Lenses for 4x5 advice!

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by pdjr1991, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    I'm interested in getting some lenses for my 4x5 camera's (Cambo SCII and a super clean Crown Graphicn:tongue:).

    What lenses do you recommend and for what reasons?
     
  2. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Its a decision that only you can make. We don’t know how you shoot and what your minds eye is creating.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    A typical 4x5 kit consists of a 90mm, a ~135mm or 150 and a 210. The ~135 was very popular among press photographers and is often paired with crown graphics and similar. I would suggest that first for reasons of economy and versatility. Depending on how your interests pull you after that, you could then go longer or wider. Or both.

    Look out for a convertible Schneider 150; that is another great first lens.
     
  4. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    true, but i hope i can hear peoples experiences, their regrets, ect to help me make a decision.
     
  5. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Thanks, this helps! i have a 135 on my graphic and i got to check what i got for my cambo. It might have been a 90mm. I know i definitly want to get a longer focal length lens for it so i can use the movements.

    Can i get more info on that Schneider? it sounds interesting. What makes it convertible?
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, long story short: the simple LF lens formulas permit design of lenses that can be shot with both lens groups or with one absent, thus amending the overall focal length.

    I have several old convertible lenses.... before people shot in colour and did a lot of enlargement, they were quite popular. There are double and triple convertible LF lenses. The one I mention is 150 with both groups and 265 with the front element removed. Just google convertible lenses and you'll get the scoop. Plenty of great LF images have been shot through convertible lenses.
     
  7. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    I have only one lens for my 4x5 Chamonix and that's a 150. Like it a lot. My next lens will be 210 or longer.
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    What I regetted was getting more lenses than I knew what to do with.

    The Schneider Convertible Symmar is a great lens, perfectly good with color film, and is usually a bargain. The one caveat is that the shutter might need a CLA.
    You can't really go wrong with any reasonably modern lens, although different types will have different coverage (image circle) in the same focal length.
     
  9. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    wow thanks that's very helpful! I heard ansel adams used a triple convertible. I'm a big fan of killing two bird's with one stone and killing three sounds pretty nice.
     
  10. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Do you have a recommendation of a shop or person that can overhaul old lenses? i have a couple that im not too sure about shutter speed wise.
     
  11. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    A very popular slightly long lens in 4x5" is a 210mm. There are scads and scads of them available used for little money. Any 1970s and later Nikon, Fuji, Rodenstock or Schneider 210mm F5.6 lens should be very good. They are in modern shutters with a standard flash sync, and they have fairly standard filter threads, all of which is unlike some older, but still very good, lenses. I like the 90mm, 120mm, 210mm, 300mm progression, but there are other good sets.
     
  12. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I really like the 135mm Sironar S. It's certainly my favorite. I pair this frequently with a Nikon 200mm f/8 M and Nikon 300mm f/9 M as a lightweight backpacking system. The longer lenses don't need to be as fast in order to focus them, so the f/8 or f/9 minimum aperture isn't ever a problem for me. I also have a 90mm and 75mm, but I rarely miss them if I leave them at home (which, because of the weight I usually do). I do like the 90mm with a roll film back, especially for 6x17. It gives a normal feel for height, but is wide enough to feel wide horizontally.

    I also have 210mm Nikon f/5.6, but I hardly ever use it since I got the f/8, again because of the weight.
     
  13. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I'm pretty much a fan of older lenses for my 4x5. Graflex Optar 90mm f/6.8, Graflex Optar 135mm f/4.7 and a really old Rapid Rectilinear 210mm f/8. Being on a retirement budget is my main reason for these lenses as they were very cheap.
    A beat up Crown Graphic, now restored, and those 3 lenses were about $250 total. The restoration of the camera was done at home. Lens CLA's were done at home as well.
     
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  15. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    I have only two lenses so far, Optar 162 wollensack on my Speed Graphic PM, and Rodenstock 150N for my Shen Hao HZX45IIA.

    My next lenses will be definitely: 90, wider than 90, 210 or 240, not sure to go with 300 but who knows.
     
  16. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    thats really good to know! thanks!
     
  17. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    I was really lucky to find a Crown that was in such perfect shape that it had the lens cap and the warning paper on the tracks.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi pdjr1991

    it all really boils down to your subject matter and style of shooting ...
    i am not sure if you use a 35mm system, but if you do, and you have some favorite focal lengths
    if you multiply the by around 3 it will give you a close proximity to the equiv. in a 4x5 lens ...

    for example, if you like a 50mm, then a 150 will be about the same thing ...
    if you like wide but not really wide, maybe a 127 tominon might work for you,
    or a 90mm for wide - landscapey or environmental portraits ...
    or a 10" tele optar for portraits, or a 15" teleoptar or symmar 210/370 for longer views ...

    the tele optars are telephoto lenses and they were made for the graphic ( speed, crown &c ) and
    if you have them in a shutter ( they were sometimes factory mounted in a alphax by wollensak )
    they can easily double-duty with your rail camera ...

    i would think about what you want to use the lenses to photograph, think about what you use to photograph these same
    subjects in smaller formats, and think about getting around the same focal length for your large format camera.

    all that said, sometimes it is a lot nicer just to get and use 1 lens and that way you don't have to change how you think.

    happy new year + good luck !
    john
     
  19. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    http://www.skgrimes.com/

    They'll take care of ya.
     
  20. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    thanks! that makes sense. Im used to 35mm and digital (don't kill me!)
     
  21. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    what is the normal cost for a cla?
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    no worries about digi and 35mm ... it is 2012 after all :wink:

    cla costs anywhere from 50$-100$
    maybe more, maybe less .. maybe more if parts are gone, and need to be machined.

    have fun !
    john
     
  23. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Thanks for all the help!
     
  24. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    FWIW, my kit consists of a 75, 90 and 150. I use the 90 more than the other two combined, and I use the 150 at least 2X as often as the 75. I acquired the lenses in the order in which I use them most: 90 then 150 then 75, I sometimes wonder if I had gotten the 75 first, if my whole approach to image making would be different, resulting in my hardly ever using the 150....
     
  25. unixrevolution

    unixrevolution Member

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    Lots of great answers in here! As a freshly minted (relatively) LF photog myself, let me share my experience with you.

    I started with a Toyo 45F monorail and a Schneider 150mm/265 convertible in a Compur shutter. That is a fabulous lens. I couldn't believe it when Ken Rockwell turned out to be right about it :laugh:

    I then got a Graphic lens board adapter for my Toyo. I mount all my lenses in Graphic boards and they can go on the TOyo, or on the Super Graphic I bought with a Fuji 135 and an Optar 90.

    I got an Optar 135 from The Bay. Had the Fuji CLA'd at Flutot's Camera Service, thinking it to be the better lens between the two. After some comparison, Kept the optar, sold the fuji.

    I also happened upon a 75mm Rodenstock which *just barely* has enough focal length to use on my cameras, and found a Schneider Xenar 210/6.1.

    So I now have 2 Optars, A Schneider Convertible, a Schneider 210 in a Copal, and a ROdenstock 75 in a Copal. This lens kit does pretty much anything I ask of it. I mostly shoot LF portraits and landscapes.

    I do want to eventually upgrade the Optar, even though it's adorably tiny, for something a little faster, with filter rings.
     
  26. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    How fast is the schneider? I like that its convertible! I find that Rockwell is on point (im a nikon shooter).