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  1. #1
    n2mf's Avatar
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    Rookie 4x5 Lens Question...Which is better? And why?

    Just starting into shooting a 4x5. Haven't shot any sheet film yet, but have just started shooting with a 6x9 roll film holder that came with the camera set I found. The camera is a Graflex Crown Graphic Special. My question...The camera came with a Schneider Xenar 135/4.7 lens & Synchro Compur-P shutter. I have another lens that I purchased with some other items at another time. It's a Graflex Optar 135/4.7 & Full Synchromatic shutter. Both lenses are equal as far as condition is concerned...But is one better than the other for some reason or another?

    Also, I have another board for the camera. When I shoot 6x9 with this camera, would I be better off to shoot with a more normal medium format focal length lens for more coverage?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Jesper's Avatar
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    Most LF lenses (clean and working) will give good images and LF photogs are usually not as prone to comparing MTF graphs as 35mm shooters. I would say that you could get satisfactory results with either one (I haven't tested the two you mention but this is my guess). Which one you prefer is up to you. Since you have both lenses I would recommend that you take some pictures with them both and judge for yourself which one you like the better.
    Last edited by Jesper; 10-03-2013 at 10:20 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Forgot an essential "not"

  3. #3
    n2mf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesper View Post
    Most LF lenses (clean and working) will give good images and LF photogs are usually as prone to comparing MTF graphs as 35mm shooters. I would say that you could get satisfactory results with either one (I haven't tested the two you mention but this is my guess). Which one you prefer is up to you. Since you have both lenses I would recommend that you take some pictures with them both and judge for yourself which one you like the better.
    Yes, I know I can shoot and compare the two. I was just asking in case there was some particular reason that one had a specific known issue that would preclude it from being a good user.

  4. #4

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    both lenses are excellent, but if i had to choose I'd take the Xenar -- the one on my Rolleicord does lovely things to whites.

    The Optar is a more generic lens, as I understand it, aimed at the professional press market (as was the Graphic) and will do you good service, but it won't have that glow the xenar will. Also hard to beat a good working compur shutter.

  5. #5
    n2mf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summicron1 View Post
    both lenses are excellent, but if i had to choose I'd take the Xenar -- the one on my Rolleicord does lovely things to whites.

    The Optar is a more generic lens, as I understand it, aimed at the professional press market (as was the Graphic) and will do you good service, but it won't have that glow the xenar will. Also hard to beat a good working compur shutter.
    Thank you...This is the type of answer I was hoping for. Very helpful. Thank you.

  6. #6

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    They're both Tessars. They're both aimed at the press photographers of that day. They will behave very similarly.

    And yes I've actually used them both, as opposed to just hearing about them.
    Last edited by E. von Hoegh; 10-03-2013 at 08:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Rick A's Avatar
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    While both lenses will serve up outstanding results, I would pick the one with the better(more accurate/reliable) shutter. I have my favorite lens (127 Ysarex), and sold the 135 that came with my press camera. Shoot both and make a decision which you prefer and stick with that one.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  8. #8
    jp498's Avatar
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    They are both good lenses and shutters. The Optar will simply be more common and have a lesser price.

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    They are both good lenses and shutters. The Optar will simply be more common and have a lesser price.
    Optars are only common in the US and on Graflex cameras, there were far more 135mm f4.7 Xenars made.

    The only problem with both lenses is they have very little coverage and allow very little in terms of movements, not quite so important on a Crown or Speed Graphic. I used a pre WWII 135mm f4,5 Tessar on my Crown Graphic for a year before replacing it with a 150mm f4.5 T (coated) CZJ tessar. The other issue is the edges and corners of these lenses are only really sharp at f22. I do use a 135mm f4,7 Xenar..

    Ian

  10. #10
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    The Crown Graphic Special came with the 135mm f4.7 Xenar from the factory and sold for $20 less than the Crown Graphic that came with the 135 f4.7 Wollensak Graphic Optar. The only difference between the standard Crown and the Crown Special is the top lens board lock and the lens/shutter they shipped from the factory with.

    Due to production tolerances one may perform better than the other in a technical showdown. Test them with the camera on a tripod, ground glass focused with a loupe, and wide open. One may produce images that you like better.

    I can CLA either shutter for $75 + shipping.

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