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Thread: First Lens for 8x10

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    First Lens for 8x10

    Well it's time to start doing some lens shopping for my (new to me) Deardorff 8x10. The camera came with a 8.25" Red Dot in a Copal 1, but obviously that's not the best option for this camera.

    Before I just break down and buy something online I thought that I should try to give our local camera shop some business. They have a few second hand LF lenses that have been sitting in the display case for quite a while so I suspect I can get a fairly good deal on them, and I try to support them when I can since they're the only "real" camera shop left down here.

    Here's what they have:

    1. Sinar Bron: Sinaron SE 240mm f5.6 in a Copal 3
    2. Schneider-Kreuznech: Super Angulon 90mm f5.6 in a Compur
    3. Rodenstock: Apo-Graphigon 240mm f11 no shutter
    4. Fuji: Fujinon-W 180mm f5.8 in a Seiko Shutter (very interesting looking shutter)
    5. Calumet: Caltar-S II 210mm f5.6 in a Copal 1

    About 90% of my shooting is landscape. Since this is my first 8x10 I'm looking for a "normal" lens, although I'm sure I'll be adding more down the road so I'm not against starting with something wider than normal if it's a good deal.

    It looks to me like the Sinaron SE is the only one of the lenses above which would qualify (I haven't been able to find any info on the Graphigon, however it seems a bit slower than I want to start out with). The lens reference that I have says the Sinaron SE has an image circle of 372mm which seems a bit small for an 8x10 and I'm worried that it would lead to a lot of vignetting when I was playing around with the movements, but as I said I'm new to 8x10 so maybe I'm wrong about that.

    I would like to be able to use whatever 8x10 lenses I end up with on my 4x5, but I can't think of any reason that there would be any kind of issues with doing that.

    Anyone have any thoughts on any of these lenses? I'd also be interested in hearing your thoughts on some of the smaller lenses for use on my 4x5 as the prices seemed to be fairly reasonable and I do need to pick up something wider than my current 210mm that I have for the 4x5 right now.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.


    John IV

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    Send Jim at Midwest Photo Exchange an email or check whats in the "for sale" section here. Jim Galli has a lot of satisfied customers so you might want to PM him and see what he's dug up in the famous Nevada lens mine, or was left on his door step by the little green men who frequent Area 54

    If you happen to have a 210 G Claron on your 4x5, it will cover 8x10 when stopped down (but a 240 G Claron is far and away more useful, IMHO)

    Good luck!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    Good Evening John,

    I'll check in with Jim and see what he has. As I said, I'd like to give the local guys first crack at it, but if I'm right about the Sinaron SE 240 not having a large enough image circle to allow for full movements then it looks like they're out of the running.

    Unfortunately I just registered here a few days ago so I won't be allowed to get into the for sale section for quite some time, and I know there's no way I'll last that long without making a purchase! Of course by then I'll probably be shopping for a second lens so it all works out in the end.


    John IV

  4. #4
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tucson, Arizona

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    I'd agree that the Sinaron is your best choice of those listed. 372mm isn't too bad coverage, as the format needs about 320mm, and you can use rise-fall/shift to keep the lens on axis when using front movements.

    The Super Angulon won't cover 8x10, and I don't think the Caltar will either.

    This is a nice 8x10 lens (one of my favorites!), a 215mm that converts to a 360mm. I have no connection to the sale, btw. If you search "Acuton" here, you'll find some favorable remarks.

    BTW, some charts list the coverage of the Acuton to be 305mm, but I've found it to be substantially more and quite adequate for "normal" 8x10 movements. This may also be the case with the Sinaron, so you might ask the local shop if you can put it on a temporary lens board and check it out.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Chicago, IL

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    I would recommend finding a 210mm f/6.8 Angulon. It has plenty of coverage for 8x10, is small and Copal 1, and has a nice medium-wide view that would work well for landscape.

    Or, if you can find it, a 240mm f/9 Computar in shutter.

    Having bought lenses which just "barely" covered before, I would steer you towards getting a lens that has more coverage than you need. It will bite you in the most unlikely times, even in portrait or landscape situations.

    All of that said, 300mm is my favorite in 8x10, and I love my Fuji 300 A.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Milford Pa.

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    keep your eyes out for a 12 inch lens. they can be found in a shutter and "cheap.

    some good deals are the turner reich lenses. some hate them some do not. i got a real good performer in mine. super sharp and a great picture taker. there is a guy here trying to sell one (oh! sorry i just saw you can not see teh FS yet)

    and the 12 inch ilex caltar lenses go pretty cheap usually also.

    check your PM .

    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

    My YouTube videos gallery

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Westminster, MD

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    Start with a 12" lens.

    I shoot landscapes, too, but I end up using various focal lengths from 120 mm to 1200 mm. Best to start out learning how a 12" sees.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

  8. #8
    Wayne venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    12" is 305mm. 300mm would be close enough to 12".
    Deep in the darkest heart of the East Texas rainforest.

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  9. #9
    sepiareverb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    NEK | VT

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    I started with a 300 lens and always found it too short. I'd suggest going longer- 360, 450?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Bloomington, IN, USA

    Re: First Lens for 8x10

    240/250mm is my favorite for landscape work and 360mm and 450mm are my favorites for studio portraiture work. Occasionally I'll use a 300mm in either of those situations, but generally I don't like it for 8x10. It's a great focal length for 5x7 portraiture though and sometimes I even use it for 4x5 headshots. It really comes down to a matter of personal preference. But if you only get one lens, I'd say either start with a 240mm if you're going to be mainly doing landscape photography or a 360mm if you're going to mainly be doing studio portraiture.

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