compact 210 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Seasons greetings to all the great photo guys and gals.I am putting together a kit for serious travel.I do mostly landscape,and about 75% b/w.I plan on getting a sironar s 135,And am vexed on a compact 210.Will I be happy with a caltar compact,or would something else be better(sironar n ?) I print up to 16 x 20 b/w and chromes.I want to have the lenses as small as possible,but not at a compromise to image quality.Thanks in advance for your responses.

-- emerald estock (, December 21, 2000



If you can live with something a LITTLE shorter, and can get by with modest movements, I recommend the little 200mm f8 Nikkor M. It is BY FAR the lightest lens in this focal length range. And, within its modest 210mm image circle, an excellent performer. It is multicoated and available both new and used. Unlike all the other 210s, it's in a Copal #0 shutter, which helps keep the size and weight down (52mm filters, 180g). For more info on this lens, see:

For more info on lightweight lenses in general, see:

and follow the links to the various focal length ranges.

I do a fair amount of backpacking so I tend to be a bit anal about keeping the weight down. On my most recent backpacking trips, I've been carrying a four lens set consisting of: 90mm f6.3 Congo Wide Angle, 135mm f5.6 APO Sironar-N, 200mm f8 Nikkor M and 300mm f9 Nikkor M. These lenses are all very compact and lightweight. When I want to go REALLY, REALLY light, I take a three lens set consisting of: 90mm Congo WA, 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W and 240mm f9 Fujinon A. Eventually, I will probably replace the 90mm Congo with my new 80mm Super Symmar XL. The 80mm SS XL will be bigger and heavier, but still a very compact, light weight lens. It will also have a bigger image circle and most likely better performance.

Anyway, there's a lot more detains, specs and pictures at the links above.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, December 22, 2000.

I don't think you can get any better or more complete advice than what Kerry has provided you. Do check out his web site. I am quite pleased with the two Nikkor lenses in my kit, the 90mm SW f/8 in a Copal 0 and the 210mm W f/5.6 in a Copal 1, and find them quite compact and light. The 210mm is nice and bright on the ground glass. The Fujinon lenses are of very good quality and tend to be lighter -- you couldn't go wrong there.

-- Donald Brewster (, December 22, 2000.

Very compact and light is the Copal#1 Schneider Xenar 6.1/210. Very sharp for general landscape and inexpensive. A bit warm though.

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 22, 2000.

I second the Nikkor 200mm idea. Another good compact lens if you can find a good one used is the Kodak Ektar 203mm f7.7. Look for one in a Flash Supramatic shutter. It out-performs the Nikkor at wide apertures. You can probably pick up one for a couple hundred dollars used. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, December 22, 2000.

The first good lens I ever bought for 4x5 was the 210 Calumet IIE. It is actually a Rodenstock Geronar under their name. It is very nice after you close down about one stop. Wide open it is sharp, but gets a little weird flare sometimes. Then again, who uses a 210 at wide open? I have made great images with that lens, and even though I have Nikkors for the other lengths, I rate the 210 right in there with them. And yes, it is great to have a 210 that folds within my Graphic. In fact, that is why I almost never carry the 90mm, it is a pain to carry the separate bag for it.

-- E.L. (, December 22, 2000.

Thanks for all the great input.KEH has a new geronar demo for 325 which sounds too good to pass up,and if I ever get lucky enough to find a nikon 200 i can replace it.Have a great holiday,and thanks for the help.

-- Emerald Estock (, December 22, 2000.

The Rodenstock 210 Geronar is a rather compact design. It is very compact compared to any of the Apo Sironars from Rodenstock.

-- Bob Salomon (, December 24, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ