View Full Version : OMG Not another what should I buy for my first LF lens question!

Ed Candland
22-Feb-2002, 01:22
As you all most likely know from earlier posts, I'm getting ready to make the pl unge into LF. The last thing I'm desiding on is what will be my first lens. In 3 5 my normal lens is a 35mm. My 50mm does duty as a paper weight. So I was concid ering a lens that would be close to the same angle of view in 4x5. The two lens I have been thinking about are the 135mm f5.6 Rodenstock APO Sironar-S and the 1 25mm f5.6 Fujinon CM-W. They are pretty close in FL and coverage is about the sa me from what I see. I'm thinking the Rodenstock is most likely the sharper lens, but I wanted to get some feedback. I'm know about the 110mm Super Symmar XL and that it's a wonderful lens, but it's really outside of my budget. So I won't fe el bad I'll call it too heavy for backpacking. ;-) The only problem I have with Rodenstocks are, that I repair photo finishing equipment for a living and the gr etags I work on, Half have Rodenstocks and half have Docters and the Zoom Rodens tocks are really pretty crapy. So I kind of have a bad taste. But then I've use d Rodenstock enlarging lens that were good and I work for Kodak and will most li kely loose my Job for buying Fuji products...J/K. Anyway, I guess I'll stop ramb ling now.

Thanks in Advance for the feedback, Ed

Thilo Schmid
22-Feb-2002, 06:13

I cannot comment on the Fujinon, but my first hand experience with the Apo-Sironar-S 5.6/135 may help you making a "politically correct" decision ;-). The Apo-Sironar-S 135 is under consideration of it's size and weight really a fantastic lens with exceptional shaprness and contrast.


22-Feb-2002, 08:44
Ed, I have faced exactly the same situation when I begun 1 year ago. I have eventually gotten a 150/5.6 because the 135 mm usually have less coverage than 150 mm , don't know why perhaps the optical configuration for a "normal" sacrifies a bit of coverage in favour of angle of view. Since coverage is a key factor for LF operations, there was my decision.


Scott Walton
22-Feb-2002, 09:24
Do not discredit Fuji lens. They are sharp and nicely contrasty. I have been using them for years! Cheers

Tony Galt
22-Feb-2002, 10:01
I just took the plunge into LF and went the Rodenstock route, my other choice be ing Nikon (to which I have a fierce 35 mm loyalty). However, the coverage of the 150 mm Rodenstock Sironar-S was greater and only once have I gone off the deep end with swings and tilts and managed to vignette an image. The lens is really s harp right out to the edge of the image circle. I haven't shot any color film wi th it yet so I can't comment on its qualities in that respect, but it is an apoc hromat. I too hardly ever shoot with a 50 mm in 35mm photography, except with an old Retina sometimes. However, 150 mm seems to be a good focal length for learn ing the trade because it gives a natural perspective close to one's own vision a nd therefore I find it easier "see pictures" by looking around and then setting up the tripod and camera. Remember you can't wander around looking through a vie wfinder with LF (unless you buy a press camera).

Donald Brewster
22-Feb-2002, 13:02
Most all your answers are at Kerry Thalmann's website:


You can always make your employer happy by buying an old wide field Ektar. ;-)

jeff schraeder
22-Feb-2002, 22:48
Ed, This is a non technical answer. I too use a 35mm on my 35mm camera. But I take very different pictures with my 4x5. There is even a difference for me between 4x5 and 8x10. I really don't think you can just "transfer" a focal length equivalent. If there is any way you can borrow or even rent lenses I would suggest you do so over a wide range of focal lengths and see what feels good for you with your new 4x5.

Jim Galli
22-Feb-2002, 23:21
It would be hard to make a bad choice of what you've mentioned. I think you were on the right track thinking of the 125 Fuji. After reading Kerry's piece in View Camera I'm saving for one myself. I doubt that the Rodenstock is sharper. You're bigger problem is going to be explaining to the boss what those green boxes in your case are!

Ed Candland
22-Feb-2002, 23:33
That reminds me of a story I heard at Noritsu. The Guy who did the news letter would change the color every month. One month he made it a little to close to Fuji green and I guess he almost lost his job

neil poulsen
23-Feb-2002, 15:33
What kind of photo's do you want to take with your 4x5?

Ed Candland
23-Feb-2002, 22:02
Neil, Mostly landscape with maybe an arch. element added from time to time.

neil poulsen
24-Feb-2002, 14:39
My favorite lenses for landscape are a 180mm plasmat design (e.g. Sironar, Symmar, etc.) and a 120mm super-wide. Sounds like you are tending towards the latter, although I think the former is more general purpose. I have a 121mm Schneider Super-Angulon with which I get good results. Being an older, single-coated lense, you can find these on EBay for reasonable prices, usually around $500.