View Full Version : Help me choose a lens

14-Feb-2006, 15:40
I don't know much about lens but I have the opportunity to choose one of these three lenses

90mm 68 Angulon (not Super)

105 mm f8 fujinon W

105 mm Fujinon SW

I have been reading about them but am now looking for reviews from users. This will be used on my 4x5s for color field work mainly. Price is a factor. A big factor. These three lense all fall in my budget as used. New is out of the question

steve simmons
14-Feb-2006, 15:52
I am not sure the 105W will cover or give you much movement for 4x5. I think it was intended for 6x9cm.

The 90 is about a 28 on a 35mm (not an exact because of the different proportions but close. The 105 would be closer to a 35mm on a 35.

steve simmons

Christopher Perez
14-Feb-2006, 15:57
Shopping price? Then the 90 Angulon is probably a great way to go.

What other lenses do you own? If not much else, I'd suggest the following just to get things started:

- $125 150mm Fujinon W f/6.3

- $165 210mm Schneider Xenar f/6.1

A 90/150/210 spread works pretty well for many folks.

14-Feb-2006, 16:09
What about a performance review. I know the rough equivilents. DId not know about the 105 W being for 3x3 though. Thanks for pointing that our. Might explain why no one snatched it up. It has been there for a while.

Christopher Perez
14-Feb-2006, 16:13
In terms of resolution and contrast (as a measure of "performance") I seriously doubt you'd be able to tell any differences between them between f/11 and f/22.

In terms of coverage, the Nikkor has the least, followed by the Angulon and the Fuji (which should have great coverage). But you already know that.

steve simmons
14-Feb-2006, 16:13
I would not use an Angulon. They are an old design which gets soft towards the edges of the image circle.

If you are new to larege format may I suggest some reading before buying

Using the View Camera that I wrote

User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

The Free Articles on our web site


steve simmons

14-Feb-2006, 16:18

I am not knew to the game at all. I am just looking for a wide angle. Right now I have a 135 Xenar(that I am going to sell), 150 caltar, 180/360 convertible symmar, 210 caltar, 300mm dagor, and according to my wife too G-D many big cameras.

I do not want to spend over 350. I am selling the 135 because of it's limited image circle.

Jack Flesher
14-Feb-2006, 16:27
I would try to find a decent 150 before any of these... You can find an older Fuji 150 f6.3 (very good lens) for less than $150.

If that is not an option for some reason, then: The 105W will barely cover 4x5 if it even will completely, so no movements; the 105 SW is relatively large hunk of glass; so I would suggest the 90 Angulon, though it is not what one would consider a stellar lens.

Ron Marshall
14-Feb-2006, 16:28
The Fuji 105 SW f8 has lots of coverage, 250mm, but is heavy 570g, and f8 may be a bit dark.

Christopher Perez
14-Feb-2006, 16:35
...I do not want to spend over 350. I am selling the 135 because of it's limited image circle...

Given a sensitivity to coverage, how about looking for a sweet Schneider 90mm Super Angulon f/8? If you keep your eyes open, I think you can find a nice multi-coated sample at the upper end of the price range. It would certainly have loads more coverage than the Angulon.

BTW, if coverage isn't an issue and you shoot straight on, my 90 Angulon is sharp all the way to the edges. No joke. But then the image quality drops off pretty quickly just beyond the edges of the frame.

If you are happily considering the 105 Fuji, check to see if it's multi or single coated. With the more complex lens designs, flare in single coated optics might become a challenge. In general, Fuji makes/made some seriously fun/fine lenses.

14-Feb-2006, 16:41
Go for a 90mm. Very useful WA lens. I recently sold a 110 (too narrow) and an 80 (too wide) replacing both with a 90 (just right).

14-Feb-2006, 18:57
I do not believe that Steve Simmons criticism of the Angulon lens is valid. I've used mine since 1953 and it's quite excellent stopped down a bit.

Oren Grad
14-Feb-2006, 19:25
Because of sample variation due to quality control issues at the manufacturer as well as differing user preferences, comments you'll find on the web on the 90 Angulon will be all over the map. I had a '50s vintage Technika-Select 90 Angluon that I thought was a dog. I got rid of it very quickly.

Even if you get a good sample and like the image character, coverage is very tight for 4x5. I find that I almost always want some front rise on the occasions when I use a 90 on 4x5.

With a bit of patience, you can find a more modern lens with much greater coverage, like a 90/8 Super Angulon or Caltar-W II, or a 90/6.8 Caltar II-N, within your price range. The only drawback is that it will be larger and heavier.

Alan Davenport
14-Feb-2006, 20:50
I am not knew to the game at all. I am just looking for a wide angle.

How about a 90mm f/8 Super Angulon? There are lots of them being sold on some auction site these days, many for under your $350 figure. (My guess is that people are dumping these perfectly good lenses so they can spend a fortune to gain another stop or so on the groundglass. Then, of course, they'll stop down to f/11 -- or smaller -- and never actually use the speed they paid so much for. )

Worries about focusing at f/8 are urban legends. There are two things you need to focus a slow lens like that: a loupe and a darkcloth, both of which you probably already have and use.

The Caltar-W II is a rebadged Super Angulon, and the later ones were multicoated. IINM, the Caltar II-N is a Grandagon.

William Mortensen
14-Feb-2006, 21:11
There's also a 90mm f/8 Ilex Acugon that's (I think) a clone of the Super Angulon at half the price. I'm not sure how the quality compares;perhaps someone will chime in. My 90mm Angulon is quite nice to the corners, though it hasn't much extra coverage, as already noted. It's tiny size makes it a joy for backpacking.

Dan Fromm
15-Feb-2006, 05:24
Mark, I haven't done a comparison with a 65 SA but I'm quite happy with my little 65/8 Acugon. Allowing for the difference in magnification, it seems as good as my 47/5.6 SA. Back when I searched usenet for comments on Acugons, found only good reports.

Jim Rhoades
15-Feb-2006, 13:39
I can't say that Steve Simmons said anything unfair or untrue about the Angulon. It is an old design. Because of it's limited coverage it does go soft very fast in the corners. I use an old 90mm f/6.8 Optar. Same limits as the Angulon. I don't use much movements so it works fine for me. That does not mean that I would recommend it to someone else. Steve shoots a lot of old trains and buildings. He needs more movement. So why beat up on him?

William Mortensen
15-Feb-2006, 15:20
Dan- it's good to hear positive things about the Ilex Acugon/Acuton line. I'm *very* happy with my 215mm Acuton (aka Caltar-S). This may be the best bargain in lf lenses out there. (No, I'm not selling mine.)

Jim- I'm not disputing Steve; the Angulon just doesn't do it for him, and I agree that it's not the best 90mm out there. Mine is a later coated model, and while it doesn't allow much for movements, it does hold up quite well all the way to the corners. I've heard other photographers have worse luck with theirs, and don't doubt it. I suspect that there is a range of quality variation, especially considering the lens was made for quite a few years. But considering the low cost and small size, if you can find a good one, it's worth considering.

16-Feb-2006, 10:44
I have an Ilex Caltar (aka acugon) 90mm f8. It has performed nicely for me and was definitely a bargain. I don't recall the exact price, but I think around $150 US. It is single coated, and appears to be a Super Angulon clone.

I also have a 50s vintage linhof select angulon that is a gem (and a bargain). I haven't done any stringent testing, but I would say that within their coverage limits, they appear to be equivilently sharp, but the angulon 6.8 may be a tad more contrasty. As they are both single coated, and the little angulon is a simpler lens, this seems reasonable. The only "modern" lens I have for comparison is a 240 germinar w, and I think that it might be a little sharper than these to - of course, I just aquired it, and it's awfully shiny and new, so my observations could be a little biased.

Take all of this with a grain of salt. I haven't been disappointed yet by any of my lenses at print sizes of 16x20 or less. My observations are based on prints of this size and negative inspection through a 10x loupe. I suspect that for moderate enlargement, the most important factors will be lens size, coverage, and condition - and perhaps sex appeal. Then again, I might just have low standards.



Eric Wagner
16-Feb-2006, 18:32
I have used a f8 Fuji 105 SW since 1983. It is one of my all time favorite lenses and is an outstanding performer.

John Kasaian
19-Feb-2006, 00:05
How about adding a 120mm Angulon, or one of those Wide Field Ektars in the 100-135mm range to your list?