What 4x5 lens?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Graham1952, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Graham1952

    Graham1952 Member

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    While dipping my toe into the water of LF i have ordered a mint used Toyo 45AII from Ffordes in Scotland.

    One think leads to another so now i need a lens what would be the best for landscape and architecture on a 4x5 format camera.

    Any advice would be most welcome

    Thank you
    Graham
     
  2. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    It's a personal choice... a 210mm is probably the best lens value out there right now and one of the most versatile as well. It has lots of coverage and you can't go wrong with any of the modern choices in that focal length. If you add a 90mm down the road you could do just about anything with that combo. I have a 90, 150, 210 and 300. If I could only keep two it would be the 90 and 210. If I could only keep one it would be the 210.

    Nice camera, by the way. I love mine.

    Good luck and enjoy!
    Shawn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2013
  3. vysk

    vysk Member

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  4. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Basically, take the focal lengths of your most-used lenses and multiply times 3. This will give you the approximate equivalent focal length for 4x5. For landscapes, I'd suggest around the 90mm - 150mm range.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My first choice would be a 150mm Sironar or Symmar. Like Shawn I have a 90mm, 210mm, and 300mm, also a 65mm and a 135mm

    In terms of use I'd guess 80% of my my images are made with a 150mm, 17% with the 90mm and the other 3% mostly the 65mm and a few with the 210mm. However I'm beginning to use the 210mm nmore.

    If I had to use one lens it would be my 135mm which I use on a second 5x4 camera (usually in Turkey).

    Ian
     
  6. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    I have the 90 135 150 210 and 300. I have had that set of lenses for 25 years. The 210 is almost the only lens I ever use.
    Dennis
     
  7. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I definitely second what VYSK said.
     
  8. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    I would keep it simple, choose a lens in the middle range for 4x5, as you might choose a 'standard' lens if buying a first 35mm camera. So a 150mm is around 45mm equivalent in 35mm. That can be your datum point and work out either side from there when you buy more lenses. I find a 90mm, 150mm, and 240mm an ideal range for the English landscape, and it would be good for architecture as well. But the 150mm is the 'do-it-all' lens if I can use my feet to zoom.

    Prices for a 150mm Symmar S are very good at the moment, with plenty about. The filter size isn't outrageous at 58mm and it gives tons of coverage to allow for movements.

    Steve
     
  9. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    90 210 and 300 here, and would like something around 150 ... the 300 is portraits only and the 90 is wide angle so the 210 is the equiv of something about 80-100 on a 35mm camera a 150 would be about a 50mm equiv to 35mm.

    A neat lens to see if you can find would be one of the schneider convertibles, or see if a buddy will let you borrow something before committing to one.
     
  10. rawhead

    rawhead Subscriber

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    You should check places like Flickr and find LF images you like and look at the FL. When I shoot medium format I love most my Hasselblad 903SWC (38mm f4.5). With my DSLR, I'm usually going for the widest end shooting my 17-40F4L. Naturally, I find my self reaching for my SA 75mm f5.6 when shooting 4x5. But that's *my* preference. You need to figure out yours.
     
  11. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Something in the 110-150mm range with a decently large image circle would do well for architecture and landscape. If you can afford one, or find one used, something like a Schneider Super Symmar 110mm XL. You could do all kinds of work with that one lens.
     
  12. LJH

    LJH Member

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    72mm SAXL.

    Easily my most-used lens in this format.

    Massive image circle, so perfect for Architecture.

    If you mainly use wide angles on your current camera, it's pointless gettin either a 150mm or a 210mm. That's like getting a 50mm or 85mm for 35mm camera. Why would you get one of these if you shoot wide?

    Also, if you're considering a 90mm (pretty wide), consider the f5.6/f4.5 versions over the f8 ones. Whilst they're more expensive (actually, compared to modern DSLR lenses, that probably should be written as "not quite as cheap"), they'll make focusing easier in lower light, especially in the outer areas of the shot. This will be important if/when you shoot interiors and/or with lots of rise/shift.
     
  13. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Most people (including me) will recommend a "normal" focal length for your first lens. A "normal" focal length for 4x5 is considered 135mm to 180mm. A 210mm is considered a long "normal". The 210 is probably your most versatile lens for 4x5. It's a great focal length and most 210's have lots of coverage. They are also dirt cheap right now.

    Most landscape photographers prefer a normal focal length and a wide focal length. Some also like a long lens. The 90mm is the most popular wide lens and will fit on your Toyo camera with a flat lens board.

    When I bought my Tachihara I purchased a 75mm wide angle because I loved my 25mm Zeiss on my Contax 35mm camera. Three times 25 is 75, right? Well I found the 75mm seemed more like a 20mm to me so I sold it and bought a 90mm which I am very happy with.

    Large format is a different animal than 35mm. What you like in 35mm may not be what you like in 4x5. Fortunately, if you buy right used you can resell and get at least most of your money back. I would start with a 135 to 210 lens. Some recommend the 150 over the 135 because of more coverage. Go out and shoot and learn what you like before purchasing any more lenses. After shooting a while you will learn what you like and don't like.
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A lot depends on what/where you're shooting, here in the UK I find I tend to need a wider lens, I'd be hard pushed to use a 210mm lens as my sole lens, it's like using a 75mm on a 35mm camera.

    Ian
     
  16. Graham1952

    Graham1952 Member

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    Thanks to all who have replied to this post you have gave a new boy to LF a lot to think about.

    I have a leaning towards around 135mm as a 35mm lens is my go to for 35mm format.

    many thanks again to all.
    Graham.
     
  17. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    A 210mm is equivalent to a 63mm in 35mm format.

    And Graham, a 135mm is nearer 40mm than 35mm equivalent in 35mm.

    An interesting discussion, especially what people think of as a landscape lens. I'm from the school that thinks any lens is a landscape lens, not just a wide lens that gets as much in the shot as is possible.

    Steve
     
  18. rawhead

    rawhead Subscriber

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    'Course, any lens could be used to take a photo of a landscape.

    But, when I think "landscape" I tend to envision images with 1m to infinity in the frame, so it's not so much "how much width you can fit in a frame" but more like "how much DoF you can squeeze in a frame" that I go after; hence, the wider lenses.
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yes, Ian you are correct. A lot does depend on what/where you are shooting. It also depends upon your vision as a photographer.

    I actually prefer long lenses for landscape over wides. I use wides for getting in close. Maybe I'm weird! :smile:

    I feel normal lenses make great first lenses because they are easier to use and have more coverage for learning camera movements.
     
  20. rawhead

    rawhead Subscriber

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    Graham, if you are thinking about a 135mm, I have a very decent Nikkor-W 135/5.6 in Copal 0 that is seeing zero usage. Let me know if you're interested :smile:
     
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  21. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I agree, Steve!

    I'm also from the school that thinks any lens is a portrait lens. Not just a long lens for head shots. :D
     
  22. LJH

    LJH Member

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    This is rendered somewhat moot when you consider LF (and ULF) landscape is often shot at small apertures with movements.
     
  23. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I prefer a lens that is wider than normal for 4X5. I chose 135mm Fuji and have not regretted it, it serves most of my purposes. My next lens was 240mm G-Claron and that too was a wonderful choice for a long(ish) lens. My Tachahara will not support anything over 300mm so I'm about maxed out in that direction. I would like a 90 as a wide angle lens but my experiences with Landscape photography does not suggest I have really missed anything.

    To go wider than 90mm may entail recessed boards which present issues with cable releases, setting shutter and speed controls.

    I wasted time and money with a cluncker camera thinking I could learn some basics to decide if a "real" camera was going to work. The learning curve of a properly working camera is much quicker than trying to work around mechanical problems, and if you are interested in getting your feet wet with 4x5 you will be hooked and might as well not to have upgrade in the first year. Toyo makes good cameras,

    Good luck, and welcome to APUG; there are a lot of people here willing to share their experiences.
     
  24. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I too have a Fujinon 135mm (the older model with lettering on the "inside") - Cracking little lens, lightweight, and oodles of coverage which copes with most things. The other two lenses I usually travel with is a 180mm and a 300mm (and occasionally a 90mm). Sometimes it is a toss up between the 180mm and the 135mm, with the latter usually winning out as it usually travels (reverse) mounted on the camera.

    It might be worth hooking up with a local LF user and trying a few lenses before dropping another wad of cash - If you were close by, I'd have said pop in for a coffee & natter.


    P.S. I'd suggest avoiding the Xenar lenses - Whilst often found cheap, I've never been impressed by the coverage and nearly always hit the limits on the ones I've tried.
     
  25. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Indeed. I find that 80, 110, 150, 210, 300, 360, and 500 make great landscape lenses on my 4x5, I just hope I have the strength to hike with them for many years to come. If I had to select, I'd choose differently for each trip, but the 150 would always be there, so universal. And maybe 110, just ideal. And maybe 360. Then the 500 is easy to add anyway, and compresses perspective well. Hmm, 300 is lighter. But the 210 gave me good pictures. And what if I need that wide-angle close-up the 80 is good at? Does it get worse when I grow up?
     
  26. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Grow up?

    I'm 56 and that's not on the timeline yet.

    To the OP, I love my Fuji 150 6.3, been shooting with it for 30 years. Just got a Fuji 135 5.6 and it's OK but I'll need to get a little more comfortable with it.
    I would recommend a 135 to 150 lens paired with a 210 to 240 and get use to those lens. Buy quality.

    tim in san jose