Shutters/lenses for Linhof Master Technika : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am a long time user of medium format cameras. I have decided to buy a portable 4x5 camera as a supplement for my Hasselblads and P67's - primary for use on my trips. I have no previous experience in 4x5. Are currently working on a book project on tibetans in the Himalayas (black and white). Hence, I shoot both people and landscapes. Have tryed the Linhof Master Tecknika at a collegue photographers studio in Paris, and have decided for this camera - it feels good, like a huge leica M camera with the RF mechanism. My question is regarding lenses for this camera. Need a short tele and a gentle wideangle. Rodenstock Apo sironar-S 210 mm, and the new Aspherical Schneider XL 110 mm appear to be good lenses and are my choice sofar.

1) Do anybody have experience with these lenses when cammed on the Master Technika

2) Which shutter's should I decide for. Most photographers seems to buy their 4x5 lenses with Copal shutters?, however, I notice that there is also Prontor shutters (German) and Compur shutters on the market. Have never tryed any of these shutters but they sounds like they are of higher quality? - can anyone guide me here. (as far as I know the Hasselblad lenses have Prontor shutters and they have always worked fine for me) (PS: the shutters has to be reliable in cold temperatures)

Thanks in advance for your time,

Jesper Sorensen

-- Jesper Sorensen (, November 25, 1999


Please direct your camming question directly to Linhof in Munich or your local Linhof distributor regarding camming the 110mm lens.

To this date this has not been done in the U.S. and no 110 cam exists.

As for shutters most lenses come in Copal. Compur will add substantially to the cost of the lens as will the Prontor Professional. There can be problems mounting the Prontor Professional 01 shutter on a Technika with short lenses as this shutter is too big to fit the required recessed lens board.

Additionally the Prontor Professional aperture and shutter controls are not a good fit on a Technika.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 26, 1999.

Jesper, I just had the opposite approach. I came from 135 directly to LF with a Linhof Super Technika V 4x5 (basically very similar to the Master you had in hands) and had two lenses camed: a 90mm f5,6 and a 150mm. I will not speak for others who maybe, have conclusive experiences, but the work I have tried to achieve on people with this handheld LF camera urged me to turn to a medium format, first a Bronica 6x7 (which I keep now in the studio) and then Pentaxes 67 in which I found my thrill. Otherwise, the Masters (there are two kinds) are fun...tastic tools and I would highly recommend them...on a tripod. For this is not a tool for urgent situations (not at all a big Leica) and as you know, in people photography you have to be ready at the decisive moment. Perhaps in a more "tibetan" approach where people would still find interest in the strange "big eye" and wait the time needed for the settings to be done... Though, I would myself be glad to hear from photographers who have a medium format camera and are deliberately turning to a LF camera with coupled rangefinder and having good results. I am not speaking of group photography or taking peoples in a setting -this should be fine- but taking people in theire activities, outside, with no preparation. 2) Having recent lenses on Copal and older on Compur, the first is my choice. I think Compur are produced now in very limited quantities, if not out of the business, but someone would perhaps correct me. I have five lenses on Copal and they have so far never failed. Compur have. I have never used a Prontor and I think they are the "studio choice". The readings and settings are easier but they seem heavier and they are also more expensive. But they certainly have theire own qualities, which I should learn about. Copals work well in the cold, but I have not tested them in the tibetan winter...Have a good trip!

-- Paul Schilliger (, November 26, 1999.

Dear Jesper,

Bob Salomon, the USA Linhof product manager since 1979 answered me as follows regarding the 110mm super-symmar XL: "No 110 cam exists. Contact Marflex and they will let you know what can be done. There is a cam for the 115 or the 120 (I don't have the list on the road with me). Marflex may be able to make that cam work. But there is no focusing scale for a 110 and a 115 or 120mm scale won't work."

After studying the MTF curves for various Schneider lenses (available online at I no longer feel that the 110mm super symmar XL lens is a good choice for hand-held available light photography. The performance at f22 is indeed impressive but wide open it is not. The performance of the super-symmar HM 5.6/120mm and especially the apo-symmar 5.6/120mm are far better wide open, so I assume that they would also be better at f8, f11, etc. The super symmar HM 120mm has a much larger image circle (180mm at f5.6, 210mm at f22) than the apo-symmar 120mm (148mm at f5.6, 179mm at f22). The MTF curves for the 120mm apo-symmar are very impressive wide open, and at 200 grams I assume that this lens could be left on the camera when folded? The size of the image circle could be a problem... What do you think? Perhaps a 120mm and 210mm lens combo would be better (i.e. more versatile and portable) than a 90/135/210 or 75/135/210 combo?

I do not yet have the MTF curves for the Rodenstock 75/90/135/210 lenses but I assume they compare well to Schneider.

I have seen resolution tests for the above lenses on the internet, but there is more to lens quality and sharpness that just resolution...

I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Regards from Toronto,

Mark Nowaczynski

-- Mark Nowaczynski (, January 30, 2000.

Just a comment... I use the 120 Apo-Symmar, mostly on 6x9cm, but also on 4x5. Although there isn't much movement, sharpness and illumination are excellent across the 4x5 field when no movements are employed. Since I use mostly tilt, I just use back tilts with this lens.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, January 31, 2000.

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