View Full Version : Using Nikkor Macro lens in general purpose photography

Boulos Isaac
5-Apr-2004, 11:36
Hello... I am planing to buy the (Apo-Macro-Nikkor ED 120mm f/5.6), to use as a general purpose moderate wide angle, as well as a macro lens on my Sinar F2 4x5". Can anybody kindly tell me if this is a good idea. Will it give enough sharpness or it work good only on high magification starting from 1:5 image/subject and more. I am new in large format I have the (Sinar 150:5.6 Sinaron S) and the (Schneider 210:6.1 Xenar). Is any of these enough for macro photography to shoot 2:1


Dan Fromm
5-Apr-2004, 15:51
I have no experience with the 120/5.6 Macro Nikkor but Nikon does not recommend it for use at infinity on 4x5. It isn't wide angle, is supposed to cover 2x3 but not 4x5 at infinity.

Michael Kadillak
5-Apr-2004, 19:10
Since I own the lens you mentioned in your post, I went ahead and set up my 5x7 Canham with the 4x5 back and at infinity it will not even come close to covering 5x7 and 4x5 is a no go as well. Great macro lens - not at infinity. If you want a fabulous 4x5 lens in about that focal length on 4x5, I would have no problem recommended the small compact Nikkor 135 or 150mm W. Sharp and contrasty and coverage to spare. Leave the 120mm ED alone for right now if you want to shoot at infinity.


Michael S. Briggs
6-Apr-2004, 00:57
Nikon rates the 120 mm AM-ED Nikkor as covering 55 degrees at 1:1. This means a circle of coverage of 250 mm. Approximating that the lens covers 55 degrees when focused on distant objects, the diameter of the circle of coverage would be 125 mm -- not enough for 4x5, as the others have said.

Bjørn Rørslett talks about this lens on his webpage: http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_LF.html. He makes use of it for distant subjects, but only on the 6x9 cm format.

The other two lenses you make are probably not the best choices for making images large than lifesize. They are optimized for distant subjects. They will, of course, make a "macro" image if you camera has sufficient bellows. If you are particularly interested in large-than-lifesize, an inexpensive way to go is to use a reversed enlarging lens. Asymmetrical lenses are designed to have the large thing (object or image) on one side and the small thing on the other side, so you should orient the lens to follow the design intent. For enlarging lenses, the large print is on the side normally considered the front -- if you focus so closely that the image is larger than the object, it is better to reverse the lens.

If you want one lens to do both closeups and distant subjects, the G-Clarons and Fuji-As have a good reputation for this. Both are symmetrical lenses (like the Nikkor AM-ED) and so theoretically optimized for 1:1, but many photographers use them for distant subjects. A possible drawback is that they are slow lenses.

You might want to browse the forum archives -- there are a lot of relevant threads there.

Martin Patek-Strutsky
6-Apr-2004, 02:07
What is about the Rodenstock APO-Macro-Sironar 120mm/5.6? At 1:1 the image circle is 277mm (f/8) compared to 210mm (f/5.6) with the Nikkor-AM (data for the same f-stop were not available).

Of course the Macro-Sironar is not the most versatile lens at infinity, but shouldn't it at least cover 4x5?

Armin Seeholzer
6-Apr-2004, 12:17
Yes the Rodenstock APO Macro 120mm is covering 4x5 at infinity stoped down to f16. I have thad lens but it is not easy to focus at infinity especially on a overcast day!

Boulos Isaac
11-Apr-2004, 01:29
Thanks to all of u... I have never seen sincere and professional friends giving me honest advices as i found with u.

Regards Boulos Isaac