John Austin: Black and White Photography, Rae Starr: Pinhole, Cyanotype and Textiles


Schneider Angulon lens

Jul 22nd, 2019 • Tech Notes

Schneider Angulon 90mm Schneider Angulon lens cross section

I have always prefered simple lens designs.  One of the all time classic simple lens designs is the Schneider Angulon, a six element two group design from 1930 which still works well for landscape work and is tiny and light weight.  I have three of these, a 165mm with a 10x8" kit, and 90mm and 12cm ones for 5x4" landscape work.

Schneider 12cm Angulon lens on Ikeda Anba
(Note rear of camera is forward for wide angle use and slight tilt on rear standard)

The 12cm one was bought specifically for use with my "new" Ikeda Anba wooden camera for Littoral work at Broke Inlet and for karri forest images. (See the blog post about the Ikeda Anba camera for more information).

Linhof Super Technika V camera with 90mm Schneider Angulon lens

Early versions of these lenses illuminate a far wider circle than can acutally be used, as the corners turn to photographic porridge.  See the following scan of the 10x8" neg with the 12cm Angulon.  I use 10x8" to try lenses for 5x4" as this usually gives the whole circle of coverage and a very good indication of what a lens will do and what happens with too much rise or fall.  However, being a photo-grub I like this effect and may make a wide angle 10x8" camera to use this effect/defect

Test of Schneider 12cm Angulon lens at f18 on 10x8" film
(Excuse the mid Winter garden)

As the Angulon is a simple design uncoated Angulons are absolutely fine, as this is a flare-free design with only two internal air to glass surfaces.  My 12cm Angulon is uncoated and from 1939.

Schneider Angulon 90mm on Linhof panel

One point is that these lenses have bad curvature of field, but at normal landscape apertures this has never been a problem.  For elevations of forest or stucture the traditional technique of focusing one third out from the optic axis works well.  In any case the image for a littoral or desert landscape is set up with a bit of rear tilt, so focus is checked on the ground glass screen.  Very few field camera and technical camera bodies will allow much rise with wide angle lenses.  I have no intention of carrying a Sinar into the Australian landscape, even the Linhof kit is getting too much on a hot day.

Assesment, the Angulon lenses are very light weight and small and should be very affordable.  The design gives a very capable lens with more than adequate sharpness in the centre of the field, which broadens when stopped down.  It has been recommended that for a plane subject the lens should be focused 1/3rd out from the centre to make the sharp coverage move even.  This lens has no flare and has good contrast.

Schneider Angulon 165mm on Sinar Norma camera

PS - Parting thought, 35mm is my favoured focal length for 35mm work. A 35mm 5.6 Angulon design for 35mm in Leica screw mount would be an utter dream of a light weight lens, and for normal daylight use f5.6 is fine. I like simple lenses

PPS - Half an early version of the Angulon was the logo for Schneider for many years, possibly still is

Half an Angulon is the logo for Schneider Optik Kreuznach



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