View Full Version : Lens and film recommendations for 12x20 format?

Sergio Ortega
1-Apr-1998, 16:22
I am looking for a lens to cover the 12x20 format and I am getting conflicting a dvice from several dealers/experts specializing in older, used and classic lense s. Strangely, it always seems that the perfect lens for this format is the one the dealer happens to have for sale.

I woulld like to buy a moderately-wide focal length for the 12x20 format, someth ing comparable to a 210-250mm in the 8x10 format. The area of greatest controve rsy seems to be coverage; opinions vary wildly as to the covering power of parti cular lenses.

Assuming the image circle of a particular lens is sufficient to cover 12x20, wit h some movements, how about its sharpness and other characteristics? What sho uld I consider? Which ones should I rule out? What would be a fair price? Any good sources?

Also, I've been reading numerous complaints about older wooden film holders in t he smaller formats: light leaks, poor fit, etc. I've only used new holders in b oth 4x5 and 8x10. Assuming I can find used 12x20 film holders, should I be wary of these? Any recommendations as to style, make, age, cost? I guess I'm real ly asking whether I'm stuck paying about $500 a piece (or more) for these things new?

Also, the issue of film availability. In the past few years I've only seen ads for Ilford FP4 in 12x20 dimensions. Now I no longer see this film advertised. What film(s) is/are still available in this format? Any sources? Would I have to special order, in large amounts? If any of you have thoughts on the contin uing availability of films in this size, I'd appreciate your comments?

And lastly, up to now I've been using large sheets of a graphic-arts type film f or my interpositive enlargements from 4x5 negatives, for contact printing platin um/palladium prints in sizes of about 16x20. Has anyone out there used these ty pes of graphic-arts films in-camera? If so, how did it respond in comparison to "regular" films?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice, Sergio.

Elliot Bialick
12-Apr-1998, 23:46

A guy who could answer all of the above questions is Clyde Butcher. He is a lan dscape photographer working from the Everglades in Florida. He maintains an exc ellent internet site at www Clyde Butcher.com, showing examples of his amazing w ork, a lot of which is done in 12 x 20. For myself, I am just struggling along trying to get to grips with 5x4! Good luck, Elliot Bialick

Mani Sitaraman
20-Feb-2001, 01:17
Here is some new information (http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch- msg.tcl?msg_id=004eIX) on Panoramic films from Ilford


Clay Turtle
18-Jul-2007, 06:52
Funny thing, neither link resulted in finding the indicated information. the Clyde Butcher.com lead to various other sites but not anything by him?

Gene McCluney
18-Jul-2007, 07:46
In the Ultra-large format world, the film holders can vary in design from camera to camera, so you need to be sure your film holders were designed to fit your camera brand. The Freestyle Photographic website lists Bergger BFP200, and Efke PL 100, and Efke PL 25 m, as available in 12x20. These can all make very good images. Ilford does a custom cut of its FP4 and HP5+ once a year and you can pre-order in advance for delivery when cut. There are a couple of guys (vendors) that organize a custom cut of Kodak films once in a while also. They have to have very large orders for Kodak to consider this.

Jiri Vasina
18-Jul-2007, 07:47
the first link did not lead anywhere, because it was in incorrect form: it should be www.clydebutcher.com (http://www.clydebutcher.com/). The second one is here (http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=004eIX).

In both cases, spaces in the wrong place were responsible.

Unfortunately I can not provide any valuable information about 12x20 myself.

Sheldon N
18-Jul-2007, 07:52
This lens might be a little wider than you are looking for, but it should cover 12x20. Not cheap though...

Ebay Auction Number 190131622152

This thread might be a an interesting read for leads on other potential lens candidates...


Mike Castles
18-Jul-2007, 09:34
you guys DID notice that the first 3 post are from 2001 - right?

Diane Maher
18-Jul-2007, 09:40
No, the first two posts are from 1998!

Jiri Vasina
18-Jul-2007, 11:00
No, I did not ;)

Sheldon N
18-Jul-2007, 11:42