4x5 lenses; a practical question

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by atenlaugh, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Dear Apugers,

    While I have found much information on (some) of the lenses available to a 4x5 user, it seems like it's difficult to find where to BUY those lenses (I could, of course, be blind).

    My main concern is with finding a cheap lens. I wouldn't mind a barrel lens, so long as it's functional, and cheap. Some respectable coverage wouldn't be so bad. That's all I ask, really.

    So, more than just information about the lenses: What are my options for purchasing? I don't want to do the Ebay route... even if one of you guys has something sitting around... :D

    What I mean to say, is, I have this beautiful camera sitting here (thanks Eric), and my whole being is YEARNING to play with it, and I need to find information, quickly, before this timer within me...well, you know.


    Sincerely,
    Nate
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got a nice Symmar 210mm convertible from Midwest Photo Exchange. I am not sure what they have in stock right now, but it is worth a look. http://www.mpex.com. There is also KEH, they have pretty good prices and I have had great service from them. http://www.keh.com.

    Good luck,

    Paul.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hmmm, what do you mean by cheap? Seriously, how much do you want to spend (or, not spend as the case may be)?

    If you want "nearly free", you could start with a pin hole made in tin foil...i guess.


    People do sell LF lenses here from time to time. I guess if you are opposed to eBay, and you want really cheap, then you have to be a little patient...and fast to respond when something comes up.
     
  4. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Eventually, I'd like as-nice-as-possible. I'm just looking for something to play with until my (limited) funds can grow respectable enough for nicer, more modern (maybe) equipment. It's not an issue of how much I WANT to spend, but how much I can. Probably around $100 or less, at this point.

    And, yes. Patience is important. I suppose tonight the ol' OCD is kicking in.
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    if you gotta have something to play with - right now - go out to the drug store and get yer self a big magnifying glass (Sherlock holmes style) and some electrical tape....tape that baby to a carefully fitted piece of cardbord and go to it!
     
  6. Dan's45

    Dan's45 Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Tacoma,WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    lens choices

    hey eric,
    what are looking to shoot? it could give me an idea. i got a 135w nikkor w/ my 4x5 camera. i am currently looking to get a 90mm super angulon. try mpex.com-they have some good stuff there. you might want to talk to jim there, he hooked me up with mine for about 800(sinar f1,nikkor 135w lens and cable-the lens has both caps and the lenses are like new and can mounted there for you. they have really good prices on there lenses if you can give em the look over. let me know what you decide, i know what it's like getting a new toy and not being able to wait to play with it. til then will be wishing best of luck w/ your decision!!! :smile:
     
  7. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'll even use gaffers tape, to show that I'm serious.
     
  8. Dan's45

    Dan's45 Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Tacoma,WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    mistaken id and whats your poison.....lens choice??

    oops.....nate,
    was talking to guy named eric earlier today bout this subject...sorry for confusion...but let me know still whats up
     
  9. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    Oh, tight landscapes and portraits. Probably. Looking in the normal-long range, mostly, until a wider whim hits me. And I'll definitely check it out, whether I purchase anything now or later.

    Hey, has anybody used Lens and Repro? Do they have decent service?
     
  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Expensive, waaaaay too expensive
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    ok, so I don't know if the reading glass thing would really work..sorry about that. It's late and I'm feeing a bit punchy. Need to goto bed now...Lens and repro are good so are MPEX and KEH. Igor is a little bit optimistic in his grading. Prices at camera west seem to me to be mostly outrageous and, belive it or not, they don't really appear to be very knowlegeable. I like MPEX and KEH better than all the rest for used equipment. Adorama also sell used stiff on their web site but, it's difficult to determine what exactly they're selling sometimes. They're pretty good about returns on used equipment though.

    You might also try to PM jimgalli...as he ahs a whole garage full of lenses...I bet he could find something for you
     
  12. Dan's45

    Dan's45 Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Tacoma,WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    lens option

    nate,
    if you can hold off for awhile and svae some money -i'll sell you mine for bout 250.00 us. it's a nikkor and pretty good one at that. i am looking at a 90mm s. angulon and that would help pay for it. its on a 4x4 lens board. let me know if you're interested.
     
  13. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    Brad,

    It was a fun thought while it lasted. And who am I to get between a man and his caustic humor?

    Thanks for the quick reviews, and overall helpfulness. You're right, Camera West seemed (from my limited knowledge) less reasonable than the others I had seen. I like KEH a lot, but their large format lens choices seem to be generally confined to modern lenses. Certainly not bad, just costlier. Then again, I could always use a piece of foil.

    The others...I will look into.

    Also, Jeremy (my new best friend, live with it) made me an excellent offer. Maybe I'll drop Jim a line too, if I can muster the courage (my photographer-bugging endurance is only so great).


    -Nate
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,133
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not eBay? Lotsa interesting lenses there, and they sometimes go far below market. Just remember that all shutters are presumed in need of an overhaul until proven ok.

    Incidentally, "I wanna lens" isn't very specific. Do you have any idea what you're looking for? Wide? Normal? Long? Anything at all that will fit the camera and cover the format?
     
  15. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,066
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Lens and Repro

    Jeremy et al-about Lens and Repro-one should not always judge the book by the cover. What they do carry is some GREAT glass. So if one was to purchase a barrel lens from them which they have some good ones right now you might pay slightly more but can be assured of getting top quality. For instrance they have a Ross 10 inch in barrel. I have this same lens with a shutter which I got from them over thirty years ago. Adequately covers 5x7. Great lens too.
    Best, Peter
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'd recommend KEH or mpex.com for the best prices on used gear, if eBay doesn't appeal to you.

    You might also try Photo Gizzmo (www.photogizzmo.com for the phone number--not much info on the website). Louis Shu is very knowledgable and friendly, his prices are fair, and not having much of a web presence, his stock isn't quite so picked over as some of the other dealers, and he has a lot of nice classic lenses.

    For $100 bucks, though, it might be difficult. Maybe look for a 135mm Optar or something like that. For a little more, you could try for a 135mm Symmar convertible.
     
  17. Bruce Appel

    Bruce Appel Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I recently started using a speed graphic, and needed some cheap glass to get started with. I bought a polaroid for very little and pulled the 127 rodenstock lens and shutter. Great lens, no movements.
    I bought a 210mm Russian barrell lens that is surprisingly good. Covers the limited movements of the speed just fine. The lens board to mount it cost more than the lens.
    Decent cheap lenses can be had.
     
  18. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Nate, I have a lens you can have free. Well almost free :smile: It is a Symmar 5.6/210 12/370 convertible ~ two for the price of one!. It will have superb coverage even when you have twisted you camera like a Pretzel. It is in a pretty grim shape, the rear element is damaged on the edge and has a little star fungus but it works surprisingly well when stopped down. The shutter is sticky at the slower speeds. The cost is the postage costs from the UK and a small donation to this site. Postage will be under $20. Subscription here is as little as $12 for a year and you'll get access to the galleries. If you are interested PM me.
     
  19. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Less then $100? Ebay. Look for a 210mm process lens. Not the wide angle types that cover 8x10 or more. Well the Agfa 210mm if you can get it for $20 to $30 would be okay.

    Other then that? Older Xenars. 150mm with some effort much less then $100.

    With a bit more effort. Look for a used press or other older beaten up camera with a lens. Keep the lens sell the camera-) If you keep your eye open a beaten up press camera not from Graflex will often sell for less then $100 including a lens.

    If you're willing to spend a little more go to KEH. They've got a bargain 150mm Xenar right now for not much more then $100.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    In your situation, I'd take that deal. I have one of these, and it's a good lens. To use it as a 370mm, you'll need at least 18" of bellows, though.
     
  21. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I have a 210mm barrel lens from a Agfa process camera for $40. $5 more to ship it. I sell lots of stuff here. It's a repromaster and don't let the cheap price fool you. It's incredibly sharp. PM me if you're interested.
     
  22. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    My impression was, no matter the price, it's awfully convenient having all that glass available in one, eat to get to place!
     
  23. atenlaugh

    atenlaugh Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    PA, USA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Everyone:

    Thanks so much for all of the help. I'm reasonably happy with my decisions, much due to the kindness of APUGers (Jeremy, John, I'm looking at you).

    Also, I'm taking up John's subscription deal, something I've been meaning to do for some time now.

    Maybe I'll post some results once I get the hang of all this!


    Thanks again,
    Nate
     
  24. gma

    gma Member

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Check the Surplus Shed website. They have all sorts of bargain lenses.