Suggestions on a 90mm lens for 4x5?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I like to plan ahead and I think...the next lens may be a 90mm for my 4x5.
    What are suggestions on a really good 90mm?
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    It depends a lot on your budget. I have used a 90mm f/8 Schneider Super Angulon and loved it, but it is a lot dimmer than a faster version. Of course, faster versions are a lot more expensive and also a lot larger and heavier. Some folks will tell you that f/8 versions are completely a waste because they are too dim to focus properly. I disagree but do agree that it gets mighty dim on the ground glass with one of them and it is a real compromise. You are probably looking at $300 give or take for a good 90mm f/8, perhaps $450 - $600 for an f/5.6 and somewhat higher for an f/4.5.
     
  3. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Depends largely on how you want to use it...

    I have a nice 90mm f8 MC Super Angulon. It's very sharp, 67mm filter size and the coverage is plenty for my landscape work. Coverage is sufficient for my indoor architectural exposures where I'm focused closer than infinity and the image circle gets bigger. I've seen great deals on the Fuji f8 lately as well but haven't used one.

    Part of me wishes I had bought a 5.6 or 4.5 version though. The f8 is fine in daylight with a good darkcloth but the golden hours and indoor exposures can make focusing tricky.

    Then there is the Nikkor f8, bigger circle but it's still the dark f8 and costs more than the Schneider and Fuji.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The 90mm f6.8 Grandagon is a lens worth looking for, extremely sharp, never flares, reasonably priced as well, particularly the rebadged Caltar version, but the Super Angulons are excellent as well. I picked up what I thought was an f8 4 years ago (with some other items), when I started using it I realised it was the f5.6 version :D

    My 90mm Grandagon is Multi Coated, the 90mm Super Anglon coated and I can't see a difference it's got excellent flare resistance, I've 3 other coated (not MC) Super Angulons (65mm, 75mm & 165mm) and they are equally as good.

    If you find a good one the tiny 90mm f6.8 Angulon's are very cheap, but older pre 6,00,*** serial no are a bit hit an miss, some and I had two are awful.

    An f6.8 Grandagon should be around $400, an f8 SA a bit less and an f5.6 about the same coated, more MC, the f4.5 Grandagon's fetch higher prices.

    As 90mm f6.8 Angulon, don;t pay more than about $150.

    Ian
     
  5. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I too use a Multi Coated Super Angulon f8. It's not the brightest image around but with care it can be focused accurately. The results I am getting are excellent. I'm lucky in that my camera is fitted with a Boss screen and Ebony wide angle Fresnel so image brightness is considerably better than with my old Shen Hao.
     
  6. stevebrot

    stevebrot Member

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    I have been using the Caltar II-N version and can vouch that Ian's assessment is correct. Here is a link to a few photos taken with the lens on both 4x5 and 120.


    It is a good size hunk of glass, but that comes with the territory.

    Steve
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2011
  7. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Barry,

    I've bought the 90mm ƒ4.5 Caltar about twenty years ago. It's a great performer with only its bulk and high original cost as drawbacks.

    Konical
     
  8. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    Nikon Nikkor 90mm 4.5

    Not that I shoot fully open much but it's really nice to have the extra light for focusing...
     
  9. Frank Bunnik

    Frank Bunnik Member

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    I have used a 6,8 Grandagon and I own a 5,6 Super Angulon. Both are multicoated. Both are extremely sharp and offer top quality. It all depends on your budget. The Super Angulon is bigger and heavier than the Grandagon and uses 82mm filters while the other one used (if I remember correct) 67mm filters.

    The SA is a bit brighter thus easier to focus, however I did not find the Grandagon that difficult to focus.

    Depends a bit on your budget and perhaps on a good offer.

    Of the two images, the winter scene was shot with a Crown Graphic and the Grandagon. The trees were shot using a Master Technika and the Super Angulon.
     

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  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    As mentioned above, first you need to assess your needs! And then your budget :smile:

    If size is a consideration, but expense is not, get an f/8 with multi-coating and a large image circle. The Nikkor f/8 is the best in this category, but my Schneider SA f/8, with only a 216mm image circle is a fine, very sharp lens. If you can live with the smaller coverage, then this or similar (Fuji, Rodenstock) are fine and will be cheaper. I do run out of coverage on my SA from time to time... But, I carry my lenses a long way. the 90mm SA f/8 is the largest lens I regularly carry.

    If you need really small, you can go with a regular Angulon (which Ian mentioned above). However, the coverage with these leaves almost no room for movements. When I don't want to carry my 90mm because of size constraints, I take the f/6.3 100mm Wide-Field Ektar. It is close enough to 90mm, only slightly larger than the 90mm Angulon, and has enough extra coverage to make some movements possible. You might consider one of those if you are looking to minimize size and weight.

    If you do architecturals or something else that takes lots of movements, you will need lots of coverage and a bigger lens. This means an f/5.6 90mm or even the Super Angulon XL (with 259mm circle, but a whopping 95mm filter size!). You can spend a lot for a little more coverage, so choose according to budget and real need here.

    I have little problem with the f/8 versions focusing. Some, however, find the smaller maximum aperture dim and harder to focus. Try focusing one of your current lenses set at f/8 to see if you can live with the dimmer image for focusing. A good dark cloth and a Fresnel lens help a lot here. If you find you are not comfortable with the dimmer image, then it's back to a larger lens.

    In the end, it's a compromise between size, coverage, brightness and cost (plus maybe whether you have filters already in a certain size).

    Brand is less important. All the major brands are quality products and will yield excellent results.

    Hope this helps some,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  11. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I was curious about brands? In my other formats I do not like to go super wide. (28mm in 35mm format) is enough for me.
    On a 4x5 do 90mm lenses require a recessed lens board?
     
  12. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Barry,

    It may depend on the camera. I use my 90mm on a Calumet CC-400 and manage without a recessed board. It is tight, however, and movements are limited. If I did a lot of architectural work, I'd probably get a recessed board.

    Konical
     
  13. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    I can't add anything new, so I will simply share my choice with you. I chose a Caltar II N 90mm f/6.8 to fit my Shen How PTB45. It seemed like a good compromise on size, coverage, and brightness for my needs & price range. Since the Caltar lenses are rebranded, I felt I wasn't losing anything in quality. I briefly considered the Caltar II N 75mm, but it would require a recessed lens board and wide-angle bellows and limited the adjustments. I couldn't justify the additional cost. BTW I paid $317 US for the lens, lens board, caps, and wrap.
     
  14. Huub

    Huub Member

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    It doesn't matter much which brand you use - Nikon, Fuji, Schneider and Rodenstock all build excelent lenses and you will have a hard time seeing the differences in print. And in general 90 mm doesn't need recessed lensboards.
    But talking about lensboards there's something else to consider. Some of the faster versions have very large back elements that won't fit into camera's that use small lensboards - the 5.6 super-angulon XL for instance has a hard time to fit onto the technika camera's. Screwing the back element off, placing the board with the front element on the camera, take the ground glass off, screw the back element in again, and replace the ground glass, is not something you want to do every time you want to use a 90mm.
    An other thing to consider is filter size - i standardised on 67 mm for all my lf-lenses. After playing around with an 6.7 Angulon and a 8.0 SuperAngulon I settled on the 6.8 Grandagon. It is brighter then the 8.0 Super Angulon, a very sharp lens and it has more image circle then my Toyo can give... Contrast is also a little higher - but then my Grandagon is multicoated, where my Super Angulon was single coated.
     
  15. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I have the slightly uncommon 90mm 5.6 Caltar HR (the rebadged Topcon). A big lens (77mm filters), but it will fit my Wista DX with a flat lensboard. Movements are bellows-limited, since I cannot put a bag bellows on this camera, but I wouldn't be using a wood field camera if I wanted to do a lot of architecture ( :cool: ). I am more than happy with the performance. I standardized on 77mm filters with step-up rings for the other lenses, but since I don't need many, it hasn't been a big issue.
     
  16. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    Yup, agree - you just have speed, coverage, size and cost to decide on - these factors are all interelated ...

    Someone should make a 'Choose your 90mm for 4x5" app for iPhone
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey barry

    i used to have a wollensak 3 1/2" exwa f12.5 it was a tiny little lens that stopped down
    has a image circle to cover a 5x7 sheet of film. i also had a wollensak 90mm air signal corps
    raptar, and like the exwa i ran out of movements on my 4x5 camera before i ran out of image circle.

    both these lenses are probably around 100$ each ( or less ? ) ...

    the thing about lenses for large format is that there are very expensive lenses and not so expensive lenses
    and sometimes the less expensive lenses will work just fine, and in most cases stopped down they work just fine.


    good luck !
    john
     
  18. Seele

    Seele Member

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    I agree with most of the correspondents; how you use it and size are important factors too: if you go out in the field with camera in a backpack, the best lens is one you can physically get there!

    This aside I actually quite like the older lenses. I use the Angulon 90/6.8 a lot, and also a Super Dagor of about the same specifications. The barrel-mounted Wideangle Aristostigmat 4" is a touch longer but covers like crazy.

    But if you don't mind a more limited angle of coverage, it's worth checking out the Rodenstock Wideangle Geronar, being a much newer lens, with multi-coating and in a modern shutter it is very usable.