Opinions on Nikkor W 210mm f/5.6 vs. Rodenstock APO Sironar S 210mm f/5.6

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Does anyone have an opinion on either/both of these lenses? I am purchasing my first view camera (Arca Swiss Discovery) and plan to get a 210 mm as my first lens. I am primarily concerned about sharpness and contrast. If the lenses are roughly equivalent in quality, I plan to buy the Nikkor since it's less expensive (especially here in Japan).

-- Jamal Morris (jamalmor@twics.com), December 08, 1999


If you look at the archives of this forum or the Usenet large format group you will find that most people agree that there will be hardly any difference between any of the current 210s in real life performance. I have the Rodenstock 210 N version and it is a great lens. It has been suggested that the S version's performance exceeds the N version.

For me the N version is plenty sharp. Any sharper would painful to look at. However, in practical terms you are more likely to be hindered by wind, vibration, DOF and focussing errors to really tell the difference.

-- V. Nair (chettu99@tyenet.com), December 08, 1999.

Why not get the performance curves for MTF, distortion and color and compare them?

The Japanese Rodenstock distributor - Horseman can easily get you the curves for Rodenstock just as we can in the US. Nikon can provide theirs.

This will at least give tou a comparison which hearsay recommendations don't give you. You can not ask a specific question on a comparison and get meaningful answers when the responders have neither lens or only used one of them.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 08, 1999.

i have used the nikkor w-210 for about 6 years now, as the successor to an older schneider symmar-s 210 whose shutter expired. the nikkor has been an excellent performer - nary a whimper under some very demanding field conditions. every bit as sharp as the symmar-s, which set the standard as far as i am concerned. i also own a rodenstock s-version lens (135mm), and it too is a stellar lens (my favorite), so it is my opinion that both of these manufacturers make very high quality optics - the shutters are identical. the price differential between these rodenstock and nikkor lenses is not that significant. you will probably keep the lens for a long period of time, and you should purchase the one which, for whatever reason, appeals to you the most - you really can't go wrong with either of those lenses. in fact, as with most professional equipment, when you sell it, you will likely make money off the deal.

-- jnorman (jnorman@teleport.com), December 08, 1999.

i have been extremely havppy with my Nikkor W 210mm f/5.6, a a terrific lens for landscapes and for closeup studio work. I use with all three of my LF format cameras: two 4x5s (Arca Swiss F-line & Canham DLC) and a 6x17cm V-PAN. i suspect i would also be very happy with the Rodenstock APO Sironar S 210mm f/5.6 as well, but the Nikkor was a better bargain. i mostly shoot RVP and Astia, and RDPIII transparency films.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), December 09, 1999.

I own the Rodenstock 210mm f5.6 S. Its performance is truly remarkable even under the most difficult circumstances(example: wide open), yet I doubt that you will see any difference under normal conditions at working apertures (f22 etc.)compared with other major brands. The major disadvantage to this lens is the weight and filter size. I use my Nikkor 200mm M more often because of the weight factor.

-- Pat Raymore (patrick.f.raymore@kp.org), December 09, 1999.

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