New to LF - lense choice
I've purchased a 5 x 7 with an additional 4 x 5 back and need to get a lense. I'll be using it mainly for table top and portrait work. The landscapes will come later when I feel a little more confident that I could answer a passerby's question about the camera.
depeding on what you are looking to do ...
usually people use a longer focal length for head/shoulders portrait work -
a 10" for 4x5 and a 14 +/- " for 5x7. i am not sure what sort of set-up you have for shooting table top ... and if you wanted to use the 5x7 for that or the 4x5 ? a longer lens might work in that situation as well, but again it depends on what you are looking to do. depending on if you have a lot of money to spend ( new lens ) or if you are looking to use older glass (always my choice) you could look into some of the schneider convertible symmar lenses. they offer 2 focal lengths and the image circle for the converted focal length (remove front element to do this) will cover your 5x7 negative. i have a 210-370 symmar and like it alot. you'll need a lot of bellows to get to 370, but i think your 5x7 camera can handle it.
i've had good luck from places like keh(.com) camera brokers, equinoxphotographic(.com) and thanks to john kasaian i was turned on to igor's camera exchange (igorcamera.com). then again there is always FEEbay
good luck and congratulations on the 5x7 ..
Last edited by jnanian; 06-28-2005 at 04:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: forgot the "i" in "i was ..."
I second John's suggestion of a Symmar. There are many photographers who believe these are inferior to more modern lenses - which in my opinion has the great advantage of bringing the price down to where they are an exellent low-cost lens to begin with and go on with. A 210/370mm will offer ample coverage on 5x7", without being too long for closer work. The large coverage allows movements which are often only limited by the camera, it nearly covers 8x10"!
In the "converted" state (front group removed) it will show slight loss of definition in the corners of 5x7", but not so much that it's troublesome except in very special circumstances (like bare branches against a bright sky). I have not found a filter to make much difference, whether grenn, yellow or red.
I have used a 150/265mm extensively on 4x5", and now use a 240/420 on 5x7" and 18x24cm. I bought the 240 after having sold the 150, but I sold that one because I realised I had too many lenses in the 135 to 180mm range. Now I only have 6 of these left
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
John thanks for the reply sorry I wasn't more specific.
I'll be using the 5 x 7 to start (contact printing)before I invest in a 4 x 5 enlarger. I've never done table top with any format so I'm not sure what set up to use.
What would be the normal lense for the 5 x 7 format and maybe I can make a choice based on that ?
I don't have the funds for a new lense so it will have to be used.
Do you have any experiance with the caltar lenses they seem to be the most inexpensive.
I would go here...
and find the sharpest one in the range you want. You said portrait so I would assume you would want a longish normal lens. I have a 210mm G-claron that is super sharp that I use for 4x5, but that might be a bit wide for 5x7 portrait lens. Maybe a G-claron 240mm or a 305mm. You can get those used for a very reasonable amount. I think I paid $310 for mine.
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How much bellows draw does your camera have? I think that your lens selection needs to consider that.
Normal lens for 5X7 is 210 mm
Some people like to use a wide angle for table top/product photography and a longer lens for portraiture. I personally would not select a convertible lens because they seem to be compromises with the longer focal length usually recognized as being soft in the corners.
Caltar lenses can be either Rodenstock or Schneider depending on the vintage.
I haven't recieved the camera yet so i'm not sure of the bellows. It's a B&J 5 x 7 (hope it's in as good a shape as the pictures in the auction)
What type B&J Monorail or field? The monorail will handle just about anything you want to put on it, the field not so much but you can get extension bedrail for it.
Originally Posted by KEK
For tabletop work, I would shoot for a 240mm lens, gives you lots of axis movements to work with while not being too foreshortening a lens. That lens will also work for doing head and shoulders and of course, landscape photography.
I have something called a 5x7 lens, it appears to be about 210mm and also a 180 mm Tessar that covers into the corners quite nicely, but I suspect has no movements to speak of.
Best of luck, you can always go with a shorter lens and shoot 4x5 for awhile. A 135 to 150mm lens will work well with that setup even for tabletop images.
tim in san jose
Where ever you are, there you be.
sorry, i don't know much about caltar lenses ...
but if is a schneider lens, if you go here :
you can check the serial # to see the age of the lens.
if you go with the g-claron lens, often times they fit right into
a copal shutter ( it is a "0" i think) or a prontar/ polaroid press shutter.
they are nice sharp lenses, but i tend to shy against the "sharp stuff" for
making portraits ...
i'd see if you can find a sweet convertable ... lots of companies made them .. wollensak, turner reich, schneider ...
this is a 150 / 235 and a 210 / 370
and it looks like they might not go for very much $$
Originally Posted by KEK
I have a 150 Caltar that most will tell you does not cover 5x7, but Jeremy Moore and I gave it a good workout a couple of months ago and it covered just fine. We were both using a B&J 5x7 field camera. Also, have a 210 Rodenstock Geronar (that is like the current Caltar E series) and it also, covers. If your camera is one of the rail cameras, can't speak for the coverage on it...but these are nice lens for a lot less $$ than some of the others. I would go with a 210 for now and decide later what you plan to shoot the most and upgrade or purchase a nicer lens (though I consider mine very nice, enough for my needs).
Most of all remember to enjoy the new camera..congratulations...
BTW... I would not hesitate to follow Johns advice either..I just got lucky with the lens I have..