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Schneider 180mm 28 AF Tele Xenar lens

cmdr

Active Member
I would like to know if anyone has had experience with both the Schneider 180mm 2.8 manual focus lens, as well as the Schneider 180 2.8 auto focus lens? Currently I'm using the Schneider 180mm 2.8 manual focus version, and was wondering if anyone has noticed any optical difference between the manual focus and auto focus version.

In reviewing the MTF chart for the Schneider 180mm 2.8 auto focus version, I noticed that there is just a tad of barrel distortion versus the manual focus version has a tad of pincusion distortion. It is quite rare for a tele lens such as the 180mm focal length to have barrel distortion. I am interested in obtaining a 180mm 2.8 AF version, but I wasn't sure if there would be any advantage optically speaking over the manual version.

Thanks,
Dale
 

cmdr

Active Member
John,

Thanks for your input. I would suspect that the Schneider 180mm auto focus version has a shorter distance to travel as far as rotating the focus dial from zero to infinity. This would make sense as to save power so the internal dc motor inside the lens won't drain as much power in order to rotate the lens a farther distance. What fascinates me is that the MTF chart for the 180mm auto focus lens looks like it has been slightly improved over the 180mm manual focus version. This improvement is more evident at f/2.8. The fact that the Schneider 180mm auto focus version shows a slight degree of barrel distortion as opposed to the traditional pincushion distortion of a tele lens in this focal length is most unusual indeed. My understanding of lens construction and design is that manual focus lenses generally are more durable than compared to the very same lens in an auto focus version.

With the Schneider 180mm manual focus lens that I currently have, I've been quite happy with the results, especially with big enlargements such as a 16"x16" or a 20"x20" size print. I suppose one question that comes to mind is since you have both the manual focus and auto focus version of the Schneider 180mm lens, does one produce images with a particular look or characteristic that causes you to prefer one over the other?

Thank you,
Dale
 

cmdr

Active Member
John,

I am sure that the Schneider 180mm 2.8 Tele Xenar AF lens makes images with a different look than compared to 180mm 2.8 manual focus lens. For me, the difficult part seems to be having the opportunity to try a 180mm 2.8 auto focus lens to see if I like the look of the images that it produces. If I knew right away that I liked the look of the images produced by the auto focus version, I would buy one tomorrow. I kind of wish that there was a source in the US where people could rent Rollei bodies and lenses. This would enable more people to have an opportunity to see first hand the quality of the Rollei equipment as well as to witness the first class images that the Schneider and Zeiss lenses can produce. Canon has a program where they will ship a loaner lens to a photographer anywhere in the US. Sure one will pay for the shipping and the cost to return the lens when they're done, but at least the photographer has a source to obtain any Canon lens that they need, and often times the photographer will end up purchasing that particular lens anyway. I believe that it takes money to make money, and if Rollei would set up such a source, I am quite sure that they would be selling more lenses. Anytime you start to circulate high quality photographic equipment amongst a populace who has an interest in making exceptional high quality images, some will say yes, I like it and start purchasing a system, and some will pass and go on, but that's how the reality of marketing a product works. With the exception of a few photographic stores in the New York City area, there aren't really many camera stores in the US who carry Rollei at all. Even though Rollei recently introduced the 6008AF digital bundle with the new E motion Sinar digital back, unless your familiar with Rollei either by personal recommendation or you've had a chance to experience the high quality of using Rollei products, more than likely you will tend to look at a brand that you're familiar with or have seen in the hands of other photographers. Over the last six years I have come across hundreds of professional photographers through various photo shoots, media press conferences, fashion shows, and portrait workshops. And in all that time, I've only come across one photographer who used a Rollei medium format camera, a TLR as a matter of fact. So Rollei needs to get on the ball and start doing some serious marketing.

Regards,
Dale
 
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