looking for compact 210mm recommendations

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by tamara_fossier, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. I am looking for a compact, used, 210 mm lens to take backpacking. My old eyes sure
    appreciate something around f5.6 to f6.3 for focusing, rather than something in the f8 to
    f9 range. Several that are currently available include: Rodenstock Geronar (and Caltar IIE
    version) MC triplet type 210; Fujinon L 210 single coated tessar type; and Komura
    commercial 210 single coated tessar type.

    I appreciate high contrast and sharpness in color landscape work. I hope that you folks can
    help me with recommendations about these, or perhaps other compact lenses in this focal
    length. Thanks!
  2. Unless it absolutely has to be a 210, I'd highly recommend the Nikkor 200mm. Superb sharpness and contrast, and incredibly compact and lightweight.
  3. As always, the person who has thought the most about this question is Kerry Thalmann. Check out his website for lightweight lens suggestions. Kerry also suggests the 200mm Nikkor.

  4. Dear Tamara,

    There is a big challenger to your list : the f/6.3 210mm Commercial Congo. It's a modern multicoated version of the famous Tessar type lenses as the Kodak Commercial Ektar. It's a small and very sharp lens. Much more sharp for instance thanthe Geronar (which is a triplet).Opposite to the Fujinon or the Komura, the Congo is still in production and you can buy it new. It's one of my favourite lenses. You will find more information at:
  5. The 200M is f/8, which is not a big deal for me but may be for you. Also a Tessar, IIRC. At f/22 and smaller, I'd guess that the Geronar is as sharp as anything else unless you use a lot of movements (I don't have the Geronar so I can't verify that). If you don't mind old, and a bit slow, consider the 203/7.7 Ektar, yet another Tessar, also single coated. Small, sharp, cheap.

    You don't specify a format -- if you ever go larger than 4x5 you might also consider the 210 G-Claron (it's f/9, again not a big deal for me but ...) Not quite as small as the 200M or Geronar, but smaller than the 5.6 plasmats, and easier to find than the other wide field 210s.
  6. I purchased an old Schneider 210/4.5 Xenar in a barrel mount for use on a 4x5 "Speed" Graphic. When mounted on the "Speed" I can close everything "up" for easy portability. All I need to do now is adjust the rangefinder for the 210. We'll see how it works in a few weeks.
  7. You can still buy a new Schneider Xenar 210mm f6.1. But for very light nothing can beat a Ektar 203 f7.7 in a Epsilson shutter. These can be remounted in any #0 just by screwing it in.
  8. Tamara,

    I like my Fujinon L 210. It is not the lightest lens on the block (Copal 1 shutter) but it is sharp enough for me and I have not seen any disadvantages from single coating. In addition, its large opening permits me to focus also in low light conditions. It should be obtainable at e-bay at a favourable price.
  9. I didn't know the 203 can go right into a copal 0. I think my copal 0 is already threaded for a 135 sironar-n.
  10. S.C. wrote "I didn't know the 203 can go right into a copal 0. I think my copal 0 is already threaded for a 135 sironar-n."

    Most can't. Only those sold in the UK and mounted in an Epsilon shutter. Those sold in the US and mounted in a Supermatic are threaded differently.

    Your 135 Sironar-N is made to go into a #0. Your Copal #0 wasn't made for any particular lens, it was made to the #0 standard. Visit www.skgrimes.com, go to products, then new shutters to see the current standard shutter specifications.
  11. I can vouch for the Rodenstock Geronar/Caltar IIe. It was my first 210mm lens. I sold it when I got an incredible deal on a new f/5.6 210 Horseman lens when they were getting out of the business. It's a great lens, but I tested them against each other before I sold the Caltar, and stopped down I couldn't see a bit of difference. Of course, as a triplet it doesn't have as much coverage as more complex lenses, but as a 210 on 4x5, you should have enough for most or all of what you'd want to do, even at infinity. They're pretty reasonable, lightweight, multi-coated, sharp...what more could you want?

  12. Well, a question sure gets a lot of answers quickly when posted here! Thanks to all who
    have responded!

    It seems that the Nikkor M is very popular, but I really do want something faster because I
    enjoy twilight scenes, fog, and so on, and seeing a brighter image on the ground glass
    adds to my enjoyment while composing the shot. While the new Congo 210 sounds
    interesting as a multi-coated Tessar-type, I am not wanting to go with a used lens for cost

    Which brings me back to the lenses that I originally asked about. Your responses have
    indicated that both the MC triplet and the single-coated tessar-type have provided good
    results. I wonder if any of you have experience with both types, or know enough about
    optical theory to comment on the resolution and contrast abilities of MC triplet vs. tessar

    Thanks again!
  13. Is there anything wrong with using an Apo-Symmar 5.6/210 or Apo-Sironar 5.6/210 for backpacking? I have never found the size and wieght of these lenses to be an impediment to backpacking, and the quality is beyond question. If you have a tight budget, try Symmar-S or Sironar-N, that's still better than any three or four element designs.
  14. I've been using a quite a few lenses in the 210mm range and found the Komura you mentioned as good as any. They come in a Copal #1 shutter and are similarly sized and weigh about as much as a Nikkor M 300/9, which isn't bad. I think they have a 49mm thread; I put a 52mm adapter ring on one of them (for some reason I've ended up with two of these, they're not dear s/h) and put it behind a B+W MC UV filter. Optically, I can't see much difference to the Nikkor M or other modern lenses, although the Komuras are only single coated. I can wholeheartedly recommend them, for me they score high in both the backpacking and brightness stakes (and are often half the cost of a used Nikkor M 200/f8 to boot) and can handle 5x7" and 6x17cm formats with ease.

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