View Full Version : 120mm and 150mm for 4x5

4-Jul-2006, 00:08
How useful is having both 120mm and 150mm lenses for 4x5?

Armin Seeholzer
4-Jul-2006, 00:45
120 and 180 would make more sence and even more 135 and 210mm or 120 and 210mm.

Ron Marshall
4-Jul-2006, 00:51
I have a 110 and a 150, I find that spacing, 1.4 focal length ratio, about right.

It mostly depends on what other focal lenghts you have and what you prefer to photograph.

If you have only a 90 and a 150 you might find the gap is too large and a 120 is needed. An alternative spacing would be: 90, 135, 210.

Personally I would find 120, 150 spacing a bit too close, unless I was often shooting in locations where I was unable to adjust my camera position.

Hany Aziz
4-Jul-2006, 00:53
How useful is having both 120mm and 150mm lenses for 4x5?

Very useful, but then most of my photos are in that focal length range. In fact a 135 mm is my most used lens though I also have 120 and 150 mm lenses. 120 mm and 150 mm look quite different. The Schneider Apo Symmar 120 and a Rodenstock 150 (either N or S) are both tiny lenses that are very sharp moreover they both use the same filter size (49 mm). The 120 mm Apo Symmar won't give you a lot of movements due to it's limited coverage, however it should be fine for landscapes. If you need significant movements a Superangulon 120 f8 (or older 121 mm) or Nikkor 120 SW f8 would provide it (they were designed as wide angles for 5x7) but at the cost of significant bulk and one stop aperture loss when focusing. I prefer the smaller lens. If you can afford it the Super Symmar XL 110 lens is less bulky than the Superangulon or Nikkor 120, allows great coverage and a full extra stop for focusing ease though it is not as tiny as the Apo Symmar 120 which is a gem of a lens.

After having said that it does to some extent depend on your subject matter, way of seeing, budget and other lenses. If you have no other lenses then I would probably start with the 120 and a 210 mm lens then add the 150 mm later.



Ole Tjugen
4-Jul-2006, 02:44
I find it very useful, so I have not only 120 and 150, but 90, 135 and 180 as well. They all have their uses, and are all useful to get the exact framing I want.

My most-used 120mm (on 4x5") is a Leitmeyr Weitwinkel-Anastigmat 212mm f:6.8 which cost me about $20. The design is similar to the 120mm Angulon.

4-Jul-2006, 05:58
The actual image width of a 4x5 negative is only 120mm, including the rebates, (so a 120mm lens is effectivelly like a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera). A 150mm lens is just slightly more than the film diagonal. So it's a very good, usable combination.

Colin Graham
4-Jul-2006, 07:22
125 and 150 are my most used lenses. Like Hany said, they do look quite different. If you havent explored it, an older fuji 125mm 5.6 NW is a great lens for the money. It has a 200mm or so circle which is more than most 120 and it still quite small, has the EBC coating. But there are 55mm and 52mm filter thread versions so be careful if that's an issue.

4-Jul-2006, 07:26
I have a 135... and that meets the needs of either a 120 or 150 for me. It is my most used lens.

4-Jul-2006, 07:27
My most-used 120mm (on 4x5") is a Leitmeyr Weitwinkel-Anastigmat 212mm f:6.8 which cost me about $20. The design is similar to the 120mm Angulon.

Oh... one more thought. If I were finding deals like this I'd also be buying and using more variety in lenses!

Ken Lee
4-Jul-2006, 07:29
It's an artistic choice, which only you can make.

The difference is roughly akin to a 40mm and 50mm lens in 35mm terms, if you're old enough to have gone through that learning phase. It's a difference of 25% going up, and 20% going down.

The answer depends on how much you are willing to crop, how many lenses you want to carry or purchase. You could always use the 120 and crop to get the equivalent of 150, if you don't mind cropping. If, on the other hand, you need to make large prints, that 25% difference may seem unacceptable: an image with 25% more grain, and 25% less resolution.

If you are a wide-angle shooter by nature, or if you expect to shoot a lot of architectural photos, then you might want a set of lenses in the wide end of the spectrum anyway, and the 120 won't be wide enough - you'll want a 90, and even shorter.

Some people do well with a combination of 120 and 210. With a little cropping, they become 120, 150, 210, and 250.

Brian Ellis
4-Jul-2006, 07:56
Because so many of us began with 35mm photography before moving to larger formats, I think it's helpful to think of these kinds of questions in 35mm terms. Owning a 120mm lens and a 150 mm lens in 4x5 is approximately the same as a owning a 35mm and a 42mm lens in 35mm photography. Would you have found it useful to own both a 35mm and a 42mm lens when you were using a 35mm camera? I wouldn't but from some of the responses here other people would.

Gordon Moat
4-Jul-2006, 10:05
I am another person using a 135mm instead of that combination. My next lens up is a 210, though I have thought of getting a 180mm. It would depend more upon photographic situations, and what sort of crop you want to get from particular scenes. When you find that you consistantly get a little more, or a little less, than you wanted in a scene, then you could figure out which choice of lens might work better. Of course, you could just be like some people and have a whole collection of lenses.


Gordon Moat

Ole Tjugen
4-Jul-2006, 10:51
...My most-used 120mm (on 4x5") is a Leitmeyr Weitwinkel-Anastigmat 212mm f:6.8 ...

Typo - I meant a 121mm, of course! But the cost was correct, and includes the shutter off an old folder which "just happened" to fit and even have the correct aperture scale.

Most of my lenses cost less than $100, and only two have cost me more than $200. That could be the reason why I have twelve lenses in the 120 to 180mm range - which also includes my two most expensive ones and even a modern one!

Bruce Watson
4-Jul-2006, 11:01
I have a 110 and a 150, I find that spacing, 1.4 focal length ratio, about right.
I'll second that combination. I'm using an 80, 110, 150, 240 series for 5x4 work that gives me steps in angle-of-view of about 15 degrees. Works perfectly for me.

Andre Noble
4-Jul-2006, 11:09
The focal length number is only one number to consider in deciding if two lenses compliment each other. I have both a 120 and 150.

I am fortunate to have a Nikkor 120 SW f8, truly razor sharp, with a huge image circle of 322mm. Somewhat beefy in size, not too bad. Kerry Thalman recommended it to me a few months ago. It really is an amazing optic. I wouldn't trade it even for a smaller, Schneider 110XL.

The other is a tiny, but superlatively sharp Rodenstock Apo Sironar 150-S with a 235ish image circle.

The view on the 120 lens on 4x5 feels wide angle.

The view on the 150 lens does not.

4-Jul-2006, 14:00
Thank you to everyone for your valuable input.

steve simmons
4-Jul-2006, 17:05
I did 90/125/180/240 which is a set I still like after 25 years for 4x5.

steve simmons

Kirk Gittings
4-Jul-2006, 19:59
I use a 47, 65, 90, 120, 150, 210, 305. All for 6x9 and the 90, 120, 150, 210, 305 for 4x5.