View Full Version : Big lens help!

Paramount bokeh
12-Mar-2010, 04:43
Hi all... I am quite new to the LF scene, and am slowly (very slowly!) getting the kit together for studio portraits.

I bought Ken's 300mm Heliar, and have a 19 in Goerz Artar.

I was pretty much coming round to the idea of a Sinar 10x8 with copal shutter... however, during my trawling of ebay, I came across an old auction of a guy selling a Color-Kardan - in his description, he put that the Sinar will not allow you to use big lenses (I am ONLY going to shoot in the studio - and was eventually planning to go as big as 24" lens for close ups)....

He stated that a Packard shutter is the only way to go for these big lenses.

Please can somebody give me the benefit of their experience and recommendations: as i mentioned, my needs are 8x10, portraits, studio only.

Many thanks all

Paramount bokeh
12-Mar-2010, 09:57

12-Mar-2010, 10:15
I have mounted all sort of big-ish lens (Heliar 360mm, 16" Artar, and 760mm Apo Nikkor) in front of the Sinar shutter set up with no problem, not too sure what the other seller was referring to.

Jack Dahlgren
12-Mar-2010, 10:22
I don't know what determines what is a "big" lens and what the shutter type has anything to do with it.

What I do know is that the physical limitations of the camera are likely to be.

1) Maximum distance of lens board from film plane. It needs to be about as long as the focal length is you are going to use the lens at infinity. So if you are using a 19 inch lens you need a camera at least 19 inches long (there are lens designs which can change this, but it is generally true). To get closer to a subject, you extend the lens out further, so this is a MINIMUM especially if you are doing portraits in a studio.

2) The size of the lensboard is another constraint. If the diameter of the opening or size of the lensboard does not accommodate mounting the lens, then you have a problem. What is the lens diameter you are looking at? Compare it to the lensboard size.

3) Lens support is another issue. Some old big lenses are heavy and can cause the front standard to sag. I don't know if that is an issue with this camera or not, but that is another limiting factor. Big old studio cameras were very stout. What is this camera like?

Looking online I see this:
"Telescoping monorail 600-800 mm / 23.5-32 in." so it looks like it may be OK for a 300mm lens.

The simple lens formula is 1/subject distance + 1/image distance = 1/focal length

So for a 300 mm lens you are fine, but a 24 inch lens is not going to work with a subject 2 meters away. You can do the math and figure out how it will work.

Jim Galli
12-Mar-2010, 10:41
a picture worth a thousand words

Relatively cheap, and extremely effective. It turns out that thousands of 1920's - 50's studio photographers knew exactly what they were doing.

The smaller of the 2 is 8X10 and can achieve about 38 inches of bellows extension. It rolls effortlessly, it goes up and down, the table tilts, the lensboard is 9X9 inches and can support a 13 pound lens if needed, and there lots of room inside for a BIG packard shutter. They really do solve a multitude of problems. Wade through my web pages for lots of info on lens possibilities etc. That Heliar will be marvelous. Good luck.

post script: The black lens on the little side table with the cap and wooden handle is a 48cm Heliar, and the brass one behind it is a 22 inch Voigtlander Petzval. 18" is about where most old timers drew the line for 8X10 lenses. The 22 inch petzval is used on 11X14 and at 44 inches can make a spectacular 1:1 head on the sheet.

pss: See the electrical plug on the front of the camera. Packard shutters are extremely simple to put a switch closure on that will trip studio flash.

Joerg Krusche
12-Mar-2010, 10:49

stay with your idea of a Sinar 8x10 .. with a Sinar/Copal shutter the use of a Heliar 300mm or a 19" Artar is pretty standard .. no problem at all .. if it is a Sinar Norma you could even use that set up in the field .. since weight is no problem .. the Kardan Color on the other hand is a beast,

best ,


12-Mar-2010, 12:07
Hi, I have two front stand. one is for the lens, one is for the Sinar shutter. Sure in between you need a bellow connected. So, no matter how big is your lens, it work. Hope will help.

Mark Sawyer
12-Mar-2010, 12:32
I echo Jim's advice; the 8x10 studio cameras were made for 8x10 studio portraiture, and do it very simply and very well in every way. They also have a lovely presence and a sense of history, and (remarkably, to me), are among the least expensive 8x10 cameras out there.

Steve Hamley
12-Mar-2010, 15:42
If you can get the Linhof Color Kardan at a good price, it's a good solution. The only drawback is that the 9" lensboards are uncommon and expensive.

It's an extremely strong camera and can support any lens you can fit on it. It also has full movements front and rear, and unlike the wooden studio cameras, it is portable at least in the sense it will fold up and fit in a case.

jpegs attached, and the lens pictured is a 16" Ektar portrait lens.

Cheers, Steve

Ken Lee
12-Mar-2010, 16:48
"I don't know what determines what is a "big" lens and what the shutter type has anything to do with it.

What I do know is that the physical limitations of the camera are likely to be."

Exactly ! So here are some approximate size limitations of a Sinar P.

Sinar Lens boards are roughly 5.5 inches wide

The opening in my Sinar Shutter is roughly 3.25 inches wide.

I don't know how heavy a lens it will support, but like Fuegocito, I used a 360mm Heliar for a while. Its rear diameter was just about the size of the shutter opening, and it was a heavy piece of glass. Even so, everything worked fine.