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Thread: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

  1. #1

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    What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Because 4x5 is the largest format I am willing to carry around with me on a tripod and also because I really like the shallow DoF large format produces if shot wide open I was wondering, which lens has the biggest aperture and covers 4x5?

  2. #2
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Without any other considerations, such as shutter compatibility, age, coated or uncoated, focal length, etc., the following lenses come to mind:
    Aero-Ektar 7 f/2.5
    Schneider-Kreuznach Xenotar 150mm f/2.8
    Dallmeyer Pentac 8 f/2.9
    ....

  3. #3

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 covers 4x5 has really shallow depth of field

  4. #4

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Some projection lenses will also work - Heidosmat 150mm f/2.5, Buhl 200mm f/2.5. You'll have to figure out a shutter mechanism, though.

    Kumar

  5. #5
    Charles S
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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Focal length beats max aperture. Use a DOF app to do the calculations for several distances for the lens options that people will suggest here.
    Went through this exercise a couple of weeks ago for my speed graphic
    looked at the aero ektar and choose a teie-raptar 10"/250mm f/5.6 instead(the shutter version). The tele design of the lens reduces the bellows extension needed.
    Another option would have been a tele-xenar 360, but it was a lot more rxpensive

  6. #6

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Consider some lesser known brands that are out there and come up for auction every now and then. How they look physically is not all that important, as long as the glass is clean. Saw one go for little money cause the front rim had a huge dent in it, but the glass looked intact:
    150mm f/3.5 Dalllmeyer Dalmac
    150mm f/3.5 Hugo Meyer Triopln
    150mm f/3.5 Rodenstock Anastigmat
    150mm f/3.5 Steinheil Cassar
    150mm f/3.5 Voigtlander Color Skopar
    160mm f/3.5 Taylor Hobson Cooke
    165mm f/2.5 Cooke Anastigmat
    165mm f/2.9 Ross Xpress
    165mm f/2.7 Carl Zeiss Tessar
    165mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Buiteaasr
    175mm f/3.4 Aldas-Butcher Anastigmat
    175mm f/3.5 Ilex Seminat
    180mm f/3.1 Busch Glaukar
    180mm f/3.5 Carl Meyer
    180mm f/2.7 Ernemann Ernostar
    180mm f/3.5 Laack Double Anastigmat
    180mm f/3.5 Meyer Primotar
    180mm f/3.5 Carl Zeiss Triotar
    200mm f/3.5 Berthiot Stellor
    200mm f/2.9 Dallmeyer Pentac
    210mm f/3.5 Hugo Meyer Trioplan
    230mm f/3.5 Steinheil Cassar
    240mm f/3.5 Leitmeyer Sytar
    They all cover 4x5. Some even in a Betax No 5 or a studio shutter. Regrettably once passed up on acquiring a 200mm f/2.9 Noco which was British Military, had an iris, and was claimed to cover 5x7.

  7. #7

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    I am currently using a "fullframe" digital camera in combination with the fastest lens in consumer market, the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95. So for me to call a lens "super fast" it has to have a 35mm equivalent aperture below f/0.95.
    If we compare the diameter of the 4x5 format (153.7mm) to the one of 35mm film (43.3mm), 4x5 has a crop factor of 0.28. So the lens should have at least a maximum aperture of f/3.4 and focal length of 178mm to produce as shallow DoF as the Mitakon does on fullframe.
    I like to shoot wider than 50mm (to be honest, I don't really like the look of a 50mm lens on 35mm), so the focal length should be around ~140mm to ~100mm. To get most shallow DoF I will probably only consider lenses with a maximum aperture larger than f/3.2.

    Initially I only looked at 8x10 because this format has a really crazy crop factor of 0.14 with the potential of crazy shallow DoF. But cameras and film just get so much more expensive, and cameras become quite heavy.

    Thanks for all your lens recommendations, I will check which one fits onto my 4x5 camera of choice (Chamonix C45F-2).

  8. #8

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by dubiduck View Post
    I am currently using a "fullframe" digital camera in combination with the fastest lens in consumer market, the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95. So for me to call a lens "super fast" it has to have a 35mm equivalent aperture below f/0.95.
    If we compare the diameter of the 4x5 format (153.7mm) to the one of 35mm film (43.3mm), 4x5 has a crop factor of 0.28. So the lens should have at least a maximum aperture of f/3.4 and focal length of 178mm to produce as shallow DoF as the Mitakon does on fullframe.
    I like to shoot wider than 50mm (to be honest, I don't really like the look of a 50mm lens on 35mm), so the focal length should be around ~140mm to ~100mm. To get most shallow DoF I will probably only consider lenses with a maximum aperture larger than f/3.2.

    Initially I only looked at 8x10 because this format has a really crazy crop factor of 0.14 with the potential of crazy shallow DoF. But cameras and film just get so much more expensive, and cameras become quite heavy.

    Thanks for all your lens recommendations, I will check which one fits onto my 4x5 camera of choice (Chamonix C45F-2).
    Are you taking into consideration that 35mm produces a long, skinny image and 45 produces a short, squat image? 57 would produce an image cropping more like 35mm.

  9. #9

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Are you taking into consideration that 35mm produces a long, skinny image and 45 produces a short, squat image? 57 would produce an image cropping more like 35mm.
    You are absolutely right - I am not! Thanks

  10. #10

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    Re: What lens to get for most shallow depth of field on 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by dubiduck View Post
    I will check which one fits onto my 4x5 camera of choice (Chamonix C45F-2).
    Large fast lenses take large shutters. Betax No 5 and Ilex No 5 shutters are too large for your C45F-2. Holding a Copal 3 shutter next to a Chamonix lensboard from my 4x5 Chamonix and it should fit. A friend picked up a lens in an Ilex No 5 for his 4x5 Chamonix and ended up acquiring a used Sinar f in order to use the optic. Fast Buhl projection lenses can be had for little money. I have a 8.5” f/3.4 BUHL and a 229mm f/2.5 BUHL which easily cover 4x5. Unfortunately their Bokeh for the subject matter I shoot (which does not include portraits) just not my taste but may be fine for others. I have seen portraits made with Buhl projection lenses that looked stunning.
    Good luck

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