Sironar-N "MC" question : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just picked up a used Rodenstock Sironar-N 210mm lens. It's aperture range is f45.6 - f45 and has "MC" stamped on it which I assume stands for multi-coated. It has a serial number of 10332697.

I'm assuming this is an older version of the APO Sironar-N series. Can anyone out there in large format land confirm my older version theory and let me know a little more about the lens?



-- Larry Mendenhall (, May 17, 2002


Ooops! Typo. Aperture range is f5.6 - f45.

-- Larry Mendenhall (, May 17, 2002.


According to the chart on Kerry Thalmann's web page (, your lens was made between 1979 and 1984. This lens was a predecessor to the APO Sironar-N series, but I don't know what changes may have followed in the interim between your lens and the APO series.

Perhaps Bob Salomon will jump in here and let you know, or you can E- Mail him. He jumps in on many threads here, so if he does not jump in here it will be easy for you to find his e-mail address. His company is the U.S. distributor for Rodenstock lenses. He has given me helpful information before.

-- Dave Karp (, May 17, 2002.

Bob answered my similar question about a Sironar MC in this forum; "MC" stands for multicoating, and the lenses are basically the same as the newer APO Sironar-N lenses.

I have the Caltar-branded version of this lens, and I use it as a wide-angle on 8x10. (It covers fine focused several hundred feet away. I've never focused it on infinity proper.) It's bright and sharp, and suffers less from flare than my longer G-Claron.

-- John O'Connell (, May 17, 2002.

Apparently the story goes something like this:

Sironar-N MC lenses were multicoated Apo lenses. Then Schneider came out with Apo-Symmar lenses = Apo versions of the Symmar-S. It became an advertising duel and Rodenstock changed the name from Sironar-N (which did not directly state that the lenses had apocromatic correction) to the current name Apo-Sironar MC. Same lenses pretty much, but a far more catchy name...

(Both the Sironar-N and Apo Sironars are razor sharp...)

-- Per Volquartz (, May 17, 2002.

Yes it the immediate predecessor of the current Apo Sironar N.

Changes are constantly happening in the way the lenses are ground, polihed, coated, centered, etc. A lens 10 years older then another will not necessarily perform the same as the lenses keep evolving.

-- Bob Salomon (, May 17, 2002.

That has been my main lens for 4x5 for years, and it has worked great, including for critical color transparency work. Lots of movement for 4x5. I max out my front fall and then add back rise on the Wisner Technical, and the lens covers without problem so far. A nice lens, I think.

-- John McDonald (, May 17, 2002.

Per is close, but not quite 100% accurate. The Sironar-N is the direct predecessor to the current APO Sironar-N. In fact, all the mechanical specs and basic design is unchanged between the two lines. At the time it was a change in name and labeling only (as Bob mentioned, manufacturers are alwasy teaking their processes and materials to improve perfomance and yields, but this is regardles of the name change from Sironar-N MC to APO Sironar-N). I don't have my reference materials in front of me, but the name change occured sometime in the early 1990s.

The lenses labeled APO Sironar are a totally different design. The APO Sironar line debuted in the mid to late 1980s and was an 80 degree design. Intially, the APO Sironar line consisted of just two focal lengths (50mm and 210mm). A 300mm was eventually added. The name of this line was eventually changed to APO Sironar-W (and was recently discontinued).

The APO Sironar-S line also debuted in the early 1990s. This was a new design covering 75 degrees. It was when the APO Sironar-S line was introduced that Rodenstock changed the names of the other two lines (Sironar-N MC to APO Sironar-N and APO Sironar to APO Sironar- W). This provided a consistant naming convention for all three lines and made distinuguishing between the three product lines much easier. So, if you have a lens that is just labeled APO Sironar, it is really the same as the 80 degree APO Sironar-W.

I have (and still do) use lenses frm all three product lines. All are fantastic and have their own advantages and disadvantages. They are all great performers, but in general, the APO Sironar-N line has the least amount of coverage (72 degrees), but they are also a little smaller, lighter and less expensive. The APO Sironar-S line are fantastic performers with a little more coverage (75 degrees), but are still competively priced and reasonably small and light. The APO Sironar-W series was discontinued a couple years ago, but are still available on the used market. They are bigger, heavier and more expensive than the other two lines, but they have a generous 80 degree coverage (the 150 APO Sironar-W and 210mm APO Sironar-W make good semi-wide angle lenses for 5x7 and 8x10 landsape shooting, for example). Given the coverage, they are not outrageously large, heavy or expensive for modern, multicoated lenses capable of covering 80 degrees.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, May 17, 2002.

I have a few Rodenstock lenses bought 20 and 16 years ago. Three Grandagons (75mm,90mm and 115) , two Sironars (135 mm and 360 mm) I find those still a state of the art lenses. My Grandagons still compair favorably to my 47 XL Super Angulon and 150 XL Super Symar. There are however to superb Rodenstock lenses whos image quality stands out whenever enlarged; the 210 mm Apo Sironar W and a newly bougth 135 mm Apo Sironar S. Those are great semi wide angle lenses with a big image circle and suberb contrast and resolution. It is regrettable that the Apo Sironar Wide series found so few buyers that it had to be discontinued.

-- Gudmundur Ingˇlfsson (, May 17, 2002.

"It is regrettable that the Apo Sironar Wide series found so few buyers that it had to be discontinued. "

Actually they were discontinued because of the performance, smaller size and lower weight and cost of the S series

-- Bob Salomon (, May 17, 2002.

Whatever the reason, it's too bad the APO Sironar-W series is no longer made. As wonderful as the APO Sironar-S series is (my 150mm APO Sironar-S is one of my all-time favorite 4x5 lenses), sometimes you REALLY need that extra 5 degrees of coverage. On 5x7, you get twice as much rise and shift with the 150mm APO Sironar-W vs. the 150mm APO Sironar-S. Likewise on 8x10, the 210mm APO Sironar-N gives you almost no movements (3mm rise, 2mm shift) while the 210mm APO Sironar-W gives you about an inch in either direction (29mm rise, 24mm shift). Probably not enough for architecture, but sufficient for many landscape situations.

The only other modern, multicoated 80 degree semi-wide lenses were the Super Symmar HM series. They were also fantastic lenses that have been discontinued after the introduction of the Super Symmar XL series. One advantage the APO Sironar-W series had was they were considerably lighter than the Super Symmar HM lenses in comparable focal lengths. The 150mm APO Sironar-W is about 1/2 the weight of the 150mm Super Symmar HM (380g vs. 740g). In the 210 focal lengths, the APO Sironar-W is also significantly lighter than the Super Symmar HM (950g vs. 1510g). While weight may not be a signifcant factor for all users, as a field photographer who hikes and backpacks, I'm really fond of lenses that combine great performance, good coverage, and reasonable size and weight. It's too bad Rodenstock never offered an APO Sironar-W in a shorter focal length - say something in the 110 - 120mm range. Although the coverage would not be as generous as the 110mm Super Symmar XL, it would have been adaquate for 4x5 field use, and considerably smaller, lighter and cheaper than the 110 SS XL (mind you, I think the 110 SS XL is a GREAT lens, but I'd be willing to sacrifice a little coverage for a smaller, lighter, less expensive lens of comparable quality).

Well, enough dreaming. I am fortunate to own lenses from all the Rodenstock series (APO Sironar-N, -S and -W). They each have a special place in my kit and I appreciate them each for their own unique qualities.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, May 18, 2002.

Oops, typo in my previous post. Should have been:

Likewise on 8x10, the 210mm APO Sironar-S gives you almost no movements (3mm rise, 2mm shift)...

-- Kerry Thalmann (, May 18, 2002.

thanks for all the feedback, folks. Very informative.


-- Larry Mendenhall (, May 20, 2002.

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