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Louie Devincentis
28-Mar-2012, 08:51
Hi Gang.
I've picked up the Sinar and I am very excited. I still have to purchase the developing tank for the 4x5 film so until then I will use the local lab that still develops film. My question to you is on 4x5 format which lens is considered a wide angle lens, regular lens, telephoto and Is there a formula that I can memorize. Thanks.

Louie

Peter J. De Smidt
28-Mar-2012, 09:00
A normal lens is a lens equal to the diagonal of the film. With 4x5 that means a 150mm lens (or so). Wide angle lenses are less than that, and long lenses are greater. (Strictly speaking, telephoto means a specific type of lens design. A long lens can be a telephoto, but it doesn't have to be.) A 120mm lens is moderately wide, about like a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. A 90mm is wider, about like a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera. Regarding longer lenses, a 210 is moderately long, about like a 60mm lens on 35mm, and a 300mm lens on a 4x5" is similar to a 100mm lens on 35mm.

Ari
28-Mar-2012, 09:01
Louie, a search of the forum will yield many answers.
The normal lens for 4x5 is considered to be a 135mm or 150mm.
Above that is telephoto, below that is the wide angle range.

Frank Petronio
28-Mar-2012, 09:08
Anything from a 120mm to a 210 is fairly "normal" and feels like the 35 to 60 range in a 35mm camera. You tend to not go as extreme as you would with smaller formats and most people shoot 4x5 within that range, with maybe a 90mm lens as a good general wide-angle for architecture. Occasionally people need wider for interiors or they are just degenerate freaks ;-p

It's hard to make exact equivalents because of the different shape of the film but also the way things are rendered feels different with the great detail and 3D effect of the larger film. To me, a 28mm on 35mm doesn't feel as wide as a 90mm on 4x5, regardless of any formula.

A good way to start is with a 150 to 210 and then get a 90 to 120 to compliment it, then maybe a 240-300 for a long if you even need it. I'm quite happy with only a 150 myself but I spent years with a much larger kit so this is probably more a result of experience.

Louie Devincentis
29-Mar-2012, 09:38
Thank-you Peter, Ari and Frank for answering my question. I think I will be fine with the 135mm for now maybe a future birthday or anniversary might hold a 90mm, better start dropping hints.
Again thanks.
Louie

Joseph Dickerson
29-Mar-2012, 09:53
Louie,

Frank pretty much nailed it. I tell my large format students, "Start with one lens, either 135/150 or 210, and if you find yourself always backing up, get something shorter. If you're always picking up the camera and moving closer, get something longer."

It won't take too long for a trend to assert itself. If it ever does.

Sinar is a great place to start.

JD

Alan Gales
29-Mar-2012, 10:38
If you take the focal length you like in 35mm and multiply it by 3 it will put you in the ballpark for a 4x5 lens. For example a 50mm, 35mm camera lens would equal a 150mm in 4x5. This is what I have been told. In reality I think lenses look just a little shorter than this. That's why Peter and Frank are telling you a 210 feels like a 60mm instead of a 70mm. I also agree that a 90mm on 4x5 feels a little wider than a 28mm on a 35mm camera.

Oh Frank, I own a 75mm so I resemble that remark! ;)

Frank Petronio
29-Mar-2012, 10:52
I've owned 65s and 75s too! I even had a 47 on a Sinar Handy. They make me dizzy! Never got a decent photo with them other than pleasing architectural clients who insisted on getting everything in the picture, but that's just my taste.

Alan Gales
29-Mar-2012, 11:18
I've owned 65s and 75s too! I even had a 47 on a Sinar Handy. They make me dizzy! Never got a decent photo with them other than pleasing architectural clients who insisted on getting everything in the picture, but that's just my taste.

I know what you are saying. Since I started shooting 4x5 and just recently 8x10, I find myself liking the more "normal" focal lengths the best. I don't know if it's the formats or that I have just changed.

John Kasaian
29-Mar-2012, 11:59
Louie,

Frank pretty much nailed it. I tell my large format students, "Start with one lens, either 135/150 or 210, and if you find yourself always backing up, get something shorter. If you're always picking up the camera and moving closer, get something longer."

It won't take too long for a trend to assert itself. If it ever does.

Sinar is a great place to start.

JD
By all means start with one lens!
What you will consider to be wide or long depends on your vision and subject(s) and I find it doesn't translate at all well when comparing past expereience with 35mm to LF. Start with either a 210-ish or 150-ish lens and work from there (unless you have to spend an awful lot of money really fast ;) )

Joseph Dickerson
29-Mar-2012, 12:21
Louie,

I used to be one of those who preferred a 135 over a 150 as my standard lens. Then I discovered that framing a scene with the 135 and then taking one long pace backward gave me the same cropping on a 150. Go figure. Either works fine, although I hate the practice of calling them a "normal" lens. To me, that implies that it's a focal length that you should use. Only if it fits your vision.

When I was in school, if I remember back that far, Timothy O'Sullivan may have been one of the instructors, we were told/ordered to start with a 210 and build our lens system only after we really knew what that focal length would do. I actually still suggest the same thing to my students. At least those who will listen.

I agree with Frank et al on shorter lenses. I have a 65 and a 75 and rarely use them, they just seem to include too much. Then maybe I just haven't used them enough to understand how/when to use them. David Muench sure does nice stuff with them.

Don't let all of this information paralyze you, if you have a lens, any lens, load holders, grab the camera and go shoot. It's the only way you'll make sense of all of our pontificating. (Instead of pontificating we too should be out shooting perhaps????)

JD

Graybeard
29-Mar-2012, 14:14
Thank-you Peter, Ari and Frank for answering my question. I think I will be fine with the 135mm for now maybe a future birthday or anniversary might hold a 90mm, better start dropping hints.
Again thanks.
Louie

Before you buy a lens(es) you will want to do a bit of reading about camera movements and lens coverage circles. Briefly, a great advantage of a view camera is the ability to control perspective and planes of focus by moving the lens with respect to the film plane. The extent to which one can do this depends on the coverage circle of the particular lens.

The reason that I mention this is that many 135mm lenses have surprisingly (to me at least) coverage circles. The coverage circle of 150mm lenses if often significantly greater - this means a 150mm as your normal lens could enable you take greater advantage of the capabilities of your fine new camera.

Louie Devincentis
31-Mar-2012, 10:12
Thanks Joseph, Alan and John.
I think I will experiment with this lens and see where it takes me.
Cheers.
Louie