View Full Version : Long and Close Up lens recommendation for Field Camera

Bill Brady
7-Dec-2000, 22:00
Howdy guys, Thanks for your help in the past. I am looking for smaller lightweight lenses for my Tachihara. I am returning a R otelar 270mm because it was too big, too heavy.

I am thinking of a Geronar 210mm f/6.8. It appears to be light weight and compac t. I'd rather have a Xenar I think, but none are available.

I also need a close up lens in the 135 or 210 mm range. I have a 90mm Angulon an d a 150mm Caltar S II. I am wondering how a slightly longer Angulon would work a t 1:1. I think they made a 105 or 120? I doubt the Geronar would be very good at 1:1 and I don't know if the Caltar is good. My goal is to have a lens that I ca n carry in the field for landscapes but also use for a flower sized close-up. My 6CM SLR is just too heavy!

It amazes me that these used LF lenses sell for much more now than new in my 70s and 80s catalogs!

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

John Hicks
7-Dec-2000, 22:40
> smaller lightweight lenses

If you can live with the speed, consider the 200 f8 M-Nikkor or 210 f9 G-Claro n. They'd probably also work very well in the close range.

Otherwise....assuming you buy a lens in a #1 shutter, and you also own a decen t enlarging lens of 80mm-150mm with the standard 39mm screwmount...with the addi tion of an inexpensive adaptor ring from Schneider you can mount the enlarging l ens into the #1 shutter and have an extremely good macro lens.

Bill Brady
7-Dec-2000, 22:52
I'll see if a Nikkor M or G-Claron is available.

The shutter + enlarging lens idea is attractive. Where would I get the adapter ring? also, aren't most enlarger lenses stopped at f/16 max? Would that be a problem?


Bill Brady
7-Dec-2000, 23:00
I just check eBay, there is an 80mm 39mm + Adapter up and a Copal #1 closing in about an hour.


7-Dec-2000, 23:31
The Geronar 210mm is a triplet. Very contrasty lens - multicoated. But has inherent triplet limitations. If you're not using much movements, it should be fine. Priced good too in a modern Copal. I know someone who uses this at 1:1 for work and he thinks its a good enough lens for the job! The 210mm Xenar would be a better corrected lens.

Another suggestion for a small lens would include a Schneider Repro Claron 210mm in size 1 shutter. This is an Artar type that is extremely well corrected for 1:1 use to infinity. I have seen them for about $250 now and again. It's a fabulous lens. G Clarons in 210mm length are also small but they tend to cost more.

A *very* small 200+ mm lens with great closeup ability is the Kodak 203mm Ektar f7.7 (get a coated, Flash Supermatic version) - another Artar type. This is a VERY small and capable lens (extremely sharp), and would really be perfect for your wood field since it'll fold into it nicely. Looks retro too. More corrected for distance, but it should work wonderfully for closeups, if you the bellows for it. Tends to be overpriced, but you can get them from $100 to $250 depending on condition. Hmm, this might actually be the perfect lens for your application! Just be sure to get one with a well functioning Supermatic shutter. Fitting filters might be a chore though.

A 120mm Angulon is a fine lens. Works fairly well for closeups too, and the coverage is enormous in its class; but in my experience with it, it needs stopping down a LOT to be good. Depending on how much bellows you have, I'd suggest a 150mm G Claron. It's just slightly longer than a 135mm and its a true 1:1 lens. It's a VERY VERY puny lens when fitted in a size 0 shutter. I own one. Another one with potential filter difficulties due to the very small diameter.

Else, you'd occasionally come across enlarging lenses such as a Componar/Componon in a shutter. They'd be fabulous for closeups. But you don't see them common in shutters. I am not sure if you could just mount the cells from a 135mm Componon into a 0 or 1 shutter. It's worth checking it out. Maybe buy a junker 135mm and just pop the front and rear groups in?

Glenn Kroeger
7-Dec-2000, 23:38
Another excellent choice would be a 180mm Fujinon-A. This lens is apochromatic at 1:1, but remains an excellent performer at infinity. Less than 200g in a Copal 0 shutter. Make sure to get a recent vintage one (black shutter speed ring) to be sure of multicoating.

Dave Anton
8-Dec-2000, 00:59
Bill just to comment on your statement:

"It amazes me that these used LF lenses sell for much more now than new in my 70s and 80s catalogs!"...

The Ford Mustangs in the 50's were selling for $3000 new! Now that blows me away!

Doremus Scudder
8-Dec-2000, 08:33
I have a Kodak Ektar 203mm (in a Supramatic shutter) that is a great performer and covers 4x5 with room for moderate movements. It is tiny compared to many other lenses in that range and perfect for my field kit. I have been looking for a "replacement" for years, but have not found anything that measures up as far as size, sharpness, coverage (The Nikkor M 210 is about equal I would imagine). You can pick these up used (e-bay) for around $300 or less. Regards, ;^D)

neil poulsen
8-Dec-2000, 09:55
I would second Mr. Tan's comments. The 150mm G-Claron would give you 1:1 with your camera, and it can be used for normal photography. To achieve 1:1, anything above this focal length would require you to extend the bellows beyond your camera's capability.

As to Componon-S enlarging lens, I have a 150mm that works very well with a Copal 0 shutter. But, I'm not sure if it's required to reverse the lense elements for 1:1. Another detail with some enlarging lenses is to put a small piece of tape over the illuminated f-stop so that it doesn't permit light inside the bellows.

bob moulton
8-Dec-2000, 10:01
The 200mm f8 nikkor mentioned in other posts is a fine small lens that has been given a "boost" by John Sexton's recent statements about his preference for it. A short good lens is the 135mm nikkor. It has wonderful movements--will cover a 5x7 with movements, and provides gentle WA features with no need for a center filter like the Super angulons, WA nikkors, etc. If you must go wider than 135 i would duggest the 110 Schneider over any of the 120mm lenses. Badger Graphic sales carries these lenses at competitive prices. Bob

Bill Brady
8-Dec-2000, 11:30
You guys have talked me into going for the 203 7.7 Ektar. They also have a couple of shorter Ektars in Supermatic shutters, a 127mm f4.7 Graphic and another without the X sync. A 127 *plus* the 203 f7.7 would fill out my kit, but I am not sure if the 127s are Wide Field Ektars. They list both as covering 4x5, but the refernces I see in the FAQs here are to the WFs.

So, should I also get the 127 4.7? Do I want to go for the one with X sync because it's likely newer? The exchange credit I have will cover both lenses almost. Or should I forget the 127 unless it's a WF?

Donald Brewster
8-Dec-2000, 19:33
Take a look at Kerry Thalmann's site which has an entire section on light weight lenses, both older and newer, at http://largeformat.homepage.com/

John Hicks
8-Dec-2000, 23:36
> required to reverse the lense elements for 1:1

I've used a couple different 80 f4 Componon-S lenses screwed into #1 shutters for 1:1 and greater unreversed; they were very satisfactory.

9-Dec-2000, 02:49
The 127mm Ektar is NOT a WF lens. It would just cover 4x5 at infinity, and you won't have much movements with it.

It's a very good lens otherwise, and you wouldn't do too badly with it for closeup use.

However, there are probably other more decent economy buys in the 120-135mm range Bill.

e.g., 135mm Symmar, older single coated 135mm Fujinon W. The Symmar (just the plain one, not the S, not the APO) in particular would make a very good close up lens. The older Fujinon has an exceptionally big image circle and like the Symmar, would probably be great for closeups as well.

Depending on how big you're going to blow up your pictures, you might not see too much of a difference between a regular lens and one that's specially designed to be good at the typical closeup distances. I look at Tina Modotti's roses and Weston's pepper closeups and get blown away. Doubtful that they used a proper macro lens. But then, they only do 8x10 contacts anyway!

Be sure to test the shutter well when you get the 203mm Ektar.

Brian Ellis
12-Dec-2000, 01:36
I hope you haven't gone out and bought a 180 or 200 mm lens with the expectation of doing close up work at 1-1 on your Tachihara. In order to obtain 1-1 ratio, you need to be able to extend the bellows to twice the length of the lens. Your Tachihara has a 12" (300 mm) bellows extension. That means the longest lens you can use on your camera to btain a 1-1 ratio is a 150 mm lens. So forget the 180 - 210 length lenses. You can use them on your camera but you won't be able to achieve the 1-1 ratio that you mentioned in your question. I used a 150 mm G Claron on my Tachihara for close up work and for general work. It's optimized for 1-1 but it performs well for general purposes as long as you stop down to F 22 or smaller. It's also very small, almost tiny. The only downsides, which I don't consider to be significant but others might, are that it's single coated and the largest f stop is F 9.

Bill Brady
12-Dec-2000, 08:00
>I hope you haven't gone out and bought a 180 or 200 mm lens with the >expectation of doing close up work at 1-1 on your Tachihara.

Not at all. I was looking for two lenses one long and one for macro work. I have a Symmar-S 150 which I am not sure of at 1:1. I was thinking of something in the 120-135 range that would also be good at 1:1.