View Full Version : Small format lenses for 4X5 photography?

26-Jan-2004, 12:12
Hi All, I have watched this forum for many months, and I thank you all for helping us with your vast knowledge and experience. My question: Can one use small format lenses for 4X5 photography? I understand adaptors are needed. The lens in question is a Nikon AI 200mm, f2.8. Thank you all, Fr. G

Edward (Halifax,NS)
26-Jan-2004, 12:19
The easy answer is no. They are designed to cover a MUCH smaller piece of film. If you wanted rediculously obscene magnification and had ALOT of bellows draw you could possibly use one for macro - and when I say macro I mean 25:1. For anything resembling normal photography the answer is no.

Dan Fromm
26-Jan-2004, 13:32
Well, if you want an image with good definition in most of a 43 mm circle, go for it. But remember that to use the lens you'll have to put it in shutter (it will resist this), put it in front of a shutter, or hang it on a camera that has a focal plane shutter.

If you must have a fast 200 mm lens that covers 4x5, save your pennies and get an 8"/2.0 Dallmeyer Super Six. Save lots of pennies, be prepared to wait quite a while. Or, sacrifice your principles, save fewer pennies, don't wait quite as long, and wait for an 8"/2.9 Dallmeyer Pentac.

Good luck, sorry there's not much in the way of a free lunch available,


26-Jan-2004, 13:47
You could do large format to small but not the other way around. I would love to put some of my smaller format glass on my bigger formats but the design is all wrong.

Colin Carron
26-Jan-2004, 15:12
If you are looking for a fast 200mm lens for LF the best bet might be the ex-military air reconnaissance lenses often dating to WW2. The Kodak Aero Ektar is 7"/f2.5 and the Dallmeyer Pentac is 8"f/2.9. These were designed for 5x5". They come without shutters and in the case of the Aero Ektar the glass often has a yellow-brown tinge due to the use of radioactive elements.

Steve Hamley
26-Jan-2004, 17:32

The short answer as above is no - for normal photography - the lens doesn't have nearly enough image circle. But there's no need to even try. You could easily find a 210mm Tessar-type lens with plenty of coverage for 4x5 for about 1/4 the price that you could have adapters for the Nikon made, not to mention the additional price of a shutter.