View Full Version : First Lens Help Needed

Greg Liscio
9-Apr-2008, 19:38
I have a canham 4X5.

I wanted to buy the Schneider 110mm Super Symar as my first lens, but the price is more than I can afford now. What other lens rival this lens in quality? I'd like to stay in the 110-120 range, although I suppose 150mm would be acceptable.

Input appreciated. Thankee.


Ron Marshall
9-Apr-2008, 19:59
There are other lenses of the same quality as the 110 ssxl. What sets the 110 ssxl apart is its huge image circle allowing lots of movement on 4x5, or allowing it to be used on a 5x7 or even just covering 8x10. Additionally, for such a large image circle it is fairly light weight. If you don't need the coverage go for a current Rodenstock or Schneider or Fuji.

Badger Graphics has the Fuji CMW 125 f5.6 new for $635.

See Kerry Thalmann's page for lens suggestions:


Larry Gebhardt
10-Apr-2008, 08:53
The Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S 135mm/5.6 is a great lens, though slightly longer than you wanted. It has plenty of coverage for 4x5 and is very sharp and contrasty. Also light weight and less than 1/2 the cost of the 110mm Super Symar XL.

Joseph O'Neil
10-Apr-2008, 09:51
A second vote for the Rodenstock, I use a 135mm myself, although I am very much impressed with Fujinon lenses. I've never used the 125, but if I didn;t already own a 135mm, I would likely buy the 125 for myself, as I find that size fits a nice "niche" between the 90 and 150mm sizes.


10-Apr-2008, 11:37
I have a pre-L Schneider 120/5.6 and it's great. It doesn't have the coverage of the 110 or the current 120 APO-Symmar-L, but I almost never run out of I.C. I got it before the Euro started making the Dollar its bitch, so if I were in the market now for a new 120/125, I'd be tempted to get the Fuji instead. The 120 APO-Symmar, L or earlier, is smaller than the Fuji and a lot smaller than the 110, if that matters.


Eric James
10-Apr-2008, 11:47
It sounds as though you will eventually buy a 110 XL. If this is true I recommend the Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S 150mm - it has significantly more coverage than the 135mm and provides better spacing from the 110XL. (I use my 150mm two to three times more often than my 110mm.)

10-Apr-2008, 12:05
There are several options.

Fuji -W, -NW or CMW 125/5.6

There are some 120mm Schneider Symmar variants like the Symmar HM and APO Symmar.

There are 120mm f8 Super Angulon or Fuji SW or Nikkor SW lenses. These are wide angle lenses for up to 8X10, so they're going to be big on a 4X5 field camera.

There is a Rodenstock Grandagon 115mm also big and heavy.

I have a Fuji -NW 125/5.6 on my Tachihara and am happy with its performance. Its very small and light.

Ole Tjugen
10-Apr-2008, 14:49
Even if I'm said to have just about everything, the only lens in the 110-120mm range I use regularly is a 120mm f:6.8 Angulon.

Well all right - I have a Meyer Weitwinkel-Aristostigmat 12cm barrel lens I use sometimes, and a 120mm Macro-Nikkor for macro photography.

But the 120mm Angulon is sharp enough for anything I've needed it for so far, and weights a fraction of a 110mm Super Symmar. I tend to bring it along just in case, even if I also bring a 90mm (f:8 Super Angulon, and a f:6.8 Angulon too) and a 135mm too (either a 5.6 Symmar, a 5.6 Fujinon W, or a 4.5 Eurynar).

Another advantage of the plain old Angulon is that it's so cheap (compared to most alternatives) that you can afford a second lens too! :D

John Berry
10-Apr-2008, 21:41
Forget what you think you want and get a 210. It will be the most versatile.

John Kasaian
10-Apr-2008, 21:51
Forget what you think you want and get a 210. It will be the most versatile.

What John Berry said, especially if it is your first lens:)

Others worthy of your consideration might include a double symmar (2 focal lengths--more bang for the buck!) a 135mm WF Ektar, 203mm Ektar, 120mm Angulon or Super Angulon and of course the Goerz d-d-d-d-Dagor!

Matus Kalisky
11-Apr-2008, 09:49
I have myself the FUjinon 125 CMW 125/5.6 and would recommend one without hesitation. But if you want to get the Symmar 110 XL in the future than the advice on 150 or 210 mm lens may be very reasonable. I would maybe advice you to go for some reasonably priced 210 paslmat (fujinon W or NW - look HERE (http://members.aol.com/subgallery/), Sironar N (MC) or so) as it gves narrover field of view and therefore easier composition. Thoug as a one lens only this may be a bit limiting. With a two lens combo (125 & 210) I take 90% of my photos.

Hany Aziz
12-Apr-2008, 07:03
Another vote for a 135 mm lens. A gentle wide that still remains my most used lens despite owning the 110 and 150 mm lenses. Any of the big 4 makers is fine. Do not hesitate about a Fujinon or Nikkor, they are superb, obviously so are the Rodenstock and Schneider. If you anticipate eventually getting the 110 then starting with the 150 mm may make more sense. I am in fact trying to discipline myself and carrying the 110 and 150 mm lenses and leaving my beloved 135 mm at home. I do, however, find myself often slipping it into the bag as I am heading out. It is so tiny (specially the Rodenstock Sironar N/Caltar IIN 135mm). The 150 mm are almost as tiny also. I would also vote for a 210 lens at some point in the future (probably as the second lens). A 90, 135, 210 set should keep most photographers very happy. If you really want the 110 then 75 (or 80), 110, 150, 210 (or 240), and probably a 300 should also be fine but also obviously much more money. I think you would be quite happy long term with a 90, 135, 210 set. It is also about the same price wise for all 3 lenses (used) as you would pay for a used 110 Super Symmar XL lens. Start with the 135 mm lens.



12-Apr-2008, 07:40
Why not get what you want at the first place? If price is the issue, you won't consider it. I have 110 and no plan to get another for a while. Then again, I have SLR lenses covered all ranges.