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Thread: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

  1. #1

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    Question New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Hi everyone,
    I am a novice in Large Format and recently purchased a Zone VI model II field camera kit from the original owner who purchased it in 1988. I am trying to build the best range of lenses to use with the camera that would cover 4x5. I currently have 2 lenses that came with the camera. One is the Schneider Kreuznach Symmar MC f/5.6/210mm and the other is a Schneider Kreuznach Symmar S f/5.6/180mm lens.
    I took a risk yesterday and purchased four lenses from someone who needed cash right away. The lenses were of no value to him since they were part of an estate liquidation and didn't know much about them.
    I was familiar with a couple of them as far as the brand and focal length, but was not sure if they would be of any use in covering my 4x5 camera. They looked immaculate, shuttesr seem to be in excellent working condition, so I figured worst case if I couldn't use them on my camera, I could sell them and buy what I really needed. I am hoping though that at least three of them will cover 4x5 which is the reason I am posting this question. Here is a description of the lenses.

    1) Graflex Optar f/ 4.7/135mm lens in a Graphex Shutter

    2) Schneider Kreuznach G-Claron f 9/150mm in a Compur O Shutter

    3) Schneider Kreuznach Symmar S f/ 5.6/150mm in a Copal - No. O Shutter

    4) Technika-Heliar f/1:4.5/24cm Voigtlander Braunschweig Lens in a Packard Ideal Shutter (seems like an electronic Shutter)

    I believe from some research I have done, the first three would cover 4x5 but I rather be sure of course. I would like two know what folks here feel about these lenses, if they are any good, worthwhile for 4x5.
    Out of the two 150mm Schneider's, which one would be the best overall lens in that Focal length. Can I use the Heliar lens on a 4x5 camera, which I really don't think I could, but it's just so beautiful to look at that I figured I should ask to be safe.
    If not, would I be better off in selling them and buying other lenses that would be better suited for the 4x5 camera I have.

    I sincerely appreciate any input what-so-ever.
    Thank you kindly,

    If you think I should post pictures of them, please let me know and I will do that. Thanks

    Primo

  2. #2
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    They are all good lenses that will cover 4x5. The Optar is an old lens make for a Speed or Crown Graphic. Modern lenses are better, but the Optar is lighter and still a good performer. Most people would prefer the Symmar to the G-Claron because it is faster. The Heliar is a good lens, but I have never heard of one mounted in a Packard. Can you post a picture?

  3. #3

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    The Schneider Symmars are good all-around lenses, the 150 and 210 are two of the most popular lenses in large-format. Many people would get a 90mm Schneider Super Angulon to compliment those two and be finished.

  4. #4

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Shoot 'em and evaluate them. All are good lenses---how do they fit your "vision?" Only you can decide that.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #5

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Thank you for the information. Here are the pictures of the lenses. I really like this Heliar and would really like to use it on my 4x5 Zone VI, but I am not sure if this shutter mechanism is going to work at all with the camera. I don't know if I would have to replace the shutter for another.Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Meisburger View Post
    They are all good lenses that will cover 4x5. The Optar is an old lens make for a Speed or Crown Graphic. Modern lenses are better, but the Optar is lighter and still a good performer. Most people would prefer the Symmar to the G-Claron because it is faster. The Heliar is a good lens, but I have never heard of one mounted in a Packard. Can you post a picture?

  6. #6

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Thank you. Yes, I agree on the Schneider Symmars being excellent all around lenses and have contemplated the 90mm Super Angulon, but I am caught between that and the Nikkor 90mm f8 also after reading several thread on the forum. I guess it really boils down to individual preference.

  7. #7

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Thank you. One thing I am definitely sure about is that I wish to concentrate on Portraits and landscapes with Portraits being my overall preference for the time being. I like this Heliar, its a really big lens, quite hefty, but I am not sure (I really don't know to be quite honest) if this shutter would have to be replaced and what replacement shutter should I concentrate on replacing it with or lens board for that matter. Please bear with utter lack of knowledge, I am trying to learn and absorb as much and as fast as I can.

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    The heliar is a quality portrait lens. The electrical connection is for flash sync; the shutter is pneumatic and needs an air hose and bulb. With a household plug, you can use normal extension cords for sync cords rather then build or buy obscure flash cables. You can buy adaptors to go from pc connector to the electrical plug.

  9. #9

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Thanks! But isn't this shutter to big to fit a 4x5 (forgive my lack of knowledge if its a dumb question)? I'm trying to research what I would need to do in order to fit this lens on my 4x5.

  10. #10

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    Re: New to Large Format Photography - Acquiring range of Lenses for 4x5 Field Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Meisburger View Post
    They are all good lenses that will cover 4x5. The Optar is an old lens make for a Speed or Crown Graphic. Modern lenses are better, but the Optar is lighter and still a good performer. Most people would prefer the Symmar to the G-Claron because it is faster. The Heliar is a good lens, but I have never heard of one mounted in a Packard. Can you post a picture?
    I'm not so sure about most people and that preference. With a lens as long as 150mm f/9 isn't really a problem, at least I never found it to be one. In any event, I'd at least look at other factors such as size, weight, shutter accuracy, coverage (the G Claron has much more coverage than its spec sheet says as long as you stop down to about f/16 or smaller), etc. before picking the Symmar just because it's a 5.6 lens.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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