Iím in the process of very slowly designing a custom 6x17cm camera with bellows for movements. 120 is much easier to work with and costs a lot less than a 5x7 crop, and my camera design is significantly smaller than a LF camera. Most of the 617 cameras on the market and ones that are custom built typically have a fixed lens, or a lens board that shifts. Iím building mine with bellows intended to allow all movements, for maximum flexibility in creativity.
Iíve done lots of research on the best possible lens for this application, and have found the Rodenstock Grandagon-N 115mm f6.8 has the largest coverage and the least distortion of all the other 4x5 (semi 5x7) lenses on the market. But, Iím new to this game, so Iíd love to hear your thoughts.
Iím in med school and have an extremely limited budget, but I know better than most that itís best to invest in the correct tools rather than buy a series of cheap ones, only to eventually replace them with the expensive ones that would have worked the first time..
The Grandagon 115s go for anywhere between $250-800 depending on condition and who is selling, and I currently have an offer to buy one from a respectable photographer for the high end of that range. Before I shell out over a monthís worth of rent on a part of a project that might not work, I figured itíd be best to confirm my ideas with the folks that know the most about this game.
I know nothing of 5x7 lenses or 8x10 lenses, so I suspect there may be more options than the Grandagon. My ideal lens has enough coverage to allow decent sized movements, is a wide angle (wider than 115 would be fantastic, but I can work with it), has the least distortion, and is tack sharp closer to wide open.
Thatís a dream lens, but maybe you know of something close? If you do, and you happen to have one for sale, Iíd love to buy it from you. Or if you know of a cheaper option for the 115, the more money I save on the lens, the more I can spend on my build..
Thanks for your help!