Linhof tested and selected Schneider and Rodenstock : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Is anyone aware of Linhof tested lenses? Apparently, Linhof buys batches of lenses from Schneider and Rondenstock and tests them. Those lenses that meets Linhof's own set of criteria are inscribed LINHOF on the barrel. I have seen three such samples myself but I am wary of the hypothesis that these are premium samples of any one production run of lenses from Schneider or Rodenstock. Can any readers please advise. Thanks.

-- rene (, May 07, 1999


You CAN BANK on anything that Linhof tells us, or on what is said by the spokesperson for their U.S. rep - Bob Salomon. You'll find Bob following the LF newsgroup daily. For 40 years I have been hering that Linhof HAS been turning away Schenider lenses that don't meet their standards, and that those they do accept are exceptional. I don't know anything about their looking at Rodenstocks.

-- Dick Fish (, May 07, 1999.

Dick is correct. Bob can be, shall I say, aggressive in his promotion of the products (primarily Linhof, Heliopan, & Rodenstock he represents. But he has never to my knowlege ever been wrong or misrepresented those products that he represents. Other products, well I think I should just say he knows his product lines better than anyone else does. Having said that, that doesn't necessarily mean that Linhof gets the cream of all of Schneider (and possibly Rodenstock's) production. Sinar does the same sort of sorting. I speculate that the lens' tolerences are so fine that that the above average picky professional would be hard pressed to fine a difference between similar lenses one marked Linhof & the other marked Schneider What may be more important is that both Sinar and Linhof (conceivably Arca as well)mount their lenses on their lensboards and are able to test the entire assembly to make sure you are getting as near perfect of set up as is possible.

-- Ellis Vener (, May 08, 1999.

Linhof (and Sinar) both purchased Rodenstock's Sieman Star projector (500,000 Dm+) to duplicate the final QC test as performed by Rodenstock (the only LF lens company with ISO 9001 status).

This system allows them to remotely rotate the lens while projecting Siemans stars and instanly show defects in the lens. The stars are projected on a wall that is many 10s of feet wide so the patterns are obvious.

As this duplicates Rodenstock's own testing the failure rate on the Rodenstock lenses is less than the other lenses from Schneider and Nikon.

They also test the lenses that pass this test for objects (dust, dirt, paint flakes from the shutter blades) in a lit black box and, of course, shutter accuracy.

Most lenses that fail from all suppliers are failed from the 2nd group of tests.

Lenses that pass these tests are then marked with the Linhof name (if there is space on the front or rear rim). Lenses that fail are returned to the manufacturers.

During the testing certain lenses are selected for their paryicular suitability for special applications. For instance for particular high quality specifically for 6x17cm cameras or 6x12 cameras. These lenses perform exceptionally over the required image area but may, in fact, be lenses that might have fialed if the performamnce outside that area is considered.

they also select lenses that are especially well suited for use in Aerial Technika and Aerotronica aerial cameras or the Metrika photogrammetric camera which needs exceptionally low distortion lenses.

-- bob salomon (, May 08, 1999.

Thank you all for weighing in, especially Mr Bob Salomon of HP Marketing. I actually got the LINHOF list from a friend in Frankfurt. Not only are LF lenses so selected, Lihnof also tests and selects enlarging lenses from Schneider and Rodenstocks.

Mr Salomon didn't answer this though: are these Linhof selected lenses available in the USA through HP Marketing? Please advise.

-- rene (, May 08, 1999.


I am curious: what happens to those lenses that fail the Linhof tests and are returned to the manufacturers? Are they repackaged and sold as your regular off-the-shelves Schneider and Rodenstocks? If that is so, don't we run the risk of getting 'second-rate' lenses? Sorry, I don't mean to generate paranoia :)

-- rene (, May 08, 1999.

Yes we sell Linhof tested lenses in the U.S.

Bear in mind though that they are SUBSTANTIALLY more expensive. These tests are not done at no charge by Linhof. Generally you can expect to pay at least 2x as much as the same lens without the test. The only exception would be the 150mm Apo Sironar N that we sell in a special package with the Master Technika.

Also you must realize what exactly the test means.

It means that Rodenstock lenses go through the same final QC test twice. Once at rdenstock and once at Linhof and other lenses go through it once.

Yes they also test enlarger lenses.

Any lens that Linhof tests has met all the final QC tests at their respective factories. Therefor they are not seconds if they are rejected by linhof. They simply go back to the factory and are sold by the factory. Since they met the factory's QC tests prior to Linhof testing them they are first quality lenses from that factory. They just don't meet Linhof's requirements but would be more than adequate for most users.

-- bob salomon (, May 08, 1999.

Some key information has to be revealed for a buyer to determine whether it is worth the extra money to buy a Linhof lens. (1) What percent of lenses that are inspected by Linhof pass its tests? If 99% pass the test, I would conclude my chances of getting as good a lens are very high, even if not Linhof tested. (2) At what size enlargement does the Linhof lens show significant enhanced image (resolution, contrast, saturation, color fidelity) compared to a non-Linhof lens? If the differences are not apparent until the image is enlarged to 5 x 7 feet, I would see any need to buy the Linhof lens. (3) Is the technical data (MTF, etc.) the same for the Linhof and non-Linhof lenses? If so, there is less reason to buy the Linhof lens. (4) Since the Linhof-rejected lens passed the original lens manufacturer's quality control tests, this suggests that Linhof accepts lesser variation from optimum quality than the original manufacturer. How much is the variation at which the original manufacturer will allow the lens to pass its tests? If the accepted deviation is small enough, there is less reason to value Linhof's pass-fail criteria. (5) How much does the Linhof name help with respect to the resale of the lens? I wonder whether the price for a used Linhof lens would merge with that of a used Caltar. xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

-- David Caldwell (, September 18, 2000.

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