View Full Version : New lens on old camera
I have currently an Linhof Technika III (4x5) with a Schneider Angulon 120/6.8 Although the 120 is fine for outdoor photography, it's not easy to use (shutter tolerance at the slow speed end is becoming awkward). I am contemplating to obtain a new (= newer design) lens, especially for tabletop, stilllife and portraiture. What focal length - make/brand would be advised for this purpose ?
I'm a bottom feeder and lover of old, ugly lenses. I would never stop using your 120. That's what a CLA is for. Most of my tabletop, stillife is done with a 210 in 4x5. An Ektar 203 is nice too. A 120/210 (203) makes a good pair of lenses. Very versatile. Make or brand doesn't matter. Do you have enough extension? That matters.
FWIW, I agree that something around 210mm is nice for tabletop and still life work on 4x5. I use a 210mm/5.6 Schneider Symmar-S frequently for that type of work. It provides a reasonable working distance, making complex lighting easier - the camera is far enough away from the subject that it doesn't get in the way of the lighting.
The 210mm is also about as short as I'd go for portraiture. Again, working distance is a key factor. Too close, and the subjects start distorting from foreshortening. For frame-filling portraits, I prefer the rendition of a 360mm telephoto design, and use the Nikkor 360T to minimize the amount of bellows extension required. Or, I pop a Nikkor M 450mm lens on the 8x10 monorail, and use a reducing back for 4x5.
David A. Goldfarb
I'd also go for something around 210mm for that use. I have a 210/370mm Symmar convertible that I'm very satisfied with, but I'm sure the newer versions are even sharper, and the 370 option on the older convertible isn't really practical unless you have lots of bellows. I need an extension lensboard to reach infinity on my Tech V at full extension (about 17") in 370 mode.
In the range that has been discussed, I have (and like) an 8.5" Ilex Paragon for portrait work. For head shot portraits, I use a 10" Ilex Paragon. For tabletop, I use anything from a 90mm to a 10", depending on the job...
My preferred camera that I take out is my Tec III also. The nice part of the III is that the boards are easily made by a competent machinist. Any lens can be used with the right board (recessed or otherwise) and I use from 90mm to 360mm on my III. For tabletops stuff, a 210mm is VERY useful and a 240mm-250mm is also a good choice. If you like the 120, have the shutter serviced but your right, it is a little short for tabletop stuff and portraits... to much distortion and for products, unless you need to do psuedo macro work, you will get to close. In the studio, most of the time I use a 210mm and sometimes a 300mm so you really need to look into the 210-300 area of lens. For my Linhof, I like my Linhof lens but I also use Fuji's and a Nikon Macro I have. The Fuji's a beautiful lens but most any new lens will work. One thing you have to remember when getting a new lens, the rear element has to be able to fit into the whole of the camera. One of my Fuji's, I have to raise the front standard to be able to get the lens in but it isn't a problem. My 360mm is in a old compound #3 shutter and I feared it wouldn't work but it does just fine. The 360 is beautiful for portraits and I switch back and forth between my 240 and my fun 250 Imagon. Convertible lens serve a purpose but I find that the longer version (of the conversion) isn't as sharp and the bellows draw is a bit to long and that is why I went the way of straight lens.
The best lens for portraiture is going to be quite different from the best lens for tabletop, so some compromise, and a very versatile lens, is needed here. I echo Jim Rhoades suggestion of the 203mm f7.7 Ektar. It is s symmetrical dialyt type which, though slower than ideal for portrait work, does very well at an unusually long range of subject/image ratios. It also has useful coverage for 4" X 5". Look for a coated one, though, it's particularly important with this lens which has eight air to glass surfaces. The coated ones have an "L" in a circle in the front markings. To his suggestion, I would add the 203mm f7.5 Optar, a closely similar lens often obtainable at substantially lower price. I think all of these were coated, and I like the shutter a little better than the Supermatic.
A more modern lens with great versatility is the G-Claron, slightly slower still, but a great performer and available in more modern, and somewhat more convenient, shutters.
any info on a 240mm ronar rodenstock dialyt lens ,any info greatly received, greensleaves1943
The Apo-Ronar is typical of the dialyte type process lenses intended primarily for very large horizontal copying cameras. It has a rather narrow field of view. Rodenstock lists the image circle at f22 as 212mm. The aperture is, like other process lenses, small, f9. It is found both in barrel and in shutter, size 1. Its best use is as a long focal length lens on 4 X 5.
The G-Claron was designed to work with much more compact vertical cameras, so has a wider field of view. The 203mm Ektar was the descendant of an earlier Kodak Anastigmat for general-purpose use and is a little faster than the process lenses.
the Angulon is a nearly symmetrical construction, so it's also useful for close-ups but you have to use at least f/22 for full sharpness. So in my opinion a Symmar 180mm is the lens for still-life, table-top and portraiture (whole person). For faces only a Tele-Xenar 360mm needs only 230mm bellows-extention at infinity. I like my Technika III, but with long bellows-extention the stability is, as with all folding-cameras, not so good compared with mono-rail cameras. This is also the reason to choose the 180mm lens, you can take macro-shots up to 1:1.
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