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Thread: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I'm looking to expand my Cambo system and add a longer lens which I miss.
    I have the SK35XL and the SK47XL already and am contemplating either the SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N - both as short barrel versions for stitching purpose.
    I almost exclusively shoot landscapes... Take a look here

    Any up- or downside to either you would want to share?
    Or maybe just your experience with either?

    Thanks
    Peter

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Peter,

    I have the 150 APO Digitar N, albeit on an Alpa mount. I find it to be an exceptionally sharp optic that does exactly what it says it'll do on the tin. I don't really need to use LCCs with this lens for most situations and the image circle is enormous so I can use the full shifts on my camera without concern. The only challenge really with this length of optic is narrow DoF and focus accuracy when using a tech camera & laser or hunting rangefinder - live view helps somewhat. For most landscape situations with this lens you probably won't be worrying too much about near/far compositions - if you do then you'll either need to focus stack or tilt. I mostly use this at or near infinity when I want to isolate elements in a big landscape although obviously you can use it for pretty much anything.

    47 -> 150 is a big jump but that said you can stitch a couple of 150 frames to fill the intermediate range.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I have the SK 120 N and agree with Graham on all accounts. As I understand it, both the 120 N and the 150 N are identical in lens formula and performs exactly the same. So, it is only the preferred length that determines the choice.

    I am impressed also how it performs wide open. Razor sharp. Love mine and got it back from conversion to a short Alpa 34 barrel yesterday. This evening was the first tryout and it focuses spot on.....
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Thank you Graham & Dan, Glad to hear your are both very satisfied with respectively the 150 and 120.

    I agree that the jump from 47mm to 120 or 150 is rather big, but with my Canon 1DsIII I have mostly used my 24mm Tilt Shift and a 70-300 zoom, so for me it makes sense to have the big jump. I might jump on a SK 72 L or 90 N at a later time should I miss something in between the 47Xl and the 120 or 150.

    Still torn between which one of the two to get though :-)

    Peter

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    In your shoes, haveing a 47, I would go 90 + 150.

    But, the 72 L might be the best of the bunch.....
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    It would be nice to have HPF rings for the 150mm - the spacing between focus distances is pretty wide as you move back from infinity and so if you're picking out a particular element at a known distance it can be a little bit of a challenge even stopped down to f/8 or f/11 - the precision of the measuring device is greater than my precision in estimating between distance marks on the lens - at least for the first shot. It's easy to iterate to get perfect focus though. Once it's nailed it's extremely sharp.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Cambo doesn't offer the 150 with a t/s mount.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    There is a new version of the 120 N, the "Apo-Digitar N ASPHERIC 5.6/120mm", "Aspheric" being the new thing. It's a little bit more expensive than the old (which seems to be still available too) but not too much. From the Schneider web site:

    This is a completely redesigned 120mm f/5.6 Digitar lens in a Copal #0 Shutter. It will stand up to the performance demands of today's high resolution digital backs, allowing you to bring the swings and tilts of traditional large format photography into the digital arena. The implementation of Aspherical Lens technology makes this lens extremely versatile with an incredible 150mm image circle.

    This lens has a front accessory thread allowing it to utilize 46mm screw-in filters.
    There's no aspheric version of the 150mm, so perhaps the 120mm aspheric is the way to go? I have the old 120 N, still very pleased with its performance, I only have 33 megapixels though and rarely use more than about 90mm of the image circle. If it's going to be used for stitching to the outer edges maybe the edge quality is better in this new version? I haven't looked at MTF charts so I don't know how it looks.

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Torger, that could certainly be the decisive factor...
    Where on the Schneider web did you find that quote?

    Peter

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Peter, the older versions are divided in two models: the N (normal = optimised for infinity) and the M (macro = optimised for closeup).
    The new one is supposed to have the highest resolution ever made by Schneider and is excellent at both closeup and infinity.

    I am sure this is all true, but I can honestly say that my (old) 120 N is still bitingly sharp.
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by Pemihan View Post
    Torger, that could certainly be the decisive factor...
    Where on the Schneider web did you find that quote?

    Peter
    https://www.schneideroptics.com/ecom...=1326&IID=9303

    No MTF charts or even a picture of the lens published though... which is the case with all the newer lenses unfortunately.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I used to own the Schneider 120N and can confirm it is a super sharp lens and would recommend it to anyone, however I always felt it was quite a bit softer close up. With this in mind, if you shoot lots of table top stuff the aspheric version might be a better option. If your subjects are generally over 3m then save the money and get the N.

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Actually I found this
    I just don't know how to interpret it...
    Peter

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    https://www.schneideroptics.com/ecom...=1326&IID=9303

    No MTF charts or even a picture of the lens published though... which is the case with all the newer lenses unfortunately.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by Pemihan View Post
    Actually I found this
    I just don't know how to interpret it...
    Peter
    Thanks. Compared it against the MTF charts of 120N and 120M. It's a bit hard to compare due to diagrams showing different image circle sizes and spatial frequencies. From what I can see 120N-asph seems to be a little bit sharper than the 120N, but only very little, and a little bit less sharp than the 120M for closeup. The MTF charts do not cover really close distances for the 120N and 120N-asph so can't see how it performs there, but as others said its likely to be a bit better than the 120N there, but still probably not as good as the 120M.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    For pixel peeping the aspherical shows increased sharpness. In print, with appropriate sharpening, there's negligible difference. For the aspherical version there's a trade-off in illumination and distortion. Bottom line, they're both stellar lenses. Because you're using a Cambo, I'd get the 120 (N or Asph.) in short barrel T/S mount. Don't think the 150 is available in T/S?

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I would be tempted to get the new 120 in T/S mount if possible. If nothing else for the huge image circle..

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I have the Alpa 5.6/120 Apo-Helvetar ASPH, which is the same lens as the 120 Digitar ASPH with stock Schneider label. It's an incredible lens, probably the sharpest I've ever owned. With live-view on the IQ back, it just "pops" when focus is spot on.

    Example, full view and 100% crop of center flower.




    Cheers, -Peter

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Peter, could you perhaps post another crop showing a bit of the area next to the sharp selection? It's interesting to get an idea of the character of the transition - I'm inclined to believe that this is an area where MF lenses really shine ...

    Chris
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Chris - maybe this shows what you're interested in?

    Cheers, -Peter


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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    PeterL, to my eyes this is pretty much the identical results you'd get from the 120N and IMO a bit soft when shooting close up. By no means terrible, there is a noticeable loss of sharpness on those flowers that for example, a macro lens wouldn't have.

    OP, having looked at these examples, unless the 120ASP is noticably sharper at infinity (which I doubt) I'd say the 120N will be fine and save your money.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Thanks, Peter, much appreciated!

    Chris

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Gareth, probably a loss in the web conversion. I can assure you there is NO softness in the original.

    Cheers, -Peter

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    Peter, could you perhaps post another crop showing a bit of the area next to the sharp selection? It's interesting to get an idea of the character of the transition - I'm inclined to believe that this is an area where MF lenses really shine ...
    As a tech nerd I'd be interested in a "bokeh comparison". To get great bokeh one cannot have a perfect lens, there should be a suitable amount of spherical abberation left, arranged in a suitable way so the circle of confusion disc gets a smooth melting border.

    Apart from the ugly polygon copal shutter I really like the smooth foggy bokeh of Schneider Digitar lenses. Mamiya RZ lenses also render great bokeh. I'm suspecting that some of the newer more complex lens designs that have put in great effort in very high resolving power and large aperture at the same time (and thus lots of correction and many lens elements) may lead to less good bokeh, but I don't know for sure as I haven't seen any side-by-side comparisons.

    I've also thought about that the digitar lenses seem to lack bokeh fringing, something I get a lot in my DSLR lenses. Haven't looked deeper into that either though, as I very rarely shoot images that actually make use of bokeh (I try to have the whole image sharp and only occasionally do closeup).

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    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Do any of you find the T/S mount to be a big advantage doing landscape?
    It a big premium to pay...

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by Pemihan View Post
    Do any of you find the T/S mount to be a big advantage doing landscape?
    It a big premium to pay...
    That depends on shooting style. I could not live without tilt on such a long lens as a 120mm

    I sometimes find interesting shapes on the ground or some other flat or semi-flat surface and then tilting the plane of focus is very very useful. The attached image is shot with the 120mm and it would not been possible to make an all-over sharp picture without tilt.

    But if you don't do these types of compositions you maybe won't need it.

    I'm a view camera user myself and use tilt quite frequently for all my lenses, including the wides. Tilt is integrated in my shooting style. But you can focus stack instead, or let things be out of focus and enjoy the nice bokeh

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by Pemihan View Post
    Do any of you find the T/S mount to be a big advantage doing landscape?
    It a big premium to pay...
    Just remembered that the Cambo T/S mount only has 5 degrees of forward tilt - so I'd be careful before dropping $$ on it for the 120, as with a long lens like a 120 and shooting landscapes, 5+ degrees is really where you need to be (e.g. assuming the sensor is perpendicular to the ground plane, and you want the plane of focus parallel to the ground plane, you would need the lens about 140cm from the ground and 5 degrees of tilt. Any lower and you'll need >5 degrees of tilt to achieve the same effect). I guess this is why Cambo don't offer the 150 in T/S mount - it's just too long to make good use of +/- 5 degrees of tilt.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Just remembered that the Cambo T/S mount only has 5 degrees of forward tilt
    That's a really good point, did not think about that. The Linhof Techno I use has +/-10 degrees, and while it at normal distances is no issue for the 120mm lens, if at macro even that is a little bit too little. If doing macro one should get the 80mm lens so the tilt range becomes less limiting.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I have the new 120mm Aspheric in SB Alpa mount. a very very sharp lens. and yes a huge image circle. Its called Apo-Helvetar in Alpa-speak.

    I'd say its only beaten by the new Rodenstock 90mm HR Alpagon for out and out sharpness, at least of the ones in my lens drawer. But then, none of the newest generation of true digital MF lenses are weak.

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    Re: Cambo SK Digitar 120 N or 150 N

    I was going to make a new thread with this question, but looking at this one I think it probably makes sense to add it onto here.

    I'm looking at getting a 120mm lens to (famous last words coming up...) complete my lens collection for my Alpas.

    Anyone care to share thoughts on comparison between the Schneider discussed above, and the Schneider PC-TS 120mm in Mamiya mount?

    Regards,

    Gerald.

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