fuji or g-claron?

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I currently have a 240 Caltar and a 450 Nikkor for my 8x10 Deardorff. I find I seldom use the Nikkor, and the 240 is often too wide, so I'm considering just a 300mm to simplify things. Any thoughts on this? Also, which would be preferable for general/landscape photography: a 305 G-Claron or the 300 f8.5 Fuji? I only contact print, but sometimes use a 4x5 back for color.

-- Bruce Schultz (schultzredfish@aol.com), December 06, 2000


Neither. Get the Rodenstock Apo Ronar, but for 8X10 you will need the 360 or better, the 450 to get decent movements. G-Clarons are good lenses and liked by some, but their single coatings make them less as ideal as other lenses for landscapes. The Fuji is prone to flair as well. The Apo Ronar in shutter is multi-coated. Image quality for the AR according to MTFs and actual use, is excellent. Fuji? try before you buy, Fuji provides zero performance specs.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), December 07, 2000.

Rodenstock provides zero performance specs also. The MTF is an engineer's assumptions based on the design - they are not tests of actual lenses.

I have a 305 G-Claron and a 450 Fuji C, both are great lenses. Go here for some actual tests:


-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), December 07, 2000.

I use the 300 f/8.5 Fuji C on 8x10. It is multicoated, and I have no problem with flare. Can't speak for G-Clarons (reportedly discontinued three days ago), except to note that they are only single coated. You'd be hard pressed to find a better 8x10 landscape lens than the Fuji; that's my application for it. It's small, light and takes 52mm filters.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 07, 2000.

Any of the choices mentioned so far here should do a wonderful job for 8x10. Especially if you're making contact prints. We're only talking four or six element lenses here. Multicoating is nice, but it's not as critical as for a 15 element zoom. I would probably pick among these based on price, coverage, compactness, and filter size compatablility with other lenses I already have.

-- mike rosenlof (mike_rosenlof@yahoo.com), December 07, 2000.

The Fuji (very good, although I can't speak from 8x10 background) costs $725 from Badger. If you are on tight budget, you should find easily a barrel G-Claron 305 for $100 and mount it on a new Copal #1 ($205). Going for a new G-Claron would cost you £310 -$560 from Robert White. Another lens you can consider is a Nikkor M300. The Nikkor, some say, has more coverage than the Fujinon despite what is written on the specs sheet. The G-Claron is advisable if you do product photography as well. Otherwise, the Nikkor and the Fuji would be better choice because they are optimized for distance and multicoated.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), December 07, 2000.

Paul - I've recently read warnings of some barrel-mount G-Clarons that don't fit into a standard shutter. Do you have any info on this?


-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), December 07, 2000.

Hi Bruce:

Agree with Mike. Single coating or multiple coating is not a big deal for your 8x10 contact printing, if you know how to shade your lens. I have compared my G-Claron 355/9 (single-coated, 15 years old) with my friend's Apo-Ronar 360/9 (multi-coated, brand new) on Fuji Astia 8x10. No one can tell the difference. But I know I paid 70% less. A similar test was done using Apo-Germinar (Doctor Optics) 600/11.5 (IC=520mm@22) and 750/14.5 (IC=615mm@22) (All are 6 elements in 6 groups, air spacing, single-coated) vs. Nikkor-T 600/9 and 800/12 (multi-coated, IC=310mm@22). The resulting chromes were quite surprising! The Apo-Germinars consistently gave more contrasty images over Nikkor-Ts. Who said multi-coating is always better???

I would find a dealer, order both G-Claron and Fuji, do a side by side comparison, then weigh the factors such as price, compactness, filter size, etc. and make a final purchase (return one). Good luck!

-- Geoffrey Chen (db45tek@aol.com), December 07, 2000.

Barrel G-Claron lenses are a funny thing. A certain portion of them do not fit into shutters at all. If you are buying a G-Claron in a barrel, make sure you have a chance to see if it will fit into a shutter.

-- Michael Klayman (michael@schneideroptics.com), December 07, 2000.

Wayne, I'm sorry to hear that! this makes things a bit more difficult indeed. I guess I have had a good luck!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), December 07, 2000.


I am not sure that the comparison of the apo germinar and the Nikkor T is a fair one. Telephoto designs like the T nikkors are hard pressed match the performance of a non tele. They do have other advantages.

-- Pat Raymore (patrick.f.raymore@kp.org), December 08, 2000.


I'll be interested to know which lens you would pick. Thanks!

-- Geoffrey Chen (db45tek@aol.com), December 08, 2000.

To Wayne's point, MTFs provided by Rodenstock, like those of Zeiss and Schneider are obtained from computerized calculations, rather than actually measured on all lenses. That said, all these manufacturers test their finished product to see that it complies with design specs. Testing each individual lens would add significantly to its cost. So how well do those design specs agree with reality? Photodo.com, in Sweden has tested hundreds of lenses, some which happen to be made by Zeiss. While the Photodo MTFs are not precisely identical to Zeiss design specs, they are close enough to validate Zeiss's MTFs. Yes I already hear some people saying they donít trust Photodo's MTFs because of their close relationship with Hasselblad. Interestingly then, Photodo's highest numbers have gone to a Canon, not a Zeiss lens. Now, Wayne, the G-Claron you praise has MTFs by Schneider that say it is, as you say, a good lens. It is, with the limitations revealed by those same MTFs, which also tell us it is not quite as good at infinity as at close range, because of a sharp drop in MTF beyond about 40% of the image circle diameter. Even though those MTFs were not run on your own lens, they do have meaning that can't be reasonably dismissed. Other manufacturers prefer to lean on customersí faith or the manufacturer's good reputation, and tell the customer nothing about what they can expect other than worn out and meaningless marketing superlatives. As fortunately, the world has more than Nikon and Fuji I do not feel I need to buy on faith which is not the same thing as saying their products are bad. As for the Fuji 300C, I personally know this lens is used by David Muench who uses it in spite of the fact that as he put it, he has to be careful since the lens is prone to flare. Want to see flare? look at David's book Plateau Light. The Apo Ronar was always marketed by Rodenstock for process work and that, I think has scared landscape photographers away from it. If you want ZERO distortion, the AR will give you that at 1:1. But getting the same distortion with it that you get with the best plastmats, at infinity, is no mean thing either, even if it is not zero. In this forum's other sections there are ratings for lenses. Look up the AR and I think you will agree that the MTFs, even if they are per design, are no coincidence. Bruce, I hope this helps.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ra.auracom.com), December 10, 2000.

David Muench uses his Fuji 300C on a 4x5 Master Technica. The lens has a 420mm image circle at infinity. That's a lot of light to be bouncing around inside a smaller camera's bellows. I'm not surprised he has to be careful about flare in that situation. On an 8x10 it doesn't seem to be a problem.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 11, 2000.

Sal: you get a point, to a point. Light bouncing around bellows from a large IC will can indeed deteriorate the image. It is also true that lenses prone to flare will cause a small bright object (e.g. sun) to be imaged with light being scattered around with a halo effect. This has nothing to do with IC or image format. It has been stated that the Fuji 300 is multicoated. If it is, it certainly is not the manufacturer who says it. Fuji lenses with the designation EBC are coated by what Fuji calls Electron Beam, but nowhere I know, including their 4 sheet brochure, is it mentioned that EBC means anything made other than the coating method. Presumably EBC is just an electrical discharge used to spray the coating substance on the lens. EBC then, means how the coating was applied but it neither says what the coating is, nor how many times it is applied, nor the merits of doing so. Sal, perhaps you have other information I do not know about and if you do you may be good enough to share it. But what I do know is people's natural response to missing information is to fill the voids, nature abhors a vacuum!

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ra.auracom.com), December 11, 2000.

My Fuji 300C was purchased brand new a little over two years ago. Completely ignoring Fuji marketing terminology such as "EBC," I will unequivocally state that this lens is multicoated. The green tint and almost total lack of reflection seen when shining a bright light onto and through it are never evident when examining single coated lenses. I might add that the same characteristics are observed from front or rear, as well as from the inside surfaces that are exposed when removing front and rear groups from the shutter. Ain't no doubt about it.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 11, 2000.

A little further digging into my archives - - from a Fuji booklet titled "FOR USERS WHO SELECT A PROFESSIONAL LENS FIRST" dated 1984: "FUJINON'S UNIQUE ELECTRON BEAM COATING (EBC) Is the premier multi-coating system in lens optics. EBC lens elements receive up to 11 coatings for 99.8% light transmittance and sharper, brighter images with better contrast."

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 11, 2000.

Sal: As expected, you got the facts. Thanks for the info on Fuji. Also I agree with your method for asessing MC. Once someone told me to test shutter vibration by bouncing a laser light on what happened to be a MC lens and watching the projection of the reflected beam. No bounce. No test.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), December 11, 2000.

Julio, Sal: Fujinon's have not always been multicoated. That seems to have started in the mid 80's. I have seen 240As that are not multicoated vs. newer ones that, like Sals lens, are clearly multicoated. The single coatings have a yellow tint, vs. the green and magenta tints of more recent EBC coating. Any Fujinon with a black shutter speed ring is multicoated. I think all of the 300Cs are multicoated as that is a more recent lens. One of my Fujinon brouchures from about 1980 doesn't mention the C series at all.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), December 11, 2000.

Boy, where to start... There is a lot of misinformation about Fujinon lenses posted in this thread.

First, the Fujinon EBC process is and always was a true multicoating process. In addition to several promo pieces from D.O. Industries (former Fujinon North American distributor) touting the advantages of the EBC multicoating process, I also have nine different Fujinon large format lens brochures from 3/76 - 3/82 that all contain the exact same quote (similar to what Sal quoted above) about the EBC process. To view the exact quote, straight from the horse's mouth (scanned from the 4/81 Fujinon Professional Lenses brochure), see:


This should remove any doubt about the EBC process not being a true multicoating process.

Second, Fuji began multicoating their lenses in the mid-1970s (NOT the mid-1980s) with the SWD series. Some existing designs continued to be single coated, but when new designs were introduced, they were multicoated. As of 4/78, the SWD series were the only Fujinons that were multicoated, but by 1/79 all the members of the NW line, as well as select members of the W line (125mm, 300mmm and 360mm) and the 240 A were listed as multicoated. By 10/80 in addtion to the complete SWD and NW series, all memebers of the A and T series were multicoated. The C series (300mm, 450mm and 600mm) was introduced in 7/82 and were multicoated at that time and have been ever since. In fact, the only single coated lenses listed in the six Fujinon brochures I have from 7/82 - 3/97 are the soft focus SF series. At some point, the 250mm f6.7 W was re-introduced but not listed in the official Fujinon brochures (it is listed in Calumet catalogs up until 1990 and I have a undated D.O. Industries promo heralding the re-introduction). This particular lens continued to be single coated through the late 1980s. It is listed as multicoated in the 1990 Calumet catalog, but I believe this may be a typo. Anyway, if you have a C series Fujinon, of any focal length,, of any age, it is multicoated.

The image circle of the 300mm Fujinon C is 380mm, not 420mm. Both the 300mm Fujinon W and the 300mm Fujinon A had image circles of 420mm, but the compact 300mm Fujinon C has always been specified at 380mm.

So, back to Bruce's original question. The 300mm Fujinon C is a good, compact, lightweight lens for general landscape use on 8x10, as is the 300mm Nikkor M. This assumes your movement requirements are modest. If you need more extensive movements, but aren't willing to lug around one of the heavy 300mm f5.6 plasmats in a #3 shutter, in addition to the 305mm G Claron, you might also consider the 300mm Fujinon A. Like the G Claron, it is an f9 6/4 process plasmat design in a Copal #1 shutter. It is even smaller and lighter than the G Claron (55mm filters, 410g), but has a generous 70 degree coverage for an image circle of 420mm. Unlike the G Claron, it is available multicoated (very early samples were single coated). Problem is, it was discontinued about 10 or 11 years ago and isn't very common on the used market.

Good luck. Let us know what you get and how you like it.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), December 14, 2000.

Kerry is correct, my post contains a typo, I meant to say mid 70's for EBC multicoating. Glad I was right about the introduction of the C series.

-- Glenn Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), December 14, 2000.

If someone still doubts on the quality of Fuji's EBC Multicoating, just think for a while that Fuji is one of the major producer of TV lenses. These lenses are far more demanding than the large format lenses and have to handle all kinds of situations and often the worst. Being made of near as many lens elements as there are waggons in a goods train, coating is a major criteria in the quality of these lenses.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), December 14, 2000.

Kerry, your archive of Fujinon large format brochures is much larger than mine. In addition to the D.O. Industries booklet from which I quoted above, I have two brochures. One is a ten 8 1/2 x 11 "page" document (a multi-folded single piece of paper) titled "FUJINON PROFESSIONAL LENSES," with date marking 80.04, that makes no mention of the C series lenses. It is accompanied by a D.O. Industries price list dated May 1, 1980 which also omits C lenses. The second is of similar configuration, titled "FUJINON LENSES for PROFESSIONALS," but only eight "pages" long, complete marking "Ref. No. OP1-283E-R2(SK.84.09.SA.MW)," which would indicate it's from September 1984. It is from this latter brochure that I obtained the image circle information. It provides the following data for "EBC FUJINON.CS" lenses:

300 f/8.5 - angle of coverage 66 degrees; image circle 420mm

450 f/12.5 - 57 degrees, 486mm

600 f/11.5 - 55 degrees, 620mm

All of the above are specified at f/22. My landscape usage has never probed the image circle's limits, and it was necessary to wait until returning home this evening to dig out the brochures, so I haven't had an opportunity to empirically determine what my 300 C's projected circle is at infinity. In any case, now you know the source of my "misinformation."

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 14, 2000.

I am in awe of your reference libraries, Sal and Kerry. To add a little uncertainty about the numbers in brochures, though, it can not be argued that this manufacturer makes no disclosure from which the criteria for evaluating IC could be glimpsed. MTF=0 can be one criteria. I have seen that used, whereas in some cases, at the limit of the IC, some lenses conservatively, still show MTF >0. Additionally, in marketing brochures errors do happen, and then we also have the possibility of the proverbial tug of war between the technical types, who want a conservative number, and the marketing types that like the larger number. All being quite possible, Kerry and Sal, I think you are both right!

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), December 14, 2000.

Sal, Kerry: Not to get into a "my Fujinon library is bigger than your Fujinon library" thing, but here are some more data points...

I have an '82 edition of the D.O. Industries brochure that doesn't list C lenses, and a 1982 version of the Fujinon Lenses for Professionals brochure that does list the C lenses. In this '82 brochure, the image circle for the 300 is listed as 380mm.

More important, perhaps, is that it is still listed as 380mm in the (all Japanese) February 1998 brochure.

By the way, when I was shooting 4x5, I had the 300C and found it to be very sharp, more contrasty and saturated than my previous 300M Nikkor, and had no unusual problems with flare.

-- Glenn Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), December 14, 2000.

To cast more doubt on Fuji's numbers, simple trig gives a 390mm circle for an angle of view of 66 degrees.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 15, 2000.


First, congratulations on having the ONLY Fujinon brochure that has the wrong image circle listed for the 300mm Fujinon C. The 7/82 brochure coincided with the introduction of the C series and the re-design of the f8 SW series. They got it right in that one (380mm image circle), but I also have a photocopy of the 9/84 brochure you referenced, it it does indeed list the image circle incorrectly as 420mm for the 300mm C. It is corrected back to 380mm in the 10/85 brochure and every brochure I have after that (9/86, 4/88 and 3/97).

These types of errors are VERY common in the Fujinon literature. In fact, some are a bit humorous. For instance, the 7/82 brochure which featured major changes to the Fujinon product lines, actually has tiny bits of paper containing corrections that were physically cut-and-pasted onto the brochure. How'd you like to have that job? Thankfully, the quality control in their manufacturing department is much better than in their marketing department.

WRT to the trig. According to the brochures, the actual designed focal length of the 300mm Fujinon C is 292.5mm. If you plug that focal length in to the formula and use 66 degrees, the calculated image circle comes out to 379.9mm. That's close enough to 380mm for me.

Finally, WRT to my collection of Fujinon literature. I have assembled as much as I could get on my own, but I've also had help from others. When my Fujinon pages went online, I asked for anybody who has and Fujinon literature to please send me scans or photocopies. Through the generosity of others, my Fujinon literature collection has grown quite nicely. It's to the point where I really need to update my Fujinon pages to reflect what I've learned from this influx of new data. However, I'm sure my Fujinon literature collection is still not complete. So, anybody reading this who has any Fujinon literature they would be willing to share, please send me an email with what you have, and I'll check to see if I need it. All of the Fujinon brochures have date codes printed in the bottom right corner on the back cover. They read something like (SK.82.07.SA.MW). The 82.07 code indicating a publication date of July, 1982. If you could include the date code in any emails, it would allow me to determine if I do or don't have the brochure in question. I also have several D.O. Industries price lists, that are clearly dated on the front covers, several D.O. Industries promo pieces and press releases that usually are not dated, magazine article reprints and old Calumet catalogs. At this point, I'm just trying to gather up as much Fujinon data as I can get my hands on. So, if you have anything and would like to contribute to the collective knowledge, please send me an email. I don't have enough time or web space to scan EVERY brochure and price list (many have no changes from one to the next - just reprints of the previous brochure), but I hope to eventually get all the major revisions online and to fill out my literature table to help narrow down when certain models were introduced and discontinued. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), December 15, 2000.

Snagged by doing the trig at work (using 300mm) while the brochure - - giving a 292.5mm designed focal length - - is once again at home!

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), December 15, 2000.

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