Fujinon-L 300/5.6 (copal 1)

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I need comments on Fujinon-L 300/5.6 lense (Copal 1). Is this professional quality lense compere to Rodenstock, Schneider and Nikkor lenses? Is the lense coated? All comments are truely appreciated

-- Gan Vun Shin (ganvunshin@hotmail.com), April 07, 2002


Kerry Thalman wrote an excellent article on Fujinon lenses recently in View Camera Magazine that should provide you with any specific information you need. Bottom line - Fuji lenses are fantastic and on par with any of the other big three (Schneider, Rodenstock and Nikon).

I would be surprised if your any 300mm lens rated at f5.6 would be in a Copal #1. Look again as I would bet it is in a massive Copal #3. Check it out carefully before you expect one thing and get another.

Good Luck

-- MIchael Kadillak (m.kadillak@attbi.com), April 07, 2002.

The Fujinon-L series was Fuji's budget offering. As such, they seem to have always been made with single coatings rather than multi-coatings. The L series used a Tessar design of 4 elements in 3 groups. At least in the coatings, they don't compare to the standard offerings of Fuji, Nikon, Rodenstock and Schneider. I would only buy one if the price were low.

If you are looking for a small, light 300 mm lens, you might want to consider the 300 mm Fuji-C or Nikkor-M. These two are in Copal 1 shutters, while the 300 mm Fuji-L is in the much larger Copal 3. The two suggested alternatives are slower in their maximum aperture. If you really think you need f5.6, the standard "professional" choice is a plasmat design of 6 elements in 4 groups, like the Fuji-CMW, Nikkor-W, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar N or S, Schneider Apo-Symmar. Saying that this is the "standard professional" choice doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your use, e.g., it depends on film size, the importance of weight, cost, etc. These lenses are big and heavy and should have somewhat more coverage than a Tessar design. Tessars are capable of high image quality, but over a smaller circle.

Kerry Thalmann's article in View Camera or his webpage, http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/fujinon.htm, gives more information.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@EarthLink.net), April 07, 2002.

Think of it as a newer version of the 12" Commercial Ektar in a better more modern shutter (definitely a Copal No. 3 - not Copal No. 1). Michael is correct. It is a single coated tessar type. Image circle at f22 and infinity is 343mm. Will cover 8x10, but only with very modest movements. Within it's limit coverage, performance should be quite good. Maybe not quite as good on paper as the latest 300mm APO Symmar or APO Sironar-S, but at a mere fraction of the price (and smaller and lighter, too - 67mm filters, 800g). If the price is right, it can be a good buy. I personally prefer the 300mm Fujinon W (if it can be had at a comparable price). The 300mm Fujinon W is a little bigger and heavier (77mm filters, 1100g) than the 300mm L, but it has more coverage (420mm) making it a better choice for general 8x10 use. It was also available multicoated (all but the earliest samples).


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), April 07, 2002.

Oops, almost forgot, the reason the 300mm Fujinon L was discontinued was the introduction of the 300mm f8.5 Fujinon C. The C series was introduced in mid-1982 and all models have always been EBC multicoated. This is the 300mm Fujinon that comes in a Copal No. 1 shutter - which is probably why the 300 Fujinon L was doomed. As mentioned by Michael K., the L series was Fuji's budget priced line. Problem is Copal No. 3 shutters have alwasy been a lot more expensive than Copal No. 1 shutters (usually >2x). So, even if the multicoated elements of the 300mm Fujinon C cost more to produce, overall cost was probably less to Fuji. The 300mm C also has the advantage of being much smaller and lighter (52mm filters, 250g) and more coverage (380mm). So, a smaller multicoated lens with more coverage and a lower cost spelled doom for the 300mm Fujinon L.

BTW, the 210mm Fujinon L remained in production (single coated) up through about 1990 as Fuji's budget lens in that focal length. There was never a 210mm C to kill it off.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), April 07, 2002.

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