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Thread: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

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    Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    Taking my first trepidatious step into Dante's Inferno...

    I'm interested in hearing about the pros and cons of the Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48mm. I'm planning to use it with a Leaf Aptus II 7...at least until I sell my house to fund anything better. As the likelihood of selling my house is also linked to a threat of divorce I'm likely to be using the 33MP back for some time. Likely body is the STC. Uses are landscape, urban-scapes, architecture and perhaps unusually people.

    I'm interested in your experience of using this lens with that or similar backs...sharpness, colour casts, ability to shift...

    Thanks for any input.

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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    This is the same as the Schneider 47XL, so in your research any comments you find about that apply equally.

    Basic stats are on our Tech Camera Overview Page. Make sure not to miss the note under the charts "Image Circle (mm): the projection size inside of which you can shift/tilt/swing and stitch. All else being equal, a larger image circle is better. These are the "stated IC" reported by the manufacturers not the "usable IC". Rodenstock tends to be conservative; Schneider tends to exaggerate."

    Best wishes with the house/wife/divorce situation.

    In general the 47/48 lens is excellent on the 33mp backs. Most of its limitations versus, e.g., the Rodenstock 40HR are more manifest on higher resolution backs with smaller pixels. If you'll be using that back for a good while the 47/48 is an excellent choice for performance vs cost. If you think you'll be upgrading to a higher res back in the future I'd suggest sticking with Rodenstock for anything wider than 60mm.

    Best advice of course, if at all possible, get your hands on one from a dealer, a fellow forum member, or a workshop to give it your own go and make up your own mind.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    Doug,

    thanks for taking the time to reply and for the confirmation that this is indeed the same as the 47XL - that broadens the information out there.

    My wife as it happens is very supportive of this step into the Inferno, however there are always limits

    I'd dearly love the Rodie 40HR but you've hit the nail on the head about price/performance and I don't see a major back upgrade in the near future.

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    Why not the 43xl if you're looking to do architecture? I sometimes find the 35 either too wide or too long with an STC and the same chip size as you.

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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    I'm a big fan of the 43XL. Probably because a) it was the first lens I used on a tech cam, b) I particularly like that FoV, and c) I've never used the Rodie 40HR . But it did, together with an IQ160, produce my favorite landscape to date. It is stupidly scarily sharp out to the corners, due in part to its large image circle.

    I smile at the demonstrations of resolution on the new Canon and Sony bodies. We forget that it's the lenses that do most of the work, and there are very few wide angle lenses remotely competitive with the tech cam Schneiders and Rodies. I'd be curious to see the Leica S 30 or 35 directly compared, but that stuff also opens up much wider.

    Best,

    Matt
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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    If budget does become a concern, it's good to keep in mind that low resolution backs play very well with some analog wides, so long as you can stomach being limited to shooting between f/8 and f/16. The APO-Grandagon/APO-Sironar Digital 45 and 55 and the Schneider SA 38 and 47 XL's are all well-regarded for sharpness, color correction, and generous IC's.

    Just something to keep in mind in case shooting with the latest and greatest or shooting with yesterday's latest and greatest makes the difference between a happy or unhappy wife.

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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    Thanks freaklikeme, and to the other members who have replied.

    That's a good thought about not necessarily the latest and greatest. There are some great "bargains" out there in older lenses.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider Alpa Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 Pros and Cons

    It may not be the latest and greatest but trust me it's still a phenomenal lens. With the Aptus II 7 it'll be great and as mentioned this lens has a lot of image circle and can be stopped down to f/16 or beyond in real life.

    i used this lens and the 35Xl for many years with my Aptus 65, P25+ and P40+ and was never disappointed. It was only when I moved to the iq160/260 did I really change up to a Rodenstock 40HR.

    if you are on a budget with an older back I think that it's a fine lens. Are the 43xl and 40hr better? Sure, but a lot more expensive too.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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