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Super Symmar 80mm XL f/4.5 Lens Quality


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Never used the 90 but the SS80XL is a great lens, I'm very happy with mine and find it excellent for landscape use. My very favourite is the 110XL but the 80XL is 99% as good, I jsut don't like the focal length as much (sometimes it's a bit indulgent too include the whole world if you see what I mean).
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I used the F5.6 90mm SA for six or so years and I replaced it with the 80mm SS XL about a year ago. If by "better" you mean more contrast, better detail, "sharper," no I don't think the 80 is better than the 90 (though this is just my impression from looking at prints, I haven't made any side-by-side comparisons using a loupe). But if by "better" you mean smaller, lighter, wider angle of view, and easier to compose and focus, yes it's better. It's an excellent, though expensive, lens.

 

One thing to think about is the possible need for a center filter with the 80. I don't think many people find a need for a center filter with a 90mm lens but 80mm is getting down into the range where you might need one (though I haven't so far). A center filter would add another $200 or so to the $1,400 or so cost of a new 80 (you rarely see them for sale used) or about double what a used 90mm F5.6 SA could be bought for and probably triple what a used 90mm F8 SA could be bought for.

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I haven't used the 90 either but I agree that the SS80XL is a fine lens. I've used mine for the last several years and have been extremely happy with it. For my taste it does require a center filter with chrome film (even when centered in the image circle), and definitely requires a CF when used with moderate movements.
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I used a 72mm SAXL for three years for landscape and never needed a centre filter. You dont usually (well I didn't) need much shift for landscape work. The 72 was a fantastic lens and I only sold it due to the points made above: weight, filter size. I also bought instead the 90 Grandagon N 6.8, which is not quite as good in terms of picture but wonderful in terms of the weight filter size, and I had money left over for heaps of film. I wish I had the money for the 80SSXL at the time.

 

Mark

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Thanks everyone for all the info. The reason I had asked in the first place (even though I already bought it) is because I find it vignettes with even slight movements. It IS really wide and thus need a center filter, IMO. Hoping that the 90 SA or even the 90XL would fare just as well in the areas of acuity and contrast but also allow me to make generous movements. I am going to try a few more shots before I return it for one of the 90s.
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