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andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 09:29
Hello Folks.

I am about to jump into the depths of large format photography having spent the last few years developing my skills with FF digital.

I have just ordered my first field camera today, though it does not come with a lens. I went for the Wista 45D, it doesnt seem too expensive and the pictures on ebay did make it look like it is in good nick. We'll see when it arrives I guess.

Firstly, Am I right in thinking that when it comes to a lens board, any Linhof large format board should fit? please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Secondly, when it comes to lens's I'm pretty much still clueless. I have been looking on sites like teamworkphoto, and the prices for what they call 'analogue' lens are up toward the 1000 mark. Im hoping that to begin with I should be able to pick up older used lenses at a fraction?

In digital (35mm) my preferred focal length is 24-35mm, I have read that the multiplier is x3 for LF? so something like 90mm? If I go on ebay and search large format and select 'photography' and 'lens' I get a whole load of choices that are in the price range I am hoping for? for example ( Schneider Angulon 90mm f/6.8 large format 5x4 lens ), am I right in thinking any lens that is described as '5x4 large format' should fit into any lens board? or am I off the mark here?

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give here, complete newbie to this world but hope to stay.

Regards,

Andy.

NoBob
29-Nov-2014, 09:46
Teamwork are too expensive.

Give Adorama, Badger Graphic, ffordes (UK), B&H used (more expensive though), KEH, bobrigby.com (UK), mrcad.co.uk a try.

I'll leave you to research what people think about each of them.

djdister
29-Nov-2014, 10:00
You may find that your preferred focal length for 4x5 shooting will be different, or maybe not. A 90mm SA lens is a good lens, but I would suggest easing into whatever you buy, and check out the sites mentioned by NoBob. No reason you should be spending 1000 for your first lens, especially with a used lens.

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 10:17
One of my favorite focal lengths for 35mm was my 25mm lens. I did the 3X thing and bought a 75mm lens. The problem you run into is that 4x5 is more square than 35mm or full frame digital. I found the 75mm too wide for my taste so I sold it and bought a 90mm which felt like my old 25mm to me.

Most recommend a "normal" focal length lens as a first lens as it's easier to learn with. I'd recommend buying a 150mm lens and picking up a 90mm as a secondl lens later.

Technika style boards have three sizes of holes in them, Copal 0, Copal 1 and Copal 3. You buy the corresponding board to the Copal or Compur shutter your lens comes in.

Modern Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, Fujinon, and Caltar lenses are all great quality and give similar results. Let price and condition be your guide as to which brand to buy.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 11:00
If you calculate just using the diagonal of your FF digital (24x36mm) vs. the diagonal of 4x5 (approx. 95x120mm actual image area) then lenses in the 85-125mm range will be similar to your 24-35mm preference for FF digital. As Alan stated though, your visual perception may change a bit with the bigger film, largely due to a slight difference in ratios. In Alan's case, 75mm is certainly wider in actuality than his preference of 25mm lens on 135 format film and the 90mm he changed to is spot-on. A much more accurate multiplication factor going from 135 format to 4x5 inch is 3.53... if you only consider the diagonal of the actual image areas.

What types of photos will you be taking? Do you want several focal lengths to choose from? How much money do you want to spend for all your lenses? Are you a stickler for wanting the very best or is "excellent performance" good enough?

Dan Fromm
29-Nov-2014, 11:03
Click on "LF Home Page," read the FAQs.

Andrew Plume
29-Nov-2014, 11:04
Teamwork are too expensive.

Give Adorama, Badger Graphic, ffordes (UK), B&H used (more expensive though), KEH, bobrigby.com (UK), mrcad.co.uk a try.

I'll leave you to research what people think about each of them.


agreed, Teamwork aren't cheap but they have, because of their location, high overheads, considerably so when compared with, say, Ffordes. Teamwork are good people though, mrcad is expensive

good luck

andrew

Andrew Plume
29-Nov-2014, 11:06
You may find that your preferred focal length for 4x5 shooting will be different, or maybe not. A 90mm SA lens is a good lens, but I would suggest easing into whatever you buy, and check out the sites mentioned by NoBob. No reason you should be spending 1000 for your first lens, especially with a used lens.

Dan is spot on - buy a lens from a reputed manufacturer, that way at least it's easier to sell it on, if you're not happy

regards

andrew

Andrew Plume
29-Nov-2014, 11:10
lens boards

the Linhof/Wista boards are the ones that you need, Teamwork will carry the largest available stock in the UK - there are other Linhof boards but they will be too large for your Wista

regards

andrew

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 11:32
If you calculate just using the diagonal of your FF digital (24x36mm) vs. the diagonal of 4x5 (approx. 95x120mm actual image area) then lenses in the 85-125mm range will be similar to your 24-35mm preference for FF digital. As Alan stated though, your visual perception may change a bit with the bigger film, largely due to a slight difference in ratios. In Alan's case, 75mm is certainly wider in actuality than his preference of 25mm lens on 135 format film and the 90mm he changed to is spot-on. A much more accurate multiplication factor going from 135 format to 4x5 inch is 3.53... if you only consider the diagonal of the actual image areas.

What types of photos will you be taking? Do you want several focal lengths to choose from? How much money do you want to spend for all your lenses? Are you a stickler for wanting the very best or is "excellent performance" good enough?

Only Landscape photography, excellent performance is good for now :-) there's a Schneider Angulon 90mm f/6.8 on flebay for 100 which I was going to get as the price looks reasonable? would you agree? you're right my perception may change once I finally look through a ground glass, but I guess I need to start somewhere?

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 11:34
lens boards

the Linhof/Wista boards are the ones that you need, Teamwork will carry the largest available stock in the UK - there are other Linhof boards but they will be too large for your Wista

regards

andrew

Thanks Andrew, once I find a used lens I will pop them a mail, see if they can provide the board. I'm guessing you will advise me to stay clear of these types of deals then?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Linhof-Technika-4x5-Lens-Board-0-1-Or-3-Also-For-Wista-Shen-Hao-Chamonix-/281363938484?pt=UK_Photography_Lens_Boards&hash=item418298fcb4

Jac@stafford.net
29-Nov-2014, 11:38
One of my favorite focal lengths for 35mm was my 25mm lens. I did the 3X thing and bought a 75mm lens. The problem you run into is that 4x5 is more square than 35mm or full frame digital. I found the 75mm too wide for my taste so I sold it and bought a 90mm which felt like my old 25mm to me.

I found the very same thing. The effect of the aspect ratio surprised me.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 11:46
Only Landscape photography, excellent performance is good for now :-) there's a Schneider Angulon 90mm f/6.8 on flebay for 100 which I was going to get as the price looks reasonable? would you agree? you're right my perception may change once I finally look through a ground glass, but I guess I need to start somewhere?

I've read that the f/6.8 Angulon lens quality control was inconsistent but later offerings were better. I've never used one. If you buy one cheaply enough and like the perspective then at least you'll have learned that. If the lens performs well then you might decide to keep it. That leaves a lot of cash available for more lenses... maybe 135-150mm and 200-210mm. If you're frugal and patient you can acquire a very nice three lens kit for less than $500.

drew.saunders
29-Nov-2014, 11:55
Hello Folks.

I am about to jump into the depths of large format photography having spent the last few years developing my skills with FF digital.

Welcome to the asylum! And, as you've no doubt discovered, the inmates really do run this asylum!


I have just ordered my first field camera today, though it does not come with a lens. I went for the Wista 45D, it doesnt seem too expensive and the pictures on ebay did make it look like it is in good nick. We'll see when it arrives I guess.

A quick search shows that the manual for the 45SP and VX is close enough to your D to be of some use to you: http://www.galerie-photo.com/manuels/wista-45-sp-vx.pdf


Firstly, Am I right in thinking that when it comes to a lens board, any Linhof large format board should fit? please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Wista uses the Linhof Technika IV (and later) 4x5 boards that are made by Linhof, Wista, Ebony, Tachihara, Shen Hao and others. I even have a couple that were made by Nikon! This is probably the most commonly used lens board size today.


Secondly, when it comes to lens's I'm pretty much still clueless. I have been looking on sites like teamworkphoto, and the prices for what they call 'analogue' lens are up toward the 1000 mark. Im hoping that to begin with I should be able to pick up older used lenses at a fraction?

I don't know that vendor, but you should be able to find a decent enough used lens for $300 or less to start.


In digital (35mm) my preferred focal length is 24-35mm, I have read that the multiplier is x3 for LF? so something like 90mm? If I go on ebay and search large format and select 'photography' and 'lens' I get a whole load of choices that are in the price range I am hoping for? for example ( Schneider Angulon 90mm f/6.8 large format 5x4 lens ), am I right in thinking any lens that is described as '5x4 large format' should fit into any lens board? or am I off the mark here?


As mentioned in several other responses, you'll get a lot of great information from the main page here, which you can get to by clicking on the camera in the upper left corner, or by http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

My first lens when I took a large format class was a 150mm, which is the standard starting lens, and I ended up hating that focal length. Which is why I'd recommend you start with a 150. It is a good starter focal length, and you may end up loving it and, if not, they're generally the least expensive, so you're not out a lot of money.

Since you prefer lenses on the wide side, consider starting with a 135mm or 120/125mm. When I bought my own 4x5 a few years after taking the class, I knew I didn't want a 150, so I started with a Schneider 120mm APO-Symmar, since replaced with a Fujinon 125mm (larger image circle), and my second lens was a Nikkor-M 200mm. Even though I tend towards the wide end when using 35mm, I tend toward 'long normal' or longer when using 4x5, so you may find the lenses that you like to use are very different when you shoot large format. After a while, you'll stop thinking of "35mm equivalent" and start thinking along the lines of: "I like what I see with this lens, but at times need a (bit/much) (wider/narrower) field of view, so I think I'll need another lens" and then you can watch the money slowly float away...

For lens board hole size, if you shop at https://www.keh.com/ you'll see that they list the measured hole size for the lens boards, and for the lenses, they list the measured hole needed for that lens. If the lens board is the same or a mm or so larger, you're in luck. Most folks will list "Copal 0" or the like, but KEH gives the actual measurement.

For example, this Shen Hao board, which would fit your Wista, is listed as having a 35mm hole (a.k.a. A Copal size 0 hole): https://www.keh.com/299573/large-format-linhof-tech-iv-v-m-4x5-35-hole-blk-shen-hao

So if you look at the lenses, https://www.keh.com/search/list?n=151 you'll see "35MT" as lenses that would fit that lens board. The lenses that list a 42mm "MT" need a Copal 1 size lens board, etc. The ones listed as needing a "34MT" would fit the 35mm lens board well enough too.

I'm not saying you have to buy from KEH, but that it is handy for beginners to see the measured lens board size and mount size listed.

Have fun!

Drew

Jac@stafford.net
29-Nov-2014, 12:15
Great information here.

Here is this forum's table of lensboard hole sizes.
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lensboard_hole_sizes.html

AJ Edmondson
29-Nov-2014, 12:17
Drew is pretty well "spot on" with his advice. I wouldn't recommend the 90mm f6.8 Angulon despite the fact that there are undeniably good performers out there. The older Fujinon 135 (with the engraving around the front ring) are generally good performers and give you a slightly wide perspective with enough coverage to use swings/tilts/shift (about equivalent to the 135 WF Ektar). They are usually mounted in a Seiko shutter though you find one "upgraded" to a Copal 0 every now and then. The 127 Ektars are also good performers but don't offer much excess coverage and are mounted in the older Supermatic shutters. There are plenty of 150mm lenses in just about every flavor you can name (Nikon, Schneider, Calumet, Rodenstock, Fuji, etc) and if you shop around you can get good prices. Best if you find one that will accept returns if you don't like it. KEH is great but are in the US so keep the shipping, handling in mind. Good luck and enjoy your new camera!
Joel

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 12:36
@Drew, thanks for the information pal, its highly appreciated.

Taking everyones comments on board I wil try to start with something around the 150mm length, and take it from there.

What are peoples opinions of the 'Schneider Symmar-S' range of lenses? https://www.schneideroptics.com/info/vintage_lens_data/large_format_lenses/symmar-s/

Have my finger on the 'buy it now' botton on this thats all... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Schneider-Symmar-S-180mm-f-5-6-MC-Lens-in-Copal-1-Shutter-/361117816197?pt=UK_Lenses_Filters_Lenses&hash=item54144c9585

185, or $289 for you guys over the pond.

koraks
29-Nov-2014, 12:55
What are peoples opinions of the 'Schneider Symmar-S' range of lenses?
They're generally considered as good lenses, as far as I'm aware. I have the 210/5.6 and I use it frequently and like it a lot.

Btw, I thought 210 would be quite long for my taste, but as the others remarked: LF is a different animal from 135. I'd recommend buying a tad longer lens than you are really planning to and see how things work out. Odds are you'll like it better than you would have liked your original plan.

Toyon
29-Nov-2014, 13:09
Skip the Angulon. They can be good, but they can also be awful. Try for a Caltar, Fujinon or Nikkor in the 120 - 180 range. They are all good and pretty common. It is important that you get a decent modern shutter so that you get reliable exposures.

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 13:16
Skip the Angulon. They can be good, but they can also be awful. Try for a Caltar, Fujinon or Nikkor in the 120 - 180 range. They are all good and pretty common. It is important that you get a decent modern shutter so that you get reliable exposures.

Thanks buddy, I was actually just checking out a fujinon lens as I read that, oddly enough with a nikon lens cap behind it. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fuji-Fujinon-W-5-6-150-Copal-0-/311193027138?pt=DE_Foto_Camcorder_Objektive&hash=item48748cc242

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 13:26
I'm going to add one more bit of advice: Please consider what focal length lenses you'll eventually want and make your first purchase one of those (the middle focal length). I like a very diverse array of lens choices but most others consider this overkill. Even so, I'd consider the focal lengths I may want before starting to build a kit even if I limit those to three lenses. My preference for 4x5 inch film follows (two options)...

My Option #1
38mm
58mm
90mm
135mm
203mm
300mm
450mm

My Option #2
47mm
72mm
110mm
150mm
210mm
300mm
450mm

It's easy to get wrapped up in all the choices available but if you care about having variety and relatively even spacing between focal lengths then it's worth some time invested in determining what's available at the prices you want to pay. If I "think" my preference would be option #1 above then I'd first buy a 135mm lens. For me that would be the older version Fujinon with writing on front or a Wide Field Ektar because I want the larger image circle. If my preference was toward wider lenses then my first purchase from that list would be the 90mm.

The point is... it's easier to buy the focal lengths you prefer at the beginning than to buy focal lengths haphazardly. I see many people with lenses very close together in focal length that are otherwise similar performers then have wide gaps between other focal lengths. That's fine if it works for them but that greatly bothers me in my lens kits. Maybe that's just my OCD though.;)

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 13:48
I intended to note the possible price differential of the three middle lenses in my Choice #1 vs. #2...

90mm f/8 SA ~$150
135mm Fujinon-W ~$150
203mm Ektar ~$150
-------------------------------------
TOTAL ~$500 DELIVERED

72mm SAXL ~$1200
110mm SSXL ~$1200
150mm Apo Symmar-L ~$1200
-------------------------------------
TOTAL ~$3700 DELIVERED

Will one see a significant difference in image quality between these two options with landscape images? Probably not... and you have $3200 to spend on film. Granted, the cheaper lens prices I quoted are toward the low end of the pricing spectrum and the pricier lenses were toward the high end. It's just an illustration.;)

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 14:01
A popular 3 lens kit would be 90mm, 150mm, and 210mm. It's a real nice spacing between focal lengths and would be nice for general landscape photography. Each focal length can be had for a reasonable price too.

Of course you can always build on it until you have a lens kit like Old-N-Feeble :cool:

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 14:33
I intended to note the possible price differential of the three middle lenses in my Choice #1 vs. #2...

90mm f/8 SA ~$150
135mm Fujinon-W ~$150
203mm Ektar ~$150
-------------------------------------

72mm SAXL ~$1200
110mm SSXL ~$1200
150mm Apo Symmar-L ~$1200
-------------------------------------
TOTAL ~$3700 DELIVERED

Will one see a significant difference in image quality between these two options with landscape images? Probably not... and you have $3200 to spend on film. Granted, the cheaper lens prices I quoted are toward the low end of the pricing spectrum and the pricier lenses were toward the high end. It's just an illustration.;)

Thanks for the advice squire, I have made an offer on this, It seems you guys over the pond get far better used prices, probably bigger pool of togs I guess.

P.S when you say "90mm f/8 SA ~$150" does SA mean Super Angulon? (as in Schneider)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fuji-Fujinon-W-135-mm-f-5-6-Copal-Shutter-auf-80-x-80-Plate-Wista-Linhof-Ebony-/201221495774?pt=DE_Foto_Camcorder_Objektive&hash=item2ed9bc5bde

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 14:57
Thanks for the advice squire, I have made an offer on this, It seems you guys over the pond get far better used prices, probably bigger pool of togs I guess.

P.S when you say "90mm f/8 SA ~$150" does SA mean Super Angulon? (as in Schneider)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fuji-Fujinon-W-135-mm-f-5-6-Copal-Shutter-auf-80-x-80-Plate-Wista-Linhof-Ebony-/201221495774?pt=DE_Foto_Camcorder_Objektive&hash=item2ed9bc5bde

From what I've read, yes we do get better prices here in the USA. I'm sorry for you folks in Europe. I believe you get better deals on some things though, Rodenstock Imagon lenses for example. Please keep in mind the prices I quoted are at the low end of the spectrum for the more affordable lenses and towards the high end for the pricier lenses. My post was intended as an illustration of what's possible. My "SA" nomenclature indeed references Schneider Super Angulon. However, there are many other options available for the same or less money.

If you don't mind me asking: How much did you pay for the 135mm Fujinon-W?

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 15:12
From what I've read, yes we do get better prices here in the USA. I'm sorry for you folks in Europe. I believe you get better deals on some things though, Rodenstock Imagon lenses for example. Please keep in mind the prices I quoted are at the low end of the spectrum for the more affordable lenses and towards the high end for the pricier lenses. My post was intended as an illustration of what's possible. My "SA" nomenclature indeed references Schneider Super Angulon. However, there are many other options available for the same or less money.

If you don't mind me asking: How much did you pay for the 135mm Fujinon-W?

200 delivered from Germany. Just had email confirming my offer. just need to wait on the Wista 45D coming from Japan now, buy some film holders and ohh yeah some film. I'd like to get to the point where I can sell up my 4k worth of digital canon gear and spend it more on LF. Thats why I'm starting cheap, just in case I miss the trigger happy approach to digital, but I hope not.

Out of pure curiosity, if you were buying your first LF 5x4, and you had $200-300 just for camera, what would you have gone for? some people on other forums saying the Wista 45D could be a bad choice.

the one I bought looks to be a less scratched version of this one :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wista-45-D-Large-Format-4x5-Field-Film-Camera-Near-Excellent-from-japan-/331396777542?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item4d28c98646

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 15:18
200 delivered from Germany. Just had email confirming my offer. just need to wait on the Wista 45D coming from Japan now, buy some film holders and ohh yeah some film. I'd like to get to the point where I can sell up my 4k worth of digital canon gear and spend it more on LF. Thats why I'm starting cheap, just in case I miss the trigger happy approach to digital, but I hope not.

Out of pure curiosity, if you were buying your first LF 5x4, and you had $200-300 just for camera, what would you have gone for? some people on other forums saying the Wista 45D could be a bad choice.

the one I bought looks to be a less scratched version of this one :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wista-45-D-Large-Format-4x5-Field-Film-Camera-Near-Excellent-from-japan-/331396777542?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item4d28c98646

I honestly don't know what 4x5 camera I would have bought in the $200-300 price range because I haven't researched those. However, I bought a used Chamonix 45N-1 and had the focus screen updated to a Maxwell Bright Screen.

Joe Smigiel
29-Nov-2014, 15:47
I'm not familiar with the Wista 45D but am wondering if the camera is not really suited for use with extreme wide-angle lenses? Can the front and rear be manipulated enough to allow a minimum extension that would allow a 90mm or shorter lens to be used without getting the rails in the picture? In trying to find the specs, I came across an older thread that stated the 45D model did not accept a recessed lensboard (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?5650-Recessed-board-on-Wista-45D)(unlike later models).

My recommendation might be to pick up a good used 135mm lens in a nice modern shutter as a start ( e.g., something like a 135mm f/5.6 Symmar - S or Caltar S-II rebrand). 180mm as a normal focal length for the 4x5 format has always been my preference so a 135mm lens would seem a reasonable jump towards the wider end. Also, with the brighter f/5.6 maximum aperture, such a lens is going to be easier to focus and compose with than a wider lens with maximum aperture of f/6.8 or f/8, especially around the edges of the image. If the camera always needs to be contorted with little movement available using a dark projected image, there may be much better choices in the basic camera model that could reduce any potential frustration, especially when starting out. Again, I'm totally unfamiliar with the 45D, but I would think a view camera with both movable front and rear standards would be a better start for (wide-angle) landscape photography. And, a normal to slightly wide lens as an initial purchase would possibly be much less expensive, brighter, and much easier to use starting out.

It sounds like Andy (the OP) will be making a pretty big jump going from ff digital to LF. It is usually quite a shock just moving up from medium-format film cameras to 4x5. I expect the learning curve will be steeper and novel camera technique surprising when making such a jump from ff digital. I'd keep it as simple as possible at first although I can also understand that if one really is hooked on extreme wide-angle views, there is no point in buying something that won't give those results.

Peter Lewin
29-Nov-2014, 15:59
You've been getting a lot of excellent advice, I'm going to try and restrict myself to things not yet said, and my own experience. Back in there 1970s, Fred Picker (founder of ZoneVI) was something of a large format guru, and his recommendation was to start with a Schneider Symmar-S 210, and then add a Schneider SA 120 as a wide-angle. While I have moved away from his specific focal length suggestions over time, I mention this because you asked about the Symmar-S lenses. I still have both above-mentioned lenses, the 210 is in my standard field kit, the 120 is retired except for special circumstances. The Symmar-S was replaced by a newer lens design, but for most of us, we will never see the differences in our prints.

Kerry Thalman and others wrote lovingly about the Rodenstock 150, and it has become my most used lens. So I will join the many who suggest a 150 or thereabout as a first lens.

Many then add a 90mm as a wide lens. Based on some reviews, the fact that I could afford it, and wanting to push the wide side fractionally more, I added a Schneider 80mm instead. It is my go-to lens for indoors or other situations where I need a short lens because there is no room to "back up."

Put this all together, and I am very comfortable with a 3-lens kit of 80, 150, and 210. Simply because I have added lenses over time, or had one lens before I learned about, and became a follower of, Fred Picker, I also have the 120mm and a 180mm, but they are very rarely used. I probably use the 150 about 2/3rds of the time, and the 80 and 210 (split) for the remaining 1/3rd of images.

As to your camera, as you gain experience you will realize that there is no truly universal view camera, we all compromise. Your Wista is a folding field camera. So its virtue is that it folds up pretty compactly, into a relatively indestructible package, and can be taken almost anywhere. What you give up is the flexibility of a monorail, which will have more movements, and more easily handle very long and very short lenses, but at the disadvantage of weight and more difficult "packability." There are other field cameras (my Canham DLC^2, for example) which will allow a bit more choice of focal lengths than your Wista (I'm assuming, without having Wista specs, the the Canham has longer bellows extension, and can take a shorter lens without a bag bellows, than the Wista). But for a first, relatively all-around, camera, yours will be fine. As you gain more experience, and perhaps a better sense of what kind of large format images attract you (i.e. portraits, landscape, still life, architecture, etc.) you will be able to decide what features are most valuable to you.

Bruce Watson
29-Nov-2014, 16:09
In digital (35mm) my preferred focal length is 24-35mm, I have read that the multiplier is x3 for LF? so something like 90mm?

I advise a longer lens to start with. The main reason for this is, to use a view camera effectively, you need to learn movements. And to learn movements, you've got to be able to easily see the effects the various movements have on the image. This will be very difficult with a 90mm lens on 5x4. Better to start with a 150mm (the so-called "normal" lens for 5x4). Even a 135mm would be considerably better than a 90.

Another reason is, you won't operate the same way with LF as you do with digital. You can't just stick the camera to your face and walk the scene looking through the viewfinder for what you want. Instead, you'll walk the scene without the camera looking for the perspective that's optimum for what you want to capture, then you'll setup your tripod at that spot, then your camera on the tripod, then you'll pick your lens. And you will probably find out that you use a "normal" lens a fair amount of the time, when you didn't even own one for your digital camera. Been there, done that, just sayin'. And no, I don't expect you to believe me. And yes, I do expect that you'll be surprised that I was right. :rolleyes:

djdister
29-Nov-2014, 16:30
I agree with several others in thinking that you would be well served by starting out with a 135mm or 150mm lens to start. More room to use camera movements, less fighting with the bellows and camera at the extreme minimum extension, and etc. After you have shot some amount of "normal" 4x5 shots, then you should consider how wide you want to go (presuming your camera can handle it).

This is how you know you have reached the wide angle limit on your folding camera...
125760
65mm lens on Horseman 45FA camera, camera bed, bottom center.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 16:44
I agree with several others in thinking that you would be well served by starting out with a 135mm or 150mm lens to start. More room to use camera movements, less fighting with the bellows and camera at the extreme minimum extension, and etc. After you have shot some amount of "normal" 4x5 shots, then you should consider how wide you want to go (presuming your camera can handle it).

This is how you know you have reached the wide angle limit on your folding camera...
125760
65mm lens on Horseman 45FA camera, camera bed, bottom center.

Meh... you don't really need the bottom sliver of that very nice photo anyway. Just crop it out... crybaby.:D

Joe Smigiel
29-Nov-2014, 16:48
Out of pure curiosity, if you were buying your first LF 5x4, and you had $200-300 just for camera, what would you have gone for? some people on other forums saying the Wista 45D could be a bad choice.

I think you could pick up a used Cambo SC (or Calumet N) series wide-angle camera in that price range. You would need a short rail and bag bellows but the modular Cambo backs, standards, and lensboards would allow you to fit the camera to your specific needs.

I was planning to teach wetplate workshops out of my studio using the modular Cambo system. So, I acquired several different cameras for students to use. Along the way I picked up several different bag bellows, rails of different lengths, extra standards, right-angle magnifying finders, compendium shades, recessed lensboards, Graflock and bail backs, etc., before my plans changed. I'm now in the process of divesting several 4x5 systems and a 5x7 Cambo, but I was able to build many different configurations from the modular parts. For example, if I had a longer bellows and shorter rail, I could actually turn the standards 180-degrees around to get a bit more extension. Or, with a very long rail, I could add a standard and second bellows to do extreme macro.

Most of the components like standards, backs and rails, normal bellows will run between $45 -$50 on Ebay on most days. Recessed lensboards maybe $65 and regular ones $20 and up. My suggestion would be to purchase a cheap standard Cambo 45SC or Calumet 45N series camera that includes a back, two standards, a lensboard and bellows. You can probably score one for about $100-$125 in working condition if you hit the day correctly. (I've purchased a couple as low as $62.) If you are intent on having a wide-angle camera, keep an eye out for a wide-angle bellows and rail or, just cut the standard square rail down to a wide-angle length, getting for example an 8" and 10" rail from the standard 18" length. If you picked up a bag bellows and had something like the 135mm lens I mentioned earlier plus another in your desired 65mm, 75mm, or 90mm focal length in the same kit, you would have a pretty versatile setup to take on short excursions. The bag bellows would expand enough to let you use the longer lens (maybe even up to a 240mm at infinity if the bag would stretch to 10") while collapsing to allow the shorter ones with movements limited by the coverage angle of the lens rather than the physical configuration of the camera. My guess is you might end up spending $125 for the camera, $65 for the recessed board and $85 for the bag bellows if you opted for one.

Some people might argue that a monorail isn't a good choice for backpacking, but this Cambo system breaks down fairly well. The standards roll off the rail very easily and you might find you could leave one attached and rotated parallel to the rail, the other with the bellows attached and nested on it, with the lensboards and back left attached to the standards to fit in a moderately-sized pack along with a couple lenses. The camera could be broken down even further and still set up very quickly.

Too bad we are separated by all that water. I could set you up relatively inexpensively if not for the shipping costs. But I'm sure similar deals can be had for Cambos/Calumets on your side of the pond.

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 17:19
some people on other forums saying the Wista 45D could be a bad choice.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wista-45-D-Large-Format-4x5-Field-Film-Camera-Near-Excellent-from-japan-/331396777542?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item4d28c98646

I've handled a Wista 45D but have not actually used one so I do know a little about them. The 45D is no longer made and was replaced by the 45SP. The main difference in the cameras is that the 45D does not have front swing. Some people use front swing and some don't. The camera is metal which on one hand is heavier than wood but on the other hand it is sturdier too. I think it has 12" of bellows which is normal but has the advantage of purchasing bed extenders and longer bellows for using longer lenses than a 300mm. With the standard bellows you should be able to use a 300mm at infinity but not close up for portraits. You do need to use a bag bellows with a 90mm lens but bellows change out really easy on your camera. It also has a revolving back which is nice and a lot of front rise.

I don't think it is a bad choice. An SP would be nicer because of it being newer and having front swing, but of course quite a bit more money. I wouldn't fret about it. Use it for a while and make your own decision. If you decide later you want something else then sell it for close to what you paid and buy something else. I think most of us don't keep our first camera, myself included.

Welcome to the forum and 4x5 photography!

djdister
29-Nov-2014, 17:39
Meh... you don't really need the bottom sliver of that very nice photo anyway. Just crop it out... crybaby.:D

Well, that's what I do in practice. Just wanted to show what can happen - and I kind of doubt the Wista 45 could handle a 65mm lens anyway.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Nov-2014, 17:41
Well, that's what I do in practice. Just wanted to show what can happen - and I kind of doubt the Wista 45 could handle a 65mm lens anyway.

Do you have enough front rise to eliminate inclusion of the front of the bed?

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 18:01
Well, that's what I do in practice. Just wanted to show what can happen - and I kind of doubt the Wista 45 could handle a 65mm lens anyway.

For 65mm to 90mm with this set-up. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/70474-REG/Wista_214544_Recessed_Lensboard_Mounts.html

For up to 500mm with extension bed and extension bellows.

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 18:03
Do you have enough front rise to eliminate inclusion of the front of the bed?

The 45SP has 56mm front rise. I would assume that the 45D has the same.

Alan Gales
29-Nov-2014, 18:07
Andy, here is a link to a PDF of the instruction manual for the SP and VX. Your D will be similar.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/prof_pdf/wista_45_sp_vx.pdf

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 18:16
Cheers folks, again thanks for the comments, I've learnt more from this thread than hours of tutorial trolling on YouTube.

My camera should be here in a week, and the lens even sooner, I bought the fujinon w 135mm f5.6 off eBay. I won't buy any more until I've had it all out, played with it and exposed some film.

Still have a lot of research to do, I've never loaded a double dark slide before, so there's something else to learn.

I'm guessing my biggest hurdle is going to be exposure? I bought a 1degree meter about a year ago now and have been practicing with it digitally, hiding my 5dii meter, and using the sekonic, in the most part it's been accurate , cnt wait to try it on film.

PS, all of my photography will be landscape, mainly up in the English hills. Which is where I spend most of my photography time now.

andred2809
29-Nov-2014, 18:18
Andy, here is a link to a PDF of the instruction manual for the SP and VX. Your D will be similar.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/prof_pdf/wista_45_sp_vx.pdf

Perfect cheers Alan, you found something I could not.

gnuyork
7-Dec-2014, 13:00
My first LF lens was a Kodak Ektar 203mm. It is a nice compact, sharp lens that did not cost too much. I got in on Ebay many years ago. I have since purchased some very nice lenses from KEH. I highly recommend them.

Luis-F-S
7-Dec-2014, 18:59
It's been said that Edward Weston made some of his Mexico portraits with a lens he bought for $5 and some of his friends thought he paid too much for it. It's not going to make that big a difference as long as it covers the format. I'd get an 8 1/4 Dagor or an f/6.8 210 Caltar if you prefer a modern lens and use it for 6 months or so BEFORE you think about getting a second lens. Just get something in a modern shutter. Fred Picker used to recommend the 210 as the standard 4x5 lens and I agree. After using that first lens you may have an idea of what it does and what you should look at for a second lens or if you even want to stay in the format. I suspect something in the 5-6" range or 120-150 mm would make some sense at that point. There have been some very reasonably priced lenses in the 210 range on this forum & on the auction site. You should be able to find one in really nice shape for under $200 without any problem. The lens board will depend on what your camera takes and you can certainly find that info easily enough by searching the web or waiting until the camera arrives. You will find "experts" who will debate the virtues & failings of any lens you buy, for a first lens, I'd suggest you go "cheap". L

Luis-F-S
7-Dec-2014, 19:19
I'm guessing my biggest hurdle is going to be exposure? I bought a 1degree meter about a year ago now and have been practicing with it digitally, hiding my 5dii meter, and using the sekonic, in the most part it's been accurate , cnt wait to try it on film.

PS, all of my photography will be landscape, mainly up in the English hills. Which is where I spend most of my photography time now.

What's so hard about exposure? It's no different than any other camera/format. Take a meter reading of the palm of your hand in the same lighting as your scene and open up one stop. That will work for probably 95% of the time. Oh, you will probably want to bring a tripod. Do yourself a favor and buy the Zone VI workshop book and read it! L