There are a lot of options out there in the 210 mm range. For a long time I was using a 210/4.5 Tessar type made by Fuji; it's a perfectly good lens but bulky, and it's sort of been displaced as my "normal normal" by a 215/4.8 Ilex convertible that covers 8x10. (Come to think of it, drop me a PM if you want to try to work out a deal for that Fuji lens.) KEH is always overflowing with 210/5.6 plasmats, which for some reason they advertise as covering 4x5.
I actually end up shooting almost as much with a 270mm G-Claron. It's a long-normal on 5x7 and a wide-normal on 8x10, it's little, and it's ridiculously sharp. I assume the other focal lengths are the same, but someone with actual experience of them may have more nuanced information.
It's probably worth sticking with one or two lenses for a while, but to me anyway, much of the fun of LF is in the smorgasbord of interesting lenses. Brass convertibles with confusing names and funny aperture scales, process lenses abused for pictorial purposes, junk-box rescues---it's just plain *fun*. But I'm an engineer and my sense of "fun" doesn't always translate to other people's worlds. :-)
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
There is no best set of focal lengths (or maybe even manufacturer) for any format. Your unique "seeing" will, or should, be different as you move among them. A "normal" 35 image should not be aesthetically the same as a "normal" 120, a "normal" 4x5, a "normal" 5x7, and so on, even though you can certainly find technical equivalence between lenses in published comparative focal length tables – and this is not solely because of differing aspect ratios.
Originally Posted by j-dogg
FWIW, and intended only anecdotally, my three lens 5x7 kit consists of 110mm, 180mm, and 300mm. These choices were made based mainly on bellows draw, weight considerations, and availability. The 110mm, however, was a specific, and at the time expensive, choice for a wide angle, a comparable focal length I used frequently in smaller formats to establish important near–far relationships. I rarely use it! I have found that my 5x7 tastes lean more heavily to the 180 and 300 ...and longer – having somewhat recently added a fourth, 450mm, to the quill. The 110 may in fact eventually be dropped from my carry in favor of the new longer three, when weight considerations are paramount.
Last edited by ROL; 10-01-2013 at 12:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: missing comma
geez, I have around 80 modern lenses and a slough of vintage lenses. I know them all and pick the best one for the scene.
Meh, I dont mind paying for good glass if the price is right.
The Trioplan appears to cover the full 5x7 with minimal vignette if any I've already played with it a little. I planned on probably keeping it anyway
5x7 Eastman-Kodak kit, under the knife for a bit
4x5 Graphic View / Schneider 180 / Ektar 127
RB67 Pro S / 50 4.5 / 90 3.8 / 180 4.5 / WLF / prism finder / polaback
Random 35mm stuff
Here is lesson number one regarding large format lenses: Circle of illumination and circle of sharp coverage are two different items entirely.
Originally Posted by j-dogg
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I have an old New Yorker cartoon on my fridge that shows the Holy Trinity to be Butter, Sugar and Salt... Never really gotten past that, I'm afraid.
As for lenses: Try whatever you've got, then try lenses people will lend you. Figure out what you like. find one and buy it. No magic involved, just personal tastes.
Cooke XV and XVa , Ektar , Wollensak and Protar
If I had that many lenses to choose from I think my brain would explode.
Originally Posted by eclarke
I checked out your photography and the 80+ lenses obviously work for you!
Yep, the 120, 210, 300 combo will do it. 120 Super Angulon, 210 Symmar-S or equivalent from Nikon or Rodenstock, and a Schneider 305 G-Claron. (Saves a lot of weight over a 300 Symmar of equivalent. Less glass, smaller shutter, very sharp.)
Spend any left-over money on film!
I carry a 165 Angulon, 240 GC, 300 Fuji, and 450 Fuji. I used to carry a 110 SS, but didn't use it often. I've tried a few other focal lengths, but keep coming back to the same four lenses.