View Full Version : 4x5 camera lens

James O. Kenney
21-Jan-2006, 11:40
I'm wanting a 210mm or a 240mm lens for my 4x5 camera. Is there a web site that I could go to to explain the differences between the differnt lens availlable? What would some of you guys recomend. Maybe someone might have one for sale also. Thanks, James O. Kenney

John Hennessy
21-Jan-2006, 11:58
Start with this one, i.e., http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

and there's http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/

John Sarsgard
21-Jan-2006, 12:13
In deciding whether to get the 210 or the 240, you might think about what lens you use most often in 35mm or whatever other format you're now using and think about getting the equivalent. The 210 is about 70mm and the 240 80mm in 35 terms.

Michael Graves
21-Jan-2006, 12:50
John S's point is a good one. But there is also the matter of coverage. Many of the 240's have a wide enough image circle to cover an 8x10 with room to spare. Many 210's, especially of the Tessar design, manage 5x7 with just a bit to spare. If James needs a lot of movement; that would be a good reason to go with a 240. I have both the Fujinon 210 and 240. There is a fairly substantial difference.

There are some exceptions. A Fujinon 210W throws a nice image circle, as does a Symmar. I've never used Rodenstock lenses, so perhaps someone familiar with these lenses could throw something into the ring.

Ralph Barker
21-Jan-2006, 12:53
As noted, the lens comparison charts linked from the home page of this site (there's a back link at the top of the message index) provide much useful information about the specs for specific lenses. And, while comparisons to focal lengths most used by you on smaller formats is a good place to start, you may also find that these comparisons don't always match up due to the differences in aspect ratios.

A pinch of forward thinking also helps. If, for example, an 8x10 is a possibility in your future, you might lean toward something like a 240mm G-Claron, which covers 8x10 with some room to spare, rather than just a 210mm that will cover 4x5 well. Then, it becomes a matter of balancing between patience and availability.

Jack Flesher
21-Jan-2006, 13:48
It might also help if we knew what focal lengths you already use.

James O. Kenney
21-Jan-2006, 14:38
My other format is 35mm of which I shoot always from 70mm to 300mm. I don't think I will get larger than 4x5. I have used a 210mm so I am thinking probably a 240 mm or 250mm is what I want. But that is not my problem. There are so many brands to choose from it makes it hard to know whick one to choose. I use strictly Cannon equiptment, so that makes it real simple. But now I have to pick from Nikkors, Schneider, fuji, Rodenstock Sironar-n or -s and so on and so on. Is this a little more clear? Thanks for the help. James

Ken Lee
21-Jan-2006, 14:54
Consider coverage, weight, size, filter size, and price. There is a nice table of lenses for 4x5 here (http://largeformatphotography.info/lenses/" target="_blank) where you can compare many lenses. Some people pay attention to the rendition of out-of-focus areas, called bokeh - and have strong preferences in that regard.

Oren Grad
21-Jan-2006, 15:15
One thing to think about is that among the modern general-purpose plasmat lens types from all of the major manufacturers - Nikon, Fuji, Rodenstock and Schneider - 210 is the longest focal length that comes in a #1 shutter. The 240s come in a #3, so in addition to the glass being a bit larger, the shutter adds substantially to the size and weight. In particular, while a 210 in Copal #1 is a comfortable fit on even the most lightweight, compact wooden 4x5 field camera, a 240 in Copal #3 is big and heavy enough to be badly mismatched to many of the popular, affordable 4x5 wooden field cameras, which is where many users start their explorations in LF.

Strictly in terms of basic, objectively-measured optical performance, a late-model 210 or 240 from any of the four major vendors will provide very high quality and way more than enough room for movement on 4x5. The differences come if you have very specialized requirements or tastes.

I much prefer the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N and -S lenses myself, could live with a Schneider Apo-Symmar if I had to, and strongly dislike the Nikkors and Fujinons. But this is based on certain subtleties of optical character - balance between contrast and resolution, out-of-focus rendering - for which I developed particular preferences after years of tinkering with many different brands and types of lenses. If you don't already have those preferences and just want to get started with a lens that will give you a crisp, contrasty image on film, you won't go wrong with the mainline plasmat types from any of the big four - the latest versions are Nikkor W, Fujinon CMW, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S, and Schneider Apo-Symmar L.

Jerry Fusselman
21-Jan-2006, 17:02
In 240mm, we have the f/5.6 Copal 3's and the f/9 Copal 1's. Several of each. But there is another choice. What about the Dagor 9.5-inch f/6.8 with a Compur 2 shutter? Close to the speed of the f/5.6 240mm lenses and close to the size and weight of the f/9 240mm lenses. And it even covers 8x10.

Ken Lee
21-Jan-2006, 18:00
You might find this page (http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/kit.html" target="_blank) helpful. It mentions the Fujinon 240 A, which is popular due to its small size, light weight, molderate price, and great sharpness. It sits in a #0 shutter. It is an APO Process Lens, designed to perform well at close distances, but many have discovered that it does quite well at all distances.

I have posted some sample photos taken with that lens here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/tech.html" target="_blank). It's the lens I use most.

Jack Flesher
21-Jan-2006, 18:27
In a 240, would vote for the Fuji A.

In a 210, any of the modern plasmats will be excellent; Fuji W, Nikkor W, Rodenstock APO Sironar S or Schneider APO Symmar. If you like to do closer in work regularly, say under 1:10 magnification down through 2:1 macro, then a 210 G-Claron might be worth a look. If you want a tiny 200, then I'd get the Nikkor 200M.

IF you only are going to have one lens to start, I think the 210 is going to be a bit more versatile than a 240.

John Kasaian
21-Jan-2006, 21:12
I haven't used Fujis, but both the 210 and 240 G Clarons will cover 8x10, so theres plenty of coverage for 4x5. For vintage glass, I agree with Jerry that a Dagor is well worth looking into and I'll add that the 203 f/7.7 Ektar is a very sweet lens as well

22-Jan-2006, 01:56
*If* you found a 210mm to be "too wide" when you tried it, *might* a 240mm be too close to it? The difference would be, roughly put, between 70mm and 80mm with a Canon. You can crop a 210mm image, but not vice versa. Have you considered a longer lens such as a 300mm? Which focal length would best complement other lenses in your kit? Just a thought.