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Thread: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

  1. #1

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    Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    I'm shooting 8x10 plates now via a 305mm f/4.5 B&L tessar in barrel and Packard shutter but I'd like to shoot film too. For me, that requires a lens in a "modern" shutter that actually has clockwork speeds. I am also not a fan of the way plasmat lenses tend to draw the transition from in focus to out of focus areas. They make me feel jittery and anxious. So I've been looking for an older design (pretty much anything that's sufficiently sharp for a contact print, really, I'm not into the meniscus look). I've been camping on ebay for a month or so now and not having much luck. I'd love to just snag a Commercial Ektar 12" or some other form of tessar (CZ Tessar, Xenar, Paragon Anastigmat), but either they're in collectable condition and priced near to a thousand bucks or they're just not appearing with any frequency. Well, or they're a Heliar, Apo-Lanthar, etc and I'd have to sell my car to buy one. Anyway, I'd like to broaden my horizons to increase my chances of finding something.

    It's entirely possible that this simply means I don't know there are other lenses I could be looking for. Can you guys recommend something about 300mm/12", that covers 8x10, isn't a plasmat, is common enough that I can just buy the darned thing without having to be some sort of sniping god on ebay, and doesn't cost close to a grand?

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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Not a whole lot of movements but the Nikkor-M 300mm f/9 is what I use while backpacking my 8x10. I haven't used it but Fujinon had their similar 300mm f/8.5.

    The Nikkor can be found under $500. Is that the price range you are looking at?

    I thought the Nikkor was some variation of the Tessar design but others insisted it wasn't in an older thread so I dunno. I don't usually have a lot of OOF areas in my 8x10 images so I don't have an opinion on that.
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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    I already had a tab open with Nikkor-M 300s in it to check pricing and realistically you're looking at $600 to get one to your door. I'd love to stay under $400 but I don't even know if that's possible. You bringing them up made me look a little harder. I have an older Nikkor lens brochure which lists the Nikkor-M 300 as 4 elements in 3 groups and the cut-away drawing sure looks like the kind of curves you'd find in a tessar design.

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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    I don't keep up with the prices so they might be trending up. Small portable 8x10 lens and all that...but I think one could likely come around at under $500 if you wait, especially here in the classifieds or on the Facebook LF group. I think I bought mine for $400 and I remember almost buying another on eBay that was a BIN for $350, but it sold quick. Of course this was a few years ago.

    By the way, there is a very old post from Sandy King claiming the Nikkor-M has in excess of 450mm of coverage (dependent on your needs with regard to enlargement/resolution). Some here though claim "it does not cover 8x10" with sufficient quality. In my personal experience having used the lens, it covers 8x10 just fine and has room for typical movements, and I have no issues with image quality using it that way. Just wanted to throw that out there before the likely posts linking to this or that technical chart.
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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    I'm shooting 8x10 plates now via a 305mm f/4.5 B&L tessar in barrel and Packard shutter but I'd like to shoot film too. For me, that requires a lens in a "modern" shutter that actually has clockwork speeds. I am also not a fan of the way plasmat lenses tend to draw the transition from in focus to out of focus areas. They make me feel jittery and anxious. So I've been looking for an older design (pretty much anything that's sufficiently sharp for a contact print, really, I'm not into the meniscus look). I've been camping on ebay for a month or so now and not having much luck. I'd love to just snag a Commercial Ektar 12" or some other form of tessar (CZ Tessar, Xenar, Paragon Anastigmat), but either they're in collectable condition and priced near to a thousand bucks or they're just not appearing with any frequency. Well, or they're a Heliar, Apo-Lanthar, etc and I'd have to sell my car to buy one. Anyway, I'd like to broaden my horizons to increase my chances of finding something.

    It's entirely possible that this simply means I don't know there are other lenses I could be looking for. Can you guys recommend something about 300mm/12", that covers 8x10, isn't a plasmat, is common enough that I can just buy the darned thing without having to be some sort of sniping god on ebay, and doesn't cost close to a grand?
    Aero Ektar 12 inches f/2.5 (7-element/modified double gauss) and Eastman 13.5 inches f3.5 (5-element I think). They are commonly available and packard shutter should work well.

    AE12 on 8x10IP, 1/260-ish sec. The lens is razor sharp and this 2nd-copy of mine is pretty beat up on the front and rear glasses


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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by renditiont View Post
    Aero Ektar 12 inches f/2.5 (7-element/modified double gauss) and Eastman 13.5 inches f3.5 (5-element I think). They are commonly available and packard shutter should work well.
    You clearly missed the "affordable and in a modern shutter" part!

  7. #7
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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    I think you are looking at a bad time. There seems to be a huge uptick of interest in 8x10, what with the Intrepid 8x10 coming out and a number of photographers who have followings on Instagram/Youtube extolling them and the virtues of 8x10. Consider the number of threads we've had asking about getting into 8x10 and skipping 4x5. Hence the higher prices.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Huh, well that's unfortunate. I tend to be completely oblivious to what's popular at the moment so I had no idea 8x10 was seeing a resurgence.

  9. #9

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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Some lenses to consider keeping an eye out for. When they show up they are often in a Wollensak Alphax or Betax shutter. Not modern but I've found them to be fairly decent shutters.

    Wollensak Velostigmat Series 1a 13" f6.8 (convertible, keep an eye out for separation)
    Wollensak Velostigmat Series II 12" f4.5 (without fuzzalator should cost less)
    Gundlach Radar 12" f4.5

    Have you checked out the what is for sale at Igor Camera or KEH to see if they have something you would be interested in?

    -Darren

  10. #10

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    Re: Does an affordable, available, non-plasmat 300mm-ish lens that covers 8x10 exist?

    Check out the fujinar lenses in Shanel shutters. They are tessar designs if I am not mistaken. 300mm f4.5.

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