View Full Version : wide angle conversion lens?

Don Ciccone
28-Sep-2013, 20:14
I've been shooting with my Graflex Super D lately and wondering if it is possible to use a wide angle conversion lens to achieve a wider angle of view? Obviously, the camera does not allow you to focus at infinity any lens shorter than about 8 inches (standard on the camera is a 190mm). If a wide angle lens converter (intended for a digital or video camera) was attached to the "normal" lens would it be possible to focus the resulting "wide angle" lens at infinity? Would it cover the 4x5 format? Has anyone done or tried doing this? Thanks for any assistance.


29-Sep-2013, 01:17
It should work, quality would be interesting. I used a fish-eye converter on a Mamiya 645 bit like a Petzval wide open. These convertors will allow infinity focus after all they were sold for TLRs mainly at one time.

Zeiss, Rodenstock and Meyer etc made simpler supplementary WA and Telephoto filters, the Meyer WA version gave 25% wider coverage. I have a Rodenstock telephoto version that's 1.8x. Schnieder made a 0.7x so a 190mmm turns into a 135mm approx. You need to find one the right size though.


29-Sep-2013, 02:09
If a wide angle lens converter (intended for a digital or video camera) was attached to the "normal" lens would it be possible to focus the resulting "wide angle" lens at infinity? Would it cover the 4x5 format?

Yes. And a very vague maybe. It is not really a matter of the target format but a matter of the lens size - the converter has to illuminate the lens barrel. And almost WA converters I am aware of are designed for smallish lenses (they were mostly sold as an accessory to Super-8, consumer video or bridge cameras), all I've seen have less than 55mm filter diameter, frequently smaller than 49mm, while the smallest LF SLR lens I have is 62mm filter diameter. If your lens leaves enough margin for movements, 55 on 62mm with an reducing adapter ring might do, but many original lenses are a tight fit (the Graflex having no movements) so that it would probably slightly obscure the edges.

There were converters designed for TV ENG zooms (notably Canon had a wide video zoom that was shipped with a matching converter to ultrawide), with diameters in the 67-90mm range, but these cost a arm and a leg back then (IIRC well upward of $10,000 for the mentioned Canon lens+converter pair, not to be sold separately) making them rather rare even in then rentals, so that they might be impossible to find today even though current surplus prices for non HD, non-16:9 video gear are a mere 1-2% of the original. Small consumer grade converters are all over the place in bargain bins, though.

One more thing to be aware of is that these converters only have a modest scaling factor in the 15-20% range (the mentioned Canon converts a lens with 8mm wide end to 6mm) - a small step significant only if you apply it to a already wide lens, but it will not make the pictures that noticeably wider if you are forced to start out with a relatively long lens. So your 190mm would only get reduced to a maybe 150mm lens, which still is considered normal relative to 4x5".

29-Sep-2013, 03:38
There may be an issue as the 190mm f5.6 Optar takes push on filters, the WA & Telephoto supplementary filters I mentioned are usually push on.

Try Pacificrimcameras he has a B&J supplementary 34mm push fit WA filter listed at $15, not sure what strength. They do appear on Ebay as well.


Dan Fromm
29-Sep-2013, 06:20
Sevo, Canon sold 67 mm C8 wide (.67x) and C8 telephoto (1.4x) attachments for the 814-XLS and 1014-XLS. I've tried both, with a step-down ring, on lenses for my Nikons. The long attachment is sort of usable, the short isn't. Never tried either on any of my lenses for larger formats.

The short adapter requires that the zoom lens on which it is mounted be set to "macro" mode. After that's one, one focuses with the zoom lever, not with the focusing ring.

Don Ciccone
29-Sep-2013, 17:20
I was thinking it was probably impossible to use a WA converter on a 4x5 SLR but, based on your responses, maybe it's worth a try. Thanks to all of you for the info, really appreciate your help.


30-Sep-2013, 12:42
Don, I have tried a WA converter on my Wista with a 150mm Sironar it worked in terms of coverage, focus etc, but I didn't shoot any film. I was experimenting while studying for my MA in Photography just over 10 years ago, I decided to use my 645 instead as I didn't have a colour 5x4m enlarger. I was using quite an old converter and the results were interesting but in no way high quality. I'd guess taht some of the more modern video converters are better.


30-Sep-2013, 18:23
I have a wide angle lens attachment that I purchased for my first digital camera years ago. It has about a 45mm thread. Don, I have a Series D with the 190mm Kodak lens on it (no threads) and I held the attachment against the front of the lens. It seemed to shift the focus quite a bit. When I focused at about 10 feet away, then held the adapter in front of the lens, it looked like the focus shifted to about 3 feet, so I have a feeling that using the wide angle adapter will prevent focusing at infinity on these large format SLR's. I'll try it again in better light tomorrow, and if my results are different I'll post.