New Large Format Lenses

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E76

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Large format photography seems to be in an interesting spot these days: brand new cameras are still being made, by both legacy companies and newcomers to the market. You can even still buy brand new film holders and a host of other accessories.

But it seems all of the large format lens manufacturers have completely ceased production for 4x5 and 8x10 objectives, and the shutters have stopped being made. Is there anyone out there still making these lenses? Perhaps only on a special order basis?
 

_T_

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Rodenstock is still making large format lenses. Some of them come with shutters. I don’t know who makes the shutters
 

ic-racer

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New Schneider and Rodenstock lenses are available. The Copal 3 shutters are probably new old stock.
Screen Shot 2023-11-26 at 10.29.55 AM.png
Screen Shot 2023-11-26 at 10.28.57 AM.png
 

ic-racer

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The shutters don't need CLA and the glass should be free from fungus.
 

David Lindquist

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In 2018 Rodenstock did a production run of the Apo-Sironar-S in focal lengths of 150, 210, 240, 300, and 360 mm. Lenses are marked "Apo-Sironar-S " and are further identified with the label "Edition". It is my understanding that 25 of each focal length were produced. The 150 mm was in a No. 0 Copal, the 210 mm in a No. 1 Copal and the 240, 300, and 360 mm lenses were mounted in the No. 3 Copal.

The 150 mm lens apparently is sold out. Linhof & Studio shows the 210, 240, 300 and 360 mm lenses available. Badger Graphic and Cristoph Greiner show only the 240, 300 and 360 mm.

Linhof's current analogue lens price list dated March 2023 shows the four Apo-Sironar-S "Edition" lenses in focal lengths 210-360 mm.

As far as I know these were the last analog large format lenses made.

David
 

DREW WILEY

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There is such an abundance of large format lenses already out there at far more reasonable pricing that there's little incentive to make still more. Another issue is that the necessary shutters are no longer being made either; but those too can be cannibalized from existing lenses if necessary.

Sometimes Chinese clones of certain LF lenses continue to be made on a limited basis, using cannibalized shutters. Cooke has done special runs of their specialty lenses from time to time. The Schneider ULF "Fine Art"XXL series is itself a a special run series - only a few made at a time, and after that ...??? I wonder what AAA would charge to insure one of those, since it's darn near as heavy and expensive as a car anyway.

No problem. There are still lots and lots of really superb graphics barrel lenses out there suitable for LF work, which are generally better optically than regular LF lenses. You do need to combine them with some kind of shutter.
 

DREW WILEY

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Maybe that Schneider 770 XXL is a Mercedes headlight, and that's why it costs so much.

Of course, who knows how long these have sat on some shelf, waiting for someone to order another one. The shorter 550 Fine Art lens was in fact of dagor construction, so probably subcontracted to Kern in very limited quantities. Custom lenses could still be made in any number of optical facilities for the right up-front price.
 
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MattKing

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DREW WILEY

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Rodents need to be properly dressed for the winter cold too.
 

David Lindquist

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In 2018 Rodenstock did a production run of the Apo-Sironar-S in focal lengths of 150, 210, 240, 300, and 360 mm. Lenses are marked "Apo-Sironar-S " and are further identified with the label "Edition". It is my understanding that 25 of each focal length were produced. The 150 mm was in a No. 0 Copal, the 210 mm in a No. 1 Copal and the 240, 300, and 360 mm lenses were mounted in the No. 3 Copal.

The 150 mm lens apparently is sold out. Linhof & Studio shows the 210, 240, 300 and 360 mm lenses available. Badger Graphic and Cristoph Greiner show only the 240, 300 and 360 mm.

Linhof's current analogue lens price list dated March 2023 shows the four Apo-Sironar-S "Edition" lenses in focal lengths 210-360 mm.

As far as I know these were the last analog large format lenses made.

David
That last statement of mine may be wrong. Drew's post reminded me of Cooke. Cooke's production of the Series XVa and the PS945 may have been ongoing after Rodenstock's one time production of the "Edition" series.

A search of Cooke's website doesn't turn up anything on the XVa and the PS945 so I'm thinking these are no longer made either. Robert White shows them "Out of stock." Cooke of course would have had the same problem of a diminishing supply of shutters.

David
 

DREW WILEY

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Cooke announced production runs, but pre-orders with deposits were required first. And the runs were small. The greater question is, despite those lenses having a very good reputation, they were niche products, and at a certain point, there was likely diminishing demand. Most of those wanting one had one already, or else just couldn't afford it anyway.

That's the whole catch - coveted lenses tend to be well treated, and last a long time, multi-generational, in fact. You can get almost anything you want on the used market, provided you're willing to pay. Some of the asking prices for "cult lenses" is ridiculous at the moment, while equally good lenses without the same inflated reputation seem to be outright bargains. So overall, unless you seek something really special or odd, there's are plenty of viable options out there in all the popular focal lengths. And for those seeking some "artsy look", just about anything can be mounted on LF lensboards. Some people cobble their own funky lenses together.
 

jimgalli

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If there was a business model where someone could make a reasonable profit making large format lenses, they would. Supply and demand. Economics 101. I've been playing with this stuff for 30 years now and I've never once dreamed of owning a "new" lens, even when they were available. Pointless.
 

MarkS

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All the LF lenses out there were made for a large and demanding professional market, which long ago left large format film behind. So there's no market for new LF lenses, at least not enough for any manufacturer to make a profit.
It doesn't matter, because there are so many top-quality lenses on the used market. Take care of them, keep the shutters properly maintained, and you're good for the foreseeable future.
Rather than lenses, I wish that there were more different b&w photo papers available- but that's a different question entirely.
 

Axelwik

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There are so many really great lenses on the used market that it would be kind of dumb to pay for a new one. But I guess some people have more money than sense.

Not many are made because there's almost zero demand.
 

Rayt

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There are certainly many used lenses for 4x5 available may it be a 90mm, 150mm, 240mm or 300mm from any manufacturer. Wide angles with large image circles especially for 8x10 and up also lenses for ULF will take some time to find.
 

Mark J

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But $19,000 for a four-element (dialyte) lens is obscene. We could sell you the Head Up Display optics for the Airbus A380 for that - that's 10kg of high-index glass & metal with nine elements and three aspheres. it would take pretty funky pictures though, the lenses are all wedged and decentred.....
 
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