Introduction to special digital lenses by Schneider Kreuznach.

At Photokina in Cologne Schneider presented its new lenses for digital photography. FLAAR. is now testing two Schneider digital lenses on location in Guatemala.

Since most photography in the FLAAR. Digital Imaging Technology Center is of ancient art and artifacts, Schneider suggested their APO-Digitar f 5.6 120 mm lens. Previously we had been using a Schneider Makro-Symmar HM f 5.6 180mm lens.

Schneider Kreuznach APO_Digitar f5.6 120mm lens for digital scanning backSince depth of field is a serious problem with earlier models of large format digital cameras (such as the Dicomed Field Pro and Dicomed Studio Pro) it is hoped that the 120 mm lens will help over the previous 180 mm lens. Depth of field is limited because the thick digital filter on the lens cuts down light so drastically that you are lucky to be able to shoot at f 8. It is rarely that I can generate enough light to shoot at f 11. Hopefully the new lighting systems that we will shortly be testing will help overcome these problems. Fortunately the newer generation of digital camera such as the Better Light Model 6000 are better with respect to lighting requirements.

The new 120mm digital lens is appreciably smaller and lighter than the older 180mm. Since I like to enlarge my digital prints on a wide format printer, it will be interesting to see how the APO and characteristics optimized for digital photography work out.

First test results, Nov. 1, 1999: Depth of field is acceptable, keeping in mind the test is using a circa 1996 Dicomed FieldPro, which is excessively light-hungry. The new Better Light cameras are vastly superior as is the newest generation of PhaseOne scanning backs.

But the pictures are turning out distorted. The image is elongated vertically. We are currently checking with Schneider to see what may have caused this problem, placement of the lens, or whether the lens was made for a 31x31mm chip (test is using a 72x90mm scanning back). All camera movements were fully vertical, nothing was angled, so the camera placement should not be the cause. We are checking with Michael Collette, developer of this Dicomed as well as the improved Better Light models.

The other digital lens loaned for testing by Schneider is a 47mm ultra wide angle lens. This will be employed in digital architectural photography.


Last updated Aug. 5, 2001.