360mm Rodenstock

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been looking at a used (but mint) Rodenstock 360 mm ("N" model) view camera lens (for use on 8X10) at my local photo shop. It's a beautiful lens but the price of $1400 started making me wonder if it is smarter to save my $'s for this type of lens or to spend $500-$600 on an older but clean 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar or Ilex Calumet lens.


-- Ron Lawrence (leica@interpath.com), February 15, 2000


While not exactly about the lenses you are asking about, you might find an article in the Sept/Oct issue of Photo Techniques by C. Weese quite interesting. It compared a 10 inch Wide-Field Ektar with a 240 mm Apo-Sironar N and a 240 mm Apo-Sironar S. The short summary is that the Wide Field Ektar was plenty sharp, covered more than the Sironars, but had substantial flare.

Back issues might be available. Check www.phototechmag.com

The focal length Sironar that you are considering will have a lot more coverage than the 240 mm model, so that will be less of a consideration.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), February 15, 2000.

Because you are asking the question, I am assuming you are not persuing l.f. at the professional level. That being the case the Ektar will indeed fill the bill. It was a standard pro lens for many years and indeed some folks still use it. Keep your eye out for cleaning marks, a not uncommon occurence, but not a reason to reject the lens unless you find them excessive. You can always test provided there is an adequate and reasonable return policy.

With the Rodenstock you will not be disappointed. I doubt you will be with the Ektar either. There are, however, folks that will not even considering looking at anything that isn't multi-coated and of the latest generation of lenses. If you are one of those that absolutley has to have the best in optics, etc. then get the Rodenstock. If you don't want any doubts or worrys or concerns, your the kind that lay awake at night worrying about lines per mm or whatever, ease your mind by getting the newer glass.

Personally, I am a big advocate of doing things cheaply.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), February 15, 2000.

After months of trying to find an affordable 300mm lens for 5x4 I was about to give up and pay top-dollar. Then I came across an old (1950s?) 300mm f/9 Taylor-Hobson "Apotal" process lens for only #20 (about $30 US), in very clean condition. At that price I couldn't really lose. It's a coated, 4-element Apo-Tessar type lens, stopping down to f/128, and it is superb. I honestly don't think that it could be bettered for resolution at any price. The coverage is only 48 degrees, but it is absolutely stunning inside that circle, and in case you're wondering f/9 is plenty bright enough for focussing.

I've often come across process lenses, both old and new, in the past, often at give-away prices, and written them off, knowing that they're computed for close distances. I needn't have worried, and I now have a couple of hundred quid to spend on film.

Whahey! :^)

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), February 16, 2000.

If you check out this site, you will find that sharpness can be had with almost any lens. The old Kodak lenses were excellent performers, even by todays standards, and are sharper than you will be able to put on film for all practical purposes. Where they dont measure up as well as new glass is in contrast (in some cases). If you use a good lens shade, it should help. I like older glass because its still so good it really amazes me, and it can be had for cheap. If money is no object to you, then maybe a new optic will be more satisfying (as good as old glass is, it doesnt outperform new glass).


-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), February 16, 2000.

Buy a clean 14" Commercial Ektar and give it a try; if you decide it isn't good enough you can always resell it. The price isn't going to go down.

In my experience shooting 8x10 HP5+ in the studio, I found no significant difference between the Commercial Ektar and a 360 Symmar-S, but I grabbed the Symmar really cheap. Sometimes I wish I'd kept the Commercial Ektar because the Symmar is comparatively huge.

This was of course a relatively low-flare situation and I never shot any color.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), February 16, 2000.

I am using a 14" Kodak Ektar, and it works very well for 8X10, producing very sharp images. Since I purchased it for a bit under $400, I wasn't totally financially ruined, and I am now in the market for a lens in the 19"-24" range.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), February 17, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ