View Full Version : Lenses for a Calumet NX

3-Feb-2014, 23:49
Hello there,

First at all, thanks for the support that I have received when looking for a 4x5 camera.

I have now a Calumet NX. It's in mint condition, really. I would like to get ahold of a good setup of lenses in this order:

a.- A standard lens (135mm, 150mm or 180mm). I do favor a lens between 150mm and 180mm but I have noticed a lot of photographers using 135mm as a standard.
b.- A wide-angle lens (75mm, 90mm). I am a bit scare of using the 75mm with the camera since I don't know it very well and I am not sure if I will need a wide angle bellows. Advices will be welcomed.
c.- A long lens (270mm, 300mm). I am not sure what is the longest lens that the Calumet NX will accept without having to add modifications. Advices will also be welcomed.
d.- A macro lens. I have found a Nikkor Macro lens. It seems like it do the work but I am not sure about the lens. I have never used a Nikkor lens before, only Schneider and other brands.

I do favor maximum apertures such as f5.6, I do hesitate with f8 or f9 as the maximum aperture for the lens, but is a personal preference.

I also like to mix ambient light with flash. In the past, I use to have continuous lighting but now I just have flashes. So, compatibility with flash will be preferred (although continous lights are quite cheap nowadays).

Many thanks for your kind suggestions.

4-Feb-2014, 05:38
I think the idea of starting with a 150 and 90 is good. You might find 135 a bit wide to be your only "normal" lens. Me, I wouldn't spend the money on a macro--LF macro isn't like with 35mm, where you need the focus extension in the lens, so I think you'd want a clear need (that is, other lenses already proven inadequate for your intended purpose) for such a lens before spending the money on it. I'd start with just the two, and add as necessary. Me, my third lens for portrait-type stuff has always been a 210mm. Your purchase of a long lens may hinge on availability rather than choice if you want a modern one in a sync shutter without spending a fortune.

If you stick with modern lenses, they will have flash sync.

Peter Lewin
4-Feb-2014, 07:22
Once again, I will run through personal experience:

I started with a little 180/6.8 "Bogen Arcar" which was recommended with my first view camera, my Sinar F. It was "OK" but not a very good lens, and I never use it any more. I keep it around since it is very small and light, and fits on my Canham when it is folded, so it might have some value as a "travel lens."

I then became a dedicated follower of Fred Picker (I still have almost everything he ever marketed in my darkroom), and he highly recommended the pair of a Schneider 210/5.6 and a 120/8. Excellent lenses, but the 120/8 is big and heavy, and now is only used when I need the focal length, it is not part of my standard "take everywhere" set. The 210, however, goes with me, and is in fact my "long lens."

Over time I added a Rodenstock 150/5.6 and a Schneider 80/4.5. The 150/5.6 is by far my favorite lens, I probably use it 80-90% of the time. Small, sharp, just a great lens. The 80 is also a wonderful, but expensive, lens, I figured if I was going to go wide, I would really go wide! I probably use the 210 and the 80 equally for the times when the 150 isn't the right lens. The 80 is great when you just don't have room (i.e. architecture, closed spaces, etc.)

So based on my own experiences, my recommendations: start with a 150, it is a great all-around focal length. Then add a wide-angle, a 90 is much more cost-effective than my 80. You should have no difficulties shooting straight-on with your standard bellows, but if you want to use swings and tilts, you will probably need the bag-bellows with the 90. Then add a longer lens. I have often considered a 300, but based on what I am using, I realize that I tend towards wider, rather than longer, so I have never gone as long as 300. I rather like the 210 as the next length up from the 150, but since you mentioned portraiture in another post, that might make a 270 or 300 more useful for you than the 210.

4-Feb-2014, 11:06
Peter, Darnton,

Thanks for your feedback. I had a Rodenstock 150/5.6, it seems like a way to go. I agree that 90mm and 150mm will be the right steps. And 270-300 (or 210mm+) will make also sense.

I would really need the flash sync for the portraiture lens (+210mm). I'd rather use flash when using wide angle lenses or standard lenses because I normally used them for outdoors.

Thanks again

David Karp
4-Feb-2014, 22:08
You will definitely need a bag bellows and recessed lens board with a wide angle lens on that camera.

7-Feb-2014, 20:47
You will definitely need a bag bellows and recessed lens board with a wide angle lens on that camera.


Thanks. I got today a Nikkor Am ED 120 mm F/5.6 ED Lens in mint shape. I bought it from a local store and it's like new and came with a 30-days warranty. I am happy with it.

Now, I am aware that the lens is good for landscape, some macro work, and so forth. But I am keen to get a lens for portraits, in particular in the 210mm - 280mm range.

I am looking at:

Nikkor W 210mm f5.6
Caltar II-E 210mm f5.6
Schneider -Kreuznach Symmar-S 5.8/210mm
Fujinon W 210mm F.6

I found a Nikkor 240mm f.6 with Copal 3 but it was massive block. So, I would rather check with you guys. There was a Nikkor 90 on Copal 3 as well, but it was also massive!.

Many thanks for your kind advice