View Full Version : New to LF photography

10-Apr-2010, 12:09
Hi everyone:)
I'm a newjack to this LF thing and I need some advice. I'm taking my graflex 4x5 rail camera out west with me and I need a serviceable 150mm to get the ball rolling and take some B+W and color shots. I would be using this lens predominantly for landscapes, portraits and possibly natural light still life shots. There is an Rodenstock Apo-Ronar 150mm f/9 Large Format Lens on E-Bay, starting bid is $89. I just got out bid on a Caltar-II N 150mm f/5.6 Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N (winning bid was $256). My question is are these good startup lenses for a beginner? My second question is how much should I pay for a used lens of this caliber?

I would really appreciate any help or advice because I am not satisfied with the landscape shots I get with my digital camera.

Andrew O'Neill
10-Apr-2010, 12:23
That's a great lens. It's a good "normal" lens to start out with. Being used, I certainly wouldn't go over what the Caltar went for. How old is the lens?

10-Apr-2010, 12:56
Thanks for your quick reply. It doesn't say on the E Bay listing. I haven't actually bid on that particular lens but I did start bidding on a Rodenstock Sironar-N 150MM f5.6 Copal No 0 Shutter Lens, and it too doesn't say what year it is from but from the picture I would guess about 10 years or so. The Caltar II-E 150mm f/6.3 Lens with Copal 0 Shutter retails new at B&H photo for $500 so I would guess that $250 should be as high as I go for the f5.6.

Steven Tribe
10-Apr-2010, 13:10
f9 can a problem if you are planning to use the ground glass for composition AND focussing.

Andrew O'Neill
10-Apr-2010, 13:31
Yes, f9 can be a problem, especially in low light. I find it more of a problem with wide angle lenses because it is difficult to see into the corners of the GG. Helps to have an opaque focusing hood and a good GG.

Glenn Thoreson
10-Apr-2010, 17:25
Check out the selection at keh.com and don't be afraid to buy something rated as "bgn" from them. Their grading system is very conservative. Absolutely great folks to deal with. BTW, the Caltar II-E is a very good, sharp lens that's well worth considering but 500.00 is too much, when you can find a used or demo example for half that, or less. There is very little difference in performance between just about any lens made in the last 25 years or so.

John Kasaian
10-Apr-2010, 19:32
There are plenty of good lenses available at good prices. As Glenn suggests, check out Keh, and check out Mid West Photo Exchange (talk wth Jim at Mid West) as well. If this is your one and only lens on your trip, buying from an outfit that'll stand behind thier products is good insurance. Having your Copal go berserk on you in the middle of Idaho isn't anyone's idea of a good time! BTW a 210mm is also a very useful focal length for subjects you're considering and might even be be more available at better prices than a 150mm.