View Full Version : Comparing small wide angle lenses

Brian Schall
11-Feb-2004, 12:36
I just bought a Busch Pressman D to get into large format photography. I do mainly B&W nature, printing up to 16x20. I'm needing a wide angle lens for my type of photography. I've read alot about the Angulon 90mm. It barely covers 4x5, no real movements, starts losing sharpness at the edges, but overall highly recommended for the price. I would like some ability to use front tilt to maintain perspective and increase DOF. I'm thinking of composing and shooting using the 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 lines on the ground glass if needed.

How do the Optar/Wollensack WA 90mm's, the Ektar WF 100mm (I figure the WF 80mm will have limited coverage) compare with the Angulon? Are their other alternatives?


Mark Sampson
11-Feb-2004, 13:22
The Wide-Field Ektars are real sweetheart lenses. I have no experience with the 100mm but if it's like the 135 and the 250 it should suit you very well. Usual caveats apply- clean glass, working shutter, etc. Many people don't care for the Flash Supermatic shutter the lens is mounted in, but mine has been trouble-free since a CLA 10+ years ago. (There is lots of lens comparison data on this site if you hunt around.)

Jim Galli
11-Feb-2004, 13:27
Brian, I think Chris Perez and Kerry Thalmann's lens test page (http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html) is a fabulous tool for photographers. Lots of good info there regarding your question. Also Kerry talks at length about smaller WA choices in his home page which I don't have the link for just now. One other choice is the little Congo WF f6.3 90mm. I've got a 90 WA Optar going up on ebay later this eve. The resolution numbers for those are VERY acceptable. My keeper/user is the f6.8 Calumet WII (Grandagon). It's a bit larger and heavier, about 3 times the price, but wider.

Nick Morris
11-Feb-2004, 13:59
I have and use 100mm and 135mm WF Ektars for my 4x5 - Super Graphic. I love the WF Ektar. I have found that my 207 Ektar (a different design) is sharper, but the WFs are certainly sharp, and I really like the "look" of the prints from the WF. I will say that 100mm is a bit tight with 4x5, even with the Super Graphic, but does have room for movements. I found limits to the rise movement. I have heard mixed reports on the 80mm, some saying it will cover 8x10, others say no. I would guess that movements are out and one would need to stop down for coverage.

Eric Woodbury
11-Feb-2004, 16:04
I've heard the WF Ektars need to be refocused after stop-down.

Dan Fromm
11-Feb-2004, 16:23
Eric, my 80/6.3 WF Ektar does NOT need to be refocused after stopping down. You may be thinking of Dagors.



Brian Schall
11-Feb-2004, 19:50
Thanks all for the responses. The more I read up on these lenses, the more I think I'll look for a 100mm WF Ektar. The 178mm image circle is better than the 154mm on the Angulon. The reason I'm getting into 4x5 and the reason I got the Pressman was for the movements. If I can't have some movements, I'd might as well stay with my Bronica.


Nick Morris
11-Feb-2004, 20:56
Dan, does the 80mm WF Ektar cover 4x5?

Eric Wagner
11-Feb-2004, 21:48
Several years ago I was looking for a light wide-field lens for my backpack outfit and bought both a 90mm f6.8 Angulon and a 100mm WF Ektar, planning to test them both and sell the one I liked the least. The decision was easy. I kept the WF Ektar.

Darin Cozine
11-Feb-2004, 22:15
Brian, It all comes down to money. Prices may vary. The 90mm optars/raptars are the cheapest, $100-125. The Angulon runs around $150 or more. The only WF ektar ive seen sold on ebay right now went for $225. The Super Anguon f8 runs as cheap as $200-300.

If money is an issue, think about what you are going to use it for. If you are just doing landscapes, 1/2 inch rise and shift is fine, as is a small amount of tilt. I generally need only 10-15 degrees tilt. If you are doing arcetechure or product, you need alot more. So if you want movements, why not get the Super Angulon?

Darin Cozine
11-Feb-2004, 22:22
Oh, and congrats on your entry into LF with the Busch Pressman.

Ole Tjugen
12-Feb-2004, 00:06
Tilting a 90mm Angulon is no problem at all if you use back tilt then returning the back to vertical by tilting the entire camera. You get the same by using front tilt and very slight front drop. The only reason I have both Angulons and Super-Angulons (90 and 120mm) is that I sometimes need lots of rise. But Norwegian landscapes tend to be more vertical than those in much of the rest of the world.

Dan Fromm
12-Feb-2004, 05:36
Nick Morris asked "does the 80mm WF Ektar cover 4x5?"

I shoot 2x3 so for me its moot, but to the best of my knowledge it absolutely positively does not cover 4x5.



Henry Friedman
12-Feb-2004, 07:13
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Nikkor SW 90mm f/8. It's relatively small and has great coverage. Mine's as sharp as a tack. It is somewhat more expensive than the others, however.

Nick Morris
12-Feb-2004, 08:30
Gee, is my face red. Meant to say that I had heard mixed reports that an 80mm WF Ektar would cover 4x5, not 8x10. Dan, thanks for your reply. I have sometimes thought about giving the 80mm a try...with my 4x5, not 8x10. Good shooting to all.

Darin Cozine
12-Feb-2004, 18:50
'I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Nikkor SW 90mm f/8'

-if bruce cant afford a used super angulon, he certainly cant afford the nikkor.

Another viable alternative would be the Ilex 90mm super angulon clone, but these are hard to find.

tim atherton
12-Feb-2004, 19:59
"-if bruce cant afford a used super angulon, he certainly cant afford the nikkor."

the Nikkor 90 f8 are often slightly cheaper than the Super Angulons used (but not by that much)

the Fuji 90 f8 is usually a couple of hundred bucks cheaper than both

Darin Cozine
12-Feb-2004, 21:39
Perhaps the nikkors are cheaper new, but on Ebay it's a different scene. The average selling price on ebay for the nikkor is $550 (there have only been 2 sales in the last 2 weeks).

The highest priced Super Angulon 90mm f8 in the last 2 weeks was $450.

Me, I'd rather have the smaller nikkor over my SA f8 MC.

Bob Finley
13-Feb-2004, 09:40
The 90mm Super Angulon rear element is larger than the opening in the front standard of a Busch Pressman. Actually it is the folds of the bellows that interfers and you could install it by twisting but I wouldn't.

Brian Schall
13-Feb-2004, 13:54
Thanks to all for the responses. Just got off the phone with Jim at Midwest Photo. I have a coated 90mm Optar with a recently serviced shutter on the way for less than what I've seen these lenses going for on Ebay. WF Ektars are few and far between, and about twice what the Optar was.