View Full Version : Lenses suggestion in the 500-600 range

Paul Schilliger
4-Jan-2001, 16:07
I am facing this dilemna from quite a while. What long or tele lens shall I get to complement my longer which is actually a 360 Apo-Ronar.

First thought was the 450 FujinonC, but I have been advised, and I agree with th at, that it is too close to the 360mm. The 500 Nikkor was my next choice, after I struggled enough with the price issue. But I had a chance to borrow one and t o make a few shots and I must say: they left me on my hunger for a lens of that price. A Congo Yamasaki 500 bought almost incidentally showed me that there is n o cheap miracle. Although sharper than the Nikkor, the lens was not really cover ing the 4x5 format.

Now what have we left? A huge Nikkor T600, said to be a good performer, a Fujino n T 600, more reasonable but still big and of performances unknown to me, and if I buy an extension to my camera, I could use an Apo-Ronar 480, very sharp but b ig also and perhaps a bit short, or at half the weight, a Fujinon C 600. My use for the lens will be primarely for distant landscape, trees and so on, on 4x5.

I'm sure many of you went through this choice. What has been the issue?

Doug Paramore
4-Jan-2001, 19:42
Paul: The 450mm is very close to the 500mm. Only 50mm difference for a lens with that focal length is not very much. If you have the bellows, I would consider one of the Artars of 19 to 25 inches. The 500mm would be about equal to a 20 inch lens. Without 25 inches or so of bellows, you are stuck with the telephoto design. The Artars are very sharp, but you need the bellows. If you have a camera with 16 or 18 inches of bellows draw, you can fabricate a cone extension which would give you the extra length.


Stewart Ethier
5-Jan-2001, 00:54
The Fujinon C 600 is worthy of consideration and less expensive than some of the telephoto lenses ($1595 at Badger Graphic). And it covers up to 16x20, and Fred Newman claims even 20x24, in case you ever use larger formats. A drawback is that few 4x5s have 600mm of bellows, but if I want to use it on 4x5, I put a reducing back on my 8x10.

Bruce M. Herman
5-Jan-2001, 02:43

I have a Fuji 600 T, which I use on a TK45. It is reasonably sharp, but not as sharp as my primary lenses. I'm not absolutely sure whether it's the lens itself, or vibration during the process of making the photograph that is the cause of the degredation. A gentle touch when tripping the shutter and calm air are two prerequisites for making sharp images with this lens. I am currently contempplating purchasing a secondary support such as made by Bogen or another manufacturer in the hopes of eliminating camera shake.

I used to own a Nikkor 360T. Both it and the Fuji 600T are very susceptible to flare when the sun strikes the front element. Whether you purchase the Nikkor 500T, which I expect to act like the 360T, or the Fuji 600T, be careful to shade the lens.

I would not recommend that you purchase a primary 500-600 mm lens. You'll need a second tripod to keep the system stable.

Best of luck. Bruce

William Leviit
5-Jan-2001, 04:58
I too thought that the 450mm Fuji would be too "similar" to my 360mm lens, but I bought it anyways am am very happy with both the size and its performance. I chose to drop my 360mm lens from my "arsenal" going with my 300mm instead. I just returned from a trip to the Canary Islands where I found myself well equipped with my 210mm, 300mm and 450mm lenses. Now I have a 165mm Agulon and a 250mm Wide Field Ektar to sell.

Paul Schilliger
9-Jan-2001, 14:06
Thank you all for your helpful hints and comments! So I finally went for the Fuj inon 450 C, a sure value and the longer focal my camera can support with the Wista macro tube I already had. I al so found a used Fujinon T600. It has approx. the same flange distance. If I have a longer camera some day, I w ill trade it for the 600 C. I think I have been well advised. Thanks!

Paul Schilliger
3-Feb-2001, 05:56
I have made a test film with the lenses I had and those recently bought (unfortu nately could not test a Nikkor). The test was made in studio under flash lighting to minimize factors such as cam era shake. Ratio was about 1/15 life size. The Fujinon C 300 and 450 are the clear winners. Not only extrem ely sharp, but excellent chromatic correction. The 360 ApoRonar (40 y/old!) is a little softer and starts showing some color fringing. The Fujinon T600 is slightly in retreat and shows chromatic aberration, but not bad for such a long telephoto. Maybe not worth having with the 450 C as crops of the 450 C shots may stand the 600 T shots. This confirms that the Fujinon C series are some of the best lenses around combi ning compactness, coverage and high optical quality.

Paul Schilliger
24-Feb-2002, 15:52
I have had the C600 for some time in replacement for the T600, and I can now say that it meets with the C series reputation for high image quality. The T600 was contrasty and had good co lors, but was not as sharp and the sharpness was altered passed f22. The Compact series of Fujinon lenses ( 300-450-600) are excellent performers. All what has been said about them being subject to flare was certain ly referring to older lenses, not the current EBC coated production. However with cameras with narrow bellows such as the Technikas, one must be aware that with the 450 for instance (as for any long lens of any make), a stretched bellows and large image circle can, with backlit subjects, conduct to some light bouncing on the b ellows and fogging the film. I have seen this only with dark subjects when the sky was many stops lighter than what I had framed, and with the Technika. A well adjusted compendium would have helped. But with the Toyo, t he ample bellows seems to take care of that and I never had any shot showing fogging.

Patrick Raymore
24-Feb-2002, 18:50

thanks for sharing your updated experience with us.