View Full Version : Rodenstock Grandagon 75mm MC question

21-Jan-2013, 05:52
I do not have a 4x5 camera yet, but I want to build a 4x5 system this year. I think that my camera of choice will be Chamonix 045n-2.

I intended to buy the camera first and then think about the lenses... But right now I have a possibility to buy a Rodenstock Grandagon 75mm MC f/6,8 lens for about 260 Euro / $350 USD. And here are my questions:
- is it a good deal or it just seems to be ok as the prices on ebay are sky high? the lens is in good, clean and working condition
- is it a good choice of an inexpensive wide lens for Chamonic 4x5 (or similar system)? I know this is not a very precise question but as my knowledge about LF is still very limited, I mostly mean technical stuff - will it allow me for some reasonable movements, give me enough coverage etc...

Thank you very much for your thoughts and suggestions!


21-Jan-2013, 06:29
Welcome, Wojtek.
I think that's a decent price for that lens; you will get good coverage, but you won't be able to do some of the more extreme movements.
You should get about 23mm rise from that lens, and Rodenstock make some of the best-quality lenses around.
The f4,5 version gets you a little more coverage, but it will cost a bit more.
From what I saw of your photos, you seem to prefer wide angles, so the 75 is a good fit.
Make sure the shutter speeds are accurate, and that the glass is clean, with no haze or fungus.

I don't know the Chamonix camera, but many here use it and like it, and they will answer specific questions regarding that camera and model.
Good luck!

21-Jan-2013, 07:10
I'm just chiming in here because I'm bored and this is a good question...

wojszyca - if you're just getting started in 4x5, and I agree the Chamonix is a great choice for a first (and maybe even last) camera, I think a 75mm might be too wide for a first lens. Even of you are a wide angle shooter in 35mm. With a 75mm you will be very restricted for movements, both because of the limitations of the camera and the smaller coverage of the lens. Even on the Chamonix, which can physically accommodate a pretty short FL. Wider lenses are also inherantly more difficult to focus due to increasing light falloff toward the edges of the ground glass as FL get shorter. The fresnel will help with this a little, but a brighter image on the GG will make your first view camera experiences much less frustrating.

I would strongly suggest going with something just a little longer for your first lens for several reasons. A Fujinon W, or newer CM-W 125 or 135/5.6 is still fairly wide on 4x5 and has plenty of coverage for movements. You'll also have more bellows extension to work with, which is less restriction for your camera and further enhances your ability to focus properly. You'll still get a fairly wide angle of view and the cost for an excellent example of one of these lenses should be the same or less than your Grandagon for very comparable image quality.

Ultimately, you'll probably end up with three or four lenses - or maybe more - for your 4x5 and I'm sure you'll want a shorter lens in your kit. I have a 75/4.5 myself, but it was my third lens, not my first and I'm really glad I waited until I was familiar with the camera and focusing before I tried it! I would strongly encourage you to start with the longer lens first, and then get the 75, or even 65, once you get the overall feel for focusing and handling the view camera.

I stayed with my 125 for nearly a year before I started adding other FLs and I'm really glad I did. Different focal lengths take time to learn just like anything else. Why not start out with something that allows you to work with your camera at, or at least near, full capacity until you get the hang of it. It would be a shame to decide you don't like large format for no other reason than choosing a difficult configuration at the outset.

21-Jan-2013, 08:54
Wojtek, Cletus is giving some excellent advice.
Take my advice only if you really want to buy this 75mm lens, and only if you really want to start out with such a short focal length.

Otherwise, follow Cletus' sage counsel.

Peter Lewin
21-Jan-2013, 10:33
Wotjek, first I will simply be the next to say that Cletus's advice is excellent. I have an 80mm on my Canham 4x5, and while all cameras are a bit different, it is almost impossible to use movements with a lens that short, because the bellows won't allow it, unless you have a bag bellows. When I first got into large format, Fred Picker and the ZoneVI studios were a source of a lot of info for many (i.e. me!) and Fred recommended the Schneider 120mm and a 210mm as his ideal starter set. I used those two for years very happily.

21-Jan-2013, 16:03
Thank you all very much for your help! Very special thanks to Cletus for "chiming in" with some really well argumented advice!

I have never used a view camera so it really is important for me to start with a simple and easy configuration, learn how to use it, how to focus, understand how to get what I want etc. With 6x7 I started with a 110mm lens and it was almost 2 years until I felt like getting another one. It was the same with my Contax - the 45mm did it for me for a very long time. In both cases I got into wider lenses later. I think it will be a good idea to do more or less the same in 4x5, maybe starting with something a bit wider this time, but not so extreme.

I got a bit overexcited with this Grandagon offer as the price seemed really good. But I will just calm down now and take my time. I still need to save for some time to get the camera anyway. I've checked some examples of 125mm photos and I think it would be very good for what I like to do.

Once again - thank you all very much! I am really glad that I decided to ask. I've been silently observing the forum for some time now so I was sure I could get some good advice but really.... You gave me more help than I could expect!

Kind regards!