View Full Version : Movements and the Optar 135/4.7 - Other Options?

Scott --
14-Mar-2007, 11:41
Hi, All -

Ok, so I went out today with the intention of trying some movements. I immediately ran into coverage limitations (limitations, coincidentally, that the seller told me I wouldn't run into...) when using rise, fall, or a little tilt (click for larger version):

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/crop223.jpg (http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/crop223a.jpg)

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/crop222.jpg (http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/crop222a.jpg)

Now, I'm completely hooked - I have never had so much fun shooting as I did peering at the ground glass through my 55/1.8 Super Tak (darn kids lost my loupe), fiddling with movements until everything was how I wanted. But, I need more coverage.

Any suggestions for a budget-minded normal-ish lens? Anyone wanna trade an otherwise nice 135/4.7 Optar for it? ;)

Thanks for looking.

James E Galvin
14-Mar-2007, 11:58
135 mm Wide Field Ektar

14-Mar-2007, 12:17
I think any of the usual plasmats would probably suffice. My second lens was a humble Schneider 135mm Symmar-S (my first was a "lowly" 135mm Xenar - quite like your Optar). Other options include the Rodenstock Sironar-N, Nikon Nikkor-W and of course, the excellent Fuji Fujinon CM-W and W oh, and the Caltar S-II and Caltar II-N as well. All excelent choices.

14-Mar-2007, 12:43
Nice images Scott,

I also very recently got into the 4x5 press camera madness. The "weapon" I chose was the Busch Pressman D. It has similar movements to your Super Graphic but better than the Speeds and Crowns etc. It also has the rotating back which is very handy for vertical shots.

The Busch came with an old Dagor Berlin 150mm lens. The lens is nice: very smooth tonal range from some quick Polaroid testing. Changing the shutter speed on the old Rapax shutter is a pain though as the dial will shift. I think the lens retaining ring is the wrong one. I will send it out for a CLA and a fresh locking ring.

In the mean time I looked around for a "modern" lens that came with a clean functioning Copal shutter with modern shutter speeds. In the end I have ordered (from MPEX) a nice Fuji 135mm 5.6 W lens mounted on a fresh Busch lens board. This should give me good performance and more movements than the old Dagor. Once I get the Dagor back I plan on testing it for softer portraits etc. But the Fuji will do all the "heavy lifting".


Jim Rice
14-Mar-2007, 17:12
I second Brad's advice. A Symmar-S, Sironar-N or Caltar II-N (MC a definite plus) would be an affordable, yet SERIOUSLY fine lens, especially on a Graphic (where you are very unlikely to run out of movements). Essentially interchangeable among examples in good condition. They would also serve you well should you decide upon a camera with full movements. Within their (generous) image circles, they will knock your socks off. Figure on ~$300-350 on eBay if you're patient. I'm looking at Crowns right now (to be a hand-held augment to Maggie (the magnesium C-1 8x10) and I will follow my own advice once I snag one.

Jim Rice
14-Mar-2007, 17:20
Beautiful work, BTW.

Michael Graves
14-Mar-2007, 17:52
Get a 120mm 6.8 Angulon. I love that lens with my Crown Graphic. However, as you can see from your own work, the Optar makes a wonderful negative as long as you remain within its limitations.

14-Mar-2007, 17:55
Get a 120mm 6.8 Angulon....

Much easier said than done in my experience.

Michael Graves
14-Mar-2007, 18:00
Much easier said than done in my experience.

True...you do have to search them out. There's two on the Bay right now, both ludicrously priced. I got mine about a year ago for $68.00 in a stuck shutter. $45.00 and three weeks later after a visit to Carol Miller, it suddenly was a nice lens.

15-Mar-2007, 13:10
With the crown graphic, I run out of coverage with the Optar only if I try to use full raise (or fall) and some shift.
Otherwise I can raise to the max and have enough coverage, and even some front tilt if needs be.

And yes I can confirm that despite the limited coverage, it's a very, very sharp lens.