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Rodenstock 28mm vs Schneider Kreuznach 28mm

ASTeamwork

Well-known member
I’m wondering whether there are any of you well-resourced and knowledgable people out there who might have some personal insight on these two lenses? I have a customer wondering about the 28mm Rodenstock and we (Teamwork) no longer have either here to test. I have used the SK 28mm but not the Rodenstock.

Unlikely someone has both (though wouldn’t be surprised with this forum!) but it would be nice to collate some feedback (and maybe some images) from both if people had some to share.

Thanks and appreciation in advance.

Al
 

Alkibiades

Active member
What exactly do you want to know about the Digaron-S HR 28 mm and in what combination this lens would be used- with which back?
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Al

The 28 SK is a true gem and is increasingly sought after because with the latest backs it works great again. It is very rare for historic reasons as SK went out of the digital photo business shortly after launching it. Also, because this lens had issues in 2012 with the then-released 80 MPX CCD backs, this lens was soon ostracised of sorts so basically there's not many of them compared to other lenses. Only of the 120 ASPH there are less, I understand.

The lens is an optical masterpiece and sharp to the edges on my IQ4 150, meaning you can create really dramatic architectural photography with it, one notch above in perspective drama compared to the 32 HR with the added benefit of not needing to correct it in terms of distortion.

In sum: It is truly breathtaking optically. Don't forget, It is the only sub 32mm lens with an IC of 90mm which means it can shift on a FF sensor. The 23 HR has no shift room whatsoever. I don't have a calculator at hand, but I'd assume a 15mm left / right stitch in portrait orientation would be significantly more dramatic than a 23 HR - with great sharpness to boot unshifted and excellent sharpness still when shifted.

It is also rather heavy with many lens elements, so clearly a special flagship / "tour de force" kind of product for SK as well.

There is an ultra rare version - the Alpa Helvetar 28 SK. It came with a special filter ring going to 95mm which allows you to use special effects filters or B&W and infra filters. This special filter ring was made for Alpa by SK, so there's not many of these around. Imagine an achromatic with this lens and a red filter ...

So it goes like this:

1) SK 28 XL rare
2) SK 28 XL Cambo anniversary addition very rare with a silver ring
3) Apo Helvetar 28 XL with custom made SK filter ring very, very rare
2/3 with CF - unobtainium!

I think this is one of these lenses which will be worth a lot more in years to come as Rodenstock planned a sub 32mm >70mm IC lens, but this one won't be produced now due to other priorities. So there's effectively no lens like it in the sense that you can create a shifted look of a building with it that you can't otherwise while still using the full res of the sensor.

I might put up a review at one point, more for historic reasons as it is exceedingly difficult to find one and I searched for a long time.

They cost sub 5k at one point, but are quickly moving up directionally 10k courtesy of rarity and the upcoming Hassy 100 MPX back for which it should be the perfect archi lens jointly with the 43 XL since you do not need to correct for distortion. There was this portrait in medium format mag of that excellent archi shooter and he used the 43 XL and 28 XL on an Arca R camera.

Truly great and there's a reason the 28 XL and 43 XL are dream lenses for architecture with the newest backs - there's just something about not needing to correct for distortion on a non-XT body ... if your business is photographing buildings! Compared to the 35 XL, the 28 and 43 are last gen SK, meaning one notch above even in sharpness with huge ICs, respectively and sharpness to the edge. The 43 XL has an IC of 120! Go figure.

The Rodie 28 has a small IC, I think, so the whole special thing of the SK28, namely that you can shift it quite a bit to create dramatic shots, is not available. I would also assume that although sharp at the center, you need to correct the distortion and that on a full frame you might see quality loss at the edges. I never owned one, so can only assume this based on what I've read about it and based on its specs - it is a Digaron-S, so initially designed for the first-gen of smaller size DMF sensors...
 
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Alkibiades

Active member
Of course. With IQ4 150MP, landscape scenario.
if you already have SK 28 XL you have the best lens for this combo. I hope you have the XL not the old SK 28 mm, they are total different lenses.
Paul wrote the most important issues, I used Roddy 28 mm on a big sensor, it allows 7 mm movement ( rise up-down, to the side less)
For smaller sensors or for sensors without BSI the roddi is still the best option, as schneider needs the BSI sensor or older sensors without microlenses.
Roddy deliver best sharpness, but has a little decrease in the sharpness in the extreme edges, 23 hr and 35 hr is there better.
As a retrofocus lensdesign the lens has some distorsion that cen be corrected very easy.
For your sensor I would take SK28XL or 32 HR.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Wow, what an amazing find! Do you have more of these, including of the 43 and 120 ASPH?

The 28 XL is truly staggering with its 80 line pairs across 90mm IC. I mean it has the same IC as the 32 HR, but between 28mm and 32mm lie worlds ...

Nothing draws like it for architecture in MFD land.
 
Wow, what an amazing find! Do you have more of these, including of the 43 and 120 ASPH?
Yes, I was happy to find it after some determined searching.

Here is the press release, dated 15 December 2009, for the 43XL. This press release had no PDF download, so I copied the online text into a Word doc and saved it as a PDF.

I was unable to find any announcement for the 120 ASPH. The announcement for the 28XL and 60XL was the last concerned with large format optics. Subsequent announcements were concerned with the restructuring of the Schneider group, changes in management, new efforts to increase productivity, and expansion into the cinema optics and industrial applications. Within that new corporate direction, the introduction of another large format lens didn't fit.
 

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I remember that there is a comparison test post of these two lenses in one forum, but I did not find the link.
Does anyone have the memory about it?
 

ASTeamwork

Well-known member
This is incredibly useful information. I should have been clearer in my OP, I am wondering about comparison to the SK 28mm AF lens (for the Phase One DF/XF).
 

Alkibiades

Active member
This is incredibly useful information. I should have been clearer in my OP, I am wondering about comparison to the SK 28mm AF lens (for the Phase One DF/XF).
SK 28 mm AF Phase one lens is a total different lens!
this is not Super Digitar HM 28 mm XL!
the phase one lens is not a Schneider design but the old Mamiya lens design. This lens is simply outdatet and too worst to talk about. The LF shutter came from Schneider not the glass. The real Schneider modern wide angle is the blue line 35 mm- this is a superior lens,
 
I wouldn't label the old Mamiya / Phase One 28mm as junk so to speak, but it is an old lens by today's standards. I had some very limited experience with it on 22 MP CCD sensor decades ago. It was certainly better than the Mamiya 35mm F3.5 AF of similar vintage. It's likely the extreme corners / edges would be disappointing since full frame back then (digitally) was only 48x36mm. Maybe a BSI sensor breathes some new life into the lens, but I wouldn't set my expectation too high.
 

Alkibiades

Active member
Why should BSI sensor breathes new life in a old and ouddatet lens design? There is nothing on BSI technology that can make a poor lens good. Phase one should updated the 28 mm as thay done it to 35 mm, but as they introduced the new technical cooperation with cambo and rodenstock they focus more on rodenstock lenses...
 

Ben730

Member
I’m wondering whether there are any of you well-resourced and knowledgable people out there who might have some personal insight on these two lenses? I have a customer wondering about the 28mm Rodenstock and we (Teamwork) no longer have either here to test. I have used the SK 28mm but not the Rodenstock.

Unlikely someone has both (though wouldn’t be surprised with this forum!) but it would be nice to collate some feedback (and maybe some images) from both if people had some to share.

Thanks and appreciation in advance.

Al

There was a great review with discussion and many tests on this site.
It was here: https://www.getdpi.com/forum/lens-a...8mm-hr-vs-schneider-super-digitar-28xl-4.html
Started by Guy Mancuso, the review disappeared on this site. Maybe Olaf can help.

I owned both lenses at the same time. Both lenses are top notch.
There is not so much difference. The usefu/sharp image circle is for both lenses almost the same.
The Schneider Centerfilter is prone to internal reflections, this is a big problem!
Both lenses should be used with a compendium, flare can be a problem.
I sold both lenses and bought the HR 23mm.
I never looked back.
Regards,
Ben
 

Lacunapratum

New member
I have the SK 28 XL Cambo anniversary addition with a silver ring together with the Cambo anniversary body. I agree with the comment about the Schneider center filter. I eventually stopped using the filter.

However, I love the combination, it's just a superb high resolution wide angle set. Purists are probably going to cringe, but I made a separate viewfinder for it, and I can use the entire setup handheld with little limitations and at slow shutter speeds, due to the central shutter and the focal length.

Works nicely as a sole wide angle set.

Tom
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
There's no alternative to the XL if you want 28mm and 10mm+ rise, ie something wider than the 32mm AND shift at the same time, on full frame MFD. To me, this is the allure of this rare lens. That is, the ability to stitch and create very dramatic and high-res perspectives, be it interior or exterior.

The 23 is great too, but you are limited to one frame and cannot shift. It also has distortion which needs to be corrected in post.

The Apo Helvetar also comes with a custom HPF ring attached to it ex factory - on top of the 95mm special custom made filter ring. It is a cool lens with unique specs and with almost no distortion. With the new backs and LCC color casts have become manageable.

28 XL and 43 XL are the dream combo for architectural photography IMHO. Given that these lenses are out of production and will never come back and with the Hassy 100 mpx CV back for 10k USD to come in 23 ... they will surely become even more rare and pricy (if you can find one).
 
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Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
Why should BSI sensor breathes new life in a old and ouddatet lens design? There is nothing on BSI technology that can make a poor lens good. Phase one should updated the 28 mm as thay done it to 35 mm, but as they introduced the new technical cooperation with cambo and rodenstock they focus more on rodenstock lenses...

This situation is not really a result of lack of focus or distraction, but rather one of technical and market challenges.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 
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