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Last updated: 16 March, 2006

Group Photo of Lenses
The contestants, from left to right:
Nikon 200mm M f/8
Schneider 210mm Xenar f/6.1
Schneider 210mm Symmar Convertible f/5.6
Docter Optic 210mm Tessar f/4.5
Rodenstock Geronar f/6.8 not shown
Docter Optic 240mm Germinar W f/9 not shown




210mm Lens Matchup - an ambitious test

My Assumptions

The Contestants

Make Model Length
(mm's)
Max
Aperture
Shutter Weight
(grams)
Image
Circle
(f/22)
Filter
size
Configuration
(elements -
groups)
Nikon M-series 200 f/8 #0 Copal 180 210 52 4 - 3
Rodenstock E-series 210 f/6.8 #1 Copal 295 242 49 3 - 3
Schneider Symmar Convertable 210 f/5.6 #1 Copal 525 297 67 6 - 4
Schneider Xenar 210 f/6.1 #1 Copal 375 255 49 4 - 3
Docter Optic Tessar 210 f/4.5 #3 Copal 565 255 58 4 - 3
Docter Optic Germinar W 240 f/9 #1 Copal 280 336 49 6 - 4

The Subject Matter


Make Model Length
(mm's)
Coatings Aperture
blades
Age Market
Value
Notes
Nikon M-series 200 Multi-coated 6 blades 1990's $425 used This is the smallest, lightest weight, shortest focal length lens in the test. Has been a personal favorite for carrying when traveling overseas.
Rodenstock E-series 210 Multi-coated 7 blades 1990's $200 used This is a small simple optical design three element, light weight lens. Largely overlooked for serious work due to price and simplicity.
Schneider Symmar Convertible 210 Single coated 7 blades v.early 1970's $175 used This is a heavy lens due to it's brass lens barrels. Widely availble and cheap. The design was Schneider's first modern plasmat. Largely overlooked due to age.
Schneider Xenar 210 Single coated 7 blades 1978 $165 used This a fairly light optic. It is surprisingly crisp and easy to focus on the ground glass. Not as much coverage as a plasmat, but niether is it as large nor as heavy either. A potential jewel of a lens.
Docter Optic Tessar 210 Single coated 7 blades 1991-1994 $300 new A true rare optic with a very large aperture and the largest shutter of any lens in this test. By far the brightest lens on the ground glass, but not as "snappy" or contrasty on the groundglass as the f/6.1 Xenar.
Docter Optic Germinar W 240 Multi-coated 10 blades 1992-1994 $250 new in barrel, $50 used shutter A truely rare optic. Perhaps less than 90 in existence. This is what the Schneider GClaron could have been. This is small, light, provides massive coverage, and comes multi-coated. I mounted this in a round aperture Prontor shutter.
Schnieder Symmar Convertible 210 Single coated 10 blades v.early 1970's $175 used I remounted this heavy plasmat into the round aperture Prontor to see what, if any, difference the aperture shape had on out of focus areas. I shot the lens/shutter combination at f/11 for this test.

Test Setup

Nikkor 200M Test Setup
Nikon 200 M f/8
1/125th sec, f/8
Test scene setup
Defining the center of the field

Processing and Printing

The Contact Sheets


The Prints

On-Axis In Focus Details

Make Wide Open f/11
Nikkor
200 M
f/8
Docter Optic
210 Tessar
f/4.5
Redonstock
Geronar
f/6.8
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Copal #1
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Prontor #1
Schneider
Xenar
f/6.1
Docter Optic
Germinar W
f/9

Far Off-Axis Out Of Focus Detail Rendition

Make Wide Open f/11
Nikkor
200 M
f/8
Docter Optic
210 Tessar
f/4.5
Redonstock
Geronar
f/6.8
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Copal #1
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Prontor #1
Schneider
Xenar
f/6.1
Docter Optic
Germinar W
f/9

Slight Off-Axis Out Of Focus Detail Rendition

Make Wide Open f/11
Nikkor
200 M
f/8
Docter Optic
210 Tessar
f/4.5
Rodenstock
Geronar
f/6.8
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Copal #1
Schneider
210 Symmar Convertible
f/5.6
Prontor #1
Schneider
Xenar
f/6.1
Docter Optic
Germinar W
f/9

USAF Resolution Test Chart Comparison

My Conclusions