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Thread: No One Making New Lenses?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    No One Making New Lenses?

    I'm new to LF so I apologize in advance if this question is stupid. I've acquired a couple of used LF lenses from the big auction site, but was wondering what is still being made for LF (4x5) lens boards now days. Went to my old standby B&H Photo and couldn't find any LF lenses of the type I was expecting to use (90mm, 120mm, 150mm, 180mm, 210mm). There were a number of different lenses they classified as LF, but none of them looked like they'd fit my lens boards, and weren't the style or focal lengths I was looking for.

    Is no one manufacturing new LF lenses to use on cameras like the Zone VI?

    Best,
    -Tim

  2. #2
    Moderator
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    Jan 2001
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    7,264

    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Basically, no. There was a limited run of some Apo-Sironar-S focal lengths recently, still available new at extremely high prices (for example, Badger Graphic is listing the 150mm for $2799). Cooke Optics may still be doing an occasional run of its PS945 portrait lens, again priced at many thousands of dollars.

    Apart from the glass, the Copal shutters used for LF lenses are now long out of production, and by all accounts stocks of those are running out. Rodenstock, which still manufactures lenses for digital applications, has been steadily shifting toward electronic shutters and more recently also toward shutterless (barrel) mounts that rely on the electronic-shutter function of late-model digital backs.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Most of the new LF lenses I've seen have been more geared toward digital use, and at prices that would surely give you more than pause. That said, there is a tremendous number of fantastic quality lenses in the used market at prices that us mortals can afford. Query the group for suggestions. I'm sure you'll have no shortage of answers.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    4,313

    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    The limited run: https://www.linhofstudio.com/product...ens-Rodenstock

    Also you have the Kang Rinpoche C 600, a modified copy of the fujinon C 600
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...inon-C-600mm-)

    Also 180mm apo symmar new in stock

    https://www.linhofstudio.com/product...Lens-Schneider

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    12,839

    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Plenty of LF lenses.

    The shortage is no new shutters and shutter repair is losing techs monthly.

    Shutter parts have been scarce for a while.

    If you buy a used lens try hard to get a good working shutter.
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Tonopah, Nevada, USA
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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    When the professionals abandoned ship and went to digital, the markets were flooded with superb professional used lenses. It's still flooded. Prices you can get on ebay compared to what it would cost to produce new things would be about 10:1 or more. Meanwhile, no one can afford to make shutters any more cheaply enough to be profitable, even if there were new lenses from the manufacturers. These cameras are like flathead V8's. There's lots and lots of them but nobody's gonna make new ones.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  7. #7

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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    When the professionals abandoned ship and went to digital, the markets were flooded with superb professional used lenses. It's still flooded. Prices you can get on ebay compared to what it would cost to produce new things would be about 10:1 or more. Meanwhile, no one can afford to make shutters any more cheaply enough to be profitable, even if there were new lenses from the manufacturers. These cameras are like flathead V8's. There's lots and lots of them but nobody's gonna make new ones.
    I like the flathead V-8 comparison
    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.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Never had a flathead V8, but did fix the fuel system on a Straight 8 Stutz Bearcat, which was a bit odd. Then I test drove it in busy Chicago.

    Everybody looked twice.

    Very much like this one, but an original survivor, same color. Under the hood looks familiar.

    40 years ago in an unheated alley carriage horse garage, from the 10's's very close to Charlie Chaplin's second Movie Studio.

    At one time Uptown was the big time.
    sin eater

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    With such an abundance of used lenses out there, often in superb condition at low pricing, there is simply no incentive to make more unless they're very specialized.

  10. #10
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: No One Making New Lenses?

    Damn Randy, I know what I want for Christmas!

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