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Thread: Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

  1. #1

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    Would just like to do a mini-survey amongst 7x17 shooters.

    What are your favorite focal lengths and why?

    I know this really gets into personal preference. Do some of you prefer to stay shorter, say 12" (or under?)? In this format I would guess 12" and under would be pretty typical.

    Steve Sherman recently told me he really liked the look of around 24" for example.

    What focal lengths for what kinds of subject material in 717 format do you prefer and why?


  2. #2
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    I'll start the answers, even if I don't shoot 7x17"!

    But I do use 12x16" - or 30x40cm, to be exact. And the only lens I have used with that (so far) is a 210mm Angulon. The old uncoated version of that has a 500mm image circle, which is just barely enough. With the "large-scale" landscapes here in western Norway it is just about the perfect focal length.

    Next time I plan to try a 480mm Aplanat, made around 1910.

  3. #3

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?


    I am not a 7x17 shooter yet, but am in the process of becoming one. So, keep that in mind as you read this post. I have shot a lot of 4x10, which has a similar aspect ratio. On 4x10, I use five lenses: 110mm; 150mm; 210mm; 300mm and 450mm. Of these, I use the 150mm the most followed closely by the 210mm, followed by the 110mm, the 300mm and the 450mm. If I had to restrict myself to two lenses, it would be the 150mm and 210mm. The 110mm feels VERY wide to me (which same people like). The 150mm feels comfortably wide and the 210mm feels "normal" (although it is technically shorter than the format diagonal of 265mm).

    The nice thing about my 4x10 experience is that it gives me a starting point for what focal lengths I might like on 7x17. To get 7x17 equivalent focal lengths, I simply multiplied my 4x10 focal lengths by a factor of 1.73 (ratio of the image diagonal of the two formats). Conversely, if there is a lens I am interested in for use on 7x17, I can divide by 1.73 to determine what the equivalent focal length would be in my familiar 4x10 format. Here's a table that shows the 7x17 equivalents to my stardard 4x10 lens kit, as well as the 4x10 equivalents for some focal lengths of some lenses that are capable of covering 7x17.

    I was able to pick up a 240mm Computar a while back with the specific intent of using it on 7x17. As shown in the table, on 7x17 this lens will be slightly wider than the 150mm that is my most used lens on 4x10. A lens in the 14"/355mm/360mm range would be equivalent to the 210mm that I consider my "normal" lens on 4x10. Thankfully, lenses in this focal length range that cover 7x17 are rather plentiful (by ULF standards). Some examples include the 14" Dagor, 355mm Symmar convertible, 355mm G Claron and the 360mm Fujinon A. As I already have the 450mm Fujinon C and the 600mm Fujinon C, they will be my long lenses on 7x17.

    As far as an ultrawide to equal my 110mm on 4x10, there aren't a lot of options. The old 183mm Series V Protar should over when stopped down, but illumination fall-off would be significant (I use the recommended center filter with my 110mm on 4x10). The 200mm Grandagon-N, 210mm Super Angulon and 210mm Super Symmar XL will all cover 7x17, but they are also big, heavy and expensive - and aren't really that much wider than the 240mm Computar I already have. I do have a 210mm Computar that I've used on 4x10. Some have reported that it will just hit the corners of 7x17, others have reported that it vignettes a bit. Once I finally get a camera and some holders, I'll give it a try.

    For now, my planned 7x17 focal lengths will be 240mm, 355/360mm, 450mm and 600mm. Based on my 4x10 experience, I expect the 240mm and 355/360mm to be my most used focal lengths.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    White Lake, Ontario.

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    Hi Robert;

    I use a 355 G-Claron (barrel), a 14" Commercial Ektar, but mainly a 480mm Apo Ronar on my 7x17 as this lenght is a good match most times for me. I would like to get a 600mm as well but nothing longer, I don't think. I also plan on installing my 165 Super Angulon to see what I get but I don't expect full coverage (?). I would also like to get a 250mm WF Ektar as my 240 Sironar will not cover the format. Having recently acquired the 7x17, many of my 8x10 lenses just don't cut it on the 7x17 so keep that in mind when/if shopping for two formats at the same time.

    As for subject matter, I shoot urban, rural and natural landscapes with the 7x17. I just really like the proportions of the format. Matches my vision much better than the 8x10 and I just wish I had bought one years ago.


  5. #5

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    I had a Fujinon 360A and a 355 G Claron and sold them. The Fujinon wasn't as sharp in the corners as I'd like and the G Claron was a fine focal length for 12x20, but seemed unnecessary for 7x17, because my preferred lens is the 305 G Claron.

    It comes in a Copal #1, and easily covers the format (when stopped down). There's plenty of room for movement, and it is a bit wider, making the lens a good overall 'first' lens for the format.

    Other than that, I have a 240 Apo Kyvytar (Computar/Kowa) and the 450 and 600 Fujinon C lenses. I also have the 210 Computar, but it offers no extra coverage, and is a bit less sharp in the corners than the 240, so I use that primarily on the 10x12.

    I use the 305 most, and depending on the subject, the 240 or 450 next. However, an interesting thing is that I may prefer shots made with the longer lenses more than the WA shots under most circumstances, so even though I use the 305 more, I generally am taken by shots made with the 450 and 600 more often than the other focal lengths. It makes me pull out the longer lenses more often.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    270mm and 450mm are most used. 305 next. 150 after that. You won't get past 450 on the F&S Bob.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Portland, OR

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    In 7x17 I like two lenses:

    - 355 GClaron This lens feels "normal" to me. I can't explain it, but I LOVE this focal length on the format. Yes, the shutter is quite large. But I figure if I'm hauling all that camera + tripod + film holders, what's a little more weight? I'm certainly not backpacking with this rig. That's what the gods gave us vans for - to help haul these kinds of wood/glass/leather contraptions about in.

    - 250 Wide Field Ektar This lens feels quite wide to me. So much so, that sometimes I think I should score a 270 GClaron. But, the Kodak optic is brilliant. I love it. See previous comments about my not caring if it's huge or not. It's huge. There's enough coverage to hit the corners easily. Use of rise/fall at your own peril.

    I tried a 305 GClaron. It's nice on the format. But I wasn't thrilled. I tried a Fuji f/6.7 250 W. I didn't quite cover the format (the corners were mechanically rounded off at f/45). I have yet to try a 183mm Protar Series V f/18 lenses. It_might_ cover, but I suspect there'd be loads of image border pulling. Though I'm just about ready to try the lens in tight close quarters (like in a cemetery somewhere).

    I have no use for longer focal lengths. I live and work in a city where vast vistas are far and few between. So there's little need for me to pull sections of a scene out with the use of a long optic. I suppose I could be tempted to try a Fuji 450 C f/12.5. I know this would work on the format. I had one that covered (just) 12x20 at f/45.

    I hope this helps.

  8. #8

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    Oops, I forgot to mention what I shoot - landscapes.

    Michael - I had a Fujinon 360A and a 355 G Claron and sold them. The Fujinon wasn't as sharp in the corners as I'd like

    I have a 360mm Fujinon A and was hoping to use it on 7x17. I have only used it on 4x5, 5x7, 4x10 and 8x10 so far - where it is superb. Did the corner sharpness improve at all when stopping down to f45 or smaller? My experience with the shorter Fujinon A series lenses is that once you hit the limits of their coverage sharpness drops off rapidly and stopping down further buys little if any additional coverage.

    With this in mind, I recently picked up a 355mm Symmar convertible. It's a beast of a lens (makes the 355mm G Claron look petite), but accoring to Sandy King it covers 12x20. It was also very affordable for a lens with this much coverage.

    In an ideal world, the 360mm Fujinon A would provided adaquate corner sharpness. It's so much smaller and ligter than the 355mm G Claron and especially the 355mm Symmar convertible. Plus, it's multicoated and comes in a Copal No. 1 shutter. A lens kit of 240mm Computar, 360mm Fujinon A, 450mm Fujinon C and 600mm Fujinon C would be quite compact and lightweight (525g, 475g, 285g and 590g - just a little over 4 lbs. total) for the format. All are in modern Copal shutters (Copal No. 3S for the 240mm Computar, Copal No. 1 for the 360mm FujinoA and 450mm Fujinon C and Copal No. 3 for the 600mm Fujinon C) and take filters of reasonable size (58mm, 58mm, 52mm and 67mm). All but the Computar are multicoated, and even the two in Copal No. 3 shutters have very small, compact rear elements which means they easily fit on small Linhof Technika style lens boards. I'll still give the 360mm Fujinon A a try, but may end but lugging around the big convertible Symmar instead if the Fuji can't provide acceptable performance in the corners.


  9. #9

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?


    It's been a while, but I had originally hoped the 360A would cover 12x20 and it did not. So, I got the 355 and it seemed to smoke the 360A in the corners, and it covered 12x20 with an inch or so to spare.

    On 7x17, the 360A was fine, and stopping it down certainly make it sharper, but I think the G Claron will outperform it in most cases, and probably with a larger aperture as well. I think, although I have never done a direct side-by-side, the 305 G Claron may outperform the 360A in corner sharpness when stopped down as well.

    You can certainly make the 360A work, you will simply have to deal with the standard issues of ULF shooters of 'how far is enough to make a sharp image', but this is no different than any other lens, really.

    I do carry my 7x17 in a pack, and I will leave the car behind for a full day with the camera at times, so the weight and bulk diffrence between the 305 and the 355 is important to me. If I didn't use that approach, I'd be attemplting to lug around a passle of #3 shutter lenses, and the added weight and bulk would just about tip the scales into the camera not being backpack portable, unless I were to leave some of the lenses at home. That's not a compromise I like to make.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2001

    Lens length preferences in 7x17 format?

    270mm Computar is my fave hands down, real sharp and just seems right for 7x17. 360mm Nikon WA process f9 my 2nd most used. The Nikon WA is wonderfully sharp and will cover 12x20 but very hard to find. I use a Zeiss Protarlinse conv.300/480/590 for creamy effect/tones w/portraits. Also a 250mm SF f5.6 Fuji soft wide open, sharpens right up as you stop down. I just got a Protar V 10x12 (210mm) that will cover 12x20 but haven't tested it out yet. I don't use my Computar 240mm much as it is kinda wide but I really could have used it the other day but left it home. I would love to use my Dallmeyer f3 343mm on the Wisner 7x17 but alas it is too big for the board. Another good lens is the Nikon 260mm f10 WA. The only problem is it only stops down to f32 but man is it sharp. The Nikon 450mm f9 gets used on 12x20 more than 7x17. Emile/

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