Nikkor 90mm 4.5. How good is it ?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by suchismit|1, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. I constantly hear of people raving about the Nikkor 90mm f/8 and how
    big the image circle is and how good it is. There are also those who
    rave about the Schneider 110mm SS XL and how they would part with
    one eye before they do with this. <p>

    I have the oppurtunity to get the Nikkor 90/4.5 at a very reasonable
    price to go with my Shen Hao. How does it compare to the 90/8, they
    both have about the same image circle ? And how does it compare with
    the other two biggies ( Schneider SA and the Rodenstock Grandagon
    4.5) ? Weight is not of paramount importance to me, I am more
    interested in the optical characteristics<p>

  2. It is a first class lens. Kerry Thalmann did a very fine job overviewing Nikon large format
    lenses in "View Camera' early last year. Kerry thinks they are right up there with the very
    best of LF lenses on a focal length by focal length basis.
  3. Tim, If weight is no issue for you and the price is right, I don't think you would be dissapointed with the lens. It is very sharp. I have both the 110mm SS XL and the Nikkor SW 90mm 4.5 and am reluctant to part with either.

  4. Much of the popularity of the 90 mm f8 Nikkor-SW and the 110 mm SS-XL are from their lower weight / smaller size compared to other lenses with similar optical parameters. Since you say that weight is not of paramount importance to you, the 90 mm f4.5 Nikkor-SW should work well for you. I'm sure that it has top-quality optical performance, unless a particular used sample has been abused.
  5. I own the Nikon 90/4.5 and use it regularly on 6x17. Excellent resolution, great color and
    contrast. On 617, which is closer to 5x7 there is noticable light fall-off at the extremes,
    but not any worse than the Rodenstock. It has an 82mm filter thread, so if you need a
    center filter it's going to be fairly expensive. I personally don't use the center filter, and
    don't find the fall off objectionable in my landscape work.
  6. Thanks all, for your responses. <p>

    Paul, other than fall off did you see any loss of sharpness near the (vertical) edges in the 6x17 format ?
  7. Tim,

    Perhaps I am the exception that proves the rule. I have both the
    Nikkor 90mm 1:4.5 and the Super-Symmar XL 110mm 1:5.6. In
    the past I have also had the Rodenstock 90mm 1:4.5 and the
    90mm Super Angulon XL.

    ALL of these lenses were bought brand new.

    Let me say that I am totally underwhelmed by the 110mm. The
    Rodenstock was also way less than impressive. The Nikkor
    leaves them all for dead based on what I see in my negs and
    trannies although, in fairness I should say that the Super
    Angulon XL 90mm was a cracker but when I changed from a
    Sinar to a Technikardan I could no longer fit the rear section in
    the hole (so to speak).

    As an aside, I have been changing over many of my Schneiders
    for Nikkors of late. They are consistently stunning.
  8. I think you MAY have a problem mounting the 90 4.5 Nikkor on your Shen Hao, because of the size of the rear element. I've used one before, on a Sinar, and it was massive. I have a Shen Hao now, and I think you might have to disassemble the lens and remove the bellows from the camera, then re-assemble the lens inside the bellows and re-attach the bellows when you're done. I also don't know if the front standard on the Shen Hao will take that much weight. You may or may not find it to be more hassle than it's worth.
  9. "..then re-assemble the lens inside the bellows and re-attach the bellows when you're done.."
    My gosh..that must be a humongous rear end ! I will know in about a week.
  10. The diameter of the rear cell is 70 mm.

    It is heavy, 600 g according to Nikon.

    P.S. Some cameras have problems with lenses with rear cells with diameters over 80 mm. I don't remember any such reports with smaller lenses, though there is probably some camera out there with a small throat.
  11. OK, I finally got it this morning. It came with a Wista lens board and its a bit bigger and heavier than I thought it would be. But on the bright side it fit on my Shen Hao without a problem. It doesn't seem like I will need bag bellows for it either. <p>

    I might add that the front standard of the Shen Hao seems strong enough to be able to support a lens at least twice its weight.
  12. I just purchased a 90mm f4.5 for a great price...I have a few questions about it: 1) does the brand of center filter make a difference? I would like to save a bit by buying the heliopan CF ($350). Does anyone have any recommendations for a CF? 2) Where do I find serial number info for this lens? It is serial #685234. 3)Are there any manuals available online that anyone knows of?
  13. Andrew's questions:

    1) Heliopan is a good choice. You just have to guess since Nikon doesn't make a center filter specifically for this lens.

    2) The Japanese manufacturers assign serial numbers in batches to lens types, unlike the European manufacturers, who use the same sequence for all lens types. This makes it difficult to date Japanese lenses from serial numbers. The Nikkor-SWs appeared in approx. 1981 when Nikon introduced LF lenses to the US market and have never changed. Guessing that the block for this lens began with 68000, your lens would be the 5234th made.

    3) The manual doesn't say much that isn't obvious. Most of the operation of the lens is using the Copal shutter, which is fairly evident. When you install the lens, you will have to unscrew the rear cell -- be careful, because the glass projects on the inside. You shouldn't need to unscrew the front cell, but if you do, be careful of the thin brass shim that is used to adjust the spacing.

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