Zeiss vs. Schneider for black and white

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by john_morrow, Jul 15, 1999.

  1. I was wondering if any Rollei 6000 series users had thoughts on
    which group of lenses (zeiss or schneider) worked best for Black and
    White. John in brevard
  2. I would venture to guess that it would take thousands of dollars worth of test equipment to tell the difference. Either should yield results satisfactory for anyone.
  3. John, any difference between two lines of lenses of this quality is likely to be only noticeable in their colour rendition (not sharpness or contrast). Therefore, for mono work, they would produce indistinguishable results, except, perhaps, to an optical scientist.

  4. What subjects do you shoot?
  5. Allow me to resuscitate this old thread. I'm wondering if anyone else has something to say on this subject. I am considering selling my Contax 645 and focusing exclusively on working with my Rollei 6008i. My primary hesitation now concerns the difference in contrast in B&W with Schneiders for the Rollei as opposed to Zeiss for the Contax 645 (I know you can also get Zeiss lenses for the Rollei, but I have all Schneiders now (50mm 2.8, 80mm 2.8 and 150mm f4) and am considering switching to some other Schneiders (specifically, getting the 40mm f3.5 instead of the 50mm 2.8 and the 90mm Macro instead of the 80mm 2.8). Besides, isn't one of the main attractions of the Rollei system the ability to use Schneider lenses?). Anyway: in my very unscientific observations, it looks to me like the Schneiders on the Rollei are 1/2 to 1 stop higher contrast than the Zeiss lenses on the Contax 645. Is this possible? Has anyone else noticed this? Don't get me wrong: the B&Ws I've done with the Rollei/Schneider combination have displayed excellent sharpness, but appear to be of significantly higher contrast and therefore lack some of the "creamy" tonal gradation of the Zeiss lenses.

    Technical data: no, the shots were not of the same subjects, but the scenes were not of significantly greater contrast. And it's possible that the meter in my Rollei is off -- I haven't tested it scientifically. If it's over-exposing significantly, that could of course result in higher contrast and a shorter tonal range. The Zeiss lenses have Contax or Heliopan UV filters on them -- no UV filters on the Schneiders. Both sets of film I'm talking about here went thru the indetical process: shot on Delta 100 (rated at 80); developed in X-Tol 1:3 for 14 min. (10% reduction in developing time); printed on Ilford MGIV; enlarged on Omega D2 with Aristo coldlight head and 80mm Componon-S lens. No enlarging filter. This combination seems to produce negs that are almost perfect (no dodging/burning or adjustment of printing contrast) using the Contax 645 but appear almost a paper grade higher for negs from the Rollei/Schneider. Anyone else have this experience? Am I just reacting to the different "signatures" of the lenses? (and if that's true, I probably should either (1) keep the Contax or (2) get "new" Zeiss lenses for the Rollei?) Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!
  6. Ah... very interesting Bill. Since I have both, Zeiss and Schneider, please allow me to give me the following explanation(s).

    1. The differences in Zeiss and Schneider contrast behavior are much more minute than something you'd easily see as a difference in contrast on a B&W film, at least for standard subjects.

    2. There are differences between Schneider and Zeiss, particularly with the two popular Schneider APOs, the 4.0/90 and the 4.0/300. These lenses indeed sometimes have stunning detail contrast/sharpness and extremely narrow depth of field. Something I usually perceive as very positive, particularly for macro and telephoto applications.

    3. Some other Schneider lenses, such as the 3.5/40 Super-Angulon and the 2.8/180 Tele-Xenar, are very similar to the Zeisses. Often the 2.8/180 has less contrast because of insufficiently blocked stray light using the standard hood. Without this flaw however, also the 2.8/180 is very sharp and contrasty, same as Zeiss lenses.

    4. You are right about the stupid exposure meter of the Rollei 6008i. The Rollei tends to overexpose up to a full f-stop in bright sunlight containing lots of blue. It's right on target in subdued light or for many flash applications (for whatever reason). It tends to underexpose in low light situations, particularly in the early morning or late evening, with lots of red-shift. Once you have that in mind, you can expose correctly using the exposure correction settings. Still, in a single session, it sometimes turns out to be a hassle since you tend to forget to re-adjust for changing situations. Or you shoot Polaroid for each picture. Or you bracket for each picture, which tends to eat up 120 and 220 film like crazy. Or you use a hand-held meter and sacrifice all the automation you paid for. Rollei's multi-spot metering is not really of help since the mistake is a systematic mistake and not one that could be corrected by multiple measurings. Multiple times wrong is still wrong... I mentioned in another posting that I suspect that Rollei hasn't corrected their silicium blue cell for red shift.

    5. Then, lastly, this easily explains what you experience a slight contrast difference on black and white film. Just bracket once with the Schneider's and you'll see...

    6. In spite of all this, I still love my 6008i.

    I have mainly compared 40, 90, 150, 180, and 300 Schneiders with 50, 80, 120, 150, and 500 Zeiss. In fact, I have once done a comparison using the same subjects.
  7. Thanks VERY much for your response. Upon reviewing the prints I was talking about, it does appear that the ones I was concerned with were taken with the Rollei (Schneiders) in bright, direct sunlight. Now I'll run some tests and try to determine how much the meter overexposes in those conditions....

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