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  1. #1

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    In retrospect,would you have gone wider or longer sooner?

    For those that shoot landscape and portraits, when you consider your lens collection, what focal length did/would you have purchased sooner because you get more versatility and use from it - a wider or longer lens?

    What wide or long focal length (say LT 100mm GT 240mm) is/was it?

  2. #2

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    I would have went longer sooner in seeing how I underestimated the mental game of 240-350mm in 4x5 being no where near as long as those numericals in 35mm. Fortunately, I filled those slots pretty quickly with a Fuji 240 A and 350 Schnieder Apo-Tele-Xenar.
    "I'm the freak that shoots film. God bless the freaks!" ~ Mainecoonmaniac ~

  3. #3

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    My answer is, actually, of minimal value to you Joe... you really need to figure out what interests and needs you have. My interests appear about the same as yours, though. But in all formats I went normal to longer (but not too long) and eventually got a very conservative wide, which rarely gets used. In 35mm my longest is 200 and shortest is 35; MF, longest is 250 and shortest is 80; and in 4x5 longest is about 300 and shortest is 90. I didn't get the MF 250 or the LF 300 until much later in life... I would do that earlier if I had a time machine. I'm not much for extremes since they don't enhance my photographic interests/needs.

  4. #4

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    With my 8x10 camera I bought a 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar as my first lens. A 14" is considered a "normal" lens for 8x10. I was in a hurry to try out 8x10 and actually overpaid for this lens but it was the exact lens that I wanted.

    While trying to decide on what I wanted for a second lens (longer or shorter), a Fujinon 250mm f/6.7 lens came up on Ebay at a great price so I bought it. A 250mm is a slight wide angle and on 8x10 similar to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. For my next lens I wanted longer and watched for a 19" Artar at a good price. A 121mm Super Angulon became available for dirt cheap so I bought it. The 121 is super wide and just barely covers 8x10. After months of watching, I finally found my 19" Artar for a good price so I'm very happy with what I have.

    So to answer your question, after over paying for my "normal" lens, I took my time on my additional lenses and bought them in the order that I found them at good prices.

  5. #5

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    Joe, since you are on the fence there is another thing to think about. It's winter right now! Are you the sort to brave the wet and cold to get those great snow covered, wide angled landscapes or do you prefer shooting tight portraits inside your nice warm and dry living room?

  6. #6
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    I'm going wider than my S/K Symmar 180 for 4x5 as soon as I can afford. I might be able to get down to 90mm but probably stay at 100 to be safe. Then about a 300 or more when I can swing that. Might get lucky and bag both next month. So, I hope not to have the problem past the get go.

  7. #7
    Athiril's Avatar
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    360mm Tele-Xenar f/5.5 for Portraits in 4x5"

    I wouldn't want to go shorter unless I had no space to work with.

  8. #8

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    Twenty years ago a Horseman 45FA was fitted with a 180mm lens of some description that I cannot recall now. It was very rudimentary but did the job over 6 years of ownership with weddings and commercial shoots before leaving the partnership and moving down in format. Later, the 24mm in 35mm format was an instant 'go-to' optic and remains so. I have probably 'converted' several hundred people to the 24mm genre through my teaching (through Canon) of planar/close-focus manipulation with Canon's TS-E three PC optics. Following from 24mm I purchased a 20mm, yet this gets nowhere near the use that 24mm does. In retrospect, all the choices I made first off were the correct ones which suited my work then, as they do now, while later choices could be said to have 'missed the mark', just not in favour. With MF, the 45mm 'standard' lens again points to my roots with ultra-wide angles. If I moved up to LF, a 65mm would be considered my standard working lens, and probably just one of two that would be employed in the landscape context.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athiril View Post
    360mm Tele-Xenar f/5.5 for Portraits in 4x5"

    I wouldn't want to go shorter unless I had no space to work with.
    Depends if the OP has a field camera it probably doesn't take that lens. ESPECIALLY for portraits. He/She did say landscape and portraits.

    Anyway, it's hard to answer, you already have a 180mm so if you want a nice portrait lens, you probably want longer right? So 300mm is better, but if it's a field, get the fujinon 300 C f/8.5 as it focuses much closer than other 300mm so bellows legnth will be much less of an issue.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    For a couple decades or so I stuck with 'normal' lenses as I moved up in format. Once settled in with 8x10 and the 12" (300mm), I eventually went longer (19"). I went up to 24", but rarely use it...don't even carry it in my pack. In fact, I rarely carry the 19" these days as I have put it on another lensboard for the 11x14.

    Going the other way, I found a 6.25" (159mm) at a good price, but moved up to a 8.25" (210mm) as the widest I used for a long while. It is a Wollensak Graphic Raptar -- nice lightweight barrel lens that I did not even notice in my pack, weight-wise. I am now carrying a Fuji 250mm/6.7 as my widest...mostly due to it being in a shutter. But I can throw the 210mm into the pack if I know I will be working in tight (and low-light) quarters such as in Fern Canyon.

    But to answer your question, if I just had the 300mm and was going to get one more lens, I would still go up to the 19" first -- and then look for a 210mm in a shutter as my third lens. Before getting my own 8x10, a friend loaned me his 8x10 Deardorff with a 210 Schneider Angulon. It was not until a long time after that I came to realize what a fine lens that was.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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