New to 4x5: Looking for Inexpensive 4x5 Lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by brofkand, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just got a Calumet 4x5 camera. This is an older style Calumet, it's gray with a smaller lens board than the black Calumets we used in school (they were co-branded as Cambo cameras). My calumet looks just like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CALUMET-4X5...lm_Cameras&hash=item3f19dab390#ht_5697wt_1386 .

    It came with a recessed Copal 0 lens board and 3 film holders, but no lens. In the meantime I am planning on just taping a pinhole onto the lens board, but I'd like to have a lens for the camera obviously.

    I want to spend as little as possible, hopefully under $100 for a lens (and lens board unless a recessed lens board would work). What can you recommend in the sub-$100 price category for a 135-210 (somewhere around there would be fine) lens with decent performance? Not necessarily looking for a tack-sharp, awesome lens (my budget won't allow that), but I would like a lens that would offer some good 11x14's with some 16x20's as well.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A g-claron 210 is nice, (maybe buy it in a polaroid shutter so it is cheap). :smile: it is very sharp and allows a lot of movements.
     
  3. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    let me look in my big box of lenses, I have a 135 mm Tominon in a shutter that would be perfect for you and
    I would let you have it pretty cheap.
     
  4. desertrat

    desertrat Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you want a really cheap lens that will cover 4X5, you can sometimes find an old 3A folder with a triplet or tessar type lens for less than $50. These cameras are 3-1/4 X 5-1/2 format, and their lenses will cover 4X5. When I bought an off-brand 4X5 camera last year, the first lens that went on it was the f7.5 triplet off my Ansco 3A folder. I think the focal length is around 170mm, and it would be sharp enough for 11X14 or 16X20 enlargements except the very corners would be just a bit soft, but not bad.

    Some of these cameras, however, had meniscus or RR lenses that wouldn't take much, if any enlargement.
     
  5. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I'm looking for Lensboards, what should I look for? This is a Calumet camera, but Calumet is also a brand that is applied to Cambo cameras. What is the terminology I should look for when looking for them? Or should I just make one out of some material?

    That Tominon sounds great Chris! It will cover 4x5?
     
  6. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    yes
     
  7. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am going to look for it in a minute.
     
  8. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Ok, I am looking at it. It is a Tominon lens, 135 mm f/4.5 in a Polaroid shutter from a MP-4 copy camera.
    The shutter fires perfectly and it has speeds from 1/125th to 1 second and has the retaining ring.
    You could Google this lens and see that it has a good reputation, maybe someone on this thread has
    knowledge of the brand.
    How about 40 bucks ?
     
  9. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,134
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Your Calumet was made by Calumet, not by Cambo, and takes 4" x 4" lens boards. 4x5 Cambo view cameras (5x7 and 8x10, too) take 6.41" x 6.41" mm lens boards. Be careful what you order.

    Re the 135/4.5 Tominon, it is a lens that some love and others don't. I've had several of them -- long story -- and didn't love any of mine. They were made for use close-up, mine were so-so closeup, as in there are much better lenses for that application, and not good at distance. They're designed to screw into the front of a #1 shutter, as were the other Tominon macro lenses made for the Polaroid MP-4. Your lens board would have to be rebored to accept a #1 if you took Chris' very generous offer.

    Many, not all, f/5.6 plasmat type 150 mm lenses for 4x5 view cameras are in #0 shutters, so would mount to your recessed Calumet board. If you have the money, you'd be best served by getting one and a flat Calumet board for it. But if $100 is all you have, Chris' lens and a flat board drilled for #1 will get you going.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2012
  10. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    They are a lens that is designed for "flat field" work, and were intended for high resolution copy work,
    and are some pretty good glass. I doubt if Polaroid would have gone with inferior optics on the MP-4's,
    they were a pretty expensive rig.
     
  11. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I bought a MP-4 bellows assembly on Ebay and installed a 4 x 5" spring back on it to make a "field camera", it is a hybird creation, I love it :smile:
     
  12. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It looks like the lens Chris is offering is a very good option for me right now; I am looking for lens boards and it appears all KEH has in stock are recessed lens boards like the one I have, assuming the lens is a Copal 0 (Chris said the mounting flange is 1.5 inches).

    If it's a Copal 1, they have the boards in stock but they're $35 in BGN.

    Any other sources for lens boards? Can I use another manufacturer's boards for the Calumet?
     
  13. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Let me preface my remarks with a disclaimer: I am a cheapskate (a yankee, as we say around here) and I get most of my gear for darn-near free. It just takes some patience.

    As a short term, quick-and dirty solution to lensboards for that camera, they can be made from masonite or even black foam-core board. I do it all the time to test lenses. If you have to buy another lensboard and the shutter/lens combination, you're talking $75 plus shipping, right? I would look locally for a Tessar type lens in the 135-170 mm range in shutter. You can probably find one without too much trouble. A Tessar-type is a good, all-around lens design made by just about everyone and his brother. Ilex, Wollansak, Zeiss (of course), Bausch and Lomb, the list is almost endless and most will be decent, serviceable lenses to get you going. I also wouldn't sniff at the prospect of putting a Rapid Rectilinear (RR) or triplet from a 3A folder, as has been suggested. Lots of really fine photographs have been made with those lenses and they often go unloved at flea markets and antique stores.
    -
    What Chris is offering is a good price, don't get me wrong, and he is being quite honest about what the lens is. I just think a little local conversation might get you a better all-rounder for about the same price.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Central Illi
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am going to ship the lens to him as a loaner, if he likes it after a month or two, my beer fund will increase.
    Having been a Woodworker/Carpenter for 40 years, lens boards are easy to fabricate. Someone else jump
    in and instruct him, I always use Baltic plywood.
     
  16. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's a wonderful gesture. I actually looked on eBay and found that I can buy new lens boards for about $10 (made of wood), or I can get used ones for about the same price. Once I get the lens and find out what size the shutter is I'll be able to order a lens board and give the lens a workout.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,972
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    he tells it like it is ..
     
  18. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    just bite the bullet and get a decent lens--you want to do it on the cheap, then your pics will show it and you will not be satisfied--sheet film takes expensive time AND money for film these days--you go "on the cheap" and you will just end up wasting money.

    the calumet is a good camera--I had one myself--actually, my first monorail camera--very capable and will serve you your whole life--get the same for a lens or you'll just waste time and money.

    trust me--you want to be super excited when you see the large format difference...you don't want to look a your first pics and say...hmmm....sharper with my nikon--just spend a little extra money---4x5 lenses--good ones--are not expensive at all. Boards you CAN cheap out on perfectly easily since it's just a square plate with a hole in it...the 4x4's ar easy to make--foamboard works just fine as does craft plywood---just paint the inside black or use black tape

    do not cheap out on a lens unless you don't value your time.


    AND if you get a decent lens, you'll have no problems selling it for what you paid

    you get a junk lens and you can just throw it away as far as tryin to sell it
     
  19. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,134
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    <expletives> I told you that the MP-4 Copal Press shutter is a #1 shutter. I have a couple of them. I've had three 135/4.5 Tominons. I have the documentation too. <more expletives>

    You've earned whatever misfortunes come to you.

    Dan "ask the man who has one" Fromm
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,032
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd suggest taking Dan's advice and going for a 150mm f5.6 Plasmay, the most common are a Symmar or Sironar both also rebadged as Caltars by Calumet as well. They are often quite inexpensive and will give excellent results.

    Ian
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,657
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ... especially the part about Yankees. Ask me how I know :wink:
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,925
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Well?
     
  23. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

    Messages:
    1,983
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have seen a lot of 210mm lenses in modern Copal shutters on Ebay go from $200.00 down to $150.00. If you are patient you might find one closer to $100.00.

    If you buy right then you can always sell later for close to what you paid if you find you no longer want the lens.
     
  24. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    <expletives> I asked Chris, the gentleman with the lens I might buy, to measure the size of the mounting ring. It measures an inch and a half. An inch and a half is right in the middle of Copal 0 and Copal 1.

    I'm not buying a lens board before i see the lens and know for a fact it's Copal 0 or Copal 1.

    I don't understand why anyone who doesn't take your word as gospel is earning whatever misfortunes arrive?
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,972
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile:
     
  26. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,134
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have Polaroid MP-4 shutters. They are #1s. The 135/4.5 Tominon is made to screw into the front of a #1. I've had three of them. They all fit my MP-4 shutters.

    Why do you think I might be mistaken about this? Why do you think I might be trying to mislead you? If you fall off a cliff I won't mourn but I'll get no pleasure from your demise.

    I have no idea what diameter Chris thinks is 1.5" or so. I do know the #1 standard. You can find it here: http://www.skgrimes.com/products/new-copal-shutters/pressshutters

    I think it might be time for me to ban myself from APUG. Too many damfools here.