Cheap (as in inexpensive) lens options

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by tjaded, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Hi all--
    I have a kinds of lens for my 4x5 set-ups, but I recently acquired an 8x10 Horseman. I'm looking to get a normal-ish lens for it, something around 360mm. I've seen some lenses in the lower end of the price range, usually Fujinon, but before I bite the bullet and buy one I figured I would ask here for thoughts/recommendations. There are a few decent looking Komura lenses on fleabay, but I have never used anything Komura so I have no idea what the quality would be like. So...any thoughts? Is it just silly to try to do 8x10 on a budget?
    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi matt

    no i don't think it is silly at all :smile:
    what i ended up with for an inexpensive 8x10 lens
    was a wollensak velostigmat triple convertible.
    it is a 13, 20 and 25". granted it isn't modern but
    it is a great lens (betax/no flash sync :sad: )
    i got it through igor's and i think it cost 340clams including the cla ..
    the lens has a HUGE image circle, and it also does double duty on a 11x14 camera
    to be honest, i have used it more on the 11x14 than on the 8x10!
    if you don't mind older lenses things like the triple are a great and sometimes overlooked lens.

    good luck!

    john
     
  3. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Older lenses are fine with me (maybe even preferred...) lack of flash is fine, too. I'm not familiar with Igor's...I'll go digging right now.
    Thanks!
     
  4. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    john nanian is right on! Good vintage glass will serve you well on an 8x10 :smile:
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You might be lucky & find a nice Dagor at a good price, maybe I was lucky mine came with a camera and happens to be coated.

    It's a really good time to buy, it's a buyers market at the moment.

    Ian
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The big 360mm are often cheap. Check keh. The first series Fuji W covers a few miles. 80degrees?

    I've got a Komura. It's nice but mine is a different focal length. I wouldn't turn one down but I doubt they'd be any/much cheaper then a similar vintage Fuji.
     
  7. Jim Rice

    Jim Rice Member

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    The large modern plasmats are going for less than the value of their shutters these days.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I put $700 into an 8x10 enlarger, camera, film holders and a lens. Many others have similar experiences.

    If you can find a 210mm Symmar-S MC for $150 or less that would be a good starter lens. It just barely covers 8x10 but at that price it would be about 1/2 of what a budget plasmat 300mm would cost. I used a 210 Symmar-s for 2 years as my sole 8x10 lens. Now I have a 'proper' 8x10 lens and am still trying to duplicate some of my earlier successes :smile:.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=29267&page=9
     
  9. BenZucker

    BenZucker Member

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    you can find deals out there, check craigslist, some times there are good deals, I got a 14" Kodak ektar for $100
     
  10. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Another cheap lens is the older 375 Caltar. Usually less then a 14" Commercial Ektar but the same tessar type. Big and heavy but the one I used was very sharp.
     
  11. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Cheap? Try pinhole lol.

    Have you tried using the 4x5 lenses on the 8x10? You get some nice wide angle.

    I bought a minty Fujinon 300mm f5.6, and it's beautiful. Highly recommend it.
     
  12. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I've got a few wide angle lenses, new and old. I just need a normal or long lens. I've got pinhole & zone plate covered...
     
  13. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Old Symmar 300/5.6 and 360/5.6 lenses are usually not too expensive and I like the look of the single coated ones.
    If you want a small one there is always the Nikkor M300/9.
     
  14. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I just stumbled on a lens for sale...seems like a good deal. It's a Kodak Ektar 14" in an Alphax shutter. $335. Any thoughts?
     
  15. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Not sure how cheap you are looking for, but I have a 240mm G-Claron that covers 8x10 nicely....I think I paid around $300
     
  16. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Are you looking to sell?

     
  17. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Older lenses in that size aren't very expensive. I don't remember how big the Ektar are but I bought things like Symar-S and the Calumet branded version for quite a bit less then that. But both are BIG. If you can handle BIG watch KEH,Mpex etc. Nobody wants these lenses normally. Between the 3 shutter and the huge filters the weight is just the obvious.
     
  18. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I'd be leery. Commercial Ektars were born in Ilex Universals, so this example was either reshuttered or started out as a barrel lens. If the tech who did the deed knew what they were doing you'd be OK but if they didn't the lens could be royally screwed up. IMHO $335 is a good price for a 14" Commercial Ektar in good condition in a good working shutter though.
     
  19. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    oh no........I am restoring a Calumet mag C1 right now and it is the only lens I have that covers 8x10 other than some home made lenses from Alan Greene's book
     
  20. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    It really depends on the look you're after. If you don't mind soft then there's a whole range of antique lenses that'll serve you well. I picked up an old Dallmeyer Pentac for $80 and couldn't be happier with it.
     
  21. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Ilex Paragon lenses were pretty decent; mostly tessars and often copies of Kodak's Ektar lenses but without the benefit of Kodak's quality control. Try to find coated examples but they're decent lenses and should come cheap. I particularly like them for contact prints as like many older lenses they impart a pleasant glow to shadows. Fuji lenses are my favorites and I'm particularly happy they seem to go at the low end of the price range. Not low end performance, though. I've long used my 210mm Fuji plasmat as a wide angle for 8x10, although it just covers the negative. For a long time a 420mm Fujinon L was my most used 8x10 lens but I ended up selling it because I needed the money badly. Loved the focal length but it was a pretty hefty lens. Barrel lenses are fun and cheap and some thoroughly modern lenses can come cheap that way. Learn to appreciate slow film and use the lens cap for a shutter -- that's low cost! :smile:

    Mike
     
  22. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The absolute most bang for buck I've seen lately was over at LFForum and Gary may have advertised them here also. 270mm G-Claron is still one of my all time favorites for 8X10. It is a tremendous lens for twice that amount.

    To go cheap in 8X10 and also have the most fun though, you need to wean yourself from modern glass and shutters. I have an old Kodak 8X10 2D with Packard shutter mounted inside the camera. There are some fabulous lenses in barrel to be had for 80 bucks.
     
  23. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    Check the front of the lens and see if it's actually a Commercial Ektar, and not just an "ordinary" Ektar. I'm sure a plain jane Ektar is a nice lens, but the Commercial version is worth more.

    Charley