Nikkor-M or G-Claron : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Have given up finding a used lens in good condition that isn't ridiculously priced so am going to buy new grey market. I'm looking for a 300mm lens to use on a 4x5 monorail, 420mm extension max. I'm considering the 300/9 Nikkor-M and 305/9 G-Claron. I've read all the web discussions and the nod seems to go to the Nikkor for lighter weight and smaller size. Neither of those are significant for me (well, I don't want a 300/5.6). At grey market prices these two lenses are the same price. So it all comes down to performance. I'm using this lens mainly at greater than 1:10 ratio, landscapes and building exterior details, mostly black and white. Which would the group recommend solely on performance under these conditions? I have used the 150/9 G-Claron with great results. (I may be persuaded here simply by family name if I can justify the performance). The Nikkor is said to be poor at the edges, some complain of the G-Claron's single coating. What's the real story?

-- Dave Schneider (, May 15, 2001


If you had longer bellows or shot more macro work, I would recommend the G-Claron based upon your previous work with the 150. However, considering your current setup and the general applications at greater than 1:10, I would go with the Nikon. The 300 mm M Nikon has an image circle of 325mm at f22 so you will be nowhere near the edges shooting what you describe. To look at this from another perspective, comparing the Nikon next to what you already know the G-Claron can do will provide you with a new contrast/tonality reference point. I have seen negatives shot on the same subject from both the Nikon and the G- Claron and I like the personality of the Nikon. But that is just me. The small package is icing on the cake.

Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (, May 15, 2001.

Those that complain about the G-Claron's single coating probably prefer to look at lenses, rather than through them.

-- Pete Andrews (, May 16, 2001.

The Nikon will probably be better under the conditions you describe, but I would buy the G-Claron because it is more flexible. It will give you great close-up performance and be much better for 8x10 (if you were to use this format).

-- William Marderness (, May 16, 2001.

I've mounted a 305 G-Claron in a shutter within the last 3 weeks. Because of time constraints I've only made 1 sheet of Velvia with this lens so far. Interestingly, (or maybe not) I shot the same scene (Courthouse, Belmont, Nevada) without moving the tripod with the 305, and a Fuji 240 f9A. The 305 surprised me. It is incredibly sharp! The colors were brilliant, and if there is slightly less contrast than the Fuji, it was an asset in this particular situation. Outdoors desert southwest and high elevation where shadows can gobble up 3 1/2 zones. I know I'm going to enjoy this lens even from 1 sheet! Now if I could just quit my real job and go play with this stuff every day.

-- Jim Galli (, May 17, 2001.

Dave, Any particular reason you haven't investigated the Fujinon-C 300/8.5? I cannot give you a side-by-side comparison with the other two lenses you mention but it has performed quite admirably for me with both landscapes and arch'l details.

-- Said Nuseibeh (, May 17, 2001.

Dave, the G-Claron is very sharp, but colors are not as saturated as with the Fujinon C, which is one of the sharpest lens I own. The G-Claron may be $150 less, but is much bigger and heavier.

-- Paul Schilliger (, May 17, 2001.

I have the Nikon 300/9 and use it for 4x5 copywork. I considered the G-Claron but with the larger image circle of the G-Claron appeared to be designed for the vertical (extreme wide coverage and possbily some fall off) process cameras. Lenses designed for the horizontal cameras were always better. The Nikon 300 with it's smaller image circle means that your 4x5" image would get more lines per mm resolution (in theory). I have a PDF file listing of many USA dealers that specialize in LF gear -- drop me an e-mail if you want it.

-- Richard Stum (, May 18, 2001.

Thanks for the feedback. I took delivery of the G-Claron today. I may be tempted by an 8x10 someday so the extra coverage is beneficial. I think it really boiled down to the allure of the family name and the fact that the G-Claron is one of those classic lenses. If it ever stops raining I'll try the lens out and let you know my reactions.

-- Dave Schneider (, May 25, 2001.

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