Rodenstock Sironar: S vs. N : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anyone shot with both Rodenstock N and S lenses and closely compared the two? If so, can you see ANY difference in resolution or sharpness--or general quality--between the two lens lines? I am already aware that the S has a larger circle of coverage, and am not concerned with that per se, but rather in any possible difference in resolution or sharpness, as well as general quality of image. I would be particulary interested to hear from anyone who has made large prints from film shot with the two lenses, as I am making mural-size enlargements (from 4 x 5 B/W negatives), and am curious if the performance between the two would only be visible in a larger print or not.

-- Nick Rowan (, April 11, 2000



Several years ago I made a close comparison between S and N Apo Sironars in the 240mm focal length. Both lenses delivered terrific negatives and excelled not just at "sharpness" but at smooth image rendering including areas out of the range of depth of field (good 'bokeh'). For me, using a 240 on 8x10, the extra coverage of the S was vital and worth the extra money. If you are _sure_ you don't need the extra coverage, you should be delighted with the N. Maybe Bob will post the official Rodenstock position.


-- Carl Weese (, April 11, 2000.

An article appeared several years ago in the Shutterbug in which the author compared a 210 N to the corresponding S model. As I recall his conclusion, the S was sharper and had better controlled flare. While he said that he would not sell his N just to acquire an S, he also said that if he were purchasing a 210 for the first time, he would pay the extra for the S.

I have a Rodenstock 135 mm f5.6 S and have nothing but good things to say about it. It is very sharp, and the flare is well controlled. I wish that they would carry this technology to their wider angle lenses, and make a competitor to Schneider's XL line. They could make a 75 mm f5.6 S with 200+ mm coverage and I know of at least one customer they would have.

If you can afford it, go for the S. But from what I've read, you'll still get a great lens with the N line.


-- Bruce M. Herman (, April 12, 2000.

I saw a statement out on another site that there is no change whatsoever between the Sironar-N and the Apo-Sironar-N other than the label (marketing hype only).

There is a difference between the N and S flavors, and in my book, the S is definitely worth the few extra $$$. I suspect the N will eventually be phased out entirely in the interest of cost savings.

I am considering long and hard about replacing my 135 Nikkor-W with an Apo-Sironar-S to squeeze the last bit of sharpness out of my rig.

-- Bruce Gavin (, June 05, 2000.

"I saw a statement out on another site that there is no change whatsoever between the Sironar-N and the Apo-Sironar-N other than the label (marketing hype only)"

Not true.

First many Sironar N lenses were not multi coated Secondly a current element for the Apo Sironar N will NOT be compatible with a Sironar N lens from 10 years ago.

The Apo Sironar N is derived from the last version of the Sironar N MC but it is not exactly the same physically as the earlier Sironar N lenses.

Not hype - fact!

-- Bob Salomon (, June 05, 2000.


Thanks for the reply. I guess you can't believe everything you see on somebody's website without checking it for accuracy. The site I was on claimed the N and Apo-N were identical. Obviously not.

I have an opportunity to pick up an Apo-N at what appears to be a very fair price, so am going to do so. I would prefer the "S" but it would be a significant premium, and then subject to availability on the used market. This "N" is a bird in the hand...

-- Bruce Gavin (, June 06, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ