135 or 150?

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At one time I carried a bunch of lenses with me, but because of a bad back I had to lighten up considerably, so for several years now I have been happily functioning with only a 210mm lens. However, from time to time I feel the need for a wide normal lens. I have room for only one additional lens, and I am undecided if it should be a 135 or a 150. Or are these so close that there's no significant difference? I would appreciate opinions.

-- Dick Deimel (Bbadger@aol.com), January 26, 2002


Dick, I now use the Rodenstock 135 Sironar-N. A little 'cracker', very small and compact. On its Ebony/Linhof panel it will easily fit into my shirt pocket. In the past I used a Nikon 150-W which was also an excellent lens with more coverage of course then the 135. But this was a larger lens and so close to the 135 I did not feel the need for both.


-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), January 26, 2002.

I went through this same decision process last year. I decided on the Caltar-N 135 (got it cheap from eBay). I've been very happy with my decision so far. It is small enough to fold into my Wista DX saving me space in the backpack and time during set up (if it is the lens I want to use for a particular shot). But since I've never owned a 150, I don't have anything to compare it to. It is a very useful focal length, fitting nicely between my 210 and 75.

-- Scott Bacon (sbacon@naturalorderphoto.com), January 26, 2002.

I have 135, 150, and 210 lenses for my field kit. I find myself using the 135 far more than the 150, since I like the slightly wider look that it gives. With the 135 you can get the same image size as a 150 by moving in closer, but as has been mentioned, a 135 does not give you as much room for movements as a 150. The jump from a 210 to a 135 might seem like a big one at first though - it takes some getting used to.

-- Rico Obusan (eobusan@aol.com), January 26, 2002.

I wouldn't think that the difference between a 210 and a 150 would be sufficiently great to justify buying and carrying the two lenses. To put it in 35 mm terms, it's the difference between approximately a 70 mm lens and a 50 mm lens. Back in your not so good old 35 mm days, would you have carried two prime lenses in these two focal lengths? Probably not.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), January 26, 2002.

I've had both a long time but found that I was always using the 135 so I've been just leaving the 150 at home. The difference is fairly subtle but imho it's significant.

Otoh, one drawback of most 135 lenses is the fairly small image circle which may be a problem if you expect to use lots of front rise or shift.

-- John Hicks (jhicks@bellsouth.net), January 26, 2002.

Which to choose, the 135 or 150, is objectively unanswerable. It is as if you were asking which is better, popcorn with or without butter. However, I do think it is easier to make useful comparisons of lenses at one focal length, say 135. Michael Davies posted a comparison chart at this web site for 4 x 5 lenses. The chart shows that Rodenstock makes a 135 Sironar N that receives 40.5 mm size filters, while the Apo-Sironar S uses 49 mm filters. I understand that filters in the latter size are far more likely to be in stock. Moreover, step down rings from 82, 67, etc to 49 mm are more readily available. I am uncertain but I believe that the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar S has slightly more coverage than all or most of the other 135 mm brand lenses. See Davies chart. I believe that the Apo Sironar S has the reputation of being the sharpest lens that Rodenstock makes, although it is one of the least costly compared to other Apo Sironar S lenses. Only the 135, not the 150, is considered a wide normal. Used with a roll film 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 back, the 135 can serve as a normal lens and allow tremendous shift capability. You can get further specifics from the distributor rep, Bob Salomon, at Salomon.hpmarketing.com or something like that.................................................................. .......................................

-- Quien Nosabe (caldw@aol.com), January 27, 2002.


I have both focal lengths and prefer the 135mm just because it is slightly wider. If you are looking for new, any of the four leading manufacturers would probably provide great performance. The Sironar-S would probably be my first choice only because I have heard nothing but praise from everyone who uses it! Good luck.

JP Mose

-- J. P. Mose (j.p.mose@lmco.com), January 28, 2002.

You can reach Bob Salomon at bob@hpmarketingcorp.com......

-- Quien Nosabe (caldw@aol.com), January 29, 2002.

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