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Thread: Starter LF Lens

  1. #1

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    Post Starter LF Lens

    Hello all.

    I'm new to LF but not photography. I need a suggestion for an inexpensive introductory lens. For context, here's my story:

    My father was downsizing his place and gave me his 5x7 Eastman View Camera No. 2 that he refinished many years ago. The bellows are tight and no light leaks are apparent. Also came with three film holders. However, the lens it came with doesn't work - I'm thinking it's original to the camera and age is just the cause (the shutter doesn't open and close).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm perusing Adorama, B&H, and eBay and finding quite a few different lenses, all ranging in manufacturer and price. I'm familiar with DSLR and mirrorless, some MF, but LF brands are new to me.

    Do you have a recommendation for a sub-$300 introductory lens that I could purchase to test out LF photography? I'm probably going to photograph nature scenes if that helps.

    Many thanks!
    Alec

  2. #2
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    210mm Symmar-S should set you back about $200 or less. That's the "standard" focal length for 5x7. If you want a wider lens, something in the 120-150mm area would be more appropriate. I'll let others comments because I don't shoot 5x7 myself but the 210mm Symmar I know covers with plenty to spare and is cheap, so I thought I'd mention that one first.
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  3. #3
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    A 210mm Caltar II-N is a very good lens in the normal range for 5x7. Should be around $200. The lens is made by Rodenstock. The equivalent Rodenstock APO Sironar-N should be around the same price.

  4. #4

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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    210mm Symmar-S should set you back about $200 or less. That's the "standard" focal length for 5x7. If you want a wider lens, something in the 120-150mm area would be more appropriate. I'll let others comments because I don't shoot 5x7 myself but the 210mm Symmar I know covers with plenty to spare and is cheap, so I thought I'd mention that one first.
    Actually a 180 is the normal lens for 57. A 210 would be a long normal. However is much easier to find used 210 lenses as they are also one of the most popular lenses for 45.

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Calculating the diagonal gives 214mm...but yes more importantly it's a more common lens, and cheap.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Just like in any format, you gets lots of opinions about what is a "normal" lens. I like a "slightly" wide "normal", but it's all just opinion, and does not effect price at all. There are many 180-210mm lenses that will meet your needs. Keep in mind that many of these lenses produce image circles that are much larger than 5x7 film -- and cost a lot more as a result. In addition, many of these lenses have larger maximum apertures (AKA larger glass elements and more of them) -- and cost a lot more as a result. So "slower" lenses that cover 5x7 without image size "overkill" will be the least expensive. Some good ones sell for about $100 with shutters. Here's a place where you can see the difference of some lenses:

    http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/

  7. #7
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    A 210mm Caltar II-N is a very good lens in the normal range for 5x7. Should be around $200. The lens is made by Rodenstock. The equivalent Rodenstock APO Sironar-N should be around the same price.
    I should also have said plain old Sironar-N. The APO version, which is identical, may be offered at a higher price. You can get a 180mm in the same flavors. Nice multicoated Fujinon lenses (marked Fujinon W on the outside room of the lens barrel) are often available at good prices. Fujinons are excellent lenses.

  8. #8

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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    I should also have said plain old Sironar-N. The APO version, which is identical, may be offered at a higher price. You can get a 180mm in the same flavors. Nice multicoated Fujinon lenses (marked Fujinon W on the outside room of the lens barrel) are often available at good prices. Fujinons are excellent lenses.
    No, the Sironar N is not the same as the ApoSironar N. The Sironar N MC became the first Apo N lenses.

  9. #9
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    You already have good advice regarding a lens. I add two more. First, the lens might be restored with a CLA (clean,lube,adjustment), and a reducing back to 4x5" opens opportunities for more available films.

  10. #10
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Starter LF Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    No, the Sironar N is not the same as the ApoSironar N. The Sironar N MC became the first Apo N lenses.
    Follow Bob's advice on that one. I assumed multicoating (MC) and should not have.

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