Why is new Schneider 90 f6.8 SA so big?

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Tom Stanworth

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Just wondering why this lens is so huge (655g, 10g lighter than the 90XL!!). I am simply curious, as Schneider must have a reason for it to be nearly double the weight of a 90 F8 nikkor and over 200g heavier than the 90 6.8 Grandagon, esp as it has a circle which is no bigger. 216mm vs about same for grandagon and 20mm smaller than Nikkor (albeit slower lens, but far smaller). Its even got an 82mm thread. All the size of the XL with none of the image circle. I am sure it is a fine lens, but with the XL being the biggie, I would have thought that they would have designed something to compete with the middle ground (with the 80XL occupying the very expensive and light category). Does anyone know whether its size solves an optical issue somewhere? Just curious....

Tom
 

paul owen

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Hi Tom. Good question! But I've no idea why its such a big lens! I have owned one for about 8 months and is a great performer ... but big! Having said that, and appreciating that Schneider are conservative with their specs I reckon its got more coverage than advertised!!! Let me explain ... I'm using it on a recently acquired 6x17 roll film back that produces images longer than most 6x17 cameras (178mm long as opposed to 168mm long). There is no need for a centre filter, even with transparency film and I have "tested" the film back/lens combination employing front rise and fall and guess what - no vignetting! Why is this happening? I was sure that I would need a centre filter - everyone who uses a 90mm on 6x17 (168mm long) seems to swear that they are essential - I can only assume that the lens has more coverage than specified? Please bear in mind that as yet I have not had any coffee and I'm also nursing a head cold so I may be talking absolute rubbish ... but could it be the case? Another point worth mentioning is that this lens "feels" better made than anything else I ever owned/seen! The front barrel is VERY impressive and the whole thing really shouts "quality". But still ... why so heavy?
 

Nick Zentena

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So how big is the coverage? I've basically ruled it out in favour of the Nikon F/8.
 
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Rumour control here! Taking one cat and some pigeons and hey presto.........

I had heard that it was essentially an XL with an internal restriction to limit coverage, possibly using elements that didn't quite meet Quality standards for the real thing......
 
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Tom Stanworth

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On paper coverage is 216mm according to Schneider. However, I wonder whether it shares some of its design with the 90XL which keeps manufacturing costs down (and could explain larger than staed coverage perhaps??). Certainly it looks more like the XL than previous normal S/A. I have heard that they sell very well, tho I am sure that the svelt appearance helps there too, esp for Ebony owners, with that nice silver barrel! If it does share bits with the XL, perhaps this lens is akin to certain car engines, where those of lesser capacity use the same block, but different bore....

I asked as it seems a bit of an anomoly for a slight gain in speed over the F8s and same speed 6.8s on the market (tho I suppose it has to be said that the Rodenstock Grandagons are small lenses generally in terms of front elements in particular.
 

paul owen

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The 90mm 6.8 does appear VERY similar in appearance (size-wise) to the 90XL and I wouldn't be surprised if it shared common components. As for the glass being "quality control failures" - I'd be surprised. I can't imagine Schneider going to all the fuss of new barrels etc just to chuck in second-rate glass! They would have been better off simply deleting either the 90 f8 or 5.6 and not replacing them? Yesterday I had some transparencies back from the lab - 6x17. I for one am VERY happy with the quality! If this is second rate glass then the premium stuff must be awesome!
 
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