View Full Version : 150mm 4x5 lens for aerial photography

Peter von Gaza
15-Feb-2007, 17:46
I've got an old Gowland aerial 4x5 camera that came with 150mm Schneider Symmar-S. I'm possibly looking to replace this lens with a more modern lens that has better coatings and that is sharper using a small f-stop number (e.g. f/8). Because I use ASA 100 B&W film with a medium yellow filter I find that I'm usually stuck at 1/250 sec at F/8. Ignoring the fact that I could go to a an ASA 400 film to get 2 more stops, does anybody have any recommendations for lenses with excellent sharpness and contrast at f/8?? My research on the net seems to indicate the Rodenstock Sironar-S 150mm might be the best. But that is a pricey piece of glass and I surely don't need that much coverage! I'm thinking that a lens like the Rodenstock (apo??) Sironar-N or a Fuji-W might be good. I'd love a lens that is at it's sharpest at f/5.6, but that doesn't seem likely.


John Kasaian
15-Feb-2007, 17:53
IIRC Gowlands were designed with the Nikkor M series as the model lens. That should give you a faster shutter than what I have on my 8x10 Gowland that has a #3 Copal on a 300mm Nikkor M.

Jim Jones
15-Feb-2007, 22:48
The 178mm f/2.5 Aero Ektar is a fast lens designed for aerial photography. Although an old design and somewhat radioactive, it is stull used by some photographers.

John Kasaian
15-Feb-2007, 23:00
I wouldn't want to be holding one of those in my lap on a long airplane ride! :eek:

Mark Sampson
16-Feb-2007, 05:56
Having done big enlargements from a single-coated (300mm) Symmar-S lens, shot at infinity and f/8, I'll say that the resolution of that type of lens can challenge the highest-resolution film. Other factors like vibration, subject movement, and camera alignment are more likely to affect your image sharpness than the slight differences between similar types of lenses. The commercial aerial photographers, commonly using 150mm lenses on their 9x9" aerial cameras, seem to prefer exposure times around 1/500 sec. Also, the low-contrast nature of (overhead) aerial photography generally requires developing to a higher contrast, which may gain yiou some emulsion speed.