which lens to get started?
just getting my first 4x5!, and need to select a lens.....
I am being offered the following:
65 mm lens, Calumet f 8. $125
75 mm lens Fujinon SW, f 5.6. , $450.
Schneider Tele-Arton, Schneider 180, f 4. $250.
Technika Tele-Arton, Schneider 240 mm f 5.6, $250.
Fujinon L, 210 mm f5.6, with $350.
Schneider Technika Symmar 150 mm / 265 mm (convertable), f 5.6, $350.
What would you get started with (and does the price seem fair?)? I perhaps will get two lenses. I plan on mostly shooting landscapes and city scapes. Too bad $$ is always a limited commodity! Thank you, APUG community! Hope to post pics soon enough!
My first lens was a 127mm Ysarex(Rodenstock) which is slightly wide angle, followed by a 150 Schneider. I have a 90mm Wollensak for wide angle, and a 10" Ilex Paragon for portraits. I like the 90 for architecture and the 127 and 150 for general landscape work.
BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"
I have a 210MM F 5.6 Fujinon, have had it for close to 30 years and it is outstanding and IMO the most versatile of the above mentioned focal-lengths.
It works with lanscapes, portraits and any kind of table-top or studio photography.
65MM is extremely wide, and so is 75mm 150mm is a usefull lens but it's not as usefull as 210.the rest are very restricted to one function.
As you've already discovered, you'll get at least as many opinions as photographers asked. Compare prices of similar lenses on www.keh.com before you do something foolish. Hint, you'll want a lens or lenses in shutter, not in Sinar DB mount. 'nother hint, the Ilex is effectively a 65/8 Super Angulon, if the glass and shutter are in good order is worth buying with resale in mind. Everything else listed seems overpriced and I suspect -- haven't checked, its your money, you check -- that the 180 Tele-Arton and perhaps the 240 too are for 2x3, not 4x5.
150 mm is normal for 4x5, more shots are taken with a normal lens than with any other focal length.
Good luck, have fun, educate yourself before spending money,
Those prices seem very high. I just saw a nice looking 210 Sironar in the classifieds for $160. That's the kind of low end prices that are out there. But they usually go fast. Ebay can be a crap shoot but I've gotten some nice things for fair prices. Try putting a WTB ad up here on APUG. On the subjective side I'd look for a 90 and 210 to start with. They are common and therefore cheaper.
Also Caltar branded lenses are a good value. You will have to study to find out exactly what you are buying as far as original manufacturer but that info should be out on the web. Also always make sure the lens comes with a mounting ring or flange. You don't want to get stuck having to buy the mounting parts separately and some flanges are expensive.
Last edited by ChuckP; 03-15-2011 at 07:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I think that many people starting in LF start with a normal and take it from there.
The Symmar 150 is a good lens and easy to use, but should be a bit cheaper than $350, but that depends on where you are
I don't know if you currently shoot MF or 35mm, but it's helpful to know what focal length (in those formats) best accommodates your style. Also, when you shoot landscapes and cityscapes, how much flexibility do you have to move in and out (i.e. if your lens is too long, can you back up with your tripod)?
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
What subjects are you shooting?
I cant comment on the optical quality of the brands but I can comment on focal length, 90 is already very wide with 4x5 so the wides you list are very very wide and may not be suitable for all the uses your planning. Id recommend a good 210 or similar, its my favorite, I do mostly portraits though but a longish standard lens is very suitable for landscape work as well and you can always get your ultra wide lens later.
So from that list the 210 or the 180 would be what I would look at and do some research on, and of course check the bay for pricing.
Get the Fuji or the Symmar.
The 65 & 75mm are painfully wide on a 4x5. If you are going to specialize in architectural interiors, fine (the 65 may not even cover.)
Teles are a PITA. If you need a long lens and don't have the bellows, thats a different story. Any 4x5 camera should be able to handle a 180mm without going to a tele. A new guy starting out with a tele equates to cruel and unusual punishment!
That leaves the Fuji and the Symmar. Since the Symmar is convertible,that gives you a bit more bang for your buck, but either lens should give you a good start (210 & 150mms are considered "normal" and should offer excellent movements) Both Fuji & Schneider are deservingly very well respected for their optical products. What condition are the shutters?
One of my favorite 4x5 lenses is the Kodak 203mm f7.7 (or Wollensak equivalent)---look real hard and you might find one in a good working shutter for $200 or under.