Fastest lens?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by David White, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. David White

    David White Member

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    Hi all,

    I hope someone can help me out here..I would like some recommendations for a fast/odd lens for 5x4". I am not up on the myriad of lenses for this format, so please excuse my ignorance. Preferably around 90-135mm ish. Also, I don't want a modern, super contrasty super sharp lens, in fact the more aberrations and nonsense the better, so, probably old, uncoated, fast, odd.
    I have had a good search, but was unable to turn up any relevant examples. I am not averse to using a lens not designed for 5x4, in fact I would probably relish it. The weirder the suggestions the better.
    Many thanks, best to one and all,

    Dave White

    www.nospin.co.uk
    www.duckrabbit.info
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Old spy plane lenses will probably be among the fastest lenses that cover large film. They needed lots of resolution, so used large film. They needed lots of speed, so used wide apertures. They were set at infinity focus, so the wide aperture was not a problem. I would love to have one. I almost bought a 36" f/8, and I wish I had done it now that I actually have a camera to put it on. Aero Ektars are one type, and there are probably others.
     
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  3. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Ok its a bit on the long side but Kodak made the aero ektar 178mm f/2,5
    Kind regards
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    The Aero Ektar is extremely sharp and lacking aberrations due to the nature of why it was made. That said, I mounted one on a 5x7 Graflex SLR. WOW! It can't focus to infinity, but what a wonderful portrait lens.

    I also like the Pentac 8" f/2.9 on 5x7. There are a few 6" f/2.0 or perhaps it's a f/2.8 lenses that may or may not fully cover 5x7. I'm thinking of a WWII German Schneider that was originally designed for 70 mm roll film. Most likely it will have fall off on 5x7, but perhaps this will introduce the aberration you are looking for.

    Scan eBay for old US, English, German, and Japanese military lenses. They will be your fastest in aperture.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    N.b. some of the fast old aero lenses had a mildly radioactive element and will thus have yellowed by now.... making them effectively a good deal less fast than they once were.

    There are some enlarging lenses that are f/2.8 and can cover your format. I suppose you may well find a 135/2.8. Nikkor EL 50/2.8 for sure, I think I have one somewhere.

    I have also rigged various MF lenses for this kind of thing. Though it is probably too heavy to put on a typical 4x5, the mamiya RZ 110/2.8 will probably cover upwards of 8x8cm at infinity focus and a lot more at close focus. The m645 80/1.9 is the fastest MF lens I know and it'll probably cover 7x7cm at infinity focus; it is also very inexpensive. Actually the 110/2.8 is inexpensive too.
     
  6. David White

    David White Member

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    This is great , thanks everyone..keep those suggestions coming..

    Are you saying Keith that the 50 el nikkor will cover 5x4 then?
    that sounds quite interesting. I also like the sound of the aero ektar..
    how is that likely to render the oof areas when used as a portrait lens?

    I know I said weird, but I think radioactive might be pushing it a bit..:wink:

    Thanks again,
    d
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I dunno offhand what the fast ELs will cover- you might well run into the circle on 4x5. Of course, when people say LF lens X will cover format Y, they are usually talking about (1) infinity focus and (2) stopped down to f/22! But in enlarging you typically aren't anywhere near that....

    Anyway if I find the 50/2.8 I can check for you but it'll have to wait 'til after the holidays. My vague recollection is that it covers 7x7cm at least.

    I can't magine using an aero for portraiture! Oh God that's gonna be harsh. Probably a fast old brass lens would be much kinder! (Mind you, probably someone here has done glorious portraits with an aero..)
     
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  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Look for small magic lantern lenses, or projector lenses. A bit hit or miss, but you can find things that work, and have cool swirly looks. The usually come in between 2.8-4, which is fast enough for many things.
     
  9. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Hello David, you say "fast/odd", how about a Wollensak-Dumont CRO 75mm f1.9 Oscillo - Raptar.
    Sam H.

    DAVID: I'm going to edit this as I recall that this lens will NOT cover 4x5 other than 1:1. It was designed for scope photography. Sorry!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2008
  10. Domenico Foschi

    Domenico Foschi Member

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    I would go for a tessar 165mm f 2.7.
    It is a bit longer than what you are looking for but it has the characteristics you seek in a lens.
    Good luck.
     
  11. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Isn't there some heliars around 105-135mm f/3,5?
    Kind regards
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Fast/odd? That's the Schneider Xenar Typ D. They're "reverse Tessars", f:3.5, said to be "unsharp wide open and not improving much on stopping down".
     
  13. David White

    David White Member

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    Thanks again..

    Domenico (and anyone else) what's so different about the tessar 165 f2.7?

    I am into swirly nonsense, so magic lantern lenses etc sound good..
    Keep 'em coming..
    d
     
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  15. j.green

    j.green Member

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    If you really want to play around, try a single lens, positive meniscus or planoconvex. Can be found at surplusshed for $4 - $10, use their 'lens finder'-function. Not for those who try to eliminate abberations though. Mount it in a homemade barrel with a stop right in front and voila; or put it in an old shutter.
    They usually get kind of sharp in the middle, and by middle I mean just that. At the corners you just got blur. That goes for the short lenses anyway, and my own attempts I might add.

    I've used two versions of single element lenses with some Rollei IR and an f.stop around 16 - 22.

    Gr.
     
  16. Domenico Foschi

    Domenico Foschi Member

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    It really isn't a good lens optically, especially wide open and yes, it will give you some swirl although not as much as a petzval lens.
     
  17. Polybun

    Polybun Guest

    You can use the old UV light soak trick to bring them back to clear I bet. I've had several of the old screw mount pentax lenses yellow on me, about 4 weeks in direct sunlight made them look like new again.
     
  18. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    Now it is clear that I can only echo the comments by Polybun: My old Minolta lenses also have some mildly radioactive elements in their construction. Usually this makes them turn a light yellow in color as you look through the lens. A couple of weeks in direct sunlight or UV (ultra violet) light seems to restore them to normal.
     
  19. CBG

    CBG Member

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    If you just want FAST, and quality is no issue, maybe you could make up a lens from big magnifying glasses. Should be pretty fast, and quality to be ashamed of.

    C
     
  20. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I have a 135mm Rodenstock Eurynar that is a f/3.5. It is uncoated and I like the way it looks on film. I have never seen another one though since I bought it a few years ago. I picked it up on ebay attatched to a Welta 9x12 folder for $100.

    Patrick
     
  21. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    By the way you could try using the front group of a cheap telephoto. That would get you a fast lens.
     
  22. Robb Scharetg

    Robb Scharetg Member

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    Fast lens suggestions

    David,

    My suggestions, given the focal lengths you mention would be in line with what others have suggested, i.e. aerial recon lenses.

    There are some specific lenses in the list below that might be perfect and would do what you want, however they are VERY rare and tend to be expensive.

    - The Ernomann Ernostar- 125/1.8. One sold this past Saturday in Vienna for about $1600.00 USD.
    - The 165/1.8 Ernostar. FAR rarer, one sold on the auction site about a year ago for $3K+.
    - There is also a 180/2.7 Ernostar that is supposed to be amazing (according to Lens & Repro) although it may be too long.
    - Dallmeyer Super Six, either the 125/1.9 or the 152/1.9. The 152 DOES cover 4x5, the shorter one vignettes. Expect to pay about $2K, if/when they come up.
    - The Schneider Xenon, 125/f2. A bit more common, great look. Under $1K.
    - The Reitschel Prolinear 135/1.9, an unusual lens (hard to find) with a very cool visual signature.
    - Plaubel Anticomar- 150/2.9
    - Schneider Xenar 135/3.5
    - Schneider Xenotar 135/3.5 or 150/2.8 BOTH great lenses, however they may be 'too sharp/contrasty' for what you're looking for.
    - The earlier mentioned Aero-Ektars, they are available in both 150mm & 178mm lengths.
    - The Cooke 'Speedic' line- 5"/6.25"/8"/10.25", all 2.5
    - Dallmeyer Pentacs, both 5" and 8". f2.9

    I have used many of theses lenses at various times, for examples of their look you can look at some images on my site: www.scharetgpictures.com

    Also I've attached a few jpegs to further illustrate. The bar and the anvil were shot with the Rietschel, the Mother & Child was shot with a 150/2.8 Xenotar. Each image was shot wide open.

    You can contact me off list if you have further questions.

    Best

    Robb Scharetg
     

    Attached Files:

  23. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Your depth of field is going to suck bawls if you use a 2.7 lens on a 4x5...
     
  24. thafred

    thafred Member

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  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG Fred. Interesting quality with the 150mm f3.5 Xenar, I just bought a late 150mm Zenar and it was \F5.6 :D

    Ian
     
  26. thafred

    thafred Member

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    thanks for the welcome Ian!

    I´ve just started out with Largeformat and was lurking around here for a long time, getting started APUG is of so much help!

    the new Xenar 150 5.6, wow! I ask myself thou why don´t just use a 70ies Xenar 4.5? do the coatings make such a difference in this simple lens design?

    the Xenar 3.5 is interesting in it´s drawing and so is the tessar 165, both are well under 100€ (Leica shop vienna has a 165 f2.7 in focus mount for 120€!)so it´s a cheap fun to try those lenses. thats what I love about LF!

    Rob, your list is so interesting, a lot lenses I have never heard of! thanks for posting!!
    best from vienna,
    fred