Schneider 90 PC TS Lens

paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
edited February 2013 in Other Manufacturers
After very careful investigating as much information on the web as could be found {and there's not a lot] I decided to purchase this Lens. I went for the 90mm rather the 50mm, only because it suited the type of photography I intended to do. From what I have seen from other websites, this lens as had mixed reviews.So here's what I have found.

The lens is huge and at just over 1kg in weight, it is not light . It is strictly a Tripod lens and of course is totally manual both in Focus and Exposure.
It is not a lens to do quick firing action but very precise and needs carful setting up. This to me is what photography is about , just the pure pleasure of handling equipment and enjoying the location.
With regard to its Tilt and Shift action, I found the novel way of turning the various rings on the lens a very precise way of setting up the lens. Although the Shift will move 12 degrees, I found 8 degrees gave no fall out at the edges.
This is without doubt a lens you just cannot expect to take out of the box and use. It takes a while to come to terms with understanding how tilt and shift lens effect the plane of Focus, Also consideration that the image circle on a tilt shift lens is larger than normal lens thus enabling tilt movement.
I am using this lens with a Full frame Nikon camera with Live view and sometimes with a 7 inch monitor to see total accurate focus.Needless to say, a serious tripod is required to hold all the weight and give stability.
I also found that setting the aperture to maximum of F 11 was all that was required and using less tilt and shift was better than more.
This is a serious investment and will not suit all photographers however if you enjoy taking reasonable time and setting up your equipment like me, you will totally enjoy the experience

I would fully recommend this Lens
Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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Comments

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Congratulations! Did you try the PC Nikkors before? Could you tell us the advantages against the Nikkor? Because I'm also interested in a Schneider PC lens (longterm idea) and I saw and tried the PC Nikkors of a friend.

    I just don't see the differences clearly. No, that's wrong: I see them but cannot imagine it's effects. Is it easier to use?
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    This should be the perfect product photography lens... and I am lusting after it. If I am not mistaken, the huge advantage is the adjustability and one can use tilt and shift together, rotating the axis as desired. Please let us know how this works and also, PAD will be looking for some images from this.

    The problem with the Nikkor PC (I have the 24mm f/3.5 as an architectural lens) is the relationship between tilt and shift is 90° and this can only be changed by sending the lens to a service center.

    As to the performance of the lens, Schneider Optics link on MTF is a good educational tool to fully understand what all this stuff is about. And, the real end result if far more important to me than the reviews which can be sometimes biased.

    Oh well....
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Love seeing threads like this! Thanks for sharing Paulr.
    The problem with the Nikkor PC (I have the 24mm f/3.5 as an architectural lens) is the relationship between tilt and shift is 90° and this can only be changed by sending the lens to a service center.
    Can you expand on that? I have to get a tilt/shift lens for a business segment I'm working on expanding, (interior/exterior/remodel contractors) and am trying to absorb everything I can to know the limits of what I can do with it.

    Thanks!
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    TTJ, yes, the ability to shift is at a 90° angle to the shift function. So, one cannot practically use both tilt and shift. A Nikon technician can change this to have the tilt/shift both on parallel axes. And, I believe they install larger knobs as well.

    How one uses the lens might determine if this is a problem. So far, I have not needed the parallel axes function.

    On everything but a D4 (D3, etc.), the built in flash may interfere with the lens function. I know on a D90 it is very clumsy. If one uses a front protective filter this vignettes on full shift.

    I think the lens is great, but would love to try something like the Schneider...for nostalgic reasons...on one thread I mentioned my 90mm f/8 Super Angulon....from 1965. Still is a beautiful piece of glass...

    I think it is sharp as one usually goes to f/8...and, in some venues, there is simply no other way to get a shot.

    Downtown Building

    I was 125 feet from the base of this building...f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO 450, tripod.

    Oh, a right angle finder is almost essential so one can have the camera on the tripod and look down into it rather than trying to look into a viewfinder.
    Msmoto, mod
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    JJ_SO,
    A simple answer is yes, I had the Nikon 24 E PC lens, for me personally I found it hard to use and after a couple months I sold it. The Schneider is far easier to use even thought it is completely manual, the way you set the lens up just seems lot more user friendly. As I previously stated these lenses are not for everybody and you have to build a relationship up with the lens, by using the lens in different photographic situations,However the old story the more you use something the easier it becomes. I do a lot of Pack work for catalogues in a studio environment so this lens is ideal Downside is the lens needs friends to take full advantage of what it is capable of. Fx Format camera with live view Solid head and tripod I use Manfrotto 057 with a 400 geared head, Light meter with spot capability, I use a Sekonic L758DR and remote control to lessen any movement I use Pocket -Wizards Mk111 to fire the camera , This is fine in a studio, different story when used on location.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The obvious difference is focal length. Schneider does not make a wide tilt/shift, so architectural work is not possible from close in. The PC-TS 2.8/50MM would be great for situations where one has room to shoot, but requires a fairly long subject-camera distance.

    I am still lusting after the 90mm, and your description of how it is used is so delightful.
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Thank you very much, paulr, appreciate it very.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    Thanks everybody, you see sometimes owners praising their equipment to justify the cost, I can truly say that in this case,I am happy to report I am completely satisfied with my purchase and we are becoming best of friends although my 24-70 is still my very best friend.
    Regards Paul
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Msmoto.
    Have you ever considered converting a back for your view camera to take a Nikon body? I cannot believe it would be too difficult and then you could use the Super Angulon 90mm! Possibly not wide enough for a lot of architecture but it would be great for product shots and you could use all the movements. You would, of course, only be using the centre of the angle of coverage too, so it should be super sharp as well. The macro possibilities would be interesting with all that bellows extension!

    It would be great to investigate this as it troubles me that I do not use mine any more. It (a 4X5 Horseman a 90mm, a 150mm and 360mm lens) just sits in my attic. I am never going to be able to afford a digital back for it.

    Has anyone done this?
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ DJBee49

    Yes, I have a Calumet from the 1960's the one I used in school. And, for sure I have thought about trying to adapt the D4 to this and shoot with the 90 Super Angulon. This may be a project soon. I am thinking an inexpensive adapter made from aluminum painted black.

    The problem is in the stiffness of the bellows, but this may be replaced by something like a black tire inner tube.

    Anyway, I am always intrigued by these projects.
    Msmoto, mod
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Msmoto
    Sorry if this is getting a little off topic but do you have a bag bellows? That might help. The aluminium plate had occurred to me too. The cheapest body attachment I can think of would be a thin extension tube, bolting the 'lens' face to the plate and using the F body mount on the camera side. The depth of the tube might cause vignetting if you used any movements though. I have a cheapish 12mm Kenko tube and by the look of it, the body mount might unscrew from the rest of it making it much thinner. Hmmm. Interesting. I would love to know if anyone has done this.

    I will let everyone get back to the topic now!
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Basic, moron's question: I have read what msmoto said about the tilt and shift being on perpendicular axes elsewhere too, and I've usually read this in the context of complaint. And I've read that the only solution if you want them on parallel axes is to pay Nikon to mod it. So... this seems so blatantly fundamental, why does Nikon go with the original set-up it goes with? Are there advantages to having the tilt and shift at 90 degrees to one another? (I can't think of any, but like I said, I don't think this is a smart question, so...)
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I'm lost on that one as well. I guess I don't get what is perpendicular to what, why or what is it now, why do you want it, etc.

    I have a feeling that my loss in the explanation has more to do with that view cameras basically were long gone in the general public before I was born. I never even saw one in person till after college except for museums and one camera shop had an old one as a decoration. I'm no spring chicken but by my childhood, AF 35mm compacts were out and that is what families had. I know they were used and still are, but the common person of my age could easily never see one in their lifetime.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    OK, the question is about why Nikon would make the tilt and shift on a 90 degree axis and not on the same parallel axis. My guess is to have the control knobs on all four sides of the lens. One side has the actual gear driven movement knob and opposite this is a locking knob. If the axes were parallel, two knobs would be required on each side.
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/2168/PC-E-NIKKOR-24mm-f%2F3.5D-ED.html

    I do not know of many times when tilt and shift would be used together, but maybe there are these, primarily in the studio with products.

    I am going to look at the lens and see what might be required to rotate the axes, so as to have them parallel. As this is a manual lens, it may not be that difficult. But, I think I would send it off.

    I use the tilt for getting a focal plane out in front without having to stop down so much, e.g.., low light shots.
    The shift is for primarily architectural work.

    Here is one where the front was tilted.....
    Lincoln County Sunset

    This is at f/16, but is in focus from about one foot to infinity.
    Msmoto, mod
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    TTJ

    There may be a slight problem with terminology here, with the Atlantic Ocean as the divide. 'View Camera', I think, has always been a more common name in the States for any direct view camera of any format; direct view meaning that the lens projects the image directly onto the ground glass viewing screen, and therefore the film/sensor. In the UK we tend to have used the term 'View Camera' less and have always drawn a distinction between 'Field Cameras' and 'Monorail Cameras'. We in the UK have often just referred to 'the 5X4 camera' and everyone knew what we were talking about. There is then the strange difference between the format descriptions- UK 5X4", US 4X5"- I do not know why!

    I have no idea how old you are (no offence!) but the 5X4" and 8X10" technical monorail camera has been the main weapon of the high end advertising/architectural/portrait photographer for a long time and as far as I am aware, right up until the present, mostly (but not exclusively) with digital backs these days. I know some people who still shoot 5X4" transparency film, scan it themselves and present it to their clients as 'digital images'. It may well be that this has diminished somewhat recently (with increasing internet use) but I am sure was present within your lifetime! Amongst many other photographers of relatively recent times, Richard Avedon and Robert Mapplethorpe as well as many advertising photographers have used 'view cameras'. Avedon exclusively using 8X10" format for the latter part of his career.

    These cameras were never within the remit of 'the general public' or 'what families had' but pretty much the exclusive province of the professional advertising/architectural photographer. The reasons were/are the stunning technical quality and the ability to control focus, depth of field and shape, quickly and totally accurately. The thrill of looking at a well shot 8X10 transparency on a light box is hardly describable.

    I am afraid that the contention that view cameras were some relic of an ancient time is really not true! Until a few years ago I was earning my living with a 5X4' technical monorail camera - to give it its full name. The reason I used it was that it could do things quickly and simply that no other camera could do - and with very, very high quality. A different world and purpose than the 'AF 35mm compact'!
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited March 2013
    I'm in my mid thirties. I do know the background of the cameras, what they are used for, etc. Very, very few people use them, and those who do, as you said, are doing art or high end uses. I do fully understand all of it.

    Which leads to my point of not understanding uses for all of the swing/tilt functions and what they are used to accomplish. The opportunity for me to even play with one doesn't exist without just purchasing one off of ebay. Quite frankly I have better uses for my money. Anyway this statement "tilt and shift on a 90 degree axis" makes no since to me as I have no reference to what is normally used, if that is not normal. I don't know what normal is or how you would describe it. One could say "You turn it this way to beat fish with it." and I would be, "OK that sounds good." The statement just flies way over my head.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    edited March 2013
    Its pretty straight forward. When one is using tilt movement in a left or right direction (swing) one can only shift the lens vertically at the same time, not in the same direction simultaneously. Rotate the barrel ninety degrees and the tilt is up and down and the shift is side to side. Canon TS-E, the Shneider and the upcoming Samyang you can rotate each function separately and thus align them or not, with the Nikon its one way or the other semi-permanently.
    Post edited by SquamishPhoto on
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited March 2013
    Squamish has said it well.

    The purpose of tilt is to change the plane of sharp focus from being essentially parallel to the "film plane" to being tilted in one direction or another. An example...shooting a model railroad. Set up camera over the layout, then tilt the front downward so as to have the sharp plane of focus extend out roughly parallel to the layout itself. This allows sharp focus from a few inches to infinity, but with a DOF immediately in front of the camera of maybe two inches, but as the distance from the camera to subject increases, so does the DOF.

    The shift, moves the image in one direction or another. Like if one shoots a 16mm lens, camera back held perfectly vertical, then crops only the upper half of the entire image so as to have the impression of "looking up" yet the building is not distorted in the usual sense. Same for product photography where the package needs vertical dimensions retained in the photo. Shifting the lens downward does this just as if one shot a photo with the camera back vertical and cropped from the bottom of the image to have what appears is a downward look at an object, yet the object is not distorted.

    And, I am looking at my 24mm PC Nikkor and can see that to change the axes of the tilt/shift, is a job for a technician. Way too many flimsy electrical connections. And, I can see why it is built the way it is. The electrical connections. On the body, the f/stop is set on the lens, and the camera reads this and uses it to adjust exposure......sort of. When tilted or shifted the fall off of light (gradual vignetting) is enough to force one to make exposures with slightly more light than the meter may suggest. Or vice versa as the meter cannot tell what the lens is doing other than aperture.

    Rather than purchase a lens on eBay, I just saw a Graphic 4x5 view camera with a lens for $125. One could buy one like this, play with it in the studio, learn all the tilt shift functions, observe in the ground glass the different effects, and then sell the thing for almost what was paid for it. This would allow one to determine if a PC lens is even desirable for a 35mm camera. Oops...DSLR.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    I took the Schneider 90 PC TS lens out for the first time,It normally stays in its workplace my Studio, however thought I see what it could do. Due to the lens been a 90 mm lens, this shot was taken about 250 yards away from the actual building using just 2 degrees of shift the camera was parallel to the building

    Kirkstall Abbey  Leeds Taken with a Schneider 90 mm PC T/S Lens
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ paulr

    If you post the original to a posting service which allows you to grab the HTML code (Flickr), then we can see what this looks like full sized. Or, post a link to the full size image.
    Msmoto, mod
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Yes! Beautiful...I could feel the bricks.... I usually post my photos on Flickr at 3000x3000px. I love to check them out and see if they are really sharp....and your is wonderful. Nice shot!
    Msmoto, mod
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    Thanks Msmoto First time I have used the lens to take buildings. It will be interesting to do a landscape pano with just the shift movement. However will have to wait till we get some decent weather.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Thanks for the descriptions everyone and wonderful photos paulr!

    I'll probably just have to rent one to see if it works for what I am trying to accomplish and to learn it.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,169Member
    edited March 2013
    Thanks, Tao Tejared. It takes time to get used to the lens because logically everything seems the wrong way round, A bit like a view camera showing everything upside down. The manual shows the lens moving direction, however normally the lens is fastened to the tripod with the supplied bracket, so in reality it's the camera body that tilts and swings. The blue rim/dial is great, because it opens the aperture for focusing and then you turn it back to the pre set aperture, problem is you sometimes forget to set it back and the image is overexposed! Good job it's digital. Only other downside it seems to draw other photographers in to look at this unusual 6 ringed lens just because its different, and the usual question, why are you using a Light meter? Easy answer, it ain't got any Electrics. The cameras light meter cannot get a correct reading when tilt and shift are used.
    Post edited by paulr on
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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