View Full Version : Suggestions--lens--long
I am sure this question has been posed in one format or another, however, I would appreciate your opnions/responses.
In order to round out my lens selections, and I do not favor one or the other, I am considering a longer lens than what I presently have & which would round out my selections. My system is as thus: Arca S Field, 65mm, 90mm, 152mm, & 210. What would your suggestions be for a long lens, however, not extreme. I have been looking a the 300's--- Fuji or Nikon, but I'm not sufficiently knowledgable about these matters. My intended use of such a lens would be either tight portraits or scenics. thank you
In the series you have, 300mm would be the next logical choice, if you try to keep the steps between focal lengths roughly the same. The standard Plasmats like the Apo-Symmar etc. are pretty big and come in a no. 3 shutter. The smaller f/8 or f/9 lenses (although for portraits you might want a larger aperture for selective focus) in a no. 1 shutter are usually much smaller and lighter . The Fuji 300C and the Nikkor 300M are both good choices, and also multicoated. On the used market, there are also the Rodenstock Apo-Ronar (newer ones in shutter are also multicoated) and Docter Apo-Germinar 300mm lenses, and the Schneider 305 G-Claron. I'd say you cant go wrong with any of them.
I have owned a Nikon f9 300M, a Fujinon f8.5 300C, and a Fujinon f8 300T tele. I would gladly recommend any of them. The Nikon 300M and the Fuji 300C are mounted in Copal 1 shutters and have very large image circles. The Fuji 300T is mounted in a Copal 0 shutter, has a smaller image circle (but will still cover 4X5), and only requires 195 mm of bellows extension to focus at infinity. Whichever one you can get the best deal. You can't go wrong.
I have almost the same lens combo. The next logical step is a 300mm , then a 450mm. I have the Nikon-M 300mm/9 which I like a lot. It is quite small on a Copal #1 shutter and very sharp. I you want a longer lens the Nikon-M 450mm or Fuji-C 450mm. The Nikon comes on a Copal #3 shutter so it's quite big, the Fuji (which I have) is slower (f/12) but a lot smaller and lighter on a Copal #1. All the above lenses are excellent in terms of optical qualities.
Since coverage is no factor unless you intend to move up to a larger format someday, your choice can be made on the basis of aperture vs. size. For portraiture or low light conditions the one stop advantage of the Fujinon L (f5.6) would be nice, but if your scenic work involves lugging equipment up hills and over rough terrain, the significantly smaller Nikon M (f8) would save effort.
Both these lenses are Tessar types, both are made by firms with excellent quality control. There are some others that you might consider, particularly if expense is a major factor. A relatively late manufacture, coated, f6.3 Commercial Ektar would be a good possibility. The near clones of the Ektar made by Yamasaki are not well known outside of Japan, thus their prices when used are apt to be lower. Yamasaki's own brand name is "Congo". but they have been sold in other countries as "Astragon" and "Osaka". The others that occur to me are either larger aperture (f4.5), or intended primarily for close distance work (Clarons, Artars, etc.).
Depending on who you ask, a 300mm is like a 100mm in the 35mm world, and a 450mm is like a 150mm. Although longish for 4x5, these lenses are not really that long. I find that I like to use the 300mm a lot, the 450mm less so. The 450mm is great, however, when you want to get closer to something and it is impossible to "zoom" by moving your feet closer. I bought a 450 before buying the 300, then came back and bought a 300 because the 210 was just not long enough for me.
I have a Nikon 300 M, which I heartily recommend. (Probably would have been just as happy with the Fujinon 300 C.) I was looking for a good buy on a used version of either, and the Nikon came up first. If you are looking for a longer lens, since you already have a 210, consider the Fujinon 450 C. It is small, in a Copal 1 shutter, and I have been very happy with the photos I have taken with it. It was the Nikon 450 M, which also was an excellent lens, but I decided that it would be better to have a lighter, more portable lens. Also, you don't have to worry as much when you have the lighter shutter way out on a fully extended camera as you do with the heavy Copal 3 with its big shutter clang. Remember, with a 450 you might have to get a longer monorail (not sure what you have for your Arca). I need to use the extension monorail with my Cambo 45SF for both the 300 and 450.
It's not clear exactly which model Arca Swiss you have, Raymond, but I'm guessing it's the F-line Field model. If so, that means you have the 6x9 front standard with the 4x5 back, and your standard (tapered) bellows extends to only 240mm, although the monorail extends to 460mm. The optional "long" bellows for the 6x9-4x5 combination extends to only 500mm, I believe. Thus, your lens choice will be constrained by bellows extension more than anything else.
Depending on how you define "tight" portraits, you'll likely need a bellows extension of somewhere between 1.5x and 2x the focal length of the lens, assuming a non-telephoto lens design. Then, the issue becomes one of preferred "perspective" for your portraits - how close the lens is to your subject, versus the bellows extension required to focus at that distance.
I tried to do the same thing with my Toyo 45AX field camera (324mm of bellows), using a Nikkor 360T telephoto. Although it worked (i.e. the 324mm of extension allowed me to focus the telephoto lens at studio distances), I couldn't get close enough for "tight" shots. The Toyo field doesn't have interchangeable bellows, so I was forced to drop back to using a monorail with more extension. Currently, my preferred portrait setup is to pop the Nikkor M 450mm lens on my Toyo 8x10 with 750mm of bellows, and use the 4x5 reducing back. That way, I can stay far enough away for nice portrait perspective, but still fill the frame with the subject's face (or, just part of the face).
I love my Linhof/Schneider 360mm on my Tec III. Bellows draw isn't bad and the optics are very nice although I'm very careful about using a good lens shade all the time. You can find them on the auction site once in awhile but they usually come in a compound shutter which in themselves are a bit large and you would need to find out if it would fit on your camera between the front standards. Compounds are nice but if you feel the need, they can be fitted to a more modern copal shutter. As stated, you would be wise to look at the specs of each to make sure your going to be able to focus close enough for your needs.
Two other lenses to add to your list of possibles are the slightly larger 360 mm version of the Docter Apo Germinar mentioned earlier (again a large heavy lens in a #3 shutter) and .....
The 300 mm Fujinon A. The superb Aseries lenses (all but the 180 now discon tinued) originally were available in 180-240-300-360. The 300 and 360 have been discontinued for at least a decade and very infrequently come up on the used market. If one does and this is the focal lenght you want give the lens strong consideration. It has a large image circle (420 mm) and is smaller and lighter than many 210's. The later ones are EBC multicoated and its performance is every bit as good at the highly regarded 240 mm A.
Kerry L. Thalmann
Actually, there were even longer members of the Fujinon A series. The original A series included 180mm, 240mm, 600mm and 1200mm. The 600mm and 1200mm were discontinued back in the mid to late 1970s (single coated only). The 300mm and 360mm were introduced about that same time (initially single coated, multicoated starting about 1980). The 300mm and 360mm were discontinued in the late 1980s, and are considered rather rare (certainly not very common), but the 600mm and 1200mm are the REAL rare models in the Fujinon A series. I've only seen a couple of the 600mm, and have never seen a 1200mm Fujinon A (or a 300mm Fujinon SW).
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