View Full Version : choosing lens between 400 and 500mm

Janko Belaj
21-Nov-2006, 16:29
I have saved few euros and would like to add one more lens to my 8x10... well, the second lens that will be. Now I have 240mm G-Claron and it is fine, but sometimes you (I) want a bit narrower view. So, do you have anything to recommend?
On 4x5" I have 135 and 210 mm lenses and those are just great companions so I'm thinking about some ronar 480 or so... I don't think I would need extreme coverage (sure, it would be fine:)) but the most important would be price... Low price. And shutter because I don't have place near by to mount lens in some shutter.

Walter Calahan
21-Nov-2006, 17:48

That's a big jump from a 240 mm to a 480 mm, but if that's what you're after, go for it. Personally I usually move up from 240 mm to a 360 mm on 8x10.

Before any purchase, make sure you try out the lens of your choice on the camera to make sure it fits in your vision.


John Kasaian
21-Nov-2006, 18:21

The 19" Artars can be still found at reasonable prices (even in shutters) and are extremely sharp. The 450 Nikkor M is a great multi-coated lens found in modern copal #3 shutters. I can recommend either one.


Jim Rice
21-Nov-2006, 18:29
If you're sure of the focal length (and i share Walter's concerns), a 16 1/2" Red Dot Apo-Artar doesn't suck, even a little bit. Not tons of coverage, but startlingly sharp even by today's standards. You should be able to pick one up on ebay (with patience) for $550 or so in factory shutter, but that's the same range as, say, a 360 Sironar-N MC. The comparable prices between the vintage (=old) stuff and the modern was one thing that led me to the 360. YMMV.

21-Nov-2006, 20:15

I'll second the 19" Red Dot Artar... great lens and still reasonably priced on the bay!

Or, look at a 355 G-Claron for something a wee bit shorter. It's far more manageable than the 360 Symmar in the field (weight-wise.)


jim kitchen
21-Nov-2006, 23:18
Dear Janko,

I have two lenses presently, where they are Schneider 240 Apo Symmar and the Rodenstock 480 Apo Ronar. I do not find the gap between them too great at all, and I actually find the gap quite comfortable. This combination suits my style of shooting quite nicely, but then again I do landscapes and not much else. I chose this gap to see whether I really needed a lens between their focal lengths, and for the moment I do not. I was so comfortable with this choice I sold my 300A.

Just my 2 pennies...

jim k

Struan Gray
22-Nov-2006, 02:34
There are lots of APO-Ronars in barrel going for very low prices on eBay.de all the time. The ones in shutter are cheap considering they come in a Copal 3 (essentially you get the glass for free). Lots of less modern and less prestigious 16", 18" and 19" process lenses if your budget won't stretch to a Ronar. Almost all these lenses are dialytes with perfectly pleasing bokeh at potrait distances.

I spent a lot of time wating for a 18"/465mm APO-Ronar CL to come along at the right price. It's a bit more compact than the 480 mm lenses and will easily fit on a Technika lensboard. It is also ideal for use with 18" of rail on my Sinar, whereas a 19" lens would have required me to carry more rail into the field for anything but infinity shots.

What I now have is a 420 mm APO-Ronar in Copal 3, which is a little shorter than I really wanted, but very practical for my field kit.. I use it on 4x5, not 8x10, but it will cover the larger format without difficulty. The next lens down in my field kit is a 240 and I have never felt the need to carry a 360 mm to bridge the gap.

Janko Belaj
22-Nov-2006, 04:32
Tnx for so fast answers.
Well, I will wait until some 4?0mm lens came on market. With shutter. On Sinar lens board :) Or 18-19" lens. With shutter and possible on SInar lensboard...
(I would like to "kill" myself now - I missed one about month ago... I was just finishing my huge php project and forgot to bid... and one apo-ronar 480 with shutter (have forgot which one) on Sinar lensboard went for about 150 euros... grrrrr.... But lucky one who have got it.)

And for "lens-gap". I'm very happy with 135-210 combination on my 4x5, but I don't think I will be able to climb with 8x10 in the way I'm climbing now... sometimes almost hanging on the trees :) So I want something what might "bring" scenes "closer" to me.
All I want to shot with that lens are landscapes. Well, not only, but primary. Some 85-95% of shots will be efke 25 in the filed. If I had only one, let say 300 or 350 or similar lens, I wouldn't care too much to get another one, but with that slightly wide 240mm G-Claron, I just need something more than I have in 135-210 combination.
I know I can crop, but I don't like to. :) In the days when I was young and had only one lens (50mm) on my OM-1n I had courage to climb wherever I needed to get the best frame for my slide. When I bought F2AS with fabulous 43-86mm zoom I used it almost exclusively on eater of zoom ends. When I grew up a little more and when my father give me Rolleicord, that 75mm Schneider was so perfect for any situation that I was surprised later that my most unused lens on bronica set (EC-TL) was 80mm. 5cm Nikkor and 150mm Zenzanon where my "primary" lenses :)
That is - what I have I will use, and if I can, I will go wider and narrower... Personal style I think.

Walter, sure that would be fine and the best to be able to test lens before purchase or at least to test some similar lens, but in Croatia? I'm almost alone... Well, I know only one man who is using 8x10 and who has a fine set of lenses, but he... there is no way to get one lens from him for more than is needed to see the lens in studio :( I borrowed once two 8x10 holders from him for a weekend, and when I just got on location he was calling if I have finished shooting already. The other one is my best friend, but all he have for that film size is some 300mm russian lens. and a bunch of lenses for 4x5 and 5x7 :)
By looking at shots in museums and historical archives I know there where a lot of 8x10"/18x24cm shooters in Croatia, but where are that now? Most of them passed away, and equipment..? most probably passed away too. In basements or junkyards :(

anyway, I'm not in hurry, the world won't go away. I hope :)

Ernest Purdum
22-Nov-2006, 09:20
When looking to buy on auction, not being in a hurry is a great advantage. Good luck.

Jim Galli
22-Nov-2006, 09:30
Take the front off the G-Claron, you'll have a 420mm. Stop it down and use an orange filter (BW presumed). Was that cheap enough?

David Karp
22-Nov-2006, 13:49
I have a Fujinon C 450mm f/12.5. I love it. I use it on 4x5 far more than I ever dreamed I would use it. It is small (52mm filters), light (in a Copal No. 1), and covers 8x10. I used it with my friend's Calumet C-1. Worked great.

22-Nov-2006, 15:16
I recently purchased a 19" Red Dot artar in an Ilex #4 shutter and cannot get over what a beautiful lens it is. Be prepared to have a long bellows draw if you need to photograph any closer than infinity.

Thanks Ronald, the calumet has plenty of bellows.


Jack Flesher
23-Nov-2006, 10:18
One thing about the Fuji 450C -- if you buy one and don't like it, you can sell it in about 10 minutes right here on this forum.