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Thread: Fastest lens?

  1. #1

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    Fastest lens?

    Hi all,

    I hope someone can help me out here..I would like some recommendations for a fast/odd lens for 5x4". I am not up on the myriad of lenses for this format, so please excuse my ignorance. Preferably around 90-135mm ish. Also, I don't want a modern, super contrasty super sharp lens, in fact the more aberrations and nonsense the better, so, probably old, uncoated, fast, odd.
    I have had a good search, but was unable to turn up any relevant examples. I am not averse to using a lens not designed for 5x4, in fact I would probably relish it. The weirder the suggestions the better.
    Many thanks, best to one and all,

    Dave White

    www.nospin.co.uk
    www.duckrabbit.info

  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Old spy plane lenses will probably be among the fastest lenses that cover large film. They needed lots of resolution, so used large film. They needed lots of speed, so used wide apertures. They were set at infinity focus, so the wide aperture was not a problem. I would love to have one. I almost bought a 36" f/8, and I wish I had done it now that I actually have a camera to put it on. Aero Ektars are one type, and there are probably others.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 11-24-2008 at 05:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

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  3. #3

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    Ok its a bit on the long side but Kodak made the aero ektar 178mm f/2,5
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  4. #4

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    The Aero Ektar is extremely sharp and lacking aberrations due to the nature of why it was made. That said, I mounted one on a 5x7 Graflex SLR. WOW! It can't focus to infinity, but what a wonderful portrait lens.

    I also like the Pentac 8" f/2.9 on 5x7. There are a few 6" f/2.0 or perhaps it's a f/2.8 lenses that may or may not fully cover 5x7. I'm thinking of a WWII German Schneider that was originally designed for 70 mm roll film. Most likely it will have fall off on 5x7, but perhaps this will introduce the aberration you are looking for.

    Scan eBay for old US, English, German, and Japanese military lenses. They will be your fastest in aperture.
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  5. #5
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    N.b. some of the fast old aero lenses had a mildly radioactive element and will thus have yellowed by now.... making them effectively a good deal less fast than they once were.

    There are some enlarging lenses that are f/2.8 and can cover your format. I suppose you may well find a 135/2.8. Nikkor EL 50/2.8 for sure, I think I have one somewhere.

    I have also rigged various MF lenses for this kind of thing. Though it is probably too heavy to put on a typical 4x5, the mamiya RZ 110/2.8 will probably cover upwards of 8x8cm at infinity focus and a lot more at close focus. The m645 80/1.9 is the fastest MF lens I know and it'll probably cover 7x7cm at infinity focus; it is also very inexpensive. Actually the 110/2.8 is inexpensive too.
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    This is great , thanks everyone..keep those suggestions coming..

    Are you saying Keith that the 50 el nikkor will cover 5x4 then?
    that sounds quite interesting. I also like the sound of the aero ektar..
    how is that likely to render the oof areas when used as a portrait lens?

    I know I said weird, but I think radioactive might be pushing it a bit..

    Thanks again,
    d

  7. #7
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I dunno offhand what the fast ELs will cover- you might well run into the circle on 4x5. Of course, when people say LF lens X will cover format Y, they are usually talking about (1) infinity focus and (2) stopped down to f/22! But in enlarging you typically aren't anywhere near that....

    Anyway if I find the 50/2.8 I can check for you but it'll have to wait 'til after the holidays. My vague recollection is that it covers 7x7cm at least.

    I can't magine using an aero for portraiture! Oh God that's gonna be harsh. Probably a fast old brass lens would be much kinder! (Mind you, probably someone here has done glorious portraits with an aero..)
    Last edited by keithwms; 11-24-2008 at 08:42 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: sp
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  8. #8
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    Look for small magic lantern lenses, or projector lenses. A bit hit or miss, but you can find things that work, and have cool swirly looks. The usually come in between 2.8-4, which is fast enough for many things.

  9. #9

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    Hello David, you say "fast/odd", how about a Wollensak-Dumont CRO 75mm f1.9 Oscillo - Raptar.
    Sam H.

    DAVID: I'm going to edit this as I recall that this lens will NOT cover 4x5 other than 1:1. It was designed for scope photography. Sorry!
    Last edited by Samuel Hotton; 11-25-2008 at 12:36 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: I provided poor information to poster

  10. #10
    Domenico Foschi's Avatar
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    I would go for a tessar 165mm f 2.7.
    It is a bit longer than what you are looking for but it has the characteristics you seek in a lens.
    Good luck.
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