View Full Version : ULF lens query

Miguel Curbelo
27-May-2005, 16:56
I have gone bananas and have purchased a 12x15" field camera dating from the 1890s. I am now looking for a lens. The camera has a bellows extension of about 32". I can't afford a modern lens, but I am not familiar at all with older lenses and their coverage, and I haven't come across that much information regarding 12x15 lenses. Could anyone suggest either a wideangle lens (I'm interested in architecture) or a portrait lens (I know they are somehow contradictory, but both things interest me) that might be suitable considering bellows extension and the fact that it is a relatively light field camera (i.e. no heavy lenses)?
I have read that the 355 Claron G might cover the format: might this be a good choice?

Gary Samson
27-May-2005, 17:12
Hi Miguel,

I use the 355 Claron G on my 12x20 with great results so it will certainly work on your 12x15. the Nikkor 450M will also cover well if you are looking for a longer lense and it is relatively light in weight. What are you going to do about holders?

Ryan McIntosh
27-May-2005, 18:37
The Claron G is a really fine lens and will cover you JUST fine. Check Ebay, because I see them on there for 200-400 dollars all the time, depending what kind of shutter it is in. Its a very light lens also

Miguel Curbelo
28-May-2005, 00:15
Thanks for your answers. Gary, the camera comes with three plateholders. I'm planning to try them out with paper negatives first, and if unsuitable for film I'll have to look into either having a holder built, adapting the camera back to a 11x14 holder or...even considering plates! The camera should be arriving next week, so I'll take it from there. In any case, have you got any suggestions regarding holders?

Gary Samson
28-May-2005, 06:14
I'm assuming that you are planning to shoot film ultimately so you would have to modify your holders to get the film plane located properly. Alan Brubaker of www.filmholders.com could probably do this but it will be expensive. Sandy King (S&S Holders) also makes great holders and perhaps something custom good be done for your camera. If you are thinking about wet plate images then Ray Morgenweck of Star Camera could build you a wet plate back. Good luck!

Miguel Curbelo
28-May-2005, 07:10
Thank you very much indeed Gary.

Struan Gray
30-May-2005, 01:01
I have a 360 convertible Symmar that works nicely as a mild wide-angle on 12x15. The converted state works well enough as a portrait lens, but there are also a lot of unsexy process lenses around for low prices. The image circle is around 500 mm, so converting focal lengths from 35 mm equivalents is easy :-)

As you say, holders are the real issue. Mine leak light, so my 12x15 project is 'resting' while I chase down my demons in 4x5. The simplest way to use film in a plate holder is to back the film with a sheet of glass or perspex. If you use graphic arts 'lith' film or paper, the true size is much closer to the nominal size on the box and the film usually fits behind the lip that holds the plates in. With 'real' film - which tends to be a little smaller than its nominal size - you will have to make a septum or use glue or tape to hold the film onto the backing board.

If you are going to do this a lot, I would recommend getting modern holders and adapting or replacing your camera's back so it can take them.

I guess from your email address that you're in Spain. Graphic arts film is still quite widely available in Europe in the 30x40 cm size, and can be developed in paper developers for continuous tone. Otherwise, your best sources for real film are Fotoimpex, Lotus, and Retrophotographic.

cheng h
30-May-2005, 01:50
Replacing the camera back is not a bad idea. but 11x14 film holders prices are unreasonably high. Half decent used 11x14 holders are going at $300 a piece.

Miguel Curbelo
30-May-2005, 14:44
Thank you all for your input. I'll keep you posted on how I fare.