How Do You Like Your G-Clarons? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I was thinking of purchasing a G-Claron because they seem to have wide coverage, and aren't too big or heavy, and I was wondering how their owners feel about them.

-- Jonathan Smith (, May 31, 2002


I have a 305 G-Claron for 8x10 use (have also used as portrait for 4x5). Super sharp, great coverage, not too big (F9 is the compromise, good edge to edge performance. Nothing negative to say.

Alan Barton

-- Alan Barton (, May 31, 2002.

Get as many of them as you can!!!!!!! I currently have the 240mm and 305mm G-Clarons and I used to have the 270mm lens. They have a lot of coverage and are extremely sharp and contrasty. In fact they are my favorite and most used lenses.

-- Jeffrey Scott (, May 31, 2002.

I have a 210 that I use on my 8x10. Covers with no problem, just don't go crazy with movements. It is very sharp and very compact and light. A copal 0.

-- joe freeman (, May 31, 2002.

They are great! I use the 305 on my 8x10 and my 7x17, and the 355 is my favorite lens on the 7x17. I also use the 355 on my 14x17 - it covers fine! For 14x17, it is equivalent to about a 30 on 35mm. Dick Arentz and others use the 355mm on their 12x20's . The coverage and sharpness of these bad boys are awesome. They are some of my most used lenses. Stop them down and the coverage just gets huge.


-- clay harmon (, May 31, 2002.

G-Clarons have two great advantages - they're very small and light- weight for their respective focal lengths, and they offer extremely large coverage when stopped down to f/45. For example, the 270 will just cover 11x14 or 7x17, while the 355 is usable on 12x20.

Based on my experience of owning and working with the 270 and 355 G- Clarons as well as other lens types in many focal lengths, however, my view is that they don't have the refinement of the best modern plasmat designs - say, the Apo-Symmars and Apo-Sironar-N and -S series - in sharpness, tonality or overall image character. This is not to dump on the G-Clarons - they do very well at their intended use as process lenses. If anything, the surprise is that they do perform decently in general pictorial use.

So it depends what's important to you. They're certainly usable; whether the image quality tradeoff matters to you depends on whether a) you see and care about subtleties of image character, b) you have special requirements for compactness or extreme coverage that can't be met by the big plasmats, or c) you need a specific focal length that's hard to get any other way (e.g., 270 for 8x10, anything for 7x17/11x14 or larger).

Good luck...

-- Oren Grad (, May 31, 2002.

I have a 150mm,that I use for 4x5 and 5x7 with great results.I especially appreciate the smallsize and weight.

-- asher galloway (, May 31, 2002.


The previous poster has it right. The G Clarons are fine lenses, but the reality of the situation is that when you take the 20x magnifier to them and throw them on the light box, there can be no questions that they are a step below modern coated offerings. If size and cost are important to you, try the Nikon 200 or 300mm M series or the Fuji 450 C. If I were looking for the one lens that performed consistently with the 4x5 format, it opt for the Nikon 135mm W. Small, inexpensive and as sharp as I have ever seen in large format. Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (, May 31, 2002.

Oren: I think you have it just right, all the way. The Clarons can not possibly offer the wide dynamic range (tonality) of the modern plastmats with MTFs that look as the Claron's do.

-- Julio Fernandez (, May 31, 2002.

In selecting a set of 3 lenses for trekking, I prefer compactness and a common inexpensive relatively small diameter filter size. The Claron suits me fine.

-- Adrian (, June 01, 2002.

I have the G-Claron 150 mm and it is a gift from heaven! Yes, small,sharp and contrasty and incredibly so... To those who posted doubts about their quality - you cannot compare apples and oranges. G -Clarons are optimised for close working distance 5:1 - 1:5! George

-- george jiri loun (, June 01, 2002.

My 355 G-Claron is noticeably sharper close up than for distances, and definitely suffers more from flare than my Sironar. That said, the f/9 focusing hasn't been a problem until I get close to 1:1, and the near distance sharpness is very, very good.

-- John O'Connell (, June 01, 2002.

I use a 210 F9 G-claron for enlarging 6x17 format. Who needs a light jet printer with a lens like it. I love it. Lots of coverage.

-- Phil Brammer (, June 01, 2002.

Seems no matter what you do in large format there are compromises. Who can afford to own every latest APO XL? Some of you, yes, but not me. I own every Schnieder G-Claron size produced and they continue to be my favorite lenses. They have allowed me to do so much for so little $ that I consider them the best bargains in LF. If I sold them all I couldn't afford the 110XL I'd love to have. Too bad Schneider didn't see a need for a 120 G-Claron although admittedly f9 might be difficult by then. And I have strained my eyes on a light table, and even cut 35mm size areas out of large negs to enlarge 22 times, and they still hang with the best. I wouldn't trade any 6 element lens for a Nikkor M which is a 4 element. All that said, I'll admit my Fuji 240 f9A has bumped the 240 G-Claron. But only by a very TINY margin, and at 3.3 times the price. I keep the 240 G-Claron anyways because if I'm shooting old buildings it has the 380mm circle at f22 1/2.

-- Jim Galli (, June 01, 2002.

I read on the web that for distance shooting the G-Claron has to be shot at f22 or smaller aperture or the resolution is less than optimum. The accompanying slower shutter speeds might be bothersome as well. Rodenstock's and Symmar's top of the line 5.6 lenses ensure optimum resolution at f11- f16. In certain lighting situations, the choice of lens might make a dfference as to whether you have to compensate for reciprocity loss. I am not an expert on this, not even a connisseur (Did I spell that right?). I would appreciate it if Bob Salomon would comment. ....................................

-- Nora Hernandez (, June 01, 2002.

Hi, I have a 240G-Claron in barrel, I think it's a process lens and I've not used it yet since I haven't any shutter. Answering a previous post, many users said it could directly fit in a copal 1 shutter. Obviously, front and rear parts seem to have the right threads to be screwed in the shutter, my concern is: Is it working according to the opticals rules? since space between front and rear lens would increase.Anybody has an answer to that theorical question? Thank you

-- Daniel luu van lang (, June 02, 2002.

I own the 150 and 210 G Clarons. The 150 is used for 4x5 black and white enlargements up to 11x14, the 210 is used for 8x10 contact prints. I've been very pleased with them regarless of the distance from lens to subject. I don't do any color, no slide film, so I don't know how they would perform in those media. I've never examined my negatives on a light table with a 20x loupe but just evaluating all of my lenses on the bais of the end result (a black and white print) the G Clarons are outstanding. I also own a Schneider 210 Apo Symmar that I use for 4x5 enlargements and with enlargements up to 11x14 you can't tell from looking at the prints which ones were made with the 150 G Claron and which were made with the Apo Symmar. I use the 210 G Claron only for contact prints with 8x10 and of course the contact prints are naturally going to look better than most enlargements so it's not fair to compare that lens with the Apo Symmar but FWIW the results with the 210 G Claron and contact prints are spectacular if the operator is functioning properly.

-- Brian Ellis (, June 02, 2002.

I use a 240 G-Claron on my ancient Elwood enlarger to blow up 2 1/4 x 7 1/2" negatives. (Quiz: guess how they got to be that size!) When I bought it new to go with the ancient enlarger I was given for free, the photographer (Jack Carnell) who gave me the enlarger advised that I get a lens with a shutter in case I ever wanted to use it on a camera, or sell it. At the time I did not own an LF camera (hint for previous quiz question).

Now the proud owner of an Arca-Swiss FC69, I am so grateful for that advice especially now that I am reading this thread! I didn't think the lens was appropriate for my infinity subjects, old buildings, but I see that someone is using it for just that purpose. I'm gonna order a lens board for it right now, Jeff at Badger!

Nora, f/22 doesn't cause me any reciprocity problems shooting buildings even in the low light of dawn and dusk. I shoot ISO 160 color neg film and never had to go longer than 2 seconds and never added any compensation and if there were color shifts, they weren't too strange so I accepted them.


-- Sandy Sorlien (, June 02, 2002.

If anybody wants to get rid of their nasty old G-Clarons, they can send them to me! cHEERS!

-- John Kasaian (, June 03, 2002.

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