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Thread: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

  1. #51
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    They were beat...
    Aw Doug, you're all heart.

    I guess from the perspective of a retailer - great - now the consumer has no place to go but a more expensive lens line.

    From the perspective of a photographer - it's a great loss, no two ways about it.

    Maybe the market is enough for one manufacturer of lenses to make a profit - for now at least - but a market with no competition generally isn't a healthy one.

    With Alpa, Cambo and A/S all now producing mounts to allow Canon EF lenses to be used, who knows what the future holds ...

    Jim

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Aw Doug, you're all heart.

    I guess from the perspective of a retailer - great - now the consumer has no place to go but a more expensive lens line.

    From the perspective of a photographer - it's a great loss, no two ways about it.

    Maybe the market is enough for one manufacturer of lenses to make a profit - for now at least - but a market with no competition generally isn't a healthy one.

    With Alpa, Cambo and A/S all now producing mounts to allow Canon EF lenses to be used, who knows what the future holds ...

    Jim
    I think you misinterpret the tenor and purpose of my post.

    I personally mourn for Schneider lenses. The first tech camera lenses I ever used were the 24XL and 35XL; they were stunning on the P45+. Before using them I had no idea how stark the difference was between a good lens and a great one. As a "retailer" I'd LOVE to have a less expensive option for clients who want a tech cam but can't justify the cost of lenses like the 32HR or 90HR-SW.

    I just have no qualm about why they are leaving the market: they got beat. Put simply: they weren't making enough lenses that end users were buying in any meaningful quantity.

    For anyone buying lenses for tech cameras in the last three years our recommendations have been (loosely in order of frequency of purchase):
    - 32HR
    - 90HR-SW
    - 40HR
    - 60XL
    - 70HR
    - 120ASPH
    - 23HR
    - 28HR

    The 120ASPH is a fantastic lens, but was a niche in the tech cam world (given how long it is). Which means we commonly recommended/sold ONE Schneider lens.

    As you mention there are now several options for using Canon/Nikon glass on a digital back. I don't personally find this very attractive as the quality of these lenses is not in the same league as the 32HR and similar Rodenstocks. But it does open the possibility for someone to make an uber lens which purposely simultaneously targets medium-format cameras and small-format cameras.

    Any meaningfully sized market attracts competition in one form or another, and from everything I see Tech Cams and other uses of technical lenses are a meaningfully sized market.

    Maybe Schneider can sell the design and rights to the 60XL and 120ASPH to Rodenstock?
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 7th December 2015 at 13:15.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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  3. #53
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    The market for "economical" and weight vs performance tradeoffs where Schneider Digitar excel was probably too narrow in the first place. Even if sensors would have been compatible I think they would have sold poorly anyway, sad but true. I liked it, but I bought almost all my gear second hand. Schneider only saw my money on the SK60XL. If high end digital backs had been like $5k rather than $30k, then the economical tradeoff niche could have worked, but digital backs has been so crazy expensive for so long time that lens cost doesn't matter that much. And the weight thing, it's important for me, but how many actually a system carry 7 lenses for 20km?

    I think the big tech cam market is for those that want the best regardless costs. And best in tech cam land is best pixel peep. And that is not going to change. The only thing that's changing is that 135 is improving, which means that tech cam needs to continue keeping the distance. Alpa adds $1k (or is it $2k?) on the lens mount only, but exceptionally few really cares. Lenses can cost anything, as long as they produce the pixel peep.

    It's interesting that the ASPH 120 is considered a niche lens due to that it's long. My 120 is one of my most used lenses, and my 35 is one of the least used (I do landscape)... I've long realized that I don't really match the typical tech cam client, which means that I'm not surprised when it pulls away in a direction I don't like

    I think I'll stay in at least one more sensor, but I also think that there will be a point when 135 has enough high resolution lenses with tilt capability that it matches or exceeds 4x5" film quality (which is sort of a benchmark for me), and to keep the distance MFD tech will then move into bizarre space with ultra-heavy ultra-complex and ultra-expensive lenses, but you can always sell on being "the best". That will be the time when I move back to a smaller format, unless there's still older working MFD solutions that meets my requirements (which I hope, because I really like my Linhof...).

    Oh well, US clients have more money. It's not black and white.

    If we would speak to an European dealer (I have) I think the story would be slightly different although I guess that Rodie leads the way there too, but perhaps more due to compatibility. I know they do get people that are interested in budget solutions, and sometimes it ends up with 4x5" film actually. Tech cam packages with CFV-50c and Silvestri tech cams and Schneider lenses have been put together by the dealers, with very attractive prices. They are getting an increased amount of enthusiast (non-professional) clients, and many of them are interested in budget solutions. But as digital backs are so expensive, at least up to the CFV-50c, the Rodenstock vs Schneider price difference is fairly irrelevant. Rodies are not that expensive if you put the widest angles aside.

    Timing has been dreadful for Schneider. Now when CMOS backs are making MFD view cameras much more attractive and drags more enthusiast budget-sensitive people into the mix (view camera solutions are soo much cheaper), the sensor is simply not compatible, and even if it was it's too late. Schneider probably decided that they would pull out a long time ago.
    Last edited by torger; 7th December 2015 at 13:53.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    For anyone buying lenses for tech cameras in the last three years our recommendations have been (loosely in order of frequency of purchase):
    - 32HR
    - 90HR-SW
    - 40HR
    - 60XL
    - 70HR
    - 120ASPH
    I can attest to each of the above as I either owned or shot them all on my IQ180 and IQ260.
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Wow, awesome posts on this thread! Thanks to everyone for carrying on the discussion while I've been away on holiday.
    I need some time to digest all the above posts, so will reply properly when I get time tomorrow. In the meantime it's clear to me that a properly aligned 60XL would beat the crap out of my 55mm. I say this having just sent Paula some money for a 70HR-W! Man, at some point I need to draw the line and stop buying gear. Well... Not until I've at least bought the 40HR-W and 60XL...
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Ok, I've finally got a little spare time to type...

    Jagsiva's tests above look far better than what I'm getting with my 55 APO-SD, which I've found is no slouch within a 90-100mm IC. I'm so convinced of this I don't feel a need to inspect the raw files as the JPGs (while not displaying correctly according to Jagsiva) telll it all.

    I'm really diappointed that Schneider will discontinue all tech lenses instead of keeping up with producing a few key models that sell. I also hope that Rodenstock develop a 55mm lens to replace the older APO-Sironar Digital that's a good replacement and performer on 80mpx and above sensors, while also maintaining that huge image circle. Perhaps now that Schneider is pulling out they might be motivated to develop one?

    With regards to colour saturation fall off due to crosstalk, I'm yet to notice this on any images I've taken with the 55mm. I'm not saying it's not there, but I perhaps haven't shot under the exact conditions to make it jump out. What I have noticed–and maybe this is related in some way–that the LCC corrections bring out the noise, which softens details on the edges of the frame if too much of the falloff is corrected. After some practive I'm tending to back this off a little bit, say to 50-65%, just to keep the noise at bay. I like a little bit of subtle vignetting anyway.

    I've just dealt with customs regarding the import of my new 70 HR-W, which I'm excited to put to the test soon. With the 100mm IC I should get some room to move with rise / fall when stitching in the format I like. I'm interested to see where exactly the hard vignette kicks in (such a stupid design decision, IMHO) and how easy it is to notice when I'm getting to close to it. As long as I get the claimed 100mm I'm happy. If I get a few more mm, I'll be very happy.

    Lastly, we've talked a lot here about LCC's etc dealing with saturation, crosstalk, colour casts etc, has anyone tested C1 Pro 9 Vs 8 to see if there's any improvement in that area with the new software?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Ok, I've looked at a few more files and I do see the saturation fall off on big shifts. It's masked a little bit by vignetting (I turn down the automatic correction when doing the LCC) and blue sky certainly looks a little grey in the corners when doing 6x13 stitches with a big of fall of the back. Now that I see it it's disturbing me a bit, actually... Seems the 55mm might be no better than the 60XL in this regard...

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    shot this with the 60k, blad cfv50-c, processed in Phocus.

    any ideas about the sort of luminance flare surrounding the mast and edges of the ship?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Wow, that looks really odd! Never seen anything like that before...
    Could it be internal reflections off the sensor?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Well, I received my 70 HR W and can say that it eats my 55mm APO-SD alive!

    Interestingly, I can shift the back horizontally by 17mm AND drop the back by at least 12mm and still not see the hard vignette. This is when focusing at about 20m distance and at f11. Brilliant!
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Well, I received my 70 HR W and can say that it eats my 55mm APO-SD alive!

    Interestingly, I can shift the back horizontally by 17mm AND drop the back by at least 12mm and still not see the hard vignette. This is when focusing at about 20m distance and at f11. Brilliant!
    The 70HR has 100mm image circle, that is 10mm more than the shorter focal lengths in the series so it does provide a quite large range of movements even for 645 fullframe.

    (I've talked with Paula and my SK60XL lens is going back to Schneider, I shall do some additional tests first though.)
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    An update:

    I've been told by Paula that she hopes her stocks of the 60XL will hold for another 10 months, current demand continuing.

    Either way, I can't afford to buy the 60XL right now, especially considering the courier has lost my 90 HR-W that was being sent for service :-(

    In the meantime, I have ordered the centre filter for my 55mm APO-SD to see how that improves things. I notice it's 2.5 stops! Indicates, as the LCCs also suggests along with final inspection of images, that noise on my pano stitches is really killing detail. I'll update this when I get a chance to test...

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Gaahh! Thanks for reminding me, I haven't sent my decentered SK60XL back for fixing yet. I was just about to make the final tests they required, and then other stuff came inbetween. Maybe this week....
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    An update.
    I've had the CF for my 55mm APO-Sironar Digital for a while now, but haven't had time to really put it to the test except for a quick demo in the back yard. Linked here are some LCC samples (before LCC corrections applied) and corresponding histograms, plus a couple of reference shots to see the noise difference on the far left of a frame shifted 17mm, with 5mm rise to the back. Both crops are 200% and around centre of the edge of frame (if that makes sense?) Anyway, the noise difference is quite noticible. Not a magic bullet, especially conidering the 2.5 stop loss of light, but should make for far better results in some situations.

    For reference, these images are shot on my Credo 60 with my Linhof Techno, there was +50 dialed into the shadow slider, +15 Highlights, +10 contrast, +25 brightness (although +20 for the non-CF shot as the light changed). Colour was quite different between the two and the non-CF shot was warmer, so I cooled it down with -10 on the blue channel in levels. Sharpending and NR were as follows:

    Amount: 125
    Radius: 0.6
    Threshold: 1.0

    Lumanance: 15
    Details: 35
    Colour: 35
    Single Pixel: 1

    Focus was about 4 meters from camera (which helps vignetting somewhat, so probably not the best test setting). I did a small amount of extra sharpening in LR after C1 conversion (I'm not great with C1.) The forum downsamples for viewing, so control click on them and open in new tab so you can view at 100%. Again, the screen shots are viewed at 200% to magnify differences.






    Full image, pano stitch. I should mention too that I shot a contrasty scene on purpose, as I'm often battling to protect highlights and lift shadows, which is not really the domain of best use for a CCD sensor:

    Last edited by tjv; 21st March 2016 at 03:19.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I've just been found out that for some reason the forum software doesn't treat PNG files very well, so that explains a little why the crops above aren't showing up as detailed as I see them on screen. If anyone would like me to send them the files directly, just let me know. Either way, the CF makes a huge difference all be it at the cost of 2.5 stops of light.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    That last shot in Post 64 must be an NZ backyard surely tjv?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelorus View Post
    That last shot in Post 64 must be an NZ backyard surely tjv?
    Sure is! Last days of Summer here in Christchurch...

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Sure is! Last days of Summer here in Christchurch...
    It just seemed so NZ that I thought it must have been. Christchurch and not a sign of liquefaction in the back yard

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelorus View Post
    It just seemed so NZ that I thought it must have been. Christchurch and not a sign of liquefaction in the back yard
    It only took about three weeks to get rid of it... Not helped by the car loads of young men driving past, hanging out of windows and photographing us as we shoveled it all out onto the road for councel pickup. There were many parasites in those months after the earthquakes.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I finally got around sending back my SK60XL lens to Schneider-Kreuznach to have a look at it.

    After analyzing it they claim that it performs as it should, but found that the lens plate is askew. However only 8um left-to-right and I doubt that would cause the somewhat weak performance I get.

    The good news is that the check was only 90 euros, which I find perfectly reasonable.

    I don't really know how to proceed now, but I'll ask Paula for advice.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    My 35XL developed a soft right side. Off it went to Cambo. They sent it back with a new mounting plate ... and it performed worse than before. Back again, this time to SK, they replaced the shutter. Lens was ok not perfect afterwards. I was strongly not impressed.

    But the 60XL should be razor sharp.

    Well, I'll have to make do with Leica S glass - until a focus motor fails and Leica takes 6 months to replace it

    --Matt

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Seems odd, especially after looking at the sample RAW files you sent me. They weren't very good and in fact I'd say my 55mm Rodenstock performs better. Actually, now that I have the centre filter for it, I have almost zero interest in upgrading to the SK60XL. I'm sure a good sample would be better than my RS55mm, but as others have indicated above, just how much better in real world is hard to tell. The only thing that annoys me is losing 2.5 stops of light to compensate for light falloff.

    Could your problem be due to parallism issues with your Techno, exacerbated with large shifts? Have you seen issues with other lenses? (I'm guessing not.) I thought I had some problems with my 90mm HR-W a while back (before it was stolen by some low life courier driver on the way back to Paula for a trade,) but it turned out I'd mounted the back on the sliding back slightly off kilter. That was a really sharp lens, all the way out to the edge of the image circle. I wish I still had it, although hardly ever need that FL.

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I finally got around sending back my SK60XL lens to Schneider-Kreuznach to have a look at it.

    After analyzing it they claim that it performs as it should, but found that the lens plate is askew. However only 8um left-to-right and I doubt that would cause the somewhat weak performance I get.

    The good news is that the check was only 90 euros, which I find perfectly reasonable.

    I don't really know how to proceed now, but I'll ask Paula for advice.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Seems odd, especially after looking at the sample RAW files you sent me. They weren't very good and in fact I'd say my 55mm Rodenstock performs better. Actually, now that I have the centre filter for it, I have almost zero interest in upgrading to the SK60XL. I'm sure a good sample would be better than my RS55mm, but as others have indicated above, just how much better in real world is hard to tell. The only thing that annoys me is losing 2.5 stops of light to compensate for light falloff.

    Could your problem be due to parallism issues with your Techno, exacerbated with large shifts? Have you seen issues with other lenses? (I'm guessing not.) I thought I had some problems with my 90mm HR-W a while back (before it was stolen by some low life courier driver on the way back to Paula for a trade,) but it turned out I'd mounted the back on the sliding back slightly off kilter. That was a really sharp lens, all the way out to the edge of the image circle. I wish I still had it, although hardly ever need that FL.
    It's ongoing, we'll see how it ends up. I've given Schneider-Kreuznach a bit more material. Linhof Studio is very supportive as always and has offered to lend me another 60XL to compare, but I'm in no particular hurry and we'll see what Schenider responds to the test images I've now sent them.

    I don't have problems with my other lenses, so I'm quite sure it something with this one. Schneider did discover some skewing in the lens plate, but only 8 micrometer left-to-right and that would not cause the type of performance issue I see.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    It's ongoing, we'll see how it ends up. I've given Schneider-Kreuznach a bit more material. Linhof Studio is very supportive as always and has offered to lend me another 60XL to compare, but I'm in no particular hurry and we'll see what Schenider responds to the test images I've now sent them.

    I don't have problems with my other lenses, so I'm quite sure it something with this one. Schneider did discover some skewing in the lens plate, but only 8 micrometer left-to-right and that would not cause the type of performance issue I see.
    Despite the added screenshots Schneider-Kreuznach says the same thing, nothing wrong with the lens. Despite that I insisted on getting a comment on my screenshots if it represents acceptable image quality from that lens or not they did not answer to that. I've insisted once more and see if I can get a comment from them. I simply want to know if they believe there is an error in my camera system, or if they think that my lens is performing "within spec" despite this result, and they haven't provided me with that information.

    I also asked them if they had a paid service to simply take the lens apart and remount it again with highest possible precision and said I was prepared to pay for that even if they didn't consider the lens to be in error. They did not offer such a service, or well avoided answering that question too.

    In any case I'm getting the lens back now without any action and I will then redo my tests and try a new lens plate, mount it upside down etc, tests that I haven't done prior to sending it in. It may still be some issues with my camera, although I tried to rule it out the first time around by testing my other wide angles and not having issues with them.

    This is my first experience with Schnieder-Kreuznach repair services and so far I'm not impressed, even if the error is on my side they haven't been helpful at all in providing information I would need to solve the problem.

    Fortunately I bought this lens new at Linhof Studio and they're very supportive so I'm confident that it will be resolved in one way or another in the end. I'm getting a new lens plate and a proper lens wrench to make some proper testing to rule out any lens plate/camera issues. If I'm lucky it really is the lens plate, and currently that seems like the most likely reason for the problem as it would explain both that the optics is without error and that I have no issues with my other lenses. However the error doesn't look as a lens plate skew to my amateur eyes, and I was hoping Schneider-Kreuznach could have commented on that, but unfortunately not :-/

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Hi Anders,
    This isn't good, I'm sorry to hear it. I had a similar experience with Rodenstock regarding my 90mm that was exhibiting an enormous amount of flare on overcast days. They said nothing was wrong with it and it turns out they were probably right as the 90mm is notorious for crazy flare (actually, all the retrofocus RS lenses are too,) and more diligent use of a hood fixed the problem in most cases. Paula at Linhof Studio was excellent in supporting me with it, even shipping me a Lee universal hood free of charge to do some of my own testing. Great service.
    Let us know how your test get on...
    T

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I got a reply from Schneider regarding looking at the images, and they simply said that they never look at images, and stated again that the lens performs as it should, or actually "even better". I do hope they're right and something is wrong with the lens plate or similar.

    I sort of can understand that they don't look at images provided by users as it's so many parameters in it they can't control, but for me as a user it's frustrating of course. I guess they're afraid that users will turn any comments/guesses against them, in all they feel very defensive in their communication. Oh well, less-than-excellent service from manufacturers when it comes to repairs is more of a rule than an exception, and then it's nice to have a dealer like Linhof Studio in between. In this case I'm actually getting a loaner lens from them, and I even didn't suggest it.

    With a lens wrench, new lens plate, and a loaner SK60XL I will have all possibilities to really figure out where the problem sits. I'll do my very best. It will take some time until the stuff gets to me here, but hopefully I can start testing early next week.
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I had a similar experience with my 100hr. I swear it was decentered. Good at f/11 but not good at f/4. You could focus so one side was good but the other wasn't, then focus the other side. But never both sides.

    Rodenstock looked at it and said it was fine. Ugh.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I haven't got back my lens yet, but I got a loaner SK60XL today which I've tested shooting +/-25mm sideways shift at f/11. I get better results than I got with my lens, but still the right side was blurrier (or rather it focuses closer), so I suspected something skewed in the camera. I then remounted the lens upside down on the lens board (in place without refocusing) and then the left side got blurrier and the right became good.

    This makes the lens the prime suspect as if the camera would be skewed the error would be the same with the lens mounted upside down.

    I've attached a 100% crop (normal USM sharpening) showing the difference between the lens mounted upright or upside down at the 100mm image circle. The sharper result I'd say is really good for f/11 at ~100mm, while the other is not great but I expect it to clean up to okay when shooting at f/16 as I would do with this extreme amount of shift. The lens seems to be much better than mine, but I shall make a side-by-side test when I get it back.

    I'll give the final verdict after f/16 shot, but I expect that I will consider this lens to be fine. I'm no extreme perfectionist and have come to realize that even at this level there is some sample-to-sample variation and I'd go crazy if I would only accept perfect no difference between left-and-right at extreme shift because then I don't think any lens would pass.

    (I rarely go beyond 15mm shift in my shooting style)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by torger; 10th June 2016 at 12:58.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Indeed at f/16 the bad and good side are almost identical, so this loaner lens seems to be okay.

    I'm not sure what expectations one should have though. I've got the feeling that "sharp" lenses are always supersharp in center (which this is), but performance at extreme shifts can vary to a quite large extent. In 135 format sample variations are quite well documented (lens rental stats), it would be great to have the same stats for tech lenses. I suspect that precision of these lenses are not as good as their reputation. What do you think?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Attached a shot showing the loaner lens performance summarized. As you can see it's very sharp in center, and at 100mm image circle it's sharper on one side than the other, clearly seen at f/11. However at f/16 the difference is not too large. The loaner lens is performing better than my copy.

    I also dug out a SK60XL test with the IQ180 probably made by a dealer (Doug perhaps), and it shows the same, that is at f/11 one side is considerably sharper than the other at 100mm image circle. So all three SK60XL lenses I've pixel-peeped all show a clear left-to-right difference at f/11, which leaves me with the conclusion that it should be expected with this lens, but that at f/16 the good copies should not differ much.

    TJV's Rodenstock 55 shots earlier in this thread they show crops at about 80-85mm image circle at f/16. I don't show that in my attached screenshot so you have to trust me on this: the SK60XL on its good side makes a much sharper at f/11, but on the bad side it's about the same as the Rodenstock at f/16. Stopping down the SK60XL to f/16 the differences evens out almost completely, but the result is only marginally better than the Rodenstock 55. Possibly if we go out to 100mm the SK60XL would win.

    If it's possible to get an SK60XL copy that really is as sharp on both sides as this one is on its good, then you could shoot your panoramas at f/11 and clearly outperform the Rodenstock 55. However seeing three SK60XL copies and all three having pretty strong left-right differences at f/11 it seems unlikely to get a copy that performs at that level.

    I suspect that my lens that is about to come back from Schneider-Kreuznach without action will show that it performs as bad as it did when I sent it in. They did not find any error and even said that it performed better than their spec. If this is true it means that if you have a bad copy it won't be possible to get it aligned either as the repair shop don't aspire to that level of quality. So far that's speculation though, but it doesn't look too good.

    ALPA is said to have custom calibration of their lenses. Anyone who knows who does that, and if it has any effect, or if it's just market speak? If it's Schneider-Kreuznach repair shop that does it, it doesn't look promising... I would certainly be prepared to pay for a remounting service if you could get the lens to perform at the same high level both on the left and right side. One of original reasons for using medium format is to get better precision in lenses, but the observations I have on this lens so far makes me doubt that there really is any truth in that.

    I'm not sure the image is displayed correctly here in this forum, so here's a temporary link to the image http://torger.dyndns.org/sk60xl-loaner-analysis.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by torger; 11th June 2016 at 05:47.
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Can you clarify the sizes of these? Are they all 100% crops?
    Thanks!

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Can you clarify the sizes of these? Are they all 100% crops?
    Thanks!
    100% crops with H4D-50, 6 micrometer pixels. Normal USM sharpening applied, same processing on all crops. No lens corrections etc.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Anders,

    ALPA is said to have custom calibration of their lenses. Anyone who knows who does that, and if it has any effect, or if it's just market speak?
    Due to the variable nature of medium format digital sensors, high quality optics, and the movements a user might want to inform the components with, we find ourselves in an evaluative and educational position with our clients on a daily basis. Sensor position within the image circle of a lens brings about situations where limitations are revealed, and flaws exposed. Part of prescribing the right combination of these products is a thorough understanding of the performance. What we were truly interested in was how Alpa evaluates the lenses they receive from Schneider and Rodenstock, and does their evaluation offer any advantage over buying the same lenses off the shelf?

    If anything, what we saw from Alpa was that the quality control process is most often a combination of precise measuring equipment, but also that the human component is a participant in almost all aspects. This was especially the case when it came to lens evaluation. First, the lenses are intended to be dialed into an infinity setting, and when turned all the way to that mark, represent the sharpest image quality for an object at a significant amount of distance from the lens, in excess of a kilometer, in Alpa’s case. This is an essential value and benchmark for the lens to exhibit sharply. Alpa captures the center and left and right sides of each lens they receive into inventory with an 80 megapixel digital back. If the infinity target at the top of the distant peak isn’t visible because of low hanging clouds, the delivery of your lens could be delayed due to the weather!

    The results are then evaluated on an Eizo LCD and compared to reference files for the same lens shot with that same 80 megapixel digital back unit. There is some serious eyeballing involved and we all took part in this. What immediately was obvious is that no two lenses are exactly the same. And this is not surprising. Lenses, after all, are comprised of natural elements that then go through a cooking process and, once assembled into a housing, are susceptible to environmental changes. Out of the batch of 20 or so lenses we evaluated files from, we interestingly found that 2 of them noticeably exceeded the reference files and 2 of them noticeably did not come close to that level, and the 2 latter lenses were referenced as “go backs”. The remaining lenses were very close to the target performance. So what does this mean? It does mean that a lens purchased from Alpa will always be at a certain level of quality. And that a lens purchased generically may be below that quality level, if the luck of the draw doesn’t favor you.


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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    For the prices Alpa charge I'd damn well hope they extensively test each lens before selling it on!

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    True, but then again you'd also expect Schneider & Rodenstock to do the same level of QC BEFORE shipping to suppliers like Alpa who then mount them on helicoids or lens boards.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Thanks for the interesting info about ALPA testing. So what they do is a 30 minute test and then send the lens back to the manufacturer if it wasn't good enough compared to the average -- which in this case was 1 out of 10, rather than taking it apart and re-mounting it with more precise shimming. Such a test would raise the cost of say 100 euro per lens, and the lenses are obviously much more expensive than that so I think one can conclude that you mainly pay for the helicoid mount. However the value to the customer not having to make this test for themselves can be much much more than 100 euro...

    I wonder what happens with the lens sent back. Are they re-mounted with better precision, destructed or resold to some other which haven't their own extra QC like ALPA? My guess is that they are simply retested and resold, as Rodenstock/Schneider surely have their own QC of the automated measurement kind but with higher tolerances than ALPA. 1 out of 10 bad copies would for most products be considered a very poor result, so the only reasonable explanation is that the manufacturer have wider tolerances.

    If they are resold without further action it means that non-ALPA lenses are bad more often than 1 out of 10...

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    The thing is that you know that every lens leaving Rodenstock or Schneider or any manufacturer is checked on a collimator. What obviously is true is that perhaps the tolerances applied by the lens manufacturers doesn't match either resellers or even customers. How else would these differences between spec lenses and poor field copies occur?

    I'm sure that Alpa's rejected lenses are all within manufacturers specs.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 12th June 2016 at 09:32.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I'm sure that Alpa's rejected lenses are all within manufacturers specs.
    Yes I too find that to be the only reasonable explanation, otherwise 1 out of 10 bad would be a total failure of the manufacturing line.

    The follow-on question is then why is the tolerance set this wide. I'm 100% certain that the desire among customers using this type of gear is to get a lens that is very close to the theoretical maximum. Is it because the manufacturers simply aren't capable of better precision, or that it would cost too much, or make lenses too delicate?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I have or have had: SK 28XL, Rod 32HR, SK 35XL, SK 60XL, SK 72L, SK 90N, SK 120N

    None have shown, atleast what I have been able to detect, weakness left to right sharpness. I had the SK 35 recalibrated for infinity but that is the only one and came back a razor.
    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: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    All in ALPA mount I suppose, and as said they make an extra QC step. Not sure how large shifts they test though. The problems seen on these SK60XL is in the outer range of the image circle.

    Personally I have only experienced problems with the SK60XL, and I have 35, 47, 90, 120 and 180 too, all those second hand by the way, some which I have mounted myself. Ironically the only one I bought new was the one with problems :-). However the 60 XL is also the one I have tested the most and the one with highest expectations. The 47 has some serious falloff too to the edges of its huge image circle, but it's an old analog design so it still matches my expectations.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Thanks for the summary, Torger. It seems a good sample 60xl is king, but how do you know you'll receive an optimal copy of it (let alone any other lens, I guess.) in real world shooting and using a CF I'm finding the RS55 good enough, so long as I'm not needing perfect edge to edge sharpness in my panoramas. I wish I had money to spend though, I'd sure appreciate that extra detail to the corners.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    And don't forget, just shipping one of these lenses could cause problems, especially with a 32 Rodenstock, if not packed well it could very easily have a problem, especially if going overseas. The 60mm, less so, but it still could happen.

    Paul C

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    And don't forget, just shipping one of these lenses could cause problems, especially with a 32 Rodenstock, if not packed well it could very easily have a problem, especially if going overseas. The 60mm, less so, but it still could happen.
    The thing I have most difficult to accept is that Schneider-Kreuznach said they couldn't remount the lens even if I paid for it. With my Linhof body and my digital back I can send it in for service and recalibration at a fee, no questions asked They take it apart and put it together again to the best possible precision they can.

    This means if you happen to get a lens that's in the outer range of the manufacturer's tolerance there's no way to improve on it

    I've got to see yet another left-right pixel peep of an SK60XL (or rather upright/upside down mount) at ~100mm image circle, and that was a good copy (ALPA by the way) both sides looked about the same as the good side on my loaner lens. So there are copies of this lens that is really excellent.

    Just my luck to get two in a row that aren't. I thought several times about maybe it's I that makes something wrong in testing but the mounting test is really robust against other errors, if there is camera skew and lens is perfect the error shouldn't change when rotating the lens 180 degrees, so I can't think of any other error...

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Anders, if, when you get your lens back, you are still unhappy with the performance then - assuming you still have the loaner to hand - simply unscrew and swap around the rear groups of each lens and test. I’ve done this before a couple of times with lenses and the performance of one lens has always improved, especially towards the outside of the IC. On one occasion, it was a dramatic difference. If you have a spare Copal 0 shutter you could also play around with different front and rear groups on that.

    Jim
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    My one experience with S/K / Alpa didn’t exactly leave me enamored with their quality control. Sent three lenses via a dealer to Alpa for remounting. S/K does this, so they forwarded them. When I got them back there were obvious issues with a couple of them. The packing of the lenses left a lot to be desired as well; they had simply reused my original packing without removing foam to account for the additional helicals and mounts, so everything was crammed in really, really tight. This all said to me that no one at S/K checked the work done, and that subsequently the lenses were never inspected by Alpa or the dealer I used. Given the cost, this was disappointing to say the least.
    Last edited by greygrad; 13th June 2016 at 05:17.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    So to get this straight...
    1: Alpa gets sent lenses to select, rejects a few and send all back to SK to mount in helical.
    2: SK then unscrew the lenses from shutter and mount in helical.
    3: SK send on lenses (back to Alpa, or to dealer?) who most probably doesn't repeat same rigorous tests. (A dealer doesn't have such complex machinery to measure things and can't be expected to.)
    Seems a bit silly to me, but perhaps I'm missing something?

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Anders,

    1 out of 10 bad copies would for most products be considered a very poor result, so the only reasonable explanation is that the manufacturer have wider tolerances.
    Your explanation is reasonable but it is not the only reasonable explanation.

    If they are resold without further action it means that non-ALPA lenses are bad more often than 1 out of 10...
    Not necessarily.

    Example: On the occasion that Steve Hendrix visited Alpa, perhaps the 20 lenses being tested were from a production run of 200 lenses. If the Schneider Lemon Rate (SLRTM) is 1:100 then two production lenses could reasonably be expected to perform outside of specification. Both could have been included in the Alpa shipment.
    Rob
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Anders, I will do a test for you with my RS55 and 70mm lenses, hopefully tomorrow, to show you just how good / bad they perform at such movements. When I tested the 55 on a flat subject when first getting my Credo (not using CF which I didn't have then) I came to the conclusion that it was less than good off centre, maybe unusable. I was really disappointed. However in real world use, with CF, I'm mostly happy with it, although would very much appreciate the supposed better performance out to the edge of frame of the 60xl.

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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    So to get this straight...
    Not quite - S/K mount the lenses in their helicals and then on the Alpa mounts; they then send them to Alpa who carry out their own QC* before sending on to the end user or dealer.

    By the sounds of it, this doesn't happen if you send a lens to be retrofitted. It's simply sent to S/K via Alpa before being returned to the dealer once the work is done. I can possibly understand that because - from their perspective - they are dealing with a used lens. They would need to test it before sending to S/K and then again on receiving it back, in order to make sure performance hadn't deteriorated. Could get tricky. Still, given what they charge, it's not an unreasonable expectation.

    If you send Alpa a lens directly for retrofitting (i.e. not via a dealer) perhaps they take more of an interest, since they don't have to cut the dealer in.

    Greygrad's experience sounds poor - the dealer, Alpa and S/K are all being paid to provide a service. For the ~$6.5k (how much?) that it costs to retrofit three lenses, they should all check that the work has been done to the required standard (things are supposed to be simple at the top, right?)

    Jim

    *This extra QC possibly accounts for why a lens bought new in an Alpa mount is more expensive than buying the same lens new and getting it retrofitted (e.g. R/S 40mm in Alpa SB mount ~US$6.5k; same lens + retrofitting ~US$5.7k).
    Last edited by f8orbust; 12th June 2016 at 16:17.
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    Re: Schneider 60XL on 60mpx chip (Credo60/IQ160 etc) samples

    I also bought several large format second hand lenses for 4x5 and 8x10 without any problem at all. The only new lens I ever bought, the SK60Xl have a right to left problem. I was going to buy four tech lenses for my new camera but now I start to wonder...

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