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Experiences with Schneider Kreuznach 28mm F2.8 L-92° MC Lens?

stevev

Member
I am thinking about getting a SK 28 Digitar L (not Super Digitar XL) for my Cambo Actus, which according to the Cambo Lens compatibility table has no issues at all with my E and L camera mounts(!).

I plan only to tilt it (as required) and not to shift it more than maybe 5mm, if at all. Making one good wide image without needing to stitch is the goal.

Has anyone else used it on an Actus or similar with a digital camera/back?

How does it perform?

Thanks,
Steve.
 

Digitalcameraman

Active member
Steve,

Back over here in MF, I have experience with that lens from years ago with smaller medium format sensor 33x44 , to working with customers building several cameras for Architecture and Real estate. It worked great on the Cambo X2-Pro, it was the only wide solution in it's time. The edges are fairly sharp, not a huge images circle like we see with modern lenses such as the Rodenstock 32HR. It focused at infinity and allowed for tilt and rise/ fall with 35mm sensors as well as medium format sensors. I don't think you would have any problems with 10mm. Have you tried the Actus 24? I know that the Acatar 60mm may not be wide enough, but it is a very impressive piece of glass, and gives up 15mm of movement. Great for stitching landscapes where you want to use a longer throw than a wide scene lens.

Actar 24

Actar 60
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
The SK 28 Digitar L in Copal 0 shutter that you're looking at is the same optics as the SK PC Super Angulon 28/2.8 for various mounts, and the Leica PC Super Angulon R 28/2.8. Keeping in mind that the sensor makes a difference... but you might glean some insights from examples and reviews with those other versions.

I've been looking for a good 28mm lens that allows movements for my GFX 50R setup for a long time. I have not tried this lens myself, mostly because people I know who have the lens are not very excited about image quality. The MTF charts that SK published support these user evaluations, and have kept me away from the lens.

Here's the 5m section. The red dashed red line is added by me and shows the position of the 33mm x 44mm sensor. As you can see, there's not much room left for movements on a 33mm x 44mm sensor, and I'd be shifting into an area with rather bad image quality. I've worked with SK's MTF plots for a while now and compared what they show to the SK lenses that I do have and use. So far I haven't found a situation where the MTF chart said it was bad but the lens actually was good, or vice versa. Take that for what it's worth. ;)

SK 28 PC.jpg
 

stevev

Member
Chris,

Thanks for that. The Actar 24 is rumoured to be a rehoused Samyang TS, which, from what I’ve read is an ordinary performer. I have been looking for a sharpish TS lens around the 30mm mark for some time, and so the Actar 24 is also slightly wider than I want.

Rob,

Thanks for that chart. Prior to the MTF fall off, how do you assess sharpness? If I used the SK lens on a 35mm (BSI) sensor without shifting, do you think the SK would be any sharper than the Samyang 24, which I believe you had?

I wonder if there is somewhere I could find sample images shot with the SK28?

Thanks again,
Steve.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
Steve,

The image circle is rated at 60mm. The chart shows from the centre of the lens out, so 30mm is the radius. The diagonal of a full frame sensor is 43mm, so half of that is 21.5mm. And 21.5mm is 71.7% of 30mm. So to figure out where the unshifted part of the 35mm sensor is, you move my dashed red line to the 71.7% position on the X axis of the chart. Everything from the dashed red line back to 0% is the image circle that covers the full frame sensor.

Next if you look at the labels you see that the lines represent 10 lp/mm, 20 lp/mm and 30 lp/mm; that's what the "spatial frequency" label refers to. Those are fairly conservative numbers. For example, if you dig out the corresponding technical document for the Apo-Digitar 80mm f/4, you'll notice they're using 20 lp/mm, 40 lp/mm and 60 lp/mm. The way I read that is Schneider-Kreuznach is telling us (obliquely) this is a lens from the film days and don't get your hopes up too high on a high resolution digital sensor! The curves are also telling me that corner performance might be OK stopped down if you don't shift, but shifting will make you unhappy. Expect soft, glowy corners.

I am already pushing the boundaries of my knowledge here (not being any kind of optics expert). Hopefully others will chime in who have a deeper knowledge. While you're waiting, search for a PDF of "How to Read MTF Curves" by Dr. Nasse from Zeiss. It should come up right away if you look for the document code Article-MTF-2008-EN. It's heavy going, but he does walk you through how to read these charts.

Finally, I did a quick search on Flickr for pictures made with the Leica 28/2.8 PC and some came up. If you're happy with what you're seeing from the Leica copy, you should be fine with the Schneider-Kreuznach because SK made the lens for Leica. It is the same lens as the SK version for the Leica R mount, and the SK version in Copal 0 -- so pictures from any one of those will do.

If you do get a copy of this lens and you're blown away by how great it is (meaning I'm dead wrong!), please let us know. I'd love to be wrong -- seriously. I have the Sammy 24/3.5 and it's actually really good at f/11, which is where you'd likely use a shift lens like that anyway. However, I rarely use it because 24mm is too wide for me. The nice thing about the Sammy is it's not hard to remount. I did it for my Toyo, and another person I know did it for his Cambo Actus. It mounted very easily to a Mamiya 645 plate, with next to no modifications needed; I was really impressed by how easy it was.
 

stevev

Member
Thanks Rob. That was very helpful and I will read Dr Nasse's PDF and search Flickr and maybe PBase for examples. It is rare for me to find lenses that 'wow' me, so it is looking likely that I would be quite disappointed. I might move on.
 

Ben730

Member
I had this lens 15 or more years ago with a Cambo x2 Pro and a Nikon D100, later the D2x.
This lens is not a good performer. I can not recommend it.
Regards,
Ben
 

Makten

Well-known member
I have the same lens in C/Y mount and have used it on GFX 50R and S II. It's pretty sharp at f/11 but the main problem is cyan shift towards the borders, and quite a bit of lateral CA. On the 33x44 mm sensor you can shift it ~5-7 mm or so, but the corners will be crap even at f/16. Maybe OK if there's only sky there, though. Edit: Or on a 24x36 mm sensor.
However, for monochrome work I like it better than the native GF 30/3.5 since it draws a bit more "gentle". Resolution is high but acutance is lower, if that makes any sense.
 
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rdeloe

Well-known member
I have the same lens in C/Y mount and have used it on GFX 50R and S II. It's pretty sharp at f/11 but the main problem is cyan shift towards the borders, and quite a bit of lateral CA. On the 33x44 mm sensor you can shift it ~5-7 mm or so, but the corners will be crap even at f/16. Maybe OK if there's only sky there, though. Edit: Or on a 24x36 mm sensor.
However, for monochrome work I like it better than the native GF 30/3.5 since it draws a bit more "gentle". Resolution is high but acutance is lower, if that makes any sense.
I'm glad you found this thread Makten. You are one of the few people I know who has actual experience with the lens on GFX, and who continues to use it because it has some qualities you like.
 

asnapper

New member
I recently bought this lens, for just £199, so I thought why not I will give it a try. I use it with my Actus / Sony A7r3. Yes it may not be the sharpest lens I have, but its not a slouch when stopped down to f8 & f11. If you can find one at a cheap price then get it, as there are no other 28mm alternatives that I am aware of.
 

Makten

Well-known member
I recently bought this lens, for just £199, so I thought why not I will give it a try. I use it with my Actus / Sony A7r3. Yes it may not be the sharpest lens I have, but its not a slouch when stopped down to f8 & f11. If you can find one at a cheap price then get it, as there are no other 28mm alternatives that I am aware of.
That's cheap! I think I gave ~600 Euros for mine, but that's with shift mechanism (but no shutter).

There are a bunch of other old 28 mm shift lenses, such as Nikon, Pentax and Olympus. Don't know if they are any good though.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
That's cheap! I think I gave ~600 Euros for mine, but that's with shift mechanism (but no shutter).

There are a bunch of other old 28 mm shift lenses, such as Nikon, Pentax and Olympus. Don't know if they are any good though.
Alas I've tried the Nikkor-PC 28mm shift lens and it didn't pass muster. It's "OK" unshifted, but shifted produced results I couldn't live with. I haven't tried the Pentax. I have tried three versions of the OM 35 shift lens on other sensors. I really wanted that lens to work because it's so tiny and mechanically a jewell, but it's just not good enough. Olympus also made a 24mm shift lens, which is a huge piece of glass. The one copy I tried wasn't good enough, but that was a long time ago.
 
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stevev

Member
There is an example of the lens I have been inquiring about on eBay selling for nearly $4000 USD. There was another with a Copal Press shutter for about 1200 USD (which I assume I could not use on a Copal 0 Actus lens plate…?). This is the 4K one, below.


£199 or €600 both sound cheap by comparison. I wonder if these were the same model lens?
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
There is an example of the lens I have been inquiring about on eBay selling for nearly $4000 USD. There was another with a Copal Press shutter for about 1200 USD (which I assume I could not use on a Copal 0 Actus lens plate…?). This is the 4K one, below.


£199 or €600 both sound cheap by comparison. I wonder if these were the same model lens?
Well that's an optimistic seller! Even relative to what those have sold for (still way too high in my view for what you get), that's more than double.

I believe the other prices quoted are for the versions for SLRs.

Copal Press is just a different way of making a shutter. They came in Copal 0 and Copal 1 sizes.
 

Audii-Dudii

Active member
Copal Press is just a different way of making a shutter. They came in Copal 0 and Copal 1 sizes.
Copal Press shutter are also self-cocking, so they don't need to be cocked after each exposure.

If you ever want to "spray and pray" with a view camera, these are the shutters for you!

FYI, until recently, I had a working Leica R 28/f2.8 PC lens. I bought it way back when with the idea of adapting it for use with my C645 / P30+ combo (the widest C645 lens is 35 mm and that just wasn't wide enough for the architectural-related photography I enjoy), but never got around to it.

Alas, I was in the process of adapting it for use with my GFX 100S / FrankenKamera VIII when I dropped it and, unfortunately, that was that!

However, I did use it quite a bit over the years with my A7R and while it wasn't a bad performer, I was never wowed by it, either. (FYI, I measured the usable image circle of my sample at ~62 mm, which is a bit larger than Rob suggested and enough to support +/- 12 mm of movement with cameras having 24x36 sensors.)

Of course, I'm a big fan of classical Zeiss lenses and their style of rendering and this lens, although made by SK, renders more like the Leica lens it was badged as, which as many will know, is not very Zeiss-like at all,

Needless to say, I have no plans to replace my deceased lens and especially not at the prices they sell for today! However, I can well understand that someone who prefers a different rendering style than I do might live very happily ever after with it, so YMMV!
 

Alkibiades

Active member
SK PC 28 mm was a great lens that i used very offen with canon and nikon cameras. But after canon came with the second version of the 24 mm shift I chage the schneider with the canon 24 mm II. The canon is so much better that there is simply no reason for this much older lens design.
I liked the more natural perspective of a 28 mm lens over 24 mm, but even croped file of the 24 mm is much better in all terms as a file taken with the 28 SK.
I would really like a 28 shift lens with same image quality as the canon 24 mm II, but there is no other option on the market.
 
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stevev

Member
Thanks all. It seems that the consensus is fairly clear that the lens is an average performer. What piqued my interest is that it seems to be the widest MF or LF lens that I could mount on my Cambo Actus and use without restriction. Perfect for those times when you just want to take one shot (maybe tilted) and not have to stitch. It seemed to be a perfect solution.

Audii - sorry to hear about your dropped Leica 28. If I ever contemplate buying a LF lens on a Copal Press 0 shutter, could I mount it on my Actus using a Copal 0 lens plate, set and leave the shutter open, adjust aperture and then use the lens as I would if it were a Copal 0 shutter? In other words, does the Press shutter make it a non starter for use on an Actus with a mirrorless camera back?
 

Audii-Dudii

Active member
Audii - sorry to hear about your dropped Leica 28.
Thanks, but these things will happen occasionally if you tinker with cameras long enough... <shrug>

If I ever contemplate buying a LF lens on a Copal Press 0 shutter, could I mount it on my Actus using a Copal 0 lens plate, set and leave the shutter open, adjust aperture and then use the lens as I would if it were a Copal 0 shutter? In other words, does the Press shutter make it a non starter for use on an Actus with a mirrorless camera back?
IIRC, Copal Press shutters are dimensionally identical to the non-Press Copal shutters, so can be interchanged with no issues other than those having to do with sample-to-sample variation (i.e., if you do remount a lens into a different shutter -- any shutter -- you may need to shim or otherwise adjust it so it performs optimally.)

But Press shutters do not have a preview lever, so you will need to set the lens to Bulb mode and lock the shutter open using a cable release in order to compose / focus your photos. Not a huge deal, IMO, but potentially an annoyance for some photographers.
 
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