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How is Actar 120 compared to Schneider Apo Digitar 120 N / M / ASPH ?

Hemmi

Member
Hello, has anyone tried Actar 120mm yet ? How is it compared to Schneider Apo Digitar 120 M, N and ASPH ?

I'm looking for something good for 1:1 to 1:10 range.

In this thread from another forum they say Apo 120 M & N don't preform well out of their specific ranges (3:1-1:3 and 1:3-Infinity).
And Cambo says Actar 120 is ok for 1:1 to 1:10 range which is what I need. But I could not find any test or review of Actar 120...

They also say Apo Digitar 120 Aspherical is the best and works well for 1:1 to Infinity. Do you think it's better than Actar 120 ?

Thanks !
 

f8orbust

Active member
The 120 Asph is a stellar performer (I believe it's still in production for use in cultural heritage applications, which shows you just how good it is). But to be fair, the M and N are no slouches either.

A Cambo dealer might be able to help you out in terms of the performance of the Actar 120, or maybe Cambo has some lens data they could send you (e.g. MTF, transmission etc) which would allow you to compare the lenses 'on paper' at least.
 

TimoK

Active member
I guess 120mm Actar is an evolution modell of Apo digitar 120N, because Cambo tells it's a six element construction. https://www.cambo.com/en/actus-series/actus-b-mini-view-camera/actar-120/ Those Apo Digitars were developed from older Componon enlarging/reproduction lenses. The Apo digitar 120 M is an eight element construction, developed from the older Makro-Symmars. ( like 80mm Apo Digitar M too).
When I bought my 120 M as new, Schneider recommended using it at 1:4 to 4:1 magnifications. I think it's very good if not excellent in 1:4 to 1:1 range and useful to 1:8 or 1:10. But I did not recommend it to over life size work. Naturally it's useful at single needs, but not the best choice.
If You look at the great Schneider data source given us by Dave Chew: https://www.davechewphotography.com/skdata/ You'll see that 120mm ASPH is optimized from 1:10 (or 1:5 ) to infinity, it's loosing it's resolving power when nearer. And, if You look at the prices, 120mm Actar is moderately priced what 120mm ASPH never was.
One thing I want to say: You can not call two lenses, let's say two six element symmetrical lenses the same, even if the drawings of those look very same. There is so much a lens designer can do with 1:1000 mm or less difference in one element's shape or same amount in the distance between two elements.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
I guess 120mm Actar is an evolution modell of Apo digitar 120N, because Cambo tells it's a six element construction. https://www.cambo.com/en/actus-series/actus-b-mini-view-camera/actar-120/ Those Apo Digitars were developed from older Componon enlarging/reproduction lenses. The Apo digitar 120 M is an eight element construction, developed from the older Makro-Symmars. ( like 80mm Apo Digitar M too).
When I bought my 120 M as new, Schneider recommended using it at 1:4 to 4:1 magnifications. I think it's very good if not excellent in 1:4 to 1:1 range and useful to 1:8 or 1:10. But I did not recommend it to over life size work. Naturally it's useful at single needs, but not the best choice.
If You look at the great Schneider data source given us by Dave Chew: https://www.davechewphotography.com/skdata/ You'll see that 120mm ASPH is optimized from 1:10 (or 1:5 ) to infinity, it's loosing it's resolving power when nearer. And, if You look at the prices, 120mm Actar is moderately priced what 120mm ASPH never was.
One thing I want to say: You can not call two lenses, let's say two six element symmetrical lenses the same, even if the drawings of those look very same. There is so much a lens designer can do with 1:1000 mm or less difference in one element's shape or same amount in the distance between two elements.
One tiny friendly amendment on the Apo-Digitar 120mm f/5.6 N: there was never a Componon or Componon-S 120mm enlarging lens. However, there is an Apo-Componon HM 120mm f/5.6, and the lens parameters are identical to the Apo-Digitar 120 N. Does that make them the same lens? Only Schneider Kreuznach can say (although there's likely nobody around who remembers).
SK 120.jpg
 

Hemmi

Member
I guess 120mm Actar is an evolution modell of Apo digitar 120N
Just got an answer from a Cambo dealer. He said Actar 120 is not Schneider, it's "another well respected european lens manufacturer" and it's built on a Macro version.

He also insisted many times that Actar 90 is better than Actar 120 for my (1:1 - 1:10 range) purposes. This is strange because Cambo leaflet says it's 120 which performs well in 1:1-1:10 range.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member

Hemmi

Member
Interesting. Meanwhile over here we have a suggestion from someone who ought to know that the Actar 120 is a Schneider Apo-Digitar 120/5.6 N. https://www.getdpi.com/forum/index....cambo-actus-for-still-lifes.70693/post-842034 I wonder if this person confused the N and M versions?
Yes, interesting. I told him that people on this forum think it's Schneider Apo Digitar 120 N and he said no, it's not and it's based on M version of "another manufacturer". He insisted that it's better for macros even if they say it's for 1:1-1:10 range. Probably because he thinks (or knows) it's a macro version, he suggests me to get the Actar 90 instead which is good across whole 1:1-1:10 range (even if Cambo does not specify it in the leaflet). He seemed like he knows it exactly but cannot say it directly for some reason.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
Yes, interesting. I told him that people on this forum think it's Schneider Apo Digitar 120 N and he said no, it's not and it's based on M version of "another manufacturer". He insisted that it's better for macros even if they say it's for 1:1-1:10 range. Probably because he thinks (or knows) it's a macro version, he suggests me to get the Actar 90 instead which is good across whole 1:1-1:10 range (even if Cambo does not specify it in the leaflet). He seemed like he knows it exactly but cannot say it directly for some reason.
One hopes the Cambo rep would know; it is their product. I have an Apo-Componon HM 90/4.5 coming soon. There are many versions of that lens, each purpose-built for slightly different use cases. The Apo-Digitar 90 is based on that family, and I think I know what the source design is, but it's hard to be sure. I asked a Schneider US rep for information on one of the ones I was interested in, and they had no record of it. I expect a lot of material was simply lost due to retirements and the reorganization they went through. They also made lots of special runs and versions for different markets and clients.

Anyway, I've been quite happy with my Schneider lenses so whatever you choose will be fine (assuming it's fit for your purpose).
 

stngoldberg

Well-known member
On another subject regarding digital tele lenses, I just received a rodenstock 180mm f5.6 which I bought from a member here
The acuity of the lens is remarkable...it is just as sharp as my Schneider 120mm...maybe sharper.
The lens exhibits excellent contrast
I am astonished how good this lens is because no one here talks about it. I have some images in mind where I need more focal length, so I took a chance buying this lens.
stanley
 

Steve Hendrix

Active member
On another subject regarding digital tele lenses, I just received a rodenstock 180mm f5.6 which I bought from a member here
The acuity of the lens is remarkable...it is just as sharp as my Schneider 120mm...maybe sharper.
The lens exhibits excellent contrast
I am astonished how good this lens is because no one here talks about it. I have some images in mind where I need more focal length, so I took a chance buying this lens.
stanley

In the past few years I have told anyone looking for a longer tech camera lens to strongly consider this lens. For years I pushed it aside due to the spec'd 80mm image circle, but when the IQ4 was launched I wondered if it was worth investigating more closely, and I was astounded. Shifting 20mm x 20mm, no significant vignette or color cast, and sharp all the way out. An excellent lens - almost a bargain these days, considering the pricing of the newer lens models. You do want to have it configured with the rear spacer to get the most out of it.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
On another subject regarding digital tele lenses, I just received a rodenstock 180mm f5.6 which I bought from a member here
The acuity of the lens is remarkable...it is just as sharp as my Schneider 120mm...maybe sharper.
The lens exhibits excellent contrast
I am astonished how good this lens is because no one here talks about it. I have some images in mind where I need more focal length, so I took a chance buying this lens.
stanley
If the lens you're referring to is the Digaron-S, here's an enthusiastic owner: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64895425
 

diggles

Well-known member
If you are curious about the 180 digaron-s, rent it from CI. I tried it out a few weeks ago and it was a treat!
 

vvince

Member
Just got an answer from a Cambo dealer. He said Actar 120 is not Schneider, it's "another well respected european lens manufacturer" and it's built on a Macro version.

He also insisted many times that Actar 90 is better than Actar 120 for my (1:1 - 1:10 range) purposes. This is strange because Cambo leaflet says it's 120 which performs well in 1:1-1:10 range.
I have contacted Cambo Europe a while ago asking them which Actar lens they would advice for table top photography, and they also pointed toward the 90mm, but I did not get it (yet?).
Did Cambo tell you by any chance how the lens perform at infinity? Is it also usable for archtecture/landscape or should its use be limited to 1:1-1:10?
 

Hemmi

Member
Did Cambo tell you by any chance how the lens perform at infinity? Is it also usable for archtecture/landscape or should its use be limited to 1:1-1:10?
No, actually even when I asked what are exactly the best ratios for Actar 90, why exactly 90 and not 120, they only answered "Actar 90 is better then 120 for your needs" (1:1-1:10).
 
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Steve Hendrix

Active member
Interesting. Meanwhile over here we have a suggestion from someone who ought to know that the Actar 120 is a Schneider Apo-Digitar 120/5.6 N. https://www.getdpi.com/forum/index....cambo-actus-for-still-lifes.70693/post-842034 I wonder if this person confused the N and M versions?
If this is referencing my post, I did not have them confused - I am aware that there are 120mm N and 120mm M versions. But I was not definitively stating that these Actar 60/80/90/120 lenses were Schneider Digitars. I was certainly implying it... only because the similarity of the focal length progressions, and the fact that the Actar 60/4 has a somewhat restricted image circle (compared to the 60/5.6 APO Digitar XL) which reminded me of the 60/4 APO Digitar N. And also that I photographed a test scene with the Actar 120 and a Schneider 120 APO Digitar N that we had at the time and I really had a hard time telling a difference, not just in performance but in the entire feel of the image. All that has led me to speculate the origin of these lenses could be Schneider Digitar. I could be wrong... but in the worst case, even if I am wrong, the performance is in that level of ballpark, which is ... pretty good!


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
If this is referencing my post, I did not have them confused - I am aware that there are 120mm N and 120mm M versions. But I was not definitively stating that these Actar 60/80/90/120 lenses were Schneider Digitars. I was certainly implying it... only because the similarity of the focal length progressions, and the fact that the Actar 60/4 has a somewhat restricted image circle (compared to the 60/5.6 APO Digitar XL) which reminded me of the 60/4 APO Digitar N. And also that I photographed a test scene with the Actar 120 and a Schneider 120 APO Digitar N that we had at the time and I really had a hard time telling a difference, not just in performance but in the entire feel of the image. All that has led me to speculate the origin of these lenses could be Schneider Digitar. I could be wrong... but in the worst case, even if I am wrong, the performance is in that level of ballpark, which is ... pretty good!


Steve Hendrix/CI
No Steve, it wasn't in reference to you. The OP mentioned that he spoke to someone from Cambo who said that the Actar 120 is a Macro lens. I did link to the post where you implied but did not say explicitly that the Actar 120 is in fact an Apo-Digitar 120 N. You were clear in that post. Personally I believe you are correct based on comparing the lens data (but I do not and cannot know for sure because I'm not making them).
 

Steve Hendrix

Active member
No Steve, it wasn't in reference to you. The OP mentioned that he spoke to someone from Cambo who said that the Actar 120 is a Macro lens. I did link to the post where you implied but did not say explicitly that the Actar 120 is in fact an Apo-Digitar 120 N. You were clear in that post. Personally I believe you are correct based on comparing the lens data (but I do not and cannot know for sure because I'm not making them).
Ahhhhh. Thanks for the clarity Rob.

The one thing I can say I do know - without any shadow of a doubt - is that the Actar 19 is based on the Nikon 19 TS lens.... ;)

https://www.captureintegration.com/cambo-expands-your-world-with-actar-19-lens/


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Alkibiades

Active member
One tiny friendly amendment on the Apo-Digitar 120mm f/5.6 N: there was never a Componon or Componon-S 120mm enlarging lens. However, there is an Apo-Componon HM 120mm f/5.6, and the lens parameters are identical to the Apo-Digitar 120 N. Does that make them the same lens? Only Schneider Kreuznach can say (although there's likely nobody around who remembers).
View attachment 183722
the first generation of the apo digitar n 5,6/120 mm was simply the Apo Symmar 5,6/120 mm, not the componon.
The apo symmar 5,6/120 mm was in the time of the introduction the lens with the best resolution power of all analoge large format lenses.
yes this apo symmar 72°.
 
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