Are all Schneider lenses duds?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by jasonluttrell, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Hi people. I have purchased three Schneider large format lenses (G-Claron 210 f9, SA 65 f8, and SA 90 f8) and they all have separation in both cells. It's not the schneideritis I keep reading about. Each one has separation around the glass. Its between the cemented elements, not just spotting along the edges. It looks like haze. I see no rainbow like effect you would usually see with separation. Does anyone know what is going on? Any ideas? Should I just stay away from Schneider? I have no way of testing them right now.
  2. No, Schneider lenses are by no means all 'duds'.
    They're one of the big 3 names in LF lenses - Rodenstock, Schneider and Nikon.... maybe 4 big names if you add Fujinon.

    True that Schneider never managed to nail edge blackening, but Rodenstock has a far worse reputation for element separation.

    The G-Claron is a process/copying lens, and may well have spent decades in a darkroom exposed to chemical fumes or otherwise having hot incandescent lights pointed at it.

    I've even seen an El-Nikkor lens that had its coating 'burned' off through sheer use.

    Pretty much you get what you pay for with a lens.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  3. Jason, your G-Claron doesn't have separation. You haven't shown us y'r Super Angulons but given your mistake with the G-Claron you're probably wrong about them too.

    Used lenses are used lenses. Some are also abused lenses. That's why we buy them with the right of return.

    Are any used LF lenses generally not safe to buy? Nearly all Voigtlaender Apo-Skopars and 58/5.6 Grandagons/Technikons are badly separated. Cement problem. Funny thing is, my 58/5.6 Grandagon has spectacular rings of fire at the edges of the cemented elements and shoots very well.

    Bottom-of-the-barrel used lenses are generally not to be counted on, but my very inexpensive (well, relatively) 65/5.6 SA is just fine. My $ 50 150/9 G-Claron cells are just fine.

    In other words, buy carefully and with the right of return.
  4. Thanks for the advice. Do you know what is wrong with those elements? I took it out and what ever that is is between the glass. The other two lenses look very similar.
  5. I don't think we're speaking quite the same language.

    To help you understand what I'm saying and to help you understand why I don't grasp what you've said:

    Lenses are made up of elements mounted in cells. When two or more elements are cemented together the assembly is called a group. Depending on the vintage, G-Clarons have six elements in two groups (each group is a cemented triplet) or six elements in four groups (each cell contains a singlet facing the diaphragm and a cemented doublet facing the world -- front cell -- or the film -- rear cell).

    With this in mind, does your G-Claron have crud in the cement or on glass surfaces that face air? Your "between the glass" could mean either. Regardless, unless the crud is on the cells' outer surfaces, send the lenses back. Or eat them and resolve to shop more caretully.
  6. Sorry got it. The crud is in the cement side between the singlets. All three lenses where it was cemented.
  7. this is the 65 mm

  8. i couldn't get a clear shot, but you can kind of see it at the top
  9. Reply to title: "No, I have some, that still look OK".
    Are yours from a same source (maybe storing and "refurbishing" them the same wrong way)?
    Folks, I'd consider way more experienced than myself, commented on your lens pictures in the other thread.
    I don't know your final goal. If it happens to be "LF happy snapping" (no offense meant by that!) I'd suggest:
    • Get everything else together & ready.
    • Test a similar round of lens shopping attempts.
    • Send the current one back, since nobody knows if it is kind of able to float your boat.
    Just my 2ct.
  10. Please try again.

    Is the situation from the outside in air-glass-crud-air (crud on inside surface of outer singlet) or air-glass-air-glass-crud-cement-glass-air (crud inside inner cemented doublet)?

    I use a thoroughly ruined 90/8 SA as a paperweight, just tried using a proper spanner to remove the rear cell's retaining (or is it trim?) ring. This is the ring that sits at the very rear of the lens and hold the rear element in. It wouldn't budge. Opening the front cell requires a rubber stopper thingy, which I don't have, to remove the trim ring, then a proper spanner to remove the ring that holds the first element in place. I don't think that opening the lens' cells to clean the glasses' surfaces is a job for a thumb-fingered amateur like me. And there's no guarantee that they'll clean up nicely.

    If you can return the lenses, return them and shop more carefully. If you're stuck them, try them out just because. If they don't work well enough for you, absorb the loss.

    Oh, yes, are you absolutely sure that the crud is inside the lens?
  11. One other thing has occurred to me. 90 mm is a commonly used focal length on 4x5. A 90 mm shot straight ahead on 4x5 (that's most of the time on a Graphic) doesn't really need a center filter to even up illumination between the center and corners. A 65 shot straight ahead on 4x5 needs a CF. Have you priced ones that fit a 65/8 SA? Schneider recommends their Center Filter I. Their 49 mm CF II might also do. Beware, the CF II also came with 52 mm rear threads; this version won't fit a 65/8 SA.
  12. I see surface dust, but nothing else untoward there.

    Shining a penlight through a lens is a very harsh test. Stuff that doesn't affect the image in the slightest shows up quite glaringly. And, FWIW, I have a Rodenstock 180mm Sinaron (AKA Sironar) with cement separation that eats into about 1/4 of the glass, and it's still one of the sharpest LF lenses that I own! Better than my mint-condition 150mm Nikkor-W in fact.
  13. Separations may not be serious depending where the separations are. Obviously, your example showing separations across the element needs fixing. Separations can be remedied by a good camera technician with the right equipment. The balsam cement dries or shrinks, etc. I got a quote for about $200 or more depending on what's needed for recementing. So a lens with separations can be restored.
  14. Frequently for ore then the lens is worth.
  15. You'll read in old books that cemented lenses can be separated by 'simply' boiling them in water. But Canada balsam hasn't been used for cementing lenses in living memory.

    Re-cementing is the easy bit - if you call getting sub-micron accuracy of mating easy. It's getting the lenses to separate and removing the old man-made resin cement that's the difficult bit.

    Doing all that ain't cheap!
  16. I read an article about balsam separation that was interesting. Among other things it stated that carefully putting the lens with concave surface up in a temperature controlled oven at 300 degrees will soften the balsam liquid to state and with the concave surface up, the air gap in the separation will migrate up and out leaving the balsam intact and no longer separated. I'm not dumb enough to try it, but it sounds like an interesting approach. I tend to leave camera repairs to the experts and just take pictures.

    I don't know what process my camera technician uses but he told me it was not complicated and he usually charges around $200 or so to re-cement the lens; whatever that means.

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