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Thread: Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens

  1. #1

    Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens

    Has anyone tried/tested the the Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens?

    Need a high quality normal T&S lens for the D800. The ability to do parallel shift and lens swing or tilt independently of one another in any desired direction (vertically, horizontally or obliquely) has my attention.


  2. #2

    Re: Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens

    Well, I received the Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens yesterday. I will be testing it over the next few days to ensure that it will perform as I expect from a lens of this stature.

    First Impressions

    This is a big lens. What surprised me is that despite it's size, it is relatively light. The fit and finish is elegant and just exudes quality. I have read a few reports of it not being extremely sharp and others saying that it is capable of resolving as well as any other 50mm lens currently available.

    Testing on the Nikon D800

    The lens is mounted on an Arca Swiss tripod mount/ring that is supplied with the lens. This makes adjustments a bit different than the Nikon or Canon T/S lenses in that you need to plumb camera sensor plane after each tilt prior to focussing. A very precise and exact way of working. Very similar to using front tilt on a view camera with the film holder kept level.

    When shifted, the lens creates cyan magenta which is easily removed in LR4.1
    The process of obtaining DOF focus is not difficult and is quite precise but takes time as with a view camera. The ability to rotate the tilt and shift planes 360 degrees independent of one another is sweet.

    The lens is acceptably sharp. Not blow em away this is the sharpest lens since the ceramic chef knife sharp, but certainly workable for most applications although for the price that Schneider is asking, I would have expected it to rival the sharpest 50mm lenses out there. I did not test the lens with charts and such, these are only MY observations.

    The lens does produce a significant amount of barrel distortion. I could not resolve all of it with LR4.1 or C1. In addition, I found the lens to be somewhat soft in the corners. This surprised me as it is a large format lens design placed in a small format configuration. With an image circle or 70.2mm (at infinity) I would expect that the edges would be sharper even with moderate shifts/tilts.

    When shifting the lens, significant darkening of the viewfinder/live view occurs for approximately 1/4 of the image as expected. BUT, I experienced little to no vignetting in the final images even with significant shifts. This is attributable to the large image circle.

    I tested the lens shooting architecture with very close and far elements. I realize that this is probably a very demanding configuration, but this is how I would be using the lens. For anyone shooting studio product, or landscapes where absolute flat field verticals and horizontals are not required, this lens may have utility.

    Not being able to resolve all of the distortion is somewhat disappointing as is the less than stellar sharpness of this lens. It brings up an important question; Can one justify the cost of the lens for $3,400? (which seems to be todays retail pricing)

    These are my experiences and observations. As such, I am sure they are subjective and biased, no question there. No need to agree or disagree, just wanted to offer them to anyone thinking about purchasing this lens and suggest that you do some testing yourself. However, as I mentioned earlier, the implementation of the lenses functionality is first rate. I wish that Nikon could offer this type of quality mechanical functionality in the PC-E products.

    I have attached a photo of my D800 and the lens as well as a quick uninspiring image of a dining room. Notice the residual distortion at the sides. Trying to get this last bit out in LR (Lens isn't supported in C1) resulted in other distortion being introduced elsewhere.
    Last edited by Spiritshooter; 7th July 2012 at 16:28.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Antonio Chagin's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Miami-Fort Lauderdale
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    Re: Schneider Tilt-Shift 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon lens

    My actual combo is the Nikon D800 + Horseman VCC Pro + Pentax 645 Lenses.
    The Horseman VCC Pro have camera mounts for Nikon and Canon and lens mounts for Mamiya 645 and Pentax 645, Hasselblad, Rodenstock and Schneider.
    For panos is great becouse the shifting movement is in the rear mount.
    The funny thing is that my Pentax 35mm lens, mounts and have movements enough for shifting and stitching, not to say that the 45-85 and 120 macros are on it too.
    Total I spent $4000 for the VCC Pro and lenses and the all tilt and shift.
    I think is a good deal.
    Hope this helps to anyone trying to work with tilts and shifts.
    Pretty soon I'm going to be showing some images of these combo and the actual setup.

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