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Thread: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

  1. #1

    Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Greetings all!

    I'm new to large format photography as well as this forum. I'm planning to get into LF, specifically shooting 5x7 as well as 6x17 with the appropriate back. I'm putting together my "dream" list of lenses and would love feedback/recommendations/advice. Here's what I have so far:

    Schneider Super Angulon XL 90/5.6 for my wide angle. May substitute with the 90/8 Nikkor SW.

    Dedicated macro - this one is tough, but I'm leaning towards a Rodenstock APO macro sironar-s 180/5.6. I prefer this over say the 210 due to less bellows extension required for 1:1 and above.

    "Normal" lens Fujinon A 240/9 - I know this may be a little long for a "normal" lens, but the results I've seen from this lens are just superb under many situations.
    The Rodenstock Sironar-S 150 would also be a contender for my "normal" lens, though it appears to be a bit more expensive than the fuji.

    Long-ish - Nikkor M 300/9

    I'd love to get thoughts and hear your experiences. I believe all of these will cover 5x7/6x17 well.

    Thanks in advance!

    David

  2. #2

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Donít forget that you may want a center filter for the 90. Nikon never made one.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Since you are new, you will have to figure out for yourself if you can focus and compose comfortably with your camera and f9 lenses. In my years of experience, a lens with focal length equal to the diagonal of the film format frequently provides the best compromises between coverage, weight and speed.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    As someone who has this exact "kit" - a Canham 5x7 MQC and Canham 6x17 rollfilm back, my favorite lenses to shoot with the 6x17 back are the 90mm SA, 180mm Fujinon-W, and 270mm G-Claron. On a few occasions I have shot with a 75mm Nikkor SW with pretty dramatic results.

  5. #5

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Initially shot with a 5x7 but knew I'd eventually switch to a whole plate camera when I lost access to a 5x7 enlarger, so had acquired lenses that were great for 5x7, but would eventually be used on a whole plate. Now use them on a whole plate Chamonix.

    90mm f/5.6 Schneider Super-Angulon XL: Covers whole plate with just the very slightest movements possible. Preferred it on my 5x7 initially, hard lens to use with a whole plate but is worth the effort. Have resisted acquiring Schneider's central gradated filter cause I don't shoot color.

    180mm f/5.6 FUJINON-W: Got rid of this optic when I switched to whole plate, just prefer a 210mm on whole plate

    210mm f/5.6 Nikkor W: Actually just covers 8x10, so allows for a good amount of lens movement. Prefer it over a 210mm f/9 G-Claron because it just gives me a brighter image on the GG.

    250mm f/6.7 Fujinon-W: loved it on my 5x7, not so much on whole plate. Resides on my 8x10

    355mm f/9 G-Claron: Great lens with more coverage than one could ever need.

    600mm f/12 Fujinon T: This one worked out great for 5x7, but on whole plate barely covers. Fuji was more than generous on its coverage specs. Loved it for portraits on 5x7. Can see selling this optic in the future.

  6. #6

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    I use a single lens set with both 4x5 and 5x7: Super Angulon 72XL, Super Symmar 110XL, 150 Sironar-S (for 4x5), 150 Sironar-W (for 5x7), 210 APO Symmar L, Fuji 240A, Nikon 300M, Fuji 450C. I haven't shot macro with 5x7, with 4x5 I previously used a 120 Nikon AM macro (which covers 5x7 at 1:1 per Nikon).

    When possible I like using f/5.6 aperture lenses due to the bright image they project onto the ground glass. For this reason I tend to prefer the 210 APO Symmar over the 240A whenever possible, the 240A is mostly used when traveling light (and as you note it is extremely sharp). A cautionary note on using a 150 Sironar-S on 5x7: it covers, but with very limited room for movements. The 150 Sironar-W (initially labeled by Rodenstock as simply the APO Sironar) offers significantly more usable coverage (more than what the rated image circle might suggest for many folks) and is still fairly small and light.

    90mm on 5x7 is definitely getting wide, you may find yourself wanting a center filter on some shots (I always use a CF with my 72mm on 5x7).

  7. #7

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Leppanen View Post
    I use a single lens set with both 4x5 and 5x7: Super Angulon 72XL, Super Symmar 110XL, 150 Sironar-S (for 4x5), 150 Sironar-W (for 5x7), 210 APO Symmar L, Fuji 240A, Nikon 300M, Fuji 450C. I haven't shot macro with 5x7, with 4x5 I previously used a 120 Nikon AM macro (which covers 5x7 at 1:1 per Nikon).

    When possible I like using f/5.6 aperture lenses due to the bright image they project onto the ground glass. For this reason I tend to prefer the 210 APO Symmar over the 240A whenever possible, the 240A is mostly used when traveling light (and as you note it is extremely sharp). A cautionary note on using a 150 Sironar-S on 5x7: it covers, but with very limited room for movements. The 150 Sironar-W (initially labeled by Rodenstock as simply the APO Sironar) offers significantly more usable coverage (more than what the rated image circle might suggest for many folks) and is still fairly small and light.

    90mm on 5x7 is definitely getting wide, you may find yourself wanting a center filter on some shots (I always use a CF with my 72mm on 5x7).
    There has never been a Sironar S or W.

    They are the Apo Sironar S and the Apo Sironar W.

    The Apo Sironarís name was changed to Apo Sironar W when the Apo Sironar N and the Apo Sironar S were introduced.

  8. #8
    Foamer
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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    You first need to decide what you want to photo and how. That dictates lens selection. Since I photo different things with 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 I use different lenses. For 4x5 I mostly use modern lenses like you are looking at. For 5x7 & 8x10 I mostly am using lenses from 1910 to 1930 as I like the ethereal look they give. When I shoot tin types/wet plate I mostly use period correct lenses (1850s-1860s), and occasionally something like a 1920s Heliar. That's the beauty of LF--you can use lenses (and processes) from any point in history.


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  9. #9
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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    FYI Schneider 90mm XL uses a 95mm filter, while the center filter will ratchet that up to 112mm - really big for filtration if you want/need that.

    Nikkor 90mm f/8 is just 67mm, and the Schneider center filter made for their 90/8 lenses will bring it up to 86mm - still big but not nearly as big.

    Whether you need the CF is up to you.

    Personally I would go for 72mm XL for the widest / largest lens for either format, and then the smaller Nikkor for your 90mm, though to be fair I use both the Nikkor and Schneider XL depending. Next lens up is up to you, there's just too many options. I've used and prefer a variety of 150mm lenses, usually a G-Claron for 5x7, and then all bets are off on the longer lenses since most will cover the formats. There's little reason to get a macro lens IMO unless you truly plan to dedicate a lot of materials to that kind of photography and will also be printing large enough to show the difference.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Lenses for new 5x7 / 6x17 kit

    Hello David,

    Been at this 5x7_13x18cm film endeavor since the later 1980's.. Curious as to where these Dream Lens choices came from. I've used the 90mm XL,
    APO Sironar series, the modern Macro lenses (Rodenstock, Nikkor, Schneider's M-componon), Nikor M series. All have their attributes yet they are all mere print making process tools, none of which alone can produce that "magical" print alone. As for "Superb" what image or print media was used to make the determination of "Superb"?

    This was previously written and posted else where, appears appropriate here as it related to the "Dream Lens" idea-belief where the Dream needs to meet reality of expressive print making.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Prime and most important question is, What kind of prints-images are your goals?
    The most common mistake for a first LF camera is deciding on the camera first only to discover the very real and serious limitations with their camera of choice. Order of importance should be:

    *Kind of images-prints to be made. This includes fully understanding the image perspective, compositions, subjects, lighting, subjects and the entire film to print process.

    *Lenses required to meet the print image requirements. Too often the lens needed to achieve the print image need is too large, too expensive, too difficult to find, problems with the shutter, problems with the lens elements due to previous owner abuse or physical incidents that resulted in serious damage, defective construction or poor materials that aged poorly causing optical problems.

    *Too often starting LF folks purchase the lowest weight field camera only to discover that low cost-light weight view camera does not have enough bellows draw, does not have enough camera extension, cannot compress close enough to use a wide angle lens properly and fully, lacks precision of alignment to produce a proper image across the entire film area. The current fashion are field cameras of the lowest weight possible. Know these cameras have SERIOUS limitations for a long list of print-image making demands and needs. They are not always the best choice for the real world demands of LF image making. They have their place, they are NOT the panacea to every LF image need. There is a place for monorail and field cameras depending on specific needs.

    *Camera support. Adding to the belief the lowest weight, most compact camera is the best comes the demand for the lowest weight tripod and tripod head. This results in an extremely rickety, unstable film image capture system that often produces much grief. Of the materials available for tripods, wood is often disregarded as old, fragile, un-precise and more. In the real world of camera supports, wood is a remarkable martial for tripods IF the proper choice of wood is chosen and properly designed and constructed.

    Fiberglass are second choice, third are composites they are OK, but IMO over priced for what they are. Aluminum is the last choice as they can get physically damaged easy. Once bent, they do not recover well at all. Galling or parts of an aluminum tripod can be nagging problems as locks and controls can stick to become stuck. Aluminum does not damp vibrations nearly as well as wood, fiberglass, or carbon composites. The Tripod head is as important as the tripod legs. The tripod head of choice MUST be absolutely stable once locked and have ease of precision and precise adjustments.

    *View camera accessories, light meter, dark cloth, focusing loupe, tape measure, filters (if needed), film holders in GOOD condition that do NOT leak light and the often lesser consider but most important outfit case to meet the needs of producing the print image goals.

    *Then comes the entire film processing and print making process.



    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by David Suchoff View Post
    Greetings all!

    I'm new to large format photography as well as this forum. I'm planning to get into LF, specifically shooting 5x7 as well as 6x17 with the appropriate back. I'm putting together my "dream" list of lenses and would love feedback/recommendations/advice. Here's what I have so far:

    Schneider Super Angulon XL 90/5.6 for my wide angle. May substitute with the 90/8 Nikkor SW.

    Dedicated macro - this one is tough, but I'm leaning towards a Rodenstock APO macro sironar-s 180/5.6. I prefer this over say the 210 due to less bellows extension required for 1:1 and above.

    "Normal" lens Fujinon A 240/9 - I know this may be a little long for a "normal" lens, but the results I've seen from this lens are just superb under many situations.
    The Rodenstock Sironar-S 150 would also be a contender for my "normal" lens, though it appears to be a bit more expensive than the fuji.

    Long-ish - Nikkor M 300/9

    I'd love to get thoughts and hear your experiences. I believe all of these will cover 5x7/6x17 well.

    Thanks in advance!

    David

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