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Thread: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

  1. #1

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    Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    I was planning on getting a 90 that I could use primarily for 4x5 & occasionally 5x7 (possibly for some panos)
    I currently use my 210 for 95% of my shots, and a 12 inch commercial ektar for the balance.

    My favorite focal length's tend to be 80 or 105 & 150 in 6x7 format.

    I was considering a 90, but am wondering if a 120 may be more versatile.
    I tend to shoot some architecture and some landscape, but mostly people.

    Not sure what would be better go wide and crop when needed, or go narrower and back up

    Thinking maybe a Schneider 120 or rodenstock 90 6.8...I think the 120 focal would be more appropriate for me (based on my other format lens usage), but want to hear some feedback before I make a purchase.

    Thanks

    Serge

  2. #2

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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    90 mm lens? 5x7? Problem. A 90 that covers 5x7 without movements has to cover 120 degrees. AFAIK there are no 90s that cover 120 degrees.

  3. #3
    Drew Saunders drew.saunders's Avatar
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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    An 80mm for 6x7cm isn't really all that wide, while a 90mm for 4x5 has a much wider angle of view, and a 90mm on 5x7 is very wide, so a 120/125 or even a 135 might be more to your taste. Regarding Dan's question, according to http://www.largeformatphotography.in...s/LF5x7in.html , as of 2002 there were nine 90mm lenses that covered 5x7 (with the Schneider SAXL having lots of coverage), and only five 120/125mm lenses that covered 5x7. That might just be on account of 120/125 being a less popular focal length. If the OP can afford it, and can find one, the Schneider 110 SSXL has plenty of coverage for 5x7, and is not as super wide on 5x7, while being a good 4x5 lens as well.
    Flickriver (to avoid Flickr's annoying new format): http://www.flickriver.com/photos/drew_saunders/

  4. #4

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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    If you are more into medium or long lenses, a 90mm might be too wide. It really shows its wide angle characteristics - even on 4x5". On 5x7", it's pretty nasty and hard to use well. 120mm is my favorite FL on 4x5", it gives me a "normal" perspective, but includes more in the frame. My Super Angulon 121/f8 covers 5x7" with movements, it's supposed to scratch the 8x10" barrier.

  5. #5

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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    my 90mm Fuji SW covers 5x7 quite nicely at f16 and smaller

  6. #6

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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    Drew, thanks for calling me on that. I was mistaken.

  7. #7
    Randy's Avatar
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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    Also consider the 115mm Grandagon-N f/6.8 - almost covers 8X10 (no movements). I have the Calumet version.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  8. #8
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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    Last night I went down to the darkroom to take down my latest batch of 5x7 negatives from the drying lines and put them away. This latest run included a couple of negatives made with my 90/6.8 Caltar II-N (Rodenstock Grandagon). This lens is specified to cover 102 degrees at f/22, for an image circle of 221mm at infinity focus. The scenes I had photographed were a little short of infinity so the bellows extension bought me a bit more image circle; the negatives were exposed at f/22, with the lens aligned essentially straight on, or as close as I get when setting up my Nagaoka in a real hurry. (The setup was at dusk, with the light fading rapidly.) The lens covered the full format nicely, though with obvious illumination falloff. If I find myself wanting to do that more often, I might see if I can find a center filter to fit.

    But the view is, of course, *very* wide - roughly corresponding to 18.5mm on 35mm format, calculating by the diagonal. One of the 120-ish wides (120 SA, 115 Grandagon, 120 Nikkor SW, etc.) would deliver subjectively even illumination over a much wider area, allow for ample movement, and generally be much more practical as a general-use wide-verging-on-superwide for 5x7. I consider 90 more in the ultrawide category, suitable mainly for solving the occasional special problem.

    The ultimate modern 90 for coverage on 5x7 is the Super-Angulon XL with center filter. But that's going to be much larger, trickier to handle and way more expensive.

    On what camera(s) do you plan to use the lens?

  9. #9

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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    I have a little array of w/a lenses in that range that all cover 5x7--90/5.6 SA, 108/6.8Wollensak, 115 Caltar/Grandagon, 120 Angulon--and the one that gets the most 4x5 use is the 108 Wollensak. I haven't figured out 5x7 yet except to say that 90 is pretty wide on 4x5, and I'm leaning to 135 or 150 for 5 x7, but my 5x7 camera doesn't get out of my studio much and I have not needed a W/A for 5x7.

    Though I like wide wides for 35mm, especially 21-24mm, somehow I haven't gotten used to them in LF. I don't have any idea why that would be.

  10. #10
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Help with lens choice: 120 vs 90

    I use the 90mm Nikkor for 4x5 and 5x7. What a nice lens. If it is too wide, you can always crop. Plenty of negative. You can't go the other way without some fancy digital antics. I did use a 121mm. Inexpensive and good lens, but heavier. I have the 110mm, but don't use much and it's an expensive lens. Later, you could add a 150mm and you'd be good for all weather. Happy snapping.

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