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  1. #1

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    240 Lens Questions

    So this summer I'm going to start making color images with my 8x10. I'm looking to get rid of my 210 and my 300 lenses and just stick with a 240 for all of my work. I've looked up a bunch of info on them, but for obvious reason a lot of the stuff that I can find is basically pertaining to b/w. I'm wondering if anybody has any color specific lens experiences that they'd be willing to share. I'll be printing pretty large (at least 30x40) so sharpness is obviously going to be a concern, but I think the coating of the lens is going to be more of the question (I'm assuming anything with a modern enough coating to make nice color negs is also going to be moderately sharp). Any info that people can give would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

    -Dan

  2. #2
    Ole
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    30x40 from 8x10" is only a 4x enlargement.

    That should be quite feasible with any 240mm lens made in the past century, whether it's coated or not.

    Most of my colour photos were shot with single- or uncoated lenses ranging from a 8 1/4" WA Rectilinear (on 4x5") to a 210mm f:6.1 Xenar (on 5x7").
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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    I use a 240mm Schneider Symmar-S. It is multi-coated and I got it to replace an old Goerz Dagor Series III 9 1/2 inch lens. I never tried color with the Dagor, but I wanted to have a more reliable and accurate shutter than the Ilex shutter I had for color film. The Symmar-S is bigger and heavier, but it works well and fits on my Crown Graphic, too.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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    Have been starting to experiment with a Fujinon W 250mm f6.7 lens, after having it recommended to me by Jock Sturges (all his early work was shot with this lens, you can see samples online, not sure if he shot color with this lens). You might want to test this lens with your 8x10 like I am doing.

  5. #5

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    After testing a few 240-250 lenses the sharpest I had was a Doctor Germinar 240. (Thanks Kerry) Coverage at 8x10 is limited but it beats my Schneider Symmar. Because it's so sharp I use it for 4x5. It is really overkill at 8x10.

    About what Ole says, that is not much enlargement. I have a 10" Brass barrel Rapid from before 1904. This baby tested out near the Symmar. 4x enlargement, no problem. I would use it for 8x10 anyday. It even beat out a 300 Fuji tele and a 270 Tele Arton. You never know until you test.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole View Post
    30x40 from 8x10" is only a 4x enlargement.

    That should be quite feasible with any 240mm lens made in the past century, whether it's coated or not.

    Most of my colour photos were shot with single- or uncoated lenses ranging from a 8 1/4" WA Rectilinear (on 4x5") to a 210mm f:6.1 Xenar (on 5x7").
    I use a 240mm Nikkor which I hope will be good for colour photography on 8x10.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole View Post
    30x40 from 8x10" is only a 4x enlargement.

    That should be quite feasible with any 240mm lens made in the past century, whether it's coated or not.

    Most of my colour photos were shot with single- or uncoated lenses ranging from a 8 1/4" WA Rectilinear (on 4x5") to a 210mm f:6.1 Xenar (on 5x7").

    Exactly, coating has nothing to do with a lens ability to render good color photos. Coating only affects the lens resistance to flare and in some cases can increase the contrast.

    Color photography started long before lenses were coated.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE View Post
    Exactly, coating has nothing to do with a lens ability to render good color photos. Coating only affects the lens resistance to flare and in some cases can increase the contrast.

    Color photography started long before lenses were coated.
    As someone who has shot a lot of color large format film with a large variety of lenses, I'm going to disagree with the premise that coatings have nothing to do with a lens' ability to render good color photos.

    Yes, coatings reduce flare and increase contrast - which is exactly why they are important when shooting with color film. If a lens is flare prone and low in contrast it will rob color images of saturation and make the colors look flat and lifeless. In black and white, development time and temperature can be altered to increase (or decrease) contrast. With color film, if you start deviating from the manufacturer's recommended development times and temperatures, you will get unwanted color shifts

    Of course, flare is also a function of lens design. An uncoated lens with few air spaces (such as an uncoated Goerz Dagor) will still have relatively high contrast. However, an uncoated lens with multiple air spaces will be flare prone and low in contrast. Shading the lens helps, but for rich saturated colors (if that's your goal), I recommend at least single coated lens. A multicoated lens will be even more immune to flare and render the most saturated colors.

    Used previous generation mulicoated lenses can be had at very reasonable prices these days. So, if your goal is to shoot color, even if you are on a limited budget, I see no reason not to get a multicoated (or at the very least, single coated) lens.

    Also, many lenses made before 1940 were not color corrected. Using such lenses with color film can result in color fringing - which can easily show up in 4x enlagements. Again, since plenty of post WWII coated, color corrected lenses are available at very reasonable prices, I see no reason to use something older, uncoated and uncorrected for this particular application.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  9. #9

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    In addition to the 250mm f6.7 Fujinon W and 240mm f9 Germinar-W already mentioned (both excellent lenses), I also highly recommend the 240mm APO Sironar-S. This lens will offer truly outstanding performance, and has enough coverage for most 8x10 applications.

    This is an expensive lens - even used, but you didn't mention a budget range. Plus, since you are replacing both a 210mm and 300mm lens, you could use the proceeds from selling those lenses to finance the purchase of used 240mm APO Sironar-S.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  10. #10

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    Kerry, thank you so much for your response, a lot of the things that you said are what I had expected, but I didn't feel confident enough to say them as if they were fact. I will more than likely end up making digital c-prints with these negs, so the contrast and saturation issues will be somewhat correctable, but I prefer to get it right the first time and not have to rely on photoshop. Plus, a set of 8x10 color contacts might be a really nice thing to make at some point, and in that case I have to have it right in the neg, more or less.

    I had wondered about the Sironar-S in this focal length. I use the 135 version of it on my 4x5 and it is truly an incredible lens. I'm not sure how much the weight increases at 240, but if it is not a ridiculous amount I would really love to try and track down a used one. My budget won't be outrageously high, but my plan was definitely to use the money from the sold lenses plus a bit more to purchase the new one. If it turns out I can't afford one, does anyone have any experience with the Sironar-N? I would obviously lose a bit of coverage and sharpness, but just to throw another option out there.

    Thanks a lot to everyone for the suggestions. I will look in to all of them, and if anyone has any more I would appreciate them. It will be another month or so until I actually plan on purchasing anything, so this is just research time.

    -Dan

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