View Full Version : Best normal lens for 8x10

don mills
27-May-2009, 14:08
Among Schneider and Rodenstock, what are the highest quality top 2-3 normal lenses for 8x10 shooting?

Am I wrong to assume the Fine Art XXL isn't really meant for 8x10?

Gene McCluney
27-May-2009, 14:15
A 300 to 350mm lens is considered "normal" for 8x10. Any of the top offerings from Schneider or Rodenstock (read: Most Expensive) in those focal lengths would be state-of-the-art for 8x10 shooting, although those lenses are big and heavy. A large majority of 8x10 field shooters prefer smaller lenses, many of which have been discontinued.

I should add though, that when you get into 8x10 or larger formats, "Best" does not always mean "Sharpest" as in a contact print a lens with lower resolving power will still produce more detail on the negative than is viewable on the print. Many people shoot with older, "less sharp" but smaller lenses. Ansel Adams and Edward Weston shot a large body of work on lenses that would be considered quite inferior by todays optical standards.

Ben Syverson
27-May-2009, 14:19
I've used the Fujinon 300C and 300A... The C is absolutely tiny as 8x10 lenses go, and the A is only marginally larger. I loved the C, which allows a decent amount of movements, but wound up with the A to get that extra little bit of coverage.

They're both outstandingly sharp and contrasty.

Edit: I meant to add that I like the 300mm perspective on 8x10 quite a bit, especially for portraits.

27-May-2009, 14:21
Among Schneider and Rodenstock, what are the highest quality top 2-3 normal lenses for 8x10 shooting?

Am I wrong to assume the Fine Art XXL isn't really meant for 8x10?

Fine Art XXL 550 works fine on 8x10 but isn't "normal" for 8x10 (about 2x "normal").
The Fine Art XXL 1100 won't work with just the long bellows and a meter bridge rail (extension bracket) -- not enough bellows for infinity. I've made it work by taking a third function carrier and 171x171 format carrier plus a 4x5 bellows from another camera, but you have to be very careful of cuttting the light cone between lens and film.

Try any of the 300mm lenses by fuji-rodenstock-nikor-schneider or even older lenses. You'll have to tradeoff availability, cost, and performance.

Mark Woods
27-May-2009, 14:45
I really like my Turner-Reich triple convertible (12" 21" 28"). I've lately added a 210mm ReproClaron F/9 into the mix. It just covers 8x10 at infinity. I also like the distortion I sometimes get in the corners when the lens is shifted slightly. For close up work, it's incredible. I just shot a pear at about 2x life size and it's stunning.

Walter Calahan
27-May-2009, 18:53
My Cooke XVa!


Jan Pedersen
27-May-2009, 20:34
A nice coated 300mm/12" Goerz Dagor is really all you need!

Brian Vuillemenot
27-May-2009, 20:45
Apo-Sironar-S 300

27-May-2009, 21:19
I put up easily with the extra size and weight of a 300mm f5.6 lens (Fuji W in my case) because of the majority of my photographs taken in low light situations (under the redwoods.)

If most of my work was under open sky, then something more along the lines of the slower Fuji A's and C's would work fine. I do use a 19" RD Artar and at f11 is okay, but definitely harder to focus than the f5.6 when under the redwoods.

Just something to keep in mind.


John Kasaian
27-May-2009, 23:06
14" Commercial Ektar :)

MIke Sherck
28-May-2009, 06:29
Whenever anyone asks about the "best" lens for this or that usage, I play Lens Name Bingo, and now you can too!

All you need to play is a piece of paper and a pen, pencil, or crayon. Divide the paper into squares, write the name and focal lengths of your favorite lenses in the squares, and then monitor the thread! When you see the name and focal length of a lens in one of your squares mentioned, mark it off on your play sheet. When you get all the squares in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line marked off, yell "Bingo" and jump up and down in excitement!

WIN unvaluable prizes! SEE your co-workers and family's eyes bug out in surprise at your antics! EARN the scorn of your friends on the internet as you brag about your victories! Fun for everyone!


28-May-2009, 07:01
The 355 Red Dot Artar is my go to lens. The 210 and 300 and 450 all usually are gathering dust.

E. von Hoegh
29-May-2009, 11:01
A nice coated 300mm/12" Goerz Dagor is really all you need!

The 355 MC Gold Dot Kern Dagor is nice, too............:D

Ken Lee
29-May-2009, 12:02
"Whenever anyone asks about the "best" lens for this or that usage, I play Lens Name Bingo, and now you can too!"

Excellent. Isn't there a similar game for films, developers, and film/developer combinations ?

What makes these games even more challenging, is when a recommendation is given without any explanation to accompany it. No sample photos either. (Not everyone is like Jim Galli for example, who shares so freely and abundantly).

Even so, we learn this way. I often search the web to see if I can find out why a recommendation has been made.

So any tip is helpful, even if it's short and sweet.

Armin Seeholzer
29-May-2009, 12:20
Try to find a 360 mm APO Ronar it is small deadly sharp and only 550 gram.

Cheers Armin

Brian Ellis
29-May-2009, 21:10
Why limit your choices to Schneider and Rodenstock? Nikon f9 300M is a great normal lens for 8x10. Small, light, and tack sharp. And with 8x10 you don't need "the best" lens even if there was such a thing, at least not if you're contact printing. You don't need much more than the bottom of a Coke bottle if you're making 8x10 contact prints.

8x10 user
30-May-2009, 07:18
300mm Apo-Sironar-W

30-May-2009, 09:41
I second the motion on the 14 in commercial ektar

Daniel Unkefer
30-May-2009, 11:49
300mm SINAR Convertible Symmar, or 360mm SINAR Convertible Symmar. Big and Bigger lenses of the Plasmat variety.

30-May-2009, 20:19
12" Dagor!

31-May-2009, 07:05
10" lens on 8x10" film because:
(Ken, here goes...)
* When the base of the FOV triangle is equal to it's height you instinctively know where to put the camera (e.g. six feet away from a six foot subject).
* You get stronger perspective for a stronger interpretation.
* The viewer feels that he is in there, communicating with the subject.
That's the theory. In practice:
* film-holder and uneven edge development are going to cut the useful size of the film down by half an inch.
* The art-director will chop off even more on one side to fit the layout.
* The whole idea of 8x10 is that you can let the subject breath air (and gain in stature) on all sides without losing definition.
If you allow for the last three limits you're getting so remote with a 'normal' 300mm lens that the viewer may feel he doesn't belong there at all.

Colin Corneau
2-Jun-2009, 20:22
This is useful for me...I know these types of threads can be tedious, but for people in my situation -- new recipient of an old 8x10 wood camera having never used one before -- it's good to read.