View Full Version : Need Lens Advice

Eric Biggerstaff
31-Oct-2005, 13:53
Hey everyone, need a little advice on lens choices so I thought I would ask the experts out here.

Here is the situation, my current field camera of choice is a Zone VI and the longest lens I own is a Nikkor M 300mm f/9 which I really like. There are times however, when I would like a bit more reach than this lens provides and so am looking for something longer.

The camera can take up to a 360mm with movements which is great, but I want to keep weight and size to a minimum and would like to avoid a Copal #3 shutter due to size. Most of the moderen lenses I have looked at are just to large and I am not very interested in a tele lens as they are BIG.

Is there any older glass out there that might be worth looking at? I know nothing about the older lens choices and so appreciate any advice that would be tossed my way.

Thanks in advance.

Eric Brody
31-Oct-2005, 14:03
The difference in magnification between a 300 and a 360 is minimal with large format. With a 4x5 piece of film, you'd probably do just as well with a slight crop of the image. Were you to get a 360, you'd then have the burden of yet another lens to carry, mount, and clean. You might want to check the flange-focal distance of some of the telephotos. At least then you'd get some realistic extra reach for the extra weight and size.

John Kasaian
31-Oct-2005, 14:06
How about a 14" APO Artar? Mines in a #2-ish compur dialset. A very sharp lens with loads of coverage on 4x5 & 5x7 and will cover 8x10 with modest movements. If you can find a red dot version you'll enjoy the benefits of single coating. Not too expensive, either---I'd say you could score a good one for $400-$450 if you look hard.

Scott Davis
31-Oct-2005, 14:18
Just about anything Fuji is hard to come by, but if my 300 T is anything to judge by, look for a 400 T. They're in the f8-F11 territory, so they're not monsters. Mine takes a 67mm filter, and I'd be surprised if it weighs more than my 210 F5.6 . They're modern, multicoated, and in Copal 1 shutters or equivalent. 400 is an appreciable difference over 300. There's also an Osaka 400 Tele that I've seen at the LF Conference, and it's not big or heavy (I'm pretty sure it comes in under a 67mm filter). You're talking in the $800 range for the Osaka as a brand new lens. I got my Fuji used from KEH (again, can't say enough good about them...it looked like it was fresh out of the factory box) for about $500.

Ken Lee
31-Oct-2005, 14:19
Which other lengths do you have ? Knowing this will make it easier to recommend another choice.

Another option is to trade in the camera for something with much longer bellows draw, and get a nice prime lens with big coverage.

Kerry L. Thalmann
31-Oct-2005, 14:30

Unless you have one of the really old Zone VI models made by Tachihara or Wista, you should have at least 18" of bellows extension with the standards upright and neutral. By combining base and axis tilts, you can probably get another 3 - 4" of extension out of the bellows. The 450mm f12.5 Fujinon C only needs 425mm (16.75") of extension to fcous at infinity. Unless you plan to shoot close-ups, you should have enough bellows draw to use this lens on your Zone VI for general purpose landscape use.

It's in the same size and weight range as your 300mm Nikkor M (52mm filters, 270g, Copal No. 1 shutter) and makes a great long lens for use with a 4x5 field camera. You won't find another lens longer than your 300m that's nearly this small and light. It's readily availble new for $895 and occasionally shows up on the used market. It's been my long lens of choice for 4x5, 5x7 and 4x10 for several years. I haven't used it with a Zone VI, but I have used it with ease on a Canham DLC, Linhof Technikardan TK45S and a ARCA-SWISS F-Line. My all-time best selling image was made with this lens, and had it not been so small and light, I would not have had anything longer than the 300mm Nikkor M in my pack at the time.


Eric Biggerstaff
31-Oct-2005, 14:38

That is the lens that I really wanted but did not think it would work on my set up. I have one of the newer model Zone VI's. I would not be using this lens for anything up close that is for sure.

Thank you very much, I think this answers my need.

I sincerely appreciate everyone's advice, this forum always amazes me!

Eric Leppanen
31-Oct-2005, 14:42
There is a Fuji 360A for sale on Ebay right now, which is multi-coated, supports a Copal 1 shutter, and weights about 465g (1.03 pounds). However, it will probably run you well over $1,000. Unless you are planning to replace your 300M with a new 360, I would argue that the 300 and 360mm focal lengths are too close, and that you'd be better off pursuing a Copal 1 telephoto (either the Fuji 400T mentioned above, which is the lightest and least expensive option; or the Nikon 360/500T convertible). Midwest Photo currently has a 9+ Fuji 400T and Nikon 360T for sale.