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  1. #1
    Ole
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    90mm f:6.8 Angulon: Coverage and difference

    AT LAST I've got around to testing two Angulon lenses of different vintages against each other. Since there are two lenses, shot at f:8 and f:32, and two blowups (unreduced, scanned at 600dpi) from each 5x7" negative, I've put the results on my website.

    http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras/Angulon/
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    AT LAST I've got around to testing two Angulon lenses of different vintages against each other. Since there are two lenses, shot at f:8 and f:32, and two blowups (unreduced, scanned at 600dpi) from each 5x7" negative, I've put the results on my website.

    http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras/Angulon/
    Hi Ole,

    Thanks for posting the results. I have a few questions however regarding the lenses. First stopped down are they covering 5" x 7"? Second, how sharp do they appear to be if they are enlarged (and how much enlargement do you feel that they can handle)? Third, how well do you think that they will record on transparency film?

    Thanks very much.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  3. #3
    Ole
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    Eh - that's why I did this comparison...

    There seems to be a slight difference between the old and the newer lens at full aperture, with the newer one (IMO) being sharper until the "breakdown angle".

    Neither covers 5x7" by normal definitions of sharpness, but both can be used for contact prints. Enlarging a 5x7" shot with a 90mm Angulon is something I wouldn't do. But watch out for alt. process prints from this lens!

    I used BW film this time (5x7" Ilford FP4+) because I can develop it right away. I don't start developing E6 until I have enough films to justify opening the chemicals, tempering the water bath and all that. Besides, the 5x7" film is so bl**dy expensive!
    That being said, I have no qualms about shooting colour with a 90mm Angulon lens. As long as the film is no larger than 4x5", that is. For 5x7" I'd use a 120mm, or for less wide a 165mm f:6.8. That example was developed commercially - when I do it myself, I never know if the strange colours are due to the film being old, the chemicals being old, the lens being dirty, or just my own incompetence.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    Eh - that's why I did this comparison...

    There seems to be a slight difference between the old and the newer lens at full aperture, with the newer one (IMO) being sharper until the "breakdown angle".

    Neither covers 5x7" by normal definitions of sharpness, but both can be used for contact prints. Enlarging a 5x7" shot with a 90mm Angulon is something I wouldn't do. But watch out for alt. process prints from this lens!

    I used BW film this time (5x7" Ilford FP4+) because I can develop it right away. I don't start developing E6 until I have enough films to justify opening the chemicals, tempering the water bath and all that. Besides, the 5x7" film is so bl**dy expensive!
    That being said, I have no qualms about shooting colour with a 90mm Angulon lens. As long as the film is no larger than 4x5", that is. For 5x7" I'd use a 120mm, or for less wide a 165mm f:6.8. That example was developed commercially - when I do it myself, I never know if the strange colours are due to the film being old, the chemicals being old, the lens being dirty, or just my own incompetence.
    Ole,

    I understood the reason for the test and with 5" x 7" as the format choice. I just couldn't see on the Computer monitor with enough magnification. I would only be considering using it for 4" x 5" for a backpacking lens. I know that Kerry used to use one for backpacking, but he prefers his hand picked Congo lens (which is a problem to do at this point in the US) for transparencies.

    I also understood your reasoning with a B&W test. But it is a problem for those of us using transparency film to have an idea of the color and contrast performance.

    Thanks again.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  5. #5

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    Ole,

    Thanks for posting the results of your testing. A few observations based on the results:

    The older model does seem to have a slight advantage in circle of illumination. This very well could be the result of the change in the mechanical design. I don't have a pre-WWI angulon in front of me for comparison, but from what I recall the newer models have a bigger front rim that is designed to accept screw in filters (40.5mm). I suspect the dark corners in the images from the 1951 sample may be mechanical vignetting due to this bigger front rim. I have Schneider literature from 1939 and 1961. In the 1939 catalog, they list the coverage of the Angulon series as 80 degrees wide open and up to 105 degrees "stopped down". The 1961 brochure still lists the coverage as 80 degrees wide open, but "only" 98 degrees "stopped down". I wonder if this 7 degree reduction in coverage "stopped down" is due purely to mechanical vignetting.

    The 1951 model appears to offer better performance at f8 and definitely has higher contrast in all the test shots. You said your 1939 sample is coated. Are you sure? I didn't think Schneider started coating their lenses until after the war. Does your 1939 sample have the little red triangle that Schneider used to identify lenses that were coated? Perhaps it was retrocoated by someone like Burke and James. They retrocoated a lot of lenses, mostly dagors (including an old 12.5cm f9 Zeiss Dgor from the 1930s that I used to own). Or, perhaps it's a bit of natural oxidation ("bloom") you are observing. Whatever the reason, the test images from the 1951 sample are definitely higher in contrast, which also contributes to them appearing sharper overall than the test images from the 1939 lens.

    From the test shots it's difficult for me to decide the actual "usable" coverage of the two lenses. I definitely prefer the more contrasty, sharper look of the 1951 sample. While the 1939 sample does provide a larger circle of illumination, to my eye, the sharper overall look of the 1951 sample give it an edge in "usable" coverage. It's hard to draw sweeping conclusions and generalizations from such a small sample size (one of each) and small, online jpeg images, but your test results are very similar to my own anecdotal experiences with several Angulons over the years - post-WWII samples offer superior contrast and sharpness (I suspect this is largely a function of commercially viable coating techniques, but may also be partially attributable to improved glass types, tighter manufacturing tolerances and more stringent quality control standards). For modest enlargements (2 - 3x), I have always felt that the "usable" coverage of the Angulons top out at about 90 degrees at f32. That's a highly subjective assessment, but in my experience, even though the circle of illuminations is much greater (even for post-WWII Angulons), the image get's REAL soft once you go beyond about 90 degrees.

    Kerry

  6. #6
    Ole
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    Kerry, your comments are much appreciated.

    Taking a closer look at the pictures, it seems that one of the major differences between the two lenses is that the 1951 model has a much more abrupt transition from sharp(ish) to mush. The 1939 version seems to be more gradual? So the later angulons won't improve much even at ridiculously small stops, but you might convince yourself that it helps on a 1939 model.

    On the subject of coating, I have several older Schneider lenses that appear to be coated. I realise from first-han dexperience that noone in his (or her) right mind would accept the expenditure of having a 150mm f:3.5 Xenar typ D coated - the thing has a barrel distortion second only to my Zenitar Fisheye lens! - so I assume it must be "bloom".

    Anyway, my "conclusion" from this is that the Angulons are very capable performers at small stoips for the "intended" format (90mm for 4x5", 120mm for 5x7", 165 for 8x10" and 210mm for 9.5x12"), but can be used fro "one size up" if you don't mind soft corners. I was surprised by the results from a 90mm on 5x7"!

    And BTW - I'll prefer late Angulons from now on. Don't tell the Ebay sellers...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    Ole,

    I agree with your conclusions. I have always said Angulons can be very useable lenses - IF you know their limitations and don't tray to make them do too much. Coated samples are plenty sharp and contrasty in the center of the field and provide usable sharpness out to about 90 degrees at f32. It's when you try to push the coverage that they start to go real soft. Unlike modern lenses with built-in field stops, there is no sudden limit to the coverage. So, you have to be a bit more careful when applying movements.

    I think many of the people who are disappointed in the performance of their Angulons are simply asking them to do too much. If you expect Super Angulon performance and coverage in a lens the size of an Angulon, you will be disappointed. A 90mm Super Angulon WILL cover 5x7 and be very sharp all the way to the corners (and even a bit beyond). The newer, bigger, heavier, more expensive Super Angulon will also have less illumination fall-off.

    I have always recommended post-WWII coated Angulons - mostly due to better quality control (I have seen some pre-war Angulons that were just AWFUL, with horrible color fringing) - plus the coatings that improve contrast and perceived sharpness. In fact, the most consistantly "good" Angulons I've used/tested are Linhof selected samples from the 1950s and 1960s. Late, plain (non-Linhof) Angulons from the 1960s and early 1970s are also a pretty safe bet.

    I actually have one of the last Angulons ever made. It's a 165mm Angulon from 1978. It was part of a special production run (I believe 104 total units) that was made for a specific customer (not sure who). It is definitely a different mechanical design than all previous 165mm Angulons. It's a direct fit on a No. 3 shutter (a necessity as there was no longer any such thing as a No. 2 shutter in production) and it takes 67mm filers instead of the 58mm filters of the previous version. One of these days, I'll get around to testing it side-by-side with a Linhof select 165mm Angulon from 1966 to see if it offers any more coverage or better performance.

    Kerry

  8. #8
    Ole
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    By the way, it looks like there is a difference between the pre-WWII and post-WWII Angulons beyond the obvious difference in the mounts. I'll see if I can get the dig*toy to cooperate, and find an appropriate setup. But in the meantime, the curvature of the external surfaces seem to have got visibly smaller (flatter) from 1939 to 1951.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway



 

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