View Full Version : Lens for 4x5-6x12

29-Apr-2011, 21:00
I am an avid film digital photographer that's new to large format but have been doing a lot of reading and studying cameras. I'm interested in shooting 4x5 and panoramas with roll film backs. I'm looking for suggestions for a very inexpensive starter lens with shutter. I'd like something with a similar view angle to 24-28mm lens on 35mm. I think that makes 105mm on 4x5 about right? I have access to a Kodak Tourist with a 105mm lens and shutter and I'm wondering if that will at least get me started. I'm also wondering what could be done with that Tourist as far as making it take a 6x12 back or something. I can't just trash a camera! Thanks, Jeff

29-Apr-2011, 21:21
The tourist was a 6x9 camera. I don't know what that lens covers but I'd be surprised if it covered 6x12.

You will need a 47 or 58 XL lens to cover 6x12, giving you the 35mm equivilent of 24-28mm.

30-Apr-2011, 00:19
Wont 47-58mm be WAY wider than 24-28mm equiv.? I'd have thought something in the 75-90mm range would be more like it.

Doremus Scudder
30-Apr-2011, 00:58
Your best bet would be to get one of the more inexpensive 90mm lens offerings (that's about the equivalent of a 30mm lens on 35mm cameras; the aspect ratio difference makes exact comparison impossible, but for panorama shots, this is close. 90mm is the "standard" wide lens for 4x5. As a rule of thumb, you can multiply the 35mm lens focal length by 3 to get an approximate 4x5 equivalent).

If you can get away without using any camera movements, you can probably pick up an older used Schneider Angulon f/6.8 for under $100 if you're lucky. If you need movements, look for a used 90mm f/8 Schneider Super Angulon or Rodenstock Grandagon or similar. They'll run you more, but they are all still top-of-the-line performers. Check here:


The 90mm focal length is common, and therefore cheaper and more available used than other focal lengths. If you need wider, look for a 75mm lens. I picked up my 75mm Fujinon f/5.6 for right around $300. Wider lenses like 47mm or 58mm are going to be rather more expensive, plus, they are more like a 20mm lens on 35mm.

Check eBay, etc. and you should have some luck.

Hope this helps.

Doremus Scudder

Dan Fromm
30-Apr-2011, 03:37
Twohands (answers to tenthumbs), the normal focal length for 35 mm still is 43 mm. The normal focal length for 4x5 is 150 mm. Actual dimensions of the 4x5 image on film vary slightly, are typically 90 mm x 120 mm. Actual dimensions of the 35 mm still image are 24 mm x 36 mm. Actual dimensions of nominal 6x12 are 56 x 112 mm, so the normal lens (focal length = format's diagonal, that's the definition) for 6x12 is 125 mm.

Given this, as Doremus told you a 90 mm lens will give around the same horizontal angle of view on 4x5 as a 25 mm lens on 35 mm still. As he told you, there are many relatively inexpensive 90 mm lenses for 4x5.

Explore this site thoroughly -- click the LF Home Page button, read the FAQs and articles -- before asking many more questions. LF cameras help those who help themselves.

I agree with Brian, none of the lenses sold with Tourists will cover 4x5. And there's no easy way to stretch a Tourist to make it 50% wider. One could, I suppose, make a wider camera from two Tourists. The wider camera would need a lens that covered the wider format and something to enable focusing. Not a good idea.

Now go and read.

30-Apr-2011, 07:20
Thanks guys you confirmed what I expected. Thanks for the run down I'll start looking for a 90mm. Anything to stay away from? J