View Full Version : Classic lens close to 55mm?

Matthew Cordery
12-Jul-2004, 21:11
I've got my eye on a Rodenstock Apo-Grandagon 55mm, but am unwilling to shell out for it right now due to my conflicting goal of saving for a house (I guess that pegs me as something other than a truely dedicated artiste....) However, I was thinking today that perhaps I might find an affordable equivalent focal length amongst the universe of older lenses. Any thoughts? I'm pretty much only a 4x5 b&w shooter.

Jim Galli
12-Jul-2004, 21:28
Matthew, When it comes to wide and veri-wide lenses there aren't any good classic choices. Classic wide angles tend to have tiny circles and weak corners. It's one area where new is not only better, it's the only good choice. A 65mm f6.8 Angulon won't even cover 4X5. 75mm f6.8 Grandagon / Caltar's are the only decent entry level 4X5 wide angle, and their circle is small.

Jim Rice
12-Jul-2004, 22:01
As close as you'll come is a 65mm f8 Super Angulon, which I aspire toward one of, next time i stumble over ~$300. And it won't give you any movements.

Jay DeFehr
12-Jul-2004, 22:02
What about the 58mm Grandagon? I have one and it works great. It can't be as expensive as the 55 can it?

Jim Rice
12-Jul-2004, 22:26
And Jim's sugestion is better, but for a couple of bills more.

Jim Rice
12-Jul-2004, 22:36
And Jay may have a point, as well. Certainly the least expensive route would be a 58 Grandi from a Graflex XL. I don't know anything about the focusing mount, but I do understand that they don't have a cable release socket.

Jim Rice
12-Jul-2004, 22:44
And I'll withdraw the "certainly least expensive" part too.

Ole Tjugen
12-Jul-2004, 22:54
The only classic alternative that I know of is the 6cm Goertz Hypergon. But that's likely to cost at least twice as much!

Darin Cozine
13-Jul-2004, 01:42
Another alternative is the 65mm Ilex wide-field acugon, a super angulon clone. I have one of these and while it is very sharp, there is substantial viginetting in the corners. These are rather hard to find, though.

A 65mm Super Angulon is probably the way to go. They can be found regularly on ebay and probably have the best balance of coverage/sharpness/cost of any extreme wide angle lens. If anyone uses this lens, does it require the use of a center filter or is the light fairly even?

One more alternative.. I think wollensak made an extreme-wide-angle lens with a max aperture of like f12.5 -I have no idea of the coverage on one of these though. I think one or two other classic lens manufacturers made similar designs but they are rare.

David A. Goldfarb
13-Jul-2004, 06:59
I have the 65/8.0 Super Angulon, and it's not a bad lens, is pretty reasonably priced (around $300-400), and it covers 4x5".

Periodically one sees the 58mm Grandagon for around $400-500, sometimes as the Technikon for Linhof, and my impression was that it was a 6x9 lens. Can anyone confirm whether it covers 4x5?

Among classic lenses--I'm not sure whether there's a 60mm Berthiot Perigraphe (it probably exists, but can you find one?!). I use the 120mm/f:14 Perigraphe on 8x10", and it's certainly sharp enough for contact prints. I don't know if it would be satisfactory for enlargements.

David A. Goldfarb
13-Jul-2004, 08:32
Since Darin asked about falloff, I made a few quick scans.

This is a winter scene photographed with the 65/8.0 Super-Angulon at 1/15 sec., between f:22 and 32 with a K2 filter, on TXT developed in PMK. My Agfa Duoscan can't quite manage the density of a PMK neg, so there is some banding visible in the sky, and there's more detail in the snow than I can get in the scan. The image is uncorrected for falloff, but I used some curves/levels adjustment and a little unsharp masking to overcome the inherent unsharpness of the scanner:


A center filter would certainly help here (particularly if this were a color transparency), but bear in mind that the uncropped scan shows an area a bit larger than the image area one would likely print. That brick edge on the left, for instance, is within the area where the Grafmatic frame counter protrudes into the frame (hard to see on the scan, but it's in the lower left corner), so it would be cropped out.

Here's a detail at 1000 dpi from the focal plane:


and here's another from the lower left corner


Matthew Cordery
13-Jul-2004, 15:22
Sounds like I'll just keep dreaming then. :-) Thanks for all your replies! I have an 80mm Schneider now so going to 75mm wouldn't do much.

Jay DeFehr
13-Jul-2004, 20:02
Yes, the 58 Grandagon does cover 4x5, and no, it doesn't have a cable release socket, but a simple addition of a tab with a cable release thread on the lensboard does the trick.

David A. Goldfarb
14-Jul-2004, 05:13
Thanks, Jay. The 58mm Grandagon also came in standard shutters, so some of them should have cable releases.