my 135mm Schneider.

    I have heard a number of people question the 80mm XL, but from what I have heard the problems with this lens was mainly restricted to the early models - so, I'm going to buy a new one.

    Thanks. I just wish that I had a more favorable opinion of the Nikkor, but I don't. I do see that Joe Cornish uses one a lot, so I'm sure it isn't a bad lens, but I've rarely been successful with this lens. FWIW, I primarily shoot color (Velvia).
     
  12. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    The extra 2 stops of illumination is very handy at times when the light is a little dim. When I was deciding which lens to go with between the Nikkor 90mm F8 and the Sch 80mm XL I thought about the lighting conditions I found myself most often shooting in. The reputation and price of the Nikkor was very tempting, but I've personally never regretted going with the Schneider.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2005
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Well, I got the 80mm XL in today; I also got the center filter with it. What a beautiful lens, looking forward to trying it out tomorrow.... It is way smaller than my current 90mm F8 Nikkor.

    I'm going to try it with, and without the center filter and see how the local conditions affect the resulting images. However, I think I will need to make some adjustments in how I take images; currently I use a warm-polarizing filter quite extensively. Since the center filter takes a 86mm filter on the outside, and I can't seem to find in that size. I doubt that if I could get away with a polarizer and and 81B on top.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    At 80mm you're starting to get into the territory where a polarizer is an iffy proposition anyway. For a landscape with lots of sky, you are likely to get uneven polarization (better to use a grad in that situation). For some scenes without that much sky, the result depends on the composition, so it may not be worth the effort and cost of finding a large enough polarizer.

    If you do want to do it, though, I'd consider going to a 4" filter system.
     
  16. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Valid points David. I've used the filter successfully with my 90mm, but I tend to use a lot of foreground and little sky. The primary reasons I use warm polarizers are when shooting in the late afternoon sun to enhance the warmth, while moderating the reflections on the water or when shooting in the forests (it makes the greens seem much richer).

    I priced out a complete Lee system yesterday, which I plan on ordering soon. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether to order the standard hood or the wide angle hood - it is too expensive to order both.
     
  17. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Robert
    Speak to Matt at Robert White. They have sourced a lens hood from B+W that will work with a polariser and not vignette with the 72XL http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/lee.htm#LabelLeeHoods. Also might want to think about which type of Pola to use. I understand that there are better ones than the Lee pola.
    Personally, I flag the lens with a darkslide, but appreciate that a hood will do a better job.
     
  18. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Thanks Baxter, I'll look into it. Robert White's prices are better than I can get ordering from NY (B&H).
     
  19. harleygsb

    harleygsb Member

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    I have had mine for a couple of years and it is a fine lens. I would recommend buying it new. Schneider had a run with some bad cement that made the edges look very cloudy. Badger Graphics replaced mine without any grief, but if you run into that problem in a used lens, who knows.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Tiffen makes a 4" square glass polarizer that seems reasonably priced. If I remember correctly, they call them "Tru-Pol" filters.
     
  21. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Good advice from David. The Lee polariser that is big enough to cover the schn center weighted filter is expensive.
    I've found the 80XL handles low angle lighting conditions at each end of the day very well without flare, but with any flat filter there is a tendency to introduce flare if shooting into the sun. Even the optical quality Lee filters and the schneider center weighted tend to have flare problems. So the Lee wide angle hood seemed to be a good option to me also, although I haven't gotten around to purchasing one yet. Did you notice they come with optional filter slots at the rear of the bellows? Very handy.
    One thing to be aware of, is the special Lee filter adaptors for wide angle lenses. They are thinner, and kind of recessed, to bring the filters closer to the lens and widen the viewing angle through the filterholder frame. Designed to reduce the possibility of vignetting.

    Congratulations!
     
  22. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Oh and another thing!
    Best to check if you will need the Lee Push on holder for the 80XL (especially if using a 105mm Pola on the front adaptor ring) to prevent vignetting. Pretty sure that this is the case for the 90XL and 72XL which I considered at one point. The standard filter holder is then used for your other lenses. John is right about using the w/a adaptor rings if you don't have to have the push on holder. The chaps at Robert White do know their stuff and will give accurate answers.
    I suggest that you avoid the square polarisers, since if used with grads, you have to have a rotating assembly clagged on the front to get the alignment right. The front 105mm ring is far neater and opens up possiblity of using Polas from Heliopan, B+W etc too. Mind you, they aren't the cheapest items to buy.
     
  23. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I heard about that. I bought mine new, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
     
  24. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I went out and shot some test images this afternoon, 3 setups with and without the Center Filter. I'll be sending them off for processing next week (I am getting a couple of boxes of Velvia 100 in tomorrow that I want to shoot first). I shot them without any other filter, and opened up 1 1/3 stop (the book says 1.5) for the images with the center filter. I'm curious whether I need the CF all the time, or under what conditions. John says he uses his all the time, others tell me they don't use it at all.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Since I got a CF for my 75 and 90, I've been using it all the time, but I can imagine some situations where I might want to introduce some controlled vignetting.
     
  26. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have the 58mm xl and would use the CF if I had it on most shots. There are times when i think I wouldn't, but for the most part it gives a helga look to an otherwise well rendered exposure. the fall off is very correctable when enlarging (and PITA), but that doesn't help you.

    300.00 for a CF is simply out of my budget at the moment.

    Meanwhile, I have the nikkor 75mm f/4.5 SW and I cannot imagine it needing a CF. I have hundreds of shots that would have or should have suffered if it needed a CF and I don't see the fall-off and the contrast is great.

    IMHO for the 75mm a good shade is far more important. Then again not having tried one is a poor way to offer advice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2005