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Thread: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

  1. #1
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Since the question gets asked a lot by new-comers to LF, I thought I'd take the time to write up my thoughts as to what I would recommend for 3, 4, and 5 lens sets for a 4x5 view camera. The discussion is here in a blog post:

    http://www.angusparkerphoto.com/blog...x5-view-camera

    Here are the lens set recommendations below. The basic criteria were modern multicoated lenses with modern shutters and preferably one or two filter sizes. I own or have owned the 90% of these lenses above or lenses in the same range but different focal lengths.

    For a moderately wide and light set of three lenses with a single filter size I would suggest the following:

    Fujinon NW 125mm/5.6 (52mm filter/265g)
    Nikkor M 200mm/8 (52mm filter/180g)
    Fujinon C 300mm/8 (52mm/250g) or Nikkor M 300mm/9 (52mm filter/290g)

    For a wider and still relatively light four lens set with only two filter sizes, I would suggest the following all Nikkor set:

    Nikkor SW 90mm/8 (67mm filter/360g) or Schneider Super-Symmar XL 110mm/5.6 (67mm filter/425g)
    Nikkor W 135mm/5.6 (52mm filter/200g)
    Nikkor M 200mm/f8 (52mm filter/180g)
    Nikkor M 300mm/f8 (52mm filter/290g)

    For an even wider and faster set of five lenses with only one filter sizes, I would suggest the following:

    Schneider Super-Symmar XL 80mm/5.6 (67mm filter/271g)
    Schneider Super-Symmar XL 110mm/5.6 (67mm filter/425g)
    Fujinon CM-W 150mm/5.6 (67mm filter/280g)
    Fujinon CM-W 250mm/6.3 (67mm filter/510g)
    Nikkor T ED 360mm/8 (67mm filter/800g)

    If you have a favorite set and rationale for it why don't you share your ideas below.

  2. #2

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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Your 4 lens lineup is my go-to and preferred compliment of lenses for 4x5, albeit I have a Schneider Angulon 90mm (because I don't use this focal length very often) and a 135mm Caltar-II N. For a 3 lens set when weight is of no concern and/or I want/need more coverage, I use a Schneider 120mm Super Angulon, Schneider 210mm Symmar-S, and my trusty Nikkor M 300mm to round out the group.

  3. #3
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Whoa, the full blog post linked above is just stellar. I wish I had that resource for building a lens kit when I first got into 4x5. Thank you for posting! Only possible consideration for someone thinking long term, if there is interest in possibly getting into 8x10 down the road, choosing some lenses that offer 8x10 coverage may not be a bad strategy. For example, the Fujinon 240 A/F9, Nikkor M 300/F8 and Fujinon 450 c/F12.5 are all very light lenses for 4x5 and offer coverage for 8x10. Only downsides are the Fuji lenses tend to be on the pricer side in the used market given their popularity. Also, the Fuji 450 needs a lot of bellows extension, likely not as common in a first (less expensive) 4x5 camera. Also, the 450 filter size is 57mm, so breaks the standardizing strategy for filters. But for those wanting to use the same lenses for 8x10 someday, might be a factor worth thinking about. BTW, I left off the Nikkor SW 150/F8 and Schneider Super-Symmar XL 150/F5.6, which support 8x10 coverage, as the Nikon is a copal 3 lens and heavy and the Schneider is very expensive used. Also, both require huge filters. So, IMO neither would be a good lens choice for a first 150mm lens for a starter 4x5 kit.

  4. #4

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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    What has worked out for me for years is:

    65mm f/4 Nikkor-SW with central ND filter
    125mm f/5.6 Fujinon W gem of a lens
    240mm f/9 G-Claron
    500mm f/7 KOMURA tele that doesn't need all that much bellows extension
    plus a very small 120mm single meniscus f/16 with simple shutter off a folding 620 camera.

    Also use a 7" f/3.1 Darlot Portrait but always use it alone for specific shoots so don't consider it really part of the lens set

    Fortunately I don't need to use filters for the work I do (each lens different filter size). Noticed that my focal lengths are spaced farther apart than most people's... have to think about that and why.

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    My standard 3-lens kit is 58mm XL - 90mm f/8 Nikkor - 150mm f/5.6 APO Symmar (w/ step-up) - all 67mm filter threads, though I usually use a CF with the 58mm.

    If I add a lens it's usually my 300mm f/9 Nikkor with 52-67mm step-up ring, or if I want long, the Nikkor 360-500-720 set, again with a 67mm filter thread.

    Depending on what I'm shooting I may add the 47mm XL (or substitute the 58mm with it) or add my 38mm XL if carrying my 6x12 holder as well.

    All bets are off if I feel like shooting something less modern or interesting, like my faster lenses or Lanthars, etc.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #6
    Gonzo Photographer
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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    I have a slightly more restricted set of requirements for my camera, a Horseman FA as it has limited bellows. A three lens setup for this camera which has been excellent for me is a Schneider 120mm f/5.6, a Schneider 180mm f/5.6, and a Nikkor 270mm f/6.3 telephoto. Very light with these three, really haven’t needed or wanted anything else.

    The Nikkor gets a bad rap for lack of image circle, but it seems as if it was tailor made for the FA. Sharp, sharp, sharp and doesn’t need all that much bellows extension. It’s better than my Nikkor 300 f/9!

  7. #7

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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post
    Nikkor 270mm f/6.3 telephoto. The Nikkor gets a bad rap for lack of image circle, but it seems as if it was tailor made for the FA. Sharp, sharp, sharp and doesn’t need all that much bellows extension. It’s better than my Nikkor 300 f/9!
    Same for my 500mm f/7 KOMURA tele. Previous owner didn't like it because he couldn't use front movements with it. Never have been able to find lens specs for it, but coverage must be only a few mm's outside the corners of 4x5.

  8. #8
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Quote Originally Posted by agregov View Post
    Whoa, the full blog post linked above is just stellar. I wish I had that resource for building a lens kit when I first got into 4x5. Thank you for posting! Only possible consideration for someone thinking long term, if there is interest in possibly getting into 8x10 down the road, choosing some lenses that offer 8x10 coverage may not be a bad strategy. For example, the Fujinon 240 A/F9, Nikkor M 300/F8 and Fujinon 450 c/F12.5 are all very light lenses for 4x5 and offer coverage for 8x10. Only downsides are the Fuji lenses tend to be on the pricer side in the used market given their popularity. Also, the Fuji 450 needs a lot of bellows extension, likely not as common in a first (less expensive) 4x5 camera. Also, the 450 filter size is 57mm, so breaks the standardizing strategy for filters. But for those wanting to use the same lenses for 8x10 someday, might be a factor worth thinking about. BTW, I left off the Nikkor SW 150/F8 and Schneider Super-Symmar XL 150/F5.6, which support 8x10 coverage, as the Nikon is a copal 3 lens and heavy and the Schneider is very expensive used. Also, both require huge filters. So, IMO neither would be a good lens choice for a first 150mm lens for a starter 4x5 kit.
    Good points. Although for the most part the size and weight penalties for an 8x10 lens are too great to make the same lens a good fit for 4x5. But like you said the Fujinon A 240/9 and the Fujinon C 450/12.5 are light and both do use 52mm filters. I think I'd discount the 450C simply because it's not a telephoto design and I've found shooting something that long on a 4x5 is almost pointless because of camera shake. The 240A though should definitely be give a gold star for it's astounding coverage! I agree with you on the 150mm range - there just isn't anything that would work for both formats.

  9. #9
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post
    I have a slightly more restricted set of requirements for my camera, a Horseman FA as it has limited bellows. A three lens setup for this camera which has been excellent for me is a Schneider 120mm f/5.6, a Schneider 180mm f/5.6, and a Nikkor 270mm f/6.3 telephoto. Very light with these three, really haven’t needed or wanted anything else.

    The Nikkor gets a bad rap for lack of image circle, but it seems as if it was tailor made for the FA. Sharp, sharp, sharp and doesn’t need all that much bellows extension. It’s better than my Nikkor 300 f/9!
    Good point on when you have limited bellows - the Nikkor T series makes more and more sense even at short FL. Having tried to use my Fujinon C 450 on a 4x5 I can tell you that "blur" is the subject that I capture on most outings.

  10. #10

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    Re: Suggestions for 4x5 Lens Sets (3 lens, 4 lens and 5 lens sets)

    Your basic everyday lens, plus one a little shorter and one longer. A good starting point is a triad of coated Kodak Ektars (all in Supermatic shutters). 100mm wide field, 127mm (or 150mm), and 203mm. They're all small, light, and relatively inexpensive.
    It's easy to get bogged down with too much "stuff."
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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