View Full Version : will this work for me..?

12-Nov-2009, 16:11
I have a Nagaoka 4x5 field camera. If you don't know what it looks like, I guess it can be described as a "poor man's" Tachihara, except the Tachihara is more solid and has more movements.

My question is relating to getting a 90mm lens for this camera. I realize that some recommend a Schneider Angulon because it is light and if you get a Linhof select probably has good optics. But I am concerned about the limited image circle. I like to get foreground into my wide angle shots, so I think I would like to get better coverage allowing some movements.

The logical alternate choice would be something like a 90mm f8 Super Angulon or other f8 equivalent. My concern is the challenge of focusing a dim f8 lens. I am new to LF.

So my question is, would one of the larger "wasp shaped" 90mm lenses with a larger aperture such as 5.6 or 6.8 fit on my camera. I know one of those lenses would be bigger and heavier and would not fold into the camera. However I am wondering whether a light camera like this could support one of those larger lenses.

Thanks for you input.

Gem Singer
12-Nov-2009, 16:53
Look for an f8 Super Angulon or a Nikkor f8 90 SW. They are lighter weight and throw larger image circles.

For a brighter ground glass image, add a brightening screen (Fresnel) and use a good quality loupe.

Those larger and faster 90's are large and heavy lenses and probably will put a strain on your camera's front standard

Oren Grad
12-Nov-2009, 17:05
The 90mm f/6.8 Grandagon-N / Caltar II-N weighs about a pound and is a very comfortable fit to a Tachihara or Nagaoka. My Nagaoka has never complained about it. ;)

Allen in Montreal
12-Nov-2009, 21:53
I have a Nagaoka 4x5 field camera. If you don't know what it looks like, I guess it can be described as a "poor man's" Tachihara, except the Tachihara is more solid and has more movements..........


Not at all the poor man's anything.
I miss mine, they are light as a feather and yet steady cameras.
Dollar to pound of weight, it is the best in the class.

15-Nov-2009, 01:36
Frank, I've used the 90mm f/8 Super Angulon with the Nagaoka as recently as a few weeks ago. In the same session I also used a 150mm f/5.6 lens. I was pleasantly surprised that while the 150/5.6 lens did give a brighter image on the ground glass, the 90/8 was entirely usable and quite easy to focus under a cloth. This was in good daylight conditions.

Doremus Scudder
15-Nov-2009, 03:30
I'll chime in here to in favor of one of the f8 90mm lenses such as the Super Angulon or the Nikkor SW for use on a wooden folder. I have the former. It is one of my sharpest lenses. While the f5.6 models throw a bit larger image circle (although the Nikkor f8 has a large circle), they are heavier, take larger filters and are really bulky when used on a compact folder. For my style of shooting, which includes a lot of hiking in the wilderness and scrambling over rocks, I simply don't want to carry the larger lens. I don't own one presently.

I do, on occasion, run out of coverage with the f8, but rarely. I need to strain all the movements on my Wista DX or my Woodman to get to the edge of the image circle. Plus, I have a 75mm for those times when I really need to get more in... :-) The f8 will give you a surprising amount of flexibility.

If, however, you find you are shooting architecturals or other subjects that require very extensive movements and feel that you really need the extra coverage, you may want to consider an f5.6 model later. It really depends on your style of shooting (in that case, however, you would probably want a camera that provided you with enough movements to utilize the larger image circle. Your Nagaoka probably won't allow you much more than the f8 has to offer). To start with for a wooden folder, I'd really recommend the f8.

As far as illumination goes, the f8 is noticeably darker than my faster lenses, but even with the stock ground glass on my Woodman, focusing is no problem when under the dark cloth except for the dimmest conditions. I have a lot of slower longer lenses (f7.7 Ektar 203, f9 Nikkor M 300, e.g.) that are about the same speed and also present no real focusing problem. Again, they were chosen for size and portability, and the slower speed is a compromise I'm quite happy to live with.

FWIW, I use the f8 Super Angulon on a recessed board on my Wista; my Woodman focuses very closely with the same lens on a regular board and, unfortunately, won't accept the recessed board. The bellows on both cameras get pretty tight and often kink at the extreme edges of coverage. If you can, get a recessed board; it will allow more movement before the bellows limit what you can do (an f5.6 lens might have coverage that you simply could not use when mounted on a straight board due to the bellows limitations).

Hope this helps some,


Doremus Scudder

neil poulsen
16-Nov-2009, 05:51
I use an f8 121mm S.A., and I've not had much of a problem. As Doremus suggests, maybe on a couple of occasions in dim light, it was a little troublesome to focus.

Mark Tweed
16-Nov-2009, 09:27

The f8 Biogon type lenses you and the others have mentioned are fine solutions. Lighter and more compact alternatives that still allow room for movements would be the 90mm Congo, 100mm f6.8 Kodak WF Ektar and the 90mm f8 Rodenstock Geronar. I can't speak for the Congo but I have the Ektar and Geronar and have been delighted with their performance. I use my Nagaoka primarily for landscape images where you don't need extreme movements, especially with a wide angle where often you rely on the depth of field to capture everything in focus.

Granted, the Geronar isn't much lighter than the wasp-shaped wide angles because of its Copal 1 shutter, but it's considerably more compact which becomes critical when packing a kit into the backcountry. The Geronar takes 58mm filters, much smaller than the 67mm required for the f8 Super Angulon - this was another reason I chose this wide angle as the rest of my lenses all were set up for use with 58mm filters. And the Geronar is multicoated. It's a sharp, modern lens that's often overlooked.


16-Nov-2009, 10:04

I once owned a Toko field camera which is quite similar to the Nagaoka. I used a 90mm Caltar II f4.5 on it for architecture with no problems other than the initial mounting on the camera. Both the front and rear cell sets are large on this lens and the rear group would not fit through the body opening, so I had to remove the rear cell set, then mount the board, remove the camera back, screw in the rear cell set from the inside and then remount the camera back.

That was a bit cumbersome, but once in place, the camera was sturdy and the lens and body combination worked like a charm.

Gem Singer
16-Nov-2009, 11:01

The Rodenstock f8 Geronar 90 is mounted in a Copal 1 shutter. However, when I owned one about twenty-five years ago it required a lens board that was milled for a Copal 3 shutter.

Is that still true, or did Rodenstock change the design?

Mark Tweed
16-Nov-2009, 18:03
About the Geronar's mounting hole, I don't have the lens in hand at the moment, but you're right, the retaining ring is larger than a traditional Copal 1, whether it's the size of a Copal 3 I can't say (the lens is at home). Mine is mounted on an older style Zone VI anodized metal lensboard (Technika style). It's been sometime since I mounted my Geronar but I don't recall doing any custom drilling to the lens board to accommodate the lens. So perhaps the board had the 64.2 mm hole requirement for a Copal 3. I do know that the Copal #1 shutters for this particular lens were modified to accept them. I hope this is helpful.