Apo-Ronar vs. G-Claron

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What kind of differences can I expect to see in a Apo-Ronar 240 and a 240 G-Claron? Thanks, Steve

-- Steve Clark (Poophappens@aol.com), November 07, 2000


The Apo Ronar is an outstanding lens, with superb imaging capabilities through the image circle. If in shutter it is multicoated. The G-Claron is not not multicoated. Its performance is rather uneven throughout the IC but it does have a larger image circle. The fact that it is not multicoated will make it more succeptible to glare.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), November 08, 2000.

The G-Claron's are NOT multi-coated???

Are you sure? If so that is amazing. Why not multi coat it in this day and age?

Is it the only lens around that is not multi coated?


-- Sol Campbell (solcam31@hotmail.com), November 08, 2000.

G-Claron lenses were never multi coated and never will be. Its primary use is as a process lens (symmetrical 4 element lens, f/9, optimized for 1:1 magnification) and a single coating is all that is necessary under those conditions. Schneider and others make plenty of other kinds of faster, multi coated lenses. These serve a purpose and also a price point for those who can't afford an Apo-Symmar.

-- Michael Klayman (michael@schneideroptics.com), November 08, 2000.

The reason for not multicoating is easy to see if you compare the transmittance of the G-Claron with a multicoated lens like the Super symmar.
The spectral transmission of the G-Claron is fairly flat from 400 to 700 nanometres, with a maximum transmittance of about 90%. The Super Symmar XL peaks at 95% transmission or more, but drops off quite drastically, especially at the blue end of the spectrum where its transmission is only 40%.
The designers of the G-Claron probably thought that it was more important to have accurate colour in a process lens than to have an extra 1/10th of a stop more light. After all, Joseph Schneider have been making lenses for long enough, they ought to know what they're doing!
Besides, multicoating doesn't have that much effect on flare resistance in lenses with only a few air-glass surfaces.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), November 08, 2000.

Sorry. I just libelled the Super-Symmar XL by saying that its transmittance dropped to 40%. That should have been 70%. It's the S-S HM that drops to just over 40% at 350nm.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), November 08, 2000.

The Apo-Ronar will have multicoating if new - older versions were single-coated. The G-Claron is a 6 element/4 group lens.

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), November 08, 2000.

I just realized that I made a mistake in calling the G-Claron a 4 element lens, but I see someone corrected me before I had a chance to correct myself. Funny how fast a thread will get responses when you make a mistake...

-- Michael Klayman (michael@schneideroptics.com), November 08, 2000.


Michael Klayman has already stated the reasons the G Clarons are not multicoated (cost, intended application, etc.). So, I'll try to answer the rest of your question.

No, the G Clarons are not the only large format lenses currently on the market that lack multicoating. The Schneider Xenars (the plain Xenars, not the new 400mm Tele-Xenar Compact) are also only single coated. Again, the reason is cost. These are entry level lenses with less coverage intended to sell at lower prices than the multicoated APO Symmars of like focal lengths. Fujinon also had a lower priced single coated tessar series (the Fujinon L series) that, like the Schneider Xenars, was deigned to sell at a lower price point than their multicoated W series. The L series Fujinons were discontinued in the early 1990s.

The Fujinon SF (soft focus) series is also not multicoated. I'm not positive, but this may also be true of the Rodenstock Imagon. Finally, the last I heard, barrel mounted APO Ronars were not multicoated, but current shutter mounted APO Ronars are. I'm not even sure if barrel mounted APO Ronars are still in production. I'm sure Bob Salomon can fill in the facts on this issue. In any case, if you're buying an APO Ronar, either in barrel or shutter, if it is multicoated, it will be clearly labeled "MC" on the front rim.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), November 08, 2000.

Back to the original question.


In addition to the APO Ronar and the G Claron, you might want to also consider the 240mm f9 Fujinon A. IMHO, it has the advantages of both, with the disadvantages of neither (well, other than the maximum aperture of f9, which they all share).

This is a wonderful little lens - the longest non-telephoto ever offered in a Copal #0 shutter. Like the G Claron, it is a 6/4 process plasmat design. This means it has a lot more coverage than the 4/4 dialyte type (Celor type, Artar type, whatever you prefer) APO Ronar. Unlike the G Claron (and like the APO Ronar), the Fujinon A is multicoated.

So, you get the multicoating of the APO Ronar, but greater coverage (336mm) like the G Claron (well, actually MORE than the G Claron). Plus, since it's in a Copal #0 shutter, it's smaller and lighter than the other two (both in Copal #1 shutters). I have more info on this wonderful litle lens in both the "Lightweight Lenses" and "Future Classics" sections of my large format homepage. See:



for more details.

For the complete manufacturer's specs, a scanned page from a March, 1997 Fujinon brochure can be viewed at:


The bad news is that Fujinon discontinued the last two members of the A Series (the 180 and the 240) in August of 1998. The good news is that there are may still a few new ones floating around out there. I recently spoke to Jeff at Badger Graphics and he is getting in a VERY limited supply of 240 A Fujinons at a price of $750. That puts it the same ballpark as the Robert White ("gray" market) price on the APO Ronar (currently ~$680 + international shipping and import duty), but considerably more than the Robert White price on the G Claron (currently ~$441 + international shipping and import duty), but substantially less than the B&H US Warranty price on the APO Ronar ($1129.95 + domestic shipping) and a little less than the B&H price on the G Claron ($811.00 + domestic shipping).

Finally, the performance of the little Fujinon is outstanding. It is VERY sharp, even when used at infinity. I have not directly compared it to either the 240mm APO Ronar or the 240mm G Claron (which also are well reputed designs), so I can't comment directly which is "better" in terms of performance, but I doubt if you would be disapponted with the Fujinon.

Hope that helps. Let us know what you get and how you like it.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), November 08, 2000.

Confirming previous postings, barrel Apo Ronars are not multicoated. Apo Ronars, for the at least the last 18 years have been multicoated, (Direct communication from Rodenstock). Process lenses seem to be a thing of the past because Digital Lenses are now being used for the purpose. You will notice that both Rodesntock and Schneider have a wide selection of those and that their number is increasing. I believe also that the Apo Ronar barrel lens has been discontinued beyond the present available stock. The Apo ronar in shutter will continue being manufactured.

Personally I prefer to know what I am getting and buy only from manufacturers that do neither hide their spec books nor expect users to buy on the basis of reputation or hear-say. Both Schneider and Rodesntock provide performance data for their lenses and if you take the time to study it you will get an excellent idea of how that lens will perform in the field before the purchase. Fuji does not provide any performance data. From another direct communication I also know that one of the most published US landscape photographers uses a Fuji C, 300mm which he likes but is prone to glare. I do not believe this lens is multicoated although evidently, he likes it well enough to use it. You can see that glare in one picture in one of his latest books. (Picture of tree, Plateau Light, David Muench).

Because the Apo Ronar was introduced as a process lens it had remained so in the marketing minds at Rodenstock to the extent that they had not bothered to run or disclose infinity data, -MTFs and other specs, for it. After seing these, which Rodenstock kindly run and provided I was amazed that such an optical masterpiece had been so ignored for its benefits to landscape photography. Current Rodenstock literature still manages to derail prospective landscape photographers by repeating the old script, that this lens was optimized for 1:1, (true). However, the technical data shows that this only means that only at 1:1 distortion is zero, while at infinity, distortion is in the range of the best normal lenses such as the Apo Sironars and Apo Symmars. In all other respects, performance is outstanding. The narrow image circle of this lens is still ample for a 300mm lens on 4X5 but for the 240, it is just adequate going from memory. The G-Claron is also a very good lens but to see the differences between the two I think it is best you study the data.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), November 09, 2000.

"From another direct communication I also know that one of the most published US landscape photographers uses a Fuji C, 300mm which he likes but is prone to glare. I do not believe this lens is multicoated although evidently, he likes it well enough to use it. You can see that glare in one picture in one of his latest books. (Picture of tree, Plateau Light, David Muench). " Julio, If I had to buy, I would narrow my choice on the Apo-Ronar or the Fujinon unless price was the issue. (In fact a 240 is a lens I still miss but I have other priorities! )I own both an A-R 360 and a recent Fujinon C 300. I have used both in a variety of situations and I am glad to say I have not had the glare effect with the Fujinon so far. Definitely multi-coated, the lens is as sharp as the Apo-Ronar is, has excellent color balance and behaves well even at close range. My Apo-Ronar is subject to glare, but that's normal: it's an old single coated version. It's not bothering me, because I seldom shoot in the sun. It behaves very well at close range: tack sharp. I also have a 25 y.o. G-Claron 305. It is a heavier lens, single coated but not at all a bad lens, I agree. It has greater angle than the A-R of the same length, I think. Being single coated, I would put it third choice for outdoors. My impression (others could perhaps confirm) is that colors are sometimes a bit blueish with this G-Claron, but mine is not recent. Sorry Steve for the little digression in the 300 realm!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), November 09, 2000.

I also own a 300mm f/9 Fuji C, purchased new within the last three years. It is multicoated. The image circle is sufficient for my application on 8x10, and I've had none of the "glare" problems mentioned above. Perhaps when used on a 4x5, without adequate compendium lens shading, flare could result from out-of-frame light bouncing around in the camera's bellows?

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), November 09, 2000.

Correction: the Fuji 300C is f/8.5.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), November 09, 2000.

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