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View Full Version : Lenses for 11x14" that aren't going to lead to bankruptcy...



Tim V
20-Oct-2017, 14:36
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but a long time LF user (4x5" mainly) and view camera user, with digital Mamiya Leaf back and Linhof Techno. I have found myself with a strong hankering for 11x14" and have been told that finding good lenses for the format is perhaps harder than finding a camera.

My dream is to make good contact prints in the darkroom and very occasionally drum scan the negatives for enlargement no more than 40x50", more likely 30x40". If one were looking for a relatively competent lens that's modest money for the format in equivalent of 250mm on 8x10", what would people recommend?

I love to shoot wider and more normal, too, but I've got to start somewhere... What about 180mm equivalent on 8x10" / 90mm on 4x5" format?

Thanks,

Tim

Corran
20-Oct-2017, 15:14
Seems like you want a ~270mm lens up to a ~360mm lens.

What is your actual budget? A very nice Computar 270mm sold on eBay just last week for $800. That was a pretty good price. I was looking at it wondering if it might just cover 8x20. You don't need that much coverage (unless you want a lot of movements) so you could also look for a Graphic Kowa or G-Claron lens. Not sure about the absolute coverage on those but should be okay. I see a 270mm G-Claron sold last month for $255 - a great price!

As for 360mm lenses, the first thing that comes to mind is a 360mm Symmar or Symmar-S. That will be a much bigger lens. I paid $200 for my 360mm f/5.6 Symmar but that was a really good deal...on eBay I see sales on the older Symmar coming in at $300-500, with the newer Symmar-S hitting $400-$900.

So there's a few options. I don't shoot 11x14 but if one fell in my lap I would be raring to go with my 305mm G-Claron I use on my 8x20. Good luck!

Oren Grad
20-Oct-2017, 16:02
Speaking from experience using both the 270 and 305 G-Clarons on 11x14: the 270 is borderline for coverage even if you stop way down (f/45), the 305 is a more comfortable fit (also stopped down) and will also be closer in field of view to the 250-on-8x10 that you mentioned. Both of these come in #1 shutter and are far smaller and lighter than the big 360mm Sironar/Symmar/Nikkor W plasmats in #3 shutter.

Dan Fromm
20-Oct-2017, 16:03
Bryan, 11 x 14's diagonal, also the normal focal length for the format, is around 450 mm. Your suggestions seem a little short.

Tim, Bryan's right to encourage you but you should think hard about lenses, perhaps even shop, before you commit yourself to a camera. For my budget, the prices of lenses that cover ~ 450 mm is very bad news. You may have more to spend that I do.

Your 250 mm equivalent comes to around 375 mm. Not a common focal length. A 90 on 4x5/180 on 8x10 covers around 80 degrees with no movements. The equivalent FL for 11 x 14 is 270 degrees.

You might want to look at the catalogs behind http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?138978-Where-to-look-for-information-on-LF-(mainly)-lenses

Corran
20-Oct-2017, 16:09
Speaking from experience using both the 270 and 305 G-Clarons on 11x14: the 270 is borderline for coverage even if you stop way down (f/45), the 305 is a more comfortable fit (also stopped down) and will also be closer in field of view to the 250-on-8x10 that you mentioned. Both of these come in #1 shutter and are far smaller and lighter than the big 360mm Sironar/Symmar/Nikkor W plasmats in #3 shutter.

Oren, I assume you have the Plasmat versions? My 305 GC Dagor-type covers 8x20, so extrapolating a 270mm Dagor-type it should have at least 500mm of IC...but admittedly extrapolation is not experience! The Dagor types are also larger than the Plasmats.

Dan, I was extrapolating from the OP's focal lengths. Sounds like he wants a "wide normal" and a "wide." Instead of a 375mm I shuffled down to 360mm as a more common focal length.

Oren Grad
20-Oct-2017, 16:10
Oren, I assume you have the Plasmat versions? My 305 GC Dagor-type covers 8x20, so extrapolating a 270mm Dagor-type it should have at least 500mm of IC...but admittedly extrapolation is not experience! The Dagor types are also larger than the Plasmats.

That's important, thanks for asking. Yes, mine are late-production plasmat types.

MAubrey
20-Oct-2017, 16:18
A Schneider Angulon 210 f/6.8 will cover, but they don't appear often and usually for more than $500, but sufficient patience can get you one for ~$250. I bagged mine for $220. That's a 75mm equivalent for 4x5, though, a good bit wider than 90mm.

Tim V
22-Oct-2017, 01:44
Thanks all for your replies. It seems there are options, but things are a little bit specialist to say the least when things get this big...

In terms of budget, I'm used to staring down the barrel of big money when it comes to lenses; Rodenstock Digaron HR W series lenses are crazy, and that's what I have needed for my digital back. It's good to know something in the ball park of what I need will be approximately 1/4 of that kind of money.

I tend to do a lot a front rise with my images, shooting a lot of city scape type imagery where I want to give a sense of the imposing nature of the built environment. When I used my Technika regularly, I was often going out to 20 - 25mm of rise. I'm starting to think it is unrealistic to expect equivalent movements for 11x14"? Then again, I'm happy to work within some limitations. Sometimes that helps force new ways of seeing and finding strange workarounds / fighting technical battles can open new doors.

Truth be told, I'm probably most comfortable with the 90mm of 4x5", so something closer to that in 11x14" would suit me fine.

Just got to start researching cameras, too. It's an expensive addiction!

Keith Pitman
22-Oct-2017, 03:14
7x17 requires a similar image circle to 11x14–466mm vs 450mm. Here’s an old thread on 7x17 lenses that will give you lots of possibilities:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?14330-7x17-lenses

Of course, finding some of these lenses and then paying for them is a different challenge.

angusparker
22-Oct-2017, 09:18
The really obvious option is the 355mm G-Claron if you want wide like 90mm on 4x5. Happily this is relatively easy to find and not super expensive at least compared to other options. It even can be found in a shutter. Move on to a 480mm process lens. Then the next obvious lens would be a 24 Artar which can also be had for peanuts in a barrel. Then you are on to expensive and long process lenses over 1000mm for a long lens.


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Dan Fromm
22-Oct-2017, 12:08
As long as we're suggesting lenses that aren't what the OP said he's looking for, here https://web.archive.org/web/20171022190535/http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Massive-Hermagis-Som-Berthiot-Olor-500mm-F5-6-Heliar-8x10-12x15-ULF-Wet-Plate-/192340497077 is a relatively fast 500 mm tessar type. Not a heliar, in no way, shape, or form a heliar, a tessar type whose rear cell is a cemented triplet.

John Kasaian
22-Oct-2017, 15:11
IIRC a 14" Commercial Ektar will juuust cover 11x14

Greg
22-Oct-2017, 16:42
Couple of thoughts come to mind.

Stay away from Repromaster and Eskofot-Ultragon lenses. They came with an Agfa Repromaster copy camera. I've seen some mfg. specs that they covered 11x14.... true but at 1:1.

Up here in New England have the Brimfield Antiques show several times a year:
http://www.brimfieldshow.com
Also there are several multi-dealer antique stores around us that I frequent on a weekly basis. A walk through takes very little time, especially if you're only looking for photographic items. Dealers are very happy to triple their purchase prices on their items.

Put an ad in your local newspaper or weekly flyer: "Wanted old large photographic lenses". You never know what's out there. Did this a few times with no luck, but a friend did the same and struck a large Petzval optic. Told me it had several layers of dust and more on it, so the seller was quite happy with selling it to him for little dollars. He cleaned it up and told me the glass was pristine and the brass none too much the worse for wear.

"Dagor"s go for a lot of money. Double-Anastigmats seem to go for a lot less.
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?134386-Goertz-Double-Anastigmat-verses-Goertz-Dagor&highlight=difference+dagor%2C+double-Anastigmat

A real sleeper for 11x14 is a 508mm f/7 Caltar. Had one many years ago and regretfully sold it. Last year finally found and purchased a mint minus copy of this optic in an Ilex #5 on the big auction site for less than a dollar a mm. Lens covers 11x14 with movements and its bright image on the GG a pleasure to view. It is my favorite lens for my 11x14 hands down.

"The use of Historic Lenses in Contemporary Photography" by Paul Lipscomb is totally worth getting in my opinion. In one instance, it saved me hundreds of dollars in my not purchasing a lens (seller claimed it covered 11x14) that was non-returnable.

Good luck

domaz
23-Oct-2017, 11:17
You can get APO Nikkor's quite cheap on E-Bay if your patient. I think I got my 600mm APO Nikkor for something like $100. Quite a large lens but not terrible heavy for what it is, all the APO Nikkor's I've used are tack sharp. No shutter of course but a large Packard Shutter also isn't hard to obtain if your patient.

John Layton
23-Oct-2017, 12:56
My first 11x14 lens purchase was a 19" Kodak Anastigmat (in barrel) which was really quite sharp and contrasty, and a relative bargain. My next was a 14" Goerz/Kern Blue-Dot Trigor...which was absolutely stunning but also quite rare and expensive. More recently, I've pressed into service my trusty, versatile late-generation 305mm G-Claron - which I would recommend highly. But do check into the 355 G-Claron as well as suggested above.

Thom Bennett
23-Oct-2017, 13:52
As someone who dipped his toe into the water of 11x14 (but ultimately switched to 7x17) the 450 Nikkor Q (reportedly an earlier, single-coated version of the Nikkor M) served me well and was at least 1/3 the cost of the M version. I have been toying with the idea of selling it since I have another lens that is close in focal length (Fuji 420 L) that is long enough for the work I do.

Tim V
24-Oct-2017, 16:24
Hi again, guys.

Very helpful, thank you. It seems then that there are some options out there, and if I'm contact printing only then most lenses will be 'good enough'. It's an exciting thought, this ULF stuff. I hope one day I can afford to finally take the plunge, fingers crossed sooner rather than later.

As for cameras, other than the new Chamonix and alternatives, I have no idea. Off to research that...

jnantz
25-Oct-2017, 04:41
look for a wollensak 1a triple convertible .. covers 11x14 un converted as well as converted..
they pop up here photrio and ebloink from time to time .. betax shutter too ...
i saw one for sale in the last year was selling for under 200$