180mm: Schneider vs. Rodenstock

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

For my first large format lens I have settled on a 180mm and now am deciding on which brand to purchase. I am leaning toward the Schneider APO Symmar but I also like the Rodenstock Sironar S. Given that either of these lenses would be a great choice,(and so would Nikkor or Fuji, undoubtably) I would appreciate any advice from forum members. In case it matters, I will be doing landscape and outdoor bridal photography. Thanks so much!

-- Griff Crutti (cyberdog1@peoplepc.com), January 26, 2002


I don't have an answer to the schneider vs. rodenstock debate, but I can tell you that the 180mm fuji is a great lens. I've had mine for about a year and I have never had a problem with the lens even though mine is older and only single coated.

Looking at Badger Graphic's web site though, I would probably go with the Nikkor. It's $100 less expensive, which would be an important factor to me since all four lenses would perform about the same in the real world.


-- Nathaniel Paust (paustne@whitties.org), January 26, 2002.

I like having lenses from the same manufacturer and from about the same time period. Schneider has broken a lot of ground on their wide-angles, so I would be persuaded towards the Apo-Symmar. I'm sure both are excellent. I have a 180mm Symmar-S MC that I think takes great pictures. The Apo-Symmar will probably be at least as good as mine.

I've heard Rodenstocks are a little more contrasty than Schneider. This was also my perception when I bought and tried a Rodenstock one time. As long as the color fidelity is there, and it certainly is with Schneider, I like the smoothness that I get with the not quite so contrasty lense.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), January 27, 2002.

I have been using the 180 Apo Symmar for about 8 months and I am VERY pleased! Nice and sharp! The Rodenstock S is a nice lens too, so I've heard, so I would imagine that there is very little difference between them , apart from the price.

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), January 27, 2002.

I have run side-by-side tests of the 150 Apo Symmar/150 Sironra N/150 Nikkor. There was virtually no difference betweent he eprformance of the Symmar and the Sironar. The Nikkor showed slightly less contrast but when stopped downone stop closely matched teh other two. The tests were not real scientific ... more real life subject matter. I still hve the polaroids if you would like to see the scans.

-- Ted Harris (slberfuchs@aol.com), January 27, 2002.

I chose the Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S because it has the largest image circle.

-- Michael Chmilar (chmilar@acm.org), January 28, 2002.

Thanks, ya'll. (south Louisiana speak) I really appreciate your opinions. More greenhorn questions follow.

-- Griff Crutti (cyberdog1@peoplepc.com), January 28, 2002.

I just bought the Nikkor W 180mm lens to use with my Wisner 4x5 camera. I also have a 4x10 back standard that I swap with the 4x5 back standard. To my surprise both my 210mm and 180mm cover the 4x10 wide open at f5.6. According to Nikon's specifications neither lens should work on a 4x10, but they do! Further, more I could apply lots of front tilt with both lenses before vingetting occurred. I believe Nikon's specifications are very conservative based on what I have just witnessed.

-- Stephen Willard (willard@peakpeak.com), February 02, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ