I did the coolest thing this weekend...
I fashioned a little hood for the 4x5 and photographed my daughter's birthday party entirely with the 4x5 on a tripod by guessing at the focus on the screen (no loupe) and shooting some 79 and 54 polaroid. It was GREAT!
The only problem was shooting 80 speed film in shade with a 5.6 max lens. I had shutter speeds down to 1/8th.
SO...any recommendations for a cheap, fast lens that covers 4x5? Maybe something from the Speedgraphic era?
Seems there ought to have been a 135/3.5 Optar or some such with not much room for movements, but for available light, press camera use. Check www.graflex.org.
Old Xenars (f/4.5) and Ektars (127mm, f/4.7) come to mind, for the Speed Graphic era. Most press lenses seem to be about f/4.5 or f/4.7. You can also get new f/4.5 lenses, if you've got the money.
Here's a few Speed Graphic era lenses that aren't too bad:
127mm Kodak Ektar f/4.7
127mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
135mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
135mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
150mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
152mm Kodak Ektar f/4.5
162mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
180mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
190mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
210mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
(lots of other old f/4.5 Xenars..., or Graflex Optar versions of the Wollensak Raptars)
How about the Aero lens? Aren't they 2.8?
There is a Zeiss 135/3.5 Planar, but it doesn't meet the "cheap" requirement. A Heliar in that focal length range would probably be f:4.5, and not too expensive, but maybe not quite fast enough.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ Mar 31 2003, 01:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>How about the Aero lens? Aren't they 2.8?</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
The 178mm Aero Ektar is f/2.5. I seem to remember reading somewhere that you have to make some modifications on the lens board (like add an extension or something) because the lens barrel is so big. Or maybe it's just that the lens is so big and heavy, you need a better way to support it. You might want to check into that first.
BTW, this lens covers 5x5, some of those lenses I listed previously might just barely cover it, or you might have to step down some to avoid soft corners (or don't use movements). But most of the press style lenses can be used wide open with good results (whereas some modern f/4.5's are only good for focusing wide open, and you may even have to stop down some for critical focusing).
Also, add a 150mm Schneider Xenotar (f/2.8), 160mm image circle to the list.
A 7" Kodak Aero F/2.5 is selling on Ebay right now. I can't tell if it's got a shutter or not. The price of mounting it in a shutter likely removes it from the cheap area. If you have a graphic with a rear shutter it would be perfect. Well if it doesn't weigh a ton.
There should be tons of Schneider 135 f3.5s around. It was the standard lens for Technicas when they were used as press cameras. Schneider also made a cool, big hunk of glass, 150 f2.8 through the mid 70's. These are probably pretty rare and expensive, but don't know.
I have an old Aero Ektar. The thing is HEAVY. Weighs more than the camera. There is no shutter but you can probably rig up something. The rear element is about 3" wide. I use it on an old speed graphic with the focal plane shutter. It is razor sharp with no fall off wide open.......BUT you also get about 6mm DOF. I think it was designed for use at infinity focus, at night with IR film. DOF would not be real a problem from 20000 ft up. If you stop down to f16 which is as low as it goes you get better DOF.
My suggestion would be buy an old speed/crown graphic with a calibrated rangfinder and use whatever lens its calibrated to. I have shot some photos using only the rangfinder for focusing and it works great and is surprisingly fast for large format. The optar is a nice sharp lens. I even like using it with chroms, it kind of gives that vintage look.
I have the Wollensak 162mm f/4.5 Raptar. A very bright GG, and a sharp lens when stoped down. I have never used it below f/16 so I can't comment on it's performance wide open.