normal/wide lens : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am searching for a new wide/normal lens and price is a concern. The Nikkor-W 135mm f5.6 looks like a good choice. Can anybody comment on the quality of this lens? Price should not be above U$ 650,00 and the lens must be in the 100 - 135 range, with covering power for use with 4x5. Do you have other recomendations? Thank you

-- Rodrigo Malta (, September 06, 2001


Rodrigo, I rather like the Rodenstock 135 Sironar-N since replaced by the apo version. Its quite a small lens weighing just 210g with a filter thread of just 40.5mm. Its image circle is about 200mm so will cover 4x5 and allow a little displacement of the lens. I'm not sure of its US price but would be very surprised if it was more the $650.

Its certainly sharp enough but its selling point for me was its small size and weight.


-- Trevor Crone (, September 06, 2001.

Everyone will shooting a bit in the dark without knowing what you want to use it for; 100-135 is quite a range. If you have a 150 already, then I'd go with a 120. A 135, on the other hand, is a good all-around lens if you only have one. (But it depends what you want to photograph, again.) The Nikons are very good lenses, you should be able to beat the price of $650 by quite a bit. There are many Schneider Symar-S lenses used available for $300-$400 and they're great lenses, most with multi-coating. The Schneider 120's (non angulon versions) are also excellent, very reasonably priced used, and there is room for more movement than people give them credit for.

-- Kevin Crisp (, September 06, 2001.

Hi Rodrigo,

Calumet had the 135/5.6 Rodenstock Sironar-N (under the Caltar badge) on sale for $399.00 two days ago. An excellent price for a new 135 and a good lens by all accounts.

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, September 06, 2001.

I don't own the Nikon lens, but you really can't go wrong with any of the 4 major manufacturers of view camera lenses: Rodenstock, Nikon, Schneider & Fuji. The state of the art in lens design & production is just that good today.

Congo/Osaka lenses are a less expensive alternative in new lenses, but use simpler designs. They tend to be good performers, too.

Usually in LF work, it isn't critical to have the exceptional performance needed for 35mm, since we deal with much smaller enlargement ratios.

Image circle for the Nikon, Rodenstock, & Caltar 135mm is 200 mm (f/22), enough for landscape work, but not enough for strong architectural movements.

That said, here are Calumet's prices on a few options:

Nikon 135mm W = $699.00

Caltar II 135mm = $399 (on sale; regularly 467.00); This is a Rodenstock Sironar N private labelled--it even comes in a Rodenstock box (I just bought one!) (Is the Nikon really worth almost twice the price of this Rodenstock? I don't see how it could be.)

Rodenstock Sironar N 135mm = $510.00.

For comparison,the Schneider 110 Super Symmar is reportedly a superb lens, but $1,799.00. Image circle is a whopping 288mm!

-- Charlie Strack (, September 07, 2001.

How much movement do you want? You won't get a lot with a 135mm lens. Why not consider a 120mm wide-angle just as the 120mm Super Angulon or the older 121 mm super angulon by schneider. The latter is the single-coated version. I have one of these, and I like to photographs that I get from it.

-- neil poulsen (, September 10, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ