Lens Choice for an 8x10 "Newbie"

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photogeek82, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. photogeek82

    photogeek82 Member

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    Hi All,

    I have shot with a 4x5 and 8x10 camera in the past, but have never owned one. I purchased my new baby over the summer and have it almost refurbished and am interested in your ideas for a simple, multi-purpose lens for it.

    Also if you have any ideas as to where to locate a good piece of glass *hardy har har* at a good price that info would also be greatly appreciated!

    -photogeek82
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Any good 12" lens, unless you can get your hands on a Cooke XVa (good luck on that happening).
     
  3. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    A 240mm, 300mm, or 360mm plasmat lens would be a great general use lens. Any Schneider or Rodenstock lens like a Symmar-S, Apo-Symmar or Sironar would be good. These are largish fast lenses in Copal #3 shutters and were very popular lenses for 8x10 studio cameras. Because they were popular and the current demand is for small light lenses, the plasmats go for very reasonable prices--$300 to $500. Since they were mainly used in studios, they're usually in great shape. They're very sharp modern lenses that project a bright image on the groundglass. Also, very popular, the Kodak 14" Commercial Ektar is excellent and affordable. For about $250-$300, you can find a Turner Reich Triple Convertible that gives you three widely spaced focal lengths by using the complete lens or the single groups. I have a 12"/21"/28" version and it's a fun little lens.
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Well what are you looking for? Wide? Normal? Long? Newish? Old?

    210mm Fuji-W. One of the cheaper wides that cover 8x10
    240mm G-Claron. Slower then the fuji.
    300mm Caltar-S is an older Scheinder Symar-S. Costs less with the Calumet name then the Scheinder. BIG and BIG filters.
     
  5. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    IMHO, a Wollensak 1a double convertable, 12" Wollensak Velostigmat series II or 375mm Ilex seriously undervalued and would make an excellent addition to any kit.

    My personal favorites are the 240 G Claron, 10" Wide Field Ektar, 14" Commercial Ektar and 19" Artar, as well as the venerable 12" Dagor (preferably american made.) The G Clarons come in modern shutters so they offer you a greater level of "familiarity." None of these come "cheap" but are still excellent values.

    Pick one in good condition in the focal length of your choice that fits in your budget and have fun!

    Jim at Midwest Photo is a good guy to deal with. Jim Galli deals in lenses as well and has an excellent reputation. Dagor77 often has interesting lenses on that famous online auction site and has an excellent reputation.

    Actually there is no shortage of reputable merchants from which to buy old lenses, but lenses which cover 8x10 turn up far less frequently than 4x5 lenses. The three sources I've mentioned above will usually have a selection of 8x10 lenses for sale.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2009
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    A 300mm f:5.6 Symmar is a BIG lens - but it's fast and has lots of coverage. A 360mm f:5.6 Symmar is HUGE, even compared with the 300mm version.

    Compared to these, the 305mm and 355mm f:9 G-Clarons are cute little lenses. :wink:
     
  7. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    My favorite 8x10 lens is a 450 Nikkor. My favorite 4x5 lens is a 210 Symmar-S...just to give you some perspective.

    Before plucking down your hard earned $$ for 8x10 lenses ask yourself if 8x10 is the end of the road for you. As I was acquiring lenses for my 8x10, I had, in the back of my mind that MAYBE, SOMEDAY, I might want to try a format like 7x17 or 8x20. Thus, I always had my eyes open for lenses that would cover those larger formats. When my 7x17 finally arrived, I already had lenses from (305, 355, 450 and 600) that would cover the format. ULF is expensive enough without having to repurchase lenses. Just my 2 cents :smile:

    Have fun with your new baby!
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Fast cheap 300mm have to include the Fuji L. It's not a plasmat like the others so the coverage is less. Want to say about 350mm. Big #3 shutter. OTOH if you can find it the lens will be even cheaper then the other fast 300mm. But even the Fuji-L isn't exactly small.

    The Fuji-W 300mm is in between the L and the Symar-S in size.
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    I like my FujiW 300 because I photograph mostly in the redwoods where the light is low -- and the f5.6 is very nice to have in those circumstances. But you do pay for it in weight, but considering the weight of the rest of the equipment, I do not find the added weight significant. When I had only one lens, this is the lens I had...I find it a good all-around lens. It is on the slightly wide side of normal with plenty of coverage for 8x10.

    Vaughn
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Then there are the giant Tessars - like the 300mm f:4.5 Xenar I had on my 5x7" Technika. Same #5 shutter as the 360/5.6 Symmar, but slightly lighter. :wink:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. kirkfry

    kirkfry Member

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    Hey team, no one has mentioned the 300mm f9 M Nikkor. What a classic. I bought mine for $175 some years ago. Ja ja, forget what Nikon says about the coverage, it covers more. K
     
  12. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    The Wolly 1a is a triple convertable, not a double! My mistake----my brain just woke up!
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    12" Commercial Ektar is a nice one. But before splurging on any one lens, decide what kind of photography you like doing - are you big into architecture or landscapes? then it might be better to start with something wider. If you are in to portraits, something longer, and if you're in to macro, or are not sure what you want to shoot, then a normal would be good.
     
  14. mjs

    mjs Member

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    My favorite 8x10 lens is my 420mm Fuji L. Next is my 12" (300mm) Commercial Ektar. Or maybe the 210mm Fuji. Hmm. Have to think about that. Maybe I like the 210 Fuji the second best, and the Ektar third. Whatever. The 420mm Fujinon L is definately #1, though. The 210mm Fuji is #1 for my 4x5, logically.

    Alternatively, my first 8x10 lens set was a 240mm Caltar N (Rodenstock Sironar-N,) coupled with a 14" Red Dot Artar. That was a nice combination, too.

    Mike