View Full Version : Wide Angle options for2x3 Century Graphic

Ian Greenhalgh
3-Jan-2014, 08:22
Hi folks

I am very happy with my Angulon 6.8/65 on my Century Graphic 23, at f16 and f22, where I shoot it, the IQ is excellent. However, I crave something wider.

What options are there in the sub 65mm range that will fit the Century Graphic (48x48mm throat), I don't mind if I have to screw in the rear element from behind to get it to fit.

My budget is small, I'd like to spend no more than 100ukp but I could stretch it a bit.

Ideally' I'd like something 50mm or wider.

Dan Fromm
3-Jan-2014, 09:13
100 UKP won't get you a lens in shutter unless you're extremely lucky. There aren't many lenses 50 mm or shorter that cover 2x3. All are well known, there aren't sleepers. Your best hope is that someone will take pity on you and give you a lens.

35 and 45 Apo-Grandagons will fit;, so will 38/4.5 Biogon (won't cover even 6x7, super on 6x6); 45/4.5 Biogon, of which 100 were made (covers 6x7, not 2x3); 45/9 CZJ Dagor, of which 26 were made; 47 SA, both f/8 and f/5.6, also the unfindable f/8 Ilex clone; 50/6.3 Mamiya; 53/4.5 Biogon and 53/4 SA; 58/5.6 Grandagon; 58/5.6 Konica Hexanon/Omegaon and 60/5.6 K-H, both for the 6x7 Koni-Omega system. And then there are the various short SA-XLs; 100 quid isn't even a down payment on one of them.

If you go shorter than 47 you'll need a center filter too, so budget for that. 100 pounds won't get one of them either. I've never felt the need for a center filter on 2x3 E-6 with my 47 SA, 6x12 badly wants one.

Don't obsess about y'r Century's lens throat. The 35/4.5 Apo-Grandagon (45/4.5 A-G and 58/5.6 Grandy, too) can be used on a Century but mounting it on the camera requires unscrewing the rear cell and re-attaching it from the rear after the shutter and front cell are on the camera. Not fun but perfectly feasible, that's how I attach my 35 to my Century.

Ian Greenhalgh
3-Jan-2014, 10:24
Thanks Dan, you've confirmed all my thoughts/fears. Trying to find any of the lenses mentioned is pretty difficult, and when they do appear on ebay it tends to be outside the EU which means incurring the cruel customs fees.

I guess it's time to sell some 35mm stuff to finance a wide angle for 6x9.

One option that I thought might be feasible is to find an old Mamiya 4.5/50 for the RB67, the one without the floating element, battered looking ones with some imperfections like fungus or scratches do come along cheap, and in theory the cells should come out and fit a copal/compur #1. However, I dismantled a 180mm Mamiya RB lens I got for next to nothing only to discover the cell (it only had one cell) despite being in a copal shutter, isn't the same diameter as a #1, it's a mm or so bigger, so it's in the spares box.

BTW, did you ever try the Minolta Rokkor-CE 5.6/80 at infinity? Did it cover 6x9? It's rated for 6x7 but being an Orthometar type I thought it might be a bit wider in coverage. A friend is cleaning out his darkroom and has one he could be persuaded to part with in exchange for something useful.

I did try putting a nice Schneider 4 element 0.7x converter in front of my Mamiya 2.8/80 the other day, which makes a 56mm lens, but it reduced the sharpness, which surprised me as when i tried it on 24 and 28mm Konica Hexanons on a digital camera, it didn't degrade the sharpness.

Blue sensitive x-ray film on a rotten dull wet day, but it was just a test to see what it did.


3-Jan-2014, 10:38
I'm surprised at how cheap the 58mm XL lenses have become. Of course they aren't as cheap as you are wanting, but, if you are going to sell some things to afford something I would highly recommend that lens. It's fantastic on a 2x3 Century - it's just far enough away from the GG that I can use front rise without the wire frame finder hitting the box of the camera (unlike the 47mm XL). You do of course have to unscrew the rear element to mount it. When I've used 2x3 I bring two cameras, one for the 58mm and the other for an 80mm and 150mm. Makes a nice compact kit (and of course you can switch the rollfilm holder around between cameras so you can shoot the same roll(s) of film).

I've seen them for under $500 on eBay. I'll try to find an example image or two later.

Of course there's the huge bonus of a free ultrawide for 4x5 going this route.

Dan Fromm
3-Jan-2014, 10:52
Ian, I've never tried any RB67 lens on 2x3. They don't have to cover more than 6x7 so the odds are against their being useful on 2x3. I realize that going with the odds might be excessively conservative, but there I am. And money in the spares box is usually money wasted.

I've had an 80/5.6 C.E. Rokkor-X, didn't think it was worth keeping for use as a macro lens. My experience with real enlarging lenses, i.e., lenses that were actually optimized for around 1:6 - 1:10, as taking lenses at distance has been consistently poor. To be fair to the 80 Minolta, I never tried it at distance, didn't see the point of wasting film on it. It might just cover 2x3 at infinity, but note that Schneider recommended the plasmat (that's what the Orthometar design type is usually called) type 80/5.6 Symmar for no larger than 6x7.

Enlarging lenses that are in fact taking lenses optimized for infinity, rebadged and sold for enlarging are another matter. Examples that I've been happy with as taking lenses include Boyer Saphir BX (rebadged Zircon) and jes' plain Saphir (tessar type).

Bryan, my first w/a lens for my Century, in fact the reason I bought a Century, was a 65/6.8 Raptar. I had your problem with very limited front rise with the front standard inside the box, solved it by removing the wire frame finder from the front standard. I never used the frame finder anyway.

Roger Hesketh
3-Jan-2014, 10:56
A 60mm Dallmeyer Wide angle could possibly be had for under a hundred quid if your lucky. I paid I think 70 for mine. It is a barrel lens but it is tiny and easy to front mount.

Ian Greenhalgh
3-Jan-2014, 12:29
I'd love a 58mm XL, but will have to sell quite a few things.

I can't get more than a tiny bit of front rise with my Angulon 65mm, I guess I'll just have to remove the wire finder frame as I do shoot architecture often and never use the wire finder.

Mamiya RB67 lenses are designed to cover 8x8cm according to the literature I read, which is a diagonal of 113mm if my maths is correct, an the diagonal of 6x9, again by my maths, is 108mm, so coverage should be okay.

I've had mixed results with enlarging lenses as taking lenses for distance work, some work great, others don't. I had a Rodagon 90mm that was poor at distance, sold it, same with the Magnagon 5.6/75 (a rebadged Apo-Rodagon 4/75 with fixed stop), it's stunning up close but not very good at more than about 10 feet. Conversely, I really like the old Kodak Enlarging Ektar 4.5/100 as a taking lens at all distances, but it's a dialyte and dialytes do tend to hold up their corrections well whether used close up or at distance. I have a 5.6/100 Componon-S that shoots very well indeed at distance, sharper than my Xenar 3.5/105, it really is great. I also have a Componon-S 5.6/135 but haven't tried that one yet. I do wonder if sample variation and condition plays a big role as I know your Componon-S 5.6/100 sucked at distance. I have a G-Claron 9/150 and it's not very sharp at distance even at f22, which is contrary to what others report, I also have an Apo-Gerogon 9/150 and that is much better at distance, I have a strong feeling that the reason behind this is due to the lives these two lenses have lead. I also have a Repromaster 9/150 so some time I might compare all three on 6x9 at various distances. I have a Symmar 5.6/150 to use as a baseline.

I just mounted a Wray HR Lustrar 5.6/82 in an old rimset Compur for use on my Century, it came in barrel with stops marked 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 so it was clearly intended for enlarging, but Wray also sold HR Lustrars as taking lenses. This little one shoots very well on 6x9 at distance and actually has enough coverage for at least 7-8mm of front rise, which surprises me as it's a 4/3 tessar type.


So in all, I haven't got a firm opinion on enlarging lenses, if they can be had for next to nothing and might work, I'm game to try them. I've got a couple of TT&H Entals and a pair of Ross Resoluix (9cm and 11cm) I haven't tried yet, I have an adapter that alows me to mount M39 lenses on the front of a #1 shutter so one day I will do.

Ian Greenhalgh
3-Jan-2014, 12:32
A 60mm Dallmeyer Wide angle could possibly be had for under a hundred quid if your lucky. I paid I think 70 for mine. It is a barrel lens but it is tiny and easy to front mount.

Cheers for the tip, I'll keep my eye out for one, is 60mm the shortest?

Mwclassic have a coated one for 60 quid but I'm only gaining 5mm over my Angulon.

Roger Hesketh
3-Jan-2014, 16:21
Yes 60mm is the shortest Wide Angle Anastigmat that Dallmeyer made. The shortest T.T.&H. version of the lens the Cooke Series VIIb was 82mm. Though they did do a 60mm for the Wide Angle Envoy camera.

Randy Moe
3-Jan-2014, 17:19
'Thebes' is selling this, 'Galvin winding RB67 lens adapter board is available for an additional charge of $125'


I was tempted, but he has enough of my money.