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Thread: 8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

  1. #1

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    8x10 Wide Angles - Any Favorites from Personal Experience?

    I'm looking to augment my lens collection with a nice, very wide angle for 8x10. Needs to be rectilinear, and as sharp as possible edge-to-edge. Something that works as good or better ( is that possible? ) than a 90mm Super Angulon XL on a 4x5, yet on 8x10. No center filter would be a dream come true too. Focal lengths between 120 and 180 would be good to hear about. I shoot architecture and cityscapes / landscapes with LF wide lenses in 4x5, and Iím just getting an 8x10 field setup of my own together now. There are a few choices, a few notes from people who have actually used a particular lens might help interpret the specifications better. Please feel free to post your favs.

  2. #2

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    Ed,

    150mm Schneider Super Symmar XL. Good movement, reasonably flare free, and usable without a center filter (depending on your tolerance of course).

    Another possibility would be the 150mm Nikkor SW. A vintage candidate would be the 6-1/2" (168mm) Wide Angle Dagor although I doubt it would perform as well as the 90mm SA XL on a 4x5.

    FWIW, the pickings are slim in 180mm lenses that will cover 8x10. No modern lens will for sure, and the vintage candidates like the 7-1/2" (190mm) Wide Field Ektar or uncoated 7" Berlin or Series III Dagors barely cover.

    Steve

  3. #3

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    The 165mm Super Angulon has been delivering superb results for me for twenty years. It is very big and heavy, but has all the resolution you could ask for, excellent overall image quality (more complex and much more important than "sharpness") and has enormous coverage that allows for a lot of camera movement on 8x10. I've never found a need for a center filter, but that might not hold if you were doing technical architectural shooting on chrome film. I don't know how hard it would be to find on the used market today.---Carl

  4. #4
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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    Among modern lenses, there are essentially four choices for an ultrawide with top performance and room for decent movement on 8x10:

    Schneider 150 SS-XL - current, Copal 1, weight 740g
    Nikkor 150 SW - current, but seems to be hard to get, Copal 1, weight 1050g
    Rodenstock Grandagon/Grandagon-N - discontinued, fairly common on used market, Copal 1, weight 1450g
    Schneider 165 SA - discontinued, fairly common on used market, Copal 3, weight of latest version 1605g

    The SS-XL will probably cost at least $2000 new and may be hard to find used at much of a discount, while clean used Nikkor SWs, Grandagons and SAs can often be had for much less, so the choice may ultimately depend on how strong your wallet is vs. how strong your back is.

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    Oops - forgot to say that the Grandagon is 155mm. I have one myself, but hardly ever use it in part because of the weight, in part because I don't usually see that wide - it's really a special-purpose problem-solver. I can't justify the expense of a 150 SS-XL, though, because I just don't need something that wide very often.

  6. #6
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    One quick addendum ... the Schneider Super Symmar XL 110 and the Nikkor SW 120 will both hit the corners on most (depends on the design) 8x10's and give you a beautiful imge but there is absolutely no room for movement.

  7. #7

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    I tested both a Nikkor SW 150 and SS150XL, and ended up keeping the XL as it was lighter and easier to pack (the XL can be mounted on a Technika-sized lensboard, whereas the larger rear element of the Nikkor necessitated a larger lensboard such as the Sinar). I also thought the XL was a smidge sharper and more contrasty. The drawbacks to the XL are price and the necessity of a center filter if one shoots chrome film with extreme movements (as I frequently do). I see no need for the CF if one shoots B&W or color neg film. With the Nikkor I did not need a CF even when shooting chrome film.

    Both the Nikkor and XL support a 95mm filter thread (or a 100mm press-on holder) when no CF is used. I use the Lee filter system and used an FK100 press-on filter holder on my Nikkor, with good results (you may have to reduce the number of slots to 1-2 to avoid vignetting). The XL with CF requires a special-order FK115 press-on holder with only one filter slot (otherwise vignetting occurs). In either case I used a 4x4" polarizer, rotating the entire filter holder to achieve the proper polarizer orientation. As you are shooting architecture I assume you will need a polarizer, if for nothing else to control reflections. The square polarizer is arguably the only realistic solution for the XL with CF, as ideally polarizers should be used in front rather than behind the lens, see the recent discussion here: www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/503043.html#564603

  8. #8

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    If you really need something in 180mm, look for an old Bausch and Lomb Protar Series V (8x10) 183mm mounted in Supermatic #0 shutter. I found two (one coated, the other uncoated) for surprisingly cheap. Only at greater than 40x enlargement can I tell any difference between these Protars and new optics.

    All the modern lenses that would work for your application have already been noted. The 110XL is sooooo wide on 8x10... its glorious! :-)

  9. #9

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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    I vote for the Rodenstock Grandagon 155 mm wich is in sharpness better then my Symmar S 150 mm and only a tiny bit behind my sharpest lens the APO Symmar 210mm.
    I tested all my lenses and it is a pice of optical art to have so much coverage so sharp!
    But it was very expensive even used!

  10. #10
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    8x10 Wide Angle Lenses

    The Wollensak 159mm is a wonderful little vintage lens. Look for a coated f/12.5 version. While obviously not in the class of XL's, SW's or SA's, it's small, light, fairly sharp, reasonably contrasty, and usually pretty affordable. I don't leave home without it.

    Expect some fall-off on this or any lens 165mm or wider. (I would think the fall-off on all lenses of equal focal length to be about the same. Better knowledge, anyone?)

    If you really want to go as wide as 120mm, the 121mm SA covers, but just barely, with considerable fall-off and image stretching at the corners.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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