Which 120mm for 4x5

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VincentM

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Hello,

I am looking into my first lens to mount on my Arca Swiss. I will shoot architecture mostly in B&W.

I see three lenses in this format that would suit my need for movement and my wallet.
The Schneider SA 120, Rodenstock Grandagon-N 120 and the Nikkor-SW 120.

I know that the SS110XL is THE lens but not right now for me, it's too pricey!

Out of the 3 stated above, which one would be the sharpest? and the most suitable?

Thanks
 

2F/2F

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Don't forget the Schneider Super Angulon 121mm f/8. They are cheap, and IME excellent. They are also an excellent choice for an ultra wide on split 8x10 (panoramic), and are very wide on 5x7.
 

2F/2F

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It's not even close to old in the grand scheme of things, and it performs excellently. I didn't know that you needed a newer lens, and you did mention wallet, which made me want to suggest cheaper, but similar options. If you want to get right down to it, shooting 4x5, or film in general is "quite old" in any application in which the latest and greatest whiz-bang gizmos would make any difference whatsoever. You shouldn't discount things just because they are "old". It makes no sense, especially in analog photography in this day and age.
 
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Steve Smith

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I have nothing of value to add to this thread other than a question: I have seen Angulons (Super and normal) of 120mm and 121mm. Are there any differences other than a 1mm difference in focal length?


Steve.
 

noumin

You can't go wrong with any of the three lenses you mentioned (plus the 121 SA as well). Lens coverage may be a point when you're into architecture, filter size - if you will, but apart from that, they're all sharp. Maybe take the one with the nicest smile when you look at it ...
 

2F/2F

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Am I correct in assuming that 120/121s were designed with 5x7 in and 13x18 cm format as the primarily-intended film format?

I love them on 4x5, personally...a bit wide for 5x7, for most of what I shoot myself (though gives some wiggle room and room for edge damage, I suppose), but it seems rather similar to a 90 on 4x5, so I though that might be its intended role.
 
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df cardwell

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Of the 4 (Nikkor, Rodenstock, Schneider, FUJI), they are all the SAME.

By that, I mean that by the time you have a print on the wall, whatever micro differences there are between individual lenses would have been absorbed by the film, processing, etc.

Each will cover 8x10 straight on, each has equal performance. Not a one has any flaw that will keep you from performing the most demanding professional photography for the toughest client on the planet.

As for 'sharpest', it is all up to you !

After using these amazing optics commercially, when I moved on to other things I was content to replace them with an uncoated Angulon, which is more than good enough to just make 'art'.
 
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VincentM

VincentM

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Ok thanks all for your reply :smile: You actually confirm what I thought they are all top lenses (the not-so-old 121 included :wink: So in that prospect, I will follow your advice Noumin and get one that will give me the big smile: it will be the Nikkor.
 

pgomena

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You might want to consider a wider lens, such as a 90mm. I find my 120 super angulon pretty useless for architecture on a 4x5. It is about the equivalent of a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. Not wide enough for many large buildings or spaces. It's a good lens, don't get me wrong, but the focal length on 4x5 is a bit tight for architecture. I'd invest in a 90mm with a minimum aperture greater than f/8.

Peter Gomena
 
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Schneider Super Angulon 121mm f/8. I would recommend. I actually use it on my 8 x 10 super level with no movements and get great results. Like a 13mm lens with out the fish eye. The 121mm is a great lens.
Pat
 

edtbjon

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I have nothing of value to add to this thread other than a question: I have seen Angulons (Super and normal) of 120mm and 121mm. Are there any differences other than a 1mm difference in focal length?


Steve.

About the Super Angulons (120 and 121) there isn't much difference except that the 120 is a redesign and the 120's are multicoated. (The 121 isn't multicoated, but that shouldn't make much difference when shooting b/w which is the intention of the OP.) Both of these lenses cover about 288mm at working apertures, i.e. not really 8x10, but close enough. (Strange though, the IC of the SS-XL 110mm is also 288mm!)
The Angulon (without the "Super" prefix) is a totally different story. While it illuminates an 8x10 it looses too much sharpness in the corners. At working apertures (f/16-f/32) it is more or less only sharp in the corners of 5x7 (with an image circle of 211mm according to the Schneider website), i.e. without much room for movements. It's very compact though.
When shopping for a used lens, as always try to make some test shots to check both the shutter and the general performance of the lens.

//Björn
 

Doug Webb

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I'm not sure what you mean by architecture, if you mean what full time professional architectural photographers mean by shooting architecture, especially interior architecture shots, then a 120mm lens might be a lens that you wouldn't use as often as a 90mm or even wider. I do a lot of what could be called architectural shots in that there is a building, usually a barn, old house, or something similar included in what some people would think of as more of a landscape shot. From a moderate distance on 4x5 this is one of my most used lenses for this type of shot, and yes, it is near a 35mm film equivalent of a 35mm lens. I do not use a super angulon, which seems to be a little bit of overkill on 4x5 compared to my angulon. Newer angulons are single coated, have so much coverage, around 211mm image circle, that you would have a very hard time running out of coverage on 4x5, but are really tight on coverage and very wide on 5x7and useless for most purposes on 8x10. The 120 angulons are smaller, cheaper, lighter, and will produce a sharp image within limts, meaning no mural sized prints, and meaning that you will be stopping down to f32 on almost every shot, especially when using extensive movements. If you haven't actually seen a 120 super angulon or comparable lens, you may be a little surprised at how big and heavy they are. If you want ultimate quality and 5x7 coverage, they may be the only way to go. I have what I would call an architechtural infrared shot in the gallery section. If you can borrow a 120 angulon you will be able to tell relatively quickly if it meets your needs, if you buy one you probably won't have trouble selling it unless it is in bad shape. They are not as easy to find as the 90mm angulon, so you may have to look a little while.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
 
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