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Thread: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Has anyone compared and contrasted the two Schneider 120mm lenses?

    Now I know that typically macro lenses are not optimized for infinity but I was wondering how good the macro really was for general landscape work, in addition to its macro capabilities. The reason I ask is because I have the Nikon 200/4 micro which is badged as a macro lens but actually is an extremely sharp and capable lens at all subject distances. In fact, it gives the 200/2 a run for it's money at f/4 and upwards. I was wondering if the same is true with the Schneider or whether there is a significant difference for non-macro use.

    I'd welcome any feedback from anyone using either of these Schneider lens variants.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Optechs Digital
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Has anyone compared and contrasted the two Schneider 120mm lenses?

    Now I know that typically macro lenses are not optimized for infinity but I was wondering how good the macro really was for general landscape work, in addition to its macro capabilities. The reason I ask is because I have the Nikon 200/4 micro which is badged as a macro lens but actually is an extremely sharp and capable lens at all subject distances. In fact, it gives the 200/2 a run for it's money at f/4 and upwards. I was wondering if the same is true with the Schneider or whether there is a significant difference for non-macro use.

    I'd welcome any feedback from anyone using either of these Schneider lens variants.

    Thanks in advance.
    Hello Graham,

    I have worked with both of these lenses on both Alpa camera and Sinar cameras. Generally speaking, I have found that the Macro version is a lot better at infinity work than the non macro version is at macro work. So, in other words the 120 Macro makes a better all around general purpose lens than does the standard version.

    Best Regards
    Paul

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Thanks Paul. That's useful to know.

    I think I need to give you a call as I'm still in a quandary about where precisely to go with a tele on my Alpa given my current 43/90 line up. I.e. 120, 150 or 180mm? Logic would dictate that if I want to narrow the angle of view by ~50% then it's somewhere between 120 & 150mm vs. stretching to 180mm.

    Any feedback on the 150mm btw?

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    Optechs Digital
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Hi Graham,

    I sort of think you would find that 120mm is too short to really be thought of as telephoto. On a P40 it is roughly equivalent to a 95mm lens on 35FF camera. Considering you already have a 90mm lens for your system which is like a 70mm on 35FF, I personally would opt for the 150. The 150mm would equate to about 140mm on a 35 FF camera.

    As an experiment that might help, try cutting a 33x44mm rectangle out of some card stock ( this is to match your P40 sensor.) Now view through it with one eye while holding it 120mm from your eye and then 150mm from your eye. This is very rudimentary but does a surprisingly good job of accurately showing field of view for various focal lengths. I think this will quickly help you determine what focal length will make the most sense for you.

    Best,
    Paul

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Thanks Paul.

    I've been kind of leaning towards the 150mm myself actually. I shoot that with the 645DF already and generally I'm pretty comfortable with it. The challenge for me is finding how the longer lenses work in the field with a tech camera. When I used to shoot 4x5 I tended to use wider lenses than I would otherwise shoot on a dSLR. The 150mm with the 33x44 is equivalent to 118mm on 35mm FF, the 180mm is ~142mm which both would work for what I tend to shoot.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by Optechs Digital View Post
    Hi Graham,

    I sort of think you would find that 120mm is too short to really be thought of as telephoto. On a P40 it is roughly equivalent to a 95mm lens on 35FF camera. Considering you already have a 90mm lens for your system which is like a 70mm on 35FF, I personally would opt for the 150. The 150mm would equate to about 140mm on a 35 FF camera.

    As an experiment that might help, try cutting a 33x44mm rectangle out of some card stock ( this is to match your P40 sensor.) Now view through it with one eye while holding it 120mm from your eye and then 150mm from your eye. This is very rudimentary but does a surprisingly good job of accurately showing field of view for various focal lengths. I think this will quickly help you determine what focal length will make the most sense for you.

    Best,
    Paul
    120mm was a very useful focal length on 6 * 6 roll film, and has a narrower field of view on on digital. I am thinking about getting a Apo-Digitar 210, but I have the Apo-Digitar 120 and 120 macro, and I bought a 150 yesterday on Ebay. If you have a 600mm arm, the experiment would work better if you double the numbers.

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Two cents aren’t worth what they used to be, but here goes.

    Firstly, correctly speaking, a telephoto lens is one that is dimensionally shorter (front-of-lens to image plane) than its focal length. Otherwise longer lenses are traditionally referred to as long focus lenses.

    A rule of thumb (and geometry) from the days of film was to increase focal length by 1.4X so as to cover 50% less of the subject area. The converse, to double the area of coverage, was to multiply the focal length by 0.7x.

    Taking 50mm as the [ciné-derived] “standard” lens for 135 cameras (Kodak’s nomenclature), 1.4x equates to 70mm, and 0.7x to 35mm, and so on up and down the scale. This approach tallies reasonably well with lenses long available for 35mm cameras. For many years I used 24, 35, 50 and 85 lenses on Nikons for most of my film work.

    In these days of large format sensors with high resolution sensors, the need for such finicky granularity may well be less (part of the sensor’s area can be used to *blow up* a portion of the image).

    However.

    I have long found that doubling focal length is still too much of a leap in both “look” (perspective and DOF), and having to move further forwards or back to get the shot; the square root of two concept still has relevance. Though I note that many users here have large *jumps* in their professed focal lengths, even with small format systems.

    Current example using my status: my widest (and only current) lens for my VX23D is a 45mm; to follow the 1.4x rule and halve the coverage in area terms, I would need to find a 63mm lens, but would be happy with something around 70–75mm (that MF flexibility again). After that I would go for the 100 to 120 range as probably the longest lens I would want on that system. DOF and all that.

    My Mamiya AFD has lenses of 35, 45, 50, 80, 145 and 150. Some fine-grain moves there, with a biggish gap between the 80 and 145, which — if I want eat my own dog food — I should fill with a 120mm Macro. Which I will be doing when I can afford it.

    .02

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    THink I just posted on the wrong thread!

    Lemme see here [sounds of feverish typing/searching etc.]

    No, I was right; replying to Graham’s second post.
    Last edited by mediumcool; 17th January 2011 at 03:31. Reason: corrected myself — always fun

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Two cents aren’t worth what they used to be, but here goes.

    Firstly, correctly speaking, a telephoto lens is one that is dimensionally shorter (front-of-lens to image plane) than its focal length. Otherwise longer lenses are traditionally referred to as long focus lenses.

    .02
    When Schneider refer to their Long Focus lenses as telephotos, I think that correct use of English is dead.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Dear Paul,

    how's Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N image circle at infinity ?

    many thanks


    Jeff

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    When Schneider refer to their Long Focus lenses as telephotos, I think that correct use of English is dead.
    Schneider kann beschäftigen Arbeitnehmer, but that does not make it an arbiter of correct or even vernacular English ...

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    Optechs Digital
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by m21apsh View Post
    Dear Paul,

    how's Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N image circle at infinity ?

    many thanks


    Jeff

    Hi Jeff,

    I am quite sure both of the lenses have the same image circle at infinity of about 110mm.

    Best,
    paul

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Dear Paul,

    I read from this link that Digitar APO 120mm N should cover 4x5!!

    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-an...?msg_id=005br8

    If Macro M can do the same thing, will be the one to get for sure..

    thanks

    Jeff

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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by m21apsh View Post
    Dear Paul,

    I read from this link that Digitar APO 120mm N should cover 4x5!!

    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-an...?msg_id=005br8

    If Macro M can do the same thing, will be the one to get for sure..

    thanks

    Jeff
    Paul is absolutely right .
    The IC is 110mm for both types .
    That is what the SCHNEIDER technical data sheets say . I have checked twice .
    Anything else is wrong .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Dear Jurgen

    I understand what the SCHNEIDER technical data sheets say.
    Users in real world say something different.

    Since Paul is one of very few people have chance to test both lens. (enjoy his videos very much on line)
    I am just wondering how the lens work in real world.

    cheer up man!!

    Jeff

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    Optechs Digital
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by m21apsh View Post
    Dear Paul,

    I read from this link that Digitar APO 120mm N should cover 4x5!!

    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-an...?msg_id=005br8

    If Macro M can do the same thing, will be the one to get for sure..

    thanks

    Jeff
    Hi Jeff,

    I don't know about the 120 N covering 4x5 but I can tell you that it does cover a full 25mm rise on Alpa SWA with P45+ in vertical orientation with absolutely no light fall off. I don't recall ever using or needing this much rise in actual photography. But it is pretty nice to know it is there just in case.

    Best Regards,
    paul

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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by m21apsh View Post
    Dear Paul,

    I read from this link that Digitar APO 120mm N should cover 4x5!!

    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-an...?msg_id=005br8

    If Macro M can do the same thing, will be the one to get for sure..

    thanks

    Jeff
    Might be that the image circle is bigger than the one given in the datasheets .
    This might be true for many other lenses as well .

    There could be a loss of image quality , like unsharpness , lower resolution or distortion outside the given IC , and therefore the lens might not be recommended for that bigger format .
    Give me one reason , why SCHNEIDER does not give an IC bigger than 110mm .
    That lens could be a bestseller then .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Dear Jurgen,

    "There could be a loss of image quality , like unsharpness , lower resolution or distortion outside the given IC , and therefore the lens might not be recommended for that bigger format .
    Give me one reason , why SCHNEIDER does not give an IC bigger than 110mm ."

    you are right on.

    But after all it depend on how you use the lens to archive what you want.

    Jeff

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    I confess that I've run into this with extreme shifts & LCC processing. The results are acceptable but upon pixel peeping I can definitely see a drop off in image quality and some digital artifacts of LCC processing in C1Pro at the extremes vs. the image area well within the image circle. That's with a 47 Apo Digitar @ 18/20mm shift.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I confess that I've run into this with extreme shifts & LCC processing. The results are acceptable but upon pixel peeping I can definitely see a drop off in image quality and some digital artifacts of LCC processing in C1Pro at the extremes vs. the image area well within the image circle. That's with a 47 Apo Digitar @ 18/20mm shift.
    What size of sensor were you using?

    According to the Schneider .pdf, the max shift with the 47XL is 30 to 33mm with a 36 * 48mm sensor, and 15mm with 63mm square.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    The Schneider 120mm Makro-Symmar HM, while designed for close-up work is an excellent performer at infinity as well. At infinity, it has an image circle of 125mm, just about covering 4x5. With a digital back, you'll always be using the sweet spot of this lens. And for close work it is truly a great lens. I have one for sale here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22255

    Kumar

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Can anyone offer any user experience when using the macro and non macro 120mm lenses as to the bellows extension at closer distances? Does the design of the 120mm macro allow for less bellows extension when shooting table top products etc or are the two pretty similar?

    Gareth

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Can anyone offer any user experience when using the macro and non macro 120mm lenses as to the bellows extension at closer distances? Does the design of the 120mm macro allow for less bellows extension when shooting table top products etc or are the two pretty similar?

    Gareth
    Bellows extension is simple arithmetic... see Merklinger.

    The Macro is not (like most lenses called "macro") optimized for tabletop reproduction ratios, and the standard 120 is recommended for reproduction ratios less than about 1:3, see the Schneider web site.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Bellows extension is simple arithmetic... see Merklinger.

    The Macro is not (like most lenses called "macro") optimized for tabletop reproduction ratios, and the standard 120 is recommended for reproduction ratios less than about 1:3, see the Schneider web site.
    So the optical design has nothing to do with the bellows length, both lens sizes being equal

    But for stuff closer up, (say an occasional jewely shot) won't the macro be a better option or is the normal version much better lens at everything else above 1:3 reproduction.

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    Re: Schneider APO Digitar 120/5.6 macro M vs normal N

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    So the optical design has nothing to do with the bellows length, both lens sizes being equal
    Yes, so they need equal extension for the same reproduction ratio.
    But for stuff closer up, (say an occasional jewely shot) won't the macro be a better option
    Yes
    ...is the normal version much better lens at everything else above 1:3 reproduction.
    1:3 is a reduction - subject three times the size of the sensor... with a 50mm sensor the macro would be better for subjects smaller than A6 (about 105mm * 145).

    What I call close-up lenses (usually described by the manufacturers as Macro or even micro) are OK for 1:1 to infinity,,, but what I call proper macro lenses are normally optimized for 1:3 to 3:1... but I have a set of Luminars, each optimized for a different range of ratios, and they together give me 1:1 to 40:1.

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