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Thread: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

  1. #1

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    Jul 2017
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    135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    I've been scouring eBay for 4x5 lenses to mate with my Intrepid and have been wondering if there is a significant difference between 135mm and 150mm? If I did my math right (I probably didn't) in 35mm that would be around 45mm vs 50mm?

    Part of the reason I'm wondering is for weight. I noticed the Nikon 135mm 5.6 is only 200g whereas most of the 150mm seem to be around 250g (I'm using this chart for reference). Since I want to at least eventually take some gear with me hiking I figured if all things were mostly equal (including price) I might pick the lens which weighs less.

  2. #2
    Dave Karp
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    A standard 150mm is pretty small. I prefer the 150mm for the larger image circle. I never warmed up to 135mm, but do very much like 120-125mm. Other than the image circle issue, it is just a matter of personal preference.

  3. #3

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    If weight is a priority, then you could consider the Fujinon W f/6.3 150. I have two of these. They have a Seiko #O shutter and take 40.5mm filters. I have a 40.5 to 52mm step up ring, works a treat.

    One of those lenses is permanently attached to my folded down Shen Hao 4x5" camera. I simply reverse the lens board, then fold the camera; quite tiny lens.

    I looked at that chart, this lens is not mentioned; or at least I couldn't find it.

    The other 150 Fujinon lens I have, is mounted into a converted Polaroid rangefinder camera with a 4x5" film back.

    Both are excellent for their size, weight and the quality of the image is certainly good enough.

    The image circle at f22 is 198mm while weight is about 180g

    Mick.

  4. #4

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    It doesn't matter. Pick one and go. Shoot for six months to a year and you'll know if you need a longer or wider lens. I never found comparison between formats to work out for me. I shoot differently with each size.

  5. #5

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    I've been scouring eBay for 4x5 lenses to mate with my Intrepid and have been wondering if there is a significant difference between 135mm and 150mm? If I did my math right (I probably didn't) in 35mm that would be around 45mm vs 50mm?

    Part of the reason I'm wondering is for weight. I noticed the Nikon 135mm 5.6 is only 200g whereas most of the 150mm seem to be around 250g (I'm using this chart for reference). Since I want to at least eventually take some gear with me hiking I figured if all things were mostly equal (including price) I might pick the lens which weighs less.
    Make yourself a viewing frame and you will see immediately what the difference of view is and how significant it is to you, no need to ask a third person. How about that?

  6. #6

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    Get both or you'll spend a lot of time in the future wondering if you made the right choice!

    I remember going through that thought process in the early 1980's. I chose a 135 because that's what I used on my Press camera, plus I intended to get a 90 rather than the more popular 120 for a wider lens. Having only academic knowledge of backpacking... if 50 grams will make a noticeable difference then use that as your primary criteria.

  7. #7

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    Jul 2017
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    Thanks for the info folks! Gave me a lot to think about.

    The 150/6.3 peaked my interested. I managed to find some info about it on BH and according to that spec sheet it's only 135g. Also seems to be a bit cheaper on eBay compared to other 150mm's. Image circle is only 180mm as well but seems otherwise like a pretty good valued lens to start and looks to be much lighter than other 150mms (lens list shows most are around 230g or so).

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    Think about how much you might want to use front rise when using your camera. 198mm is a nice image circle, but not a lot. It is the same as the image circle on my 125mm Fujinon NW, and I run out of image circle fairly frequently when using mine. Compare that to the 224mm image circle of the 150mm f/5.6 Fujinon NW. If you are going to point your camera up like you would a medium format or 35mm camera when taking a photo of something tall, then the image circle is not going to matter. The Tessar design of the 6.3 lens will make beautiful photos.

    The image circle is important to me. Perhaps not to you. The 150mm f/6.3 Fujinon W is single coated, which may or may not matter to you. The 150mm NW is multicoated. The 150mm f/6.3 is tiny. The NW is not really that much bigger (52mm filters). A Caltar II-N or Rodenstock Sironar-N (same lens) falls in between in size. It has a smaller image circle than the Fujinon NW (214mm vs. 224mm) and uses 49mm filters. Looks like the weight is 220g.

    You can get reliable information on older Fujinon lenses at this site: http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/byseries.htm

  9. #9

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    Ah all good points, thanks David! In truth I dunno how much I'll be using rises. This will be my first forray into LF. Tilts made me rather excited so I see myself giving that a go. Another point mentioned on /r/analog's IRC channel was that 6.3 will be darker on an already dark stock screen of the Intrepid. I plan on getting a fresnel or maybe even a Maxwell screen but not initially.

    Makes me think, to the points mentioned here, I should buy multiple lenses. I think when I don't need to care about 85g the 5.6 lenses seem to be a better option. And in truth I dunno how much 85g will matter relative to trying to take this thing backpacking (I just know in general every gram starts to matter when travelling a good ways).

  10. #10

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm (4x5) for a first time LF shooter?

    I'll go against the consensus here a bit.

    My most-used focal length is 135mm. I have a 150mm lens that sits on the shelf or in the car most of the time. I've used it once or twice (for a keeper print too, but...).

    135mm is so close to 150 that when I'm deciding which lenses to take with me, I'll grab the slightly wider lens simply because I can always crop the final image a bit to get the same image as a 150mm lens would deliver, but I can't make that 150mm lens wider by a bit if I find I need it. When I'm working out of the car, I'll have my full complement of lenses along, but when hiking or traveling (which is most of the time for me), I can only carry 4-5 lenses. If I have to decide between two close focal lengths, I'll always go with the wider one just for this reason.

    The down side to this is working with a smaller image circle. If you are planning on, or find yourself, doing a lot of architectural work or work that requires lots of rise or sideways shift, then maybe 150mm would be a better choice than 135mm to start with. For work that just requires tilts, you can usually work within the image circle by adding back tilt when lens tilt alone vignettes.

    For the best of both worlds when doing architectural work, I carry a 135mm Wide-Field Ektar. These are a bit bigger, but have a much larger image circle than the Plasmat designs. Unfortunately, finding a clean specimen is getting more difficult and expensive. However, they still turn up reasonably from time-to-time if you find that would be a good solution for you.

    Best,

    Doremus

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