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Thread: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweight

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    Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweight

    I've a Fujinon 400T which weighs a megaton. I hear the 450mm is light, small, etc. but also rare and frankly for backpacking looks likely to need an extension board for my Chamonix 45F-2... so the weight savings might be lost to a stick of wood and some bulk. Loving the 35mm film equivalent of a 135mm telephoto, I'm also trying to deal with the weight / bulk issue to get the package of gear down to max portability. Yes, I don't carry everything and am happy to split into packages... this isn't intended as a pack mule question so much as a lightweight telephoto question. I've got a Fujinon 240A, and I know a lot of folks jump next to the 300, but I went to the 400/450 as a natural for me.... only to ponder the 700 grams and how often am I taking this out?

    Related "DUH" question: Am I right in assuming that the Flange Focal Length measure tells me the extension between the front and rear standards for focus at infinity? Reading off the lens charts.... it "looks" that to be the circumstance. And if so, a Fujinon 600mm T has a shorter "draw" between the standards than the 450C. And of course this means the 300T is looking a lot more interesting from a practical backpack type of perspective.

    So I ask your guidance... besides "go back to your MF and 35mm and leave us alone. You want portable in a LF camera? Go to the gym, benchpress 600 in squats and man up!" Right. I mean as in absolutely. Only at my geezing age, finding the time to work someone else's body into shape to do that sort of thing is probably NOT happening. Thanks in advance for your contribution. Much appreciated.
    Last edited by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau; 3-Sep-2020 at 06:52. Reason: Paragraph spacing.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    For minimum size/weight: 350 Apo-Tele-Xenar in Copal 1. May take a while to find one, though.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    The 300mm Fujinon-T is not exactly a lightweight - the one I used to own weighed 484gm (compared to 632gm for the 400mm Fujinon-T and 285gm for the holy grail 450mm Fujinon-C). I sold it because a 300mm f/9 (Copal 1, non-tele) on a tophat lensboard weighed notably less and took a bit less space in my pack.

    Another telephoto lens to consider is the Congo (also sold under the Osaka label) 400mm f/8. My Osaka 400 weighs 482gm, basically the same as the 300mm Fujinon-T but it's a 400mm lens. It takes 67mm filters like your 400mm Fujinon-C. The Osaka's 236mm flange focal length (shutter mounting plane to film plane) is 16mm less than the 400mm Fujinon. It has a bit less coverage, one spec I saw long ago is 200mm image circle compared to 220mm for the Fujinon, but it's plenty for 4x5. I've never found the need for a tophat lensboard on my 4x5 Nagaoka, a flat lensboard is fine.

    The Congo/Osaka is less common out there than the Fujinon-T, but they do pop up on eBay occasionally.

    Oren posted about the Apo-Tele-Xenar while I was typing; that sure would be a sweet lens to have and I regret not buying one when they came out. I think you'll have better luck finding an affordable Congo/Osaka. It's NOT a telephoto design so you'll need at least ~350mm of bellows draw. The Chamonix specs I found online say 395mm, meaning you could focus a non-tele 350mm-360mm lens to around 3 meters distance without resorting to a top-hat board.
    Last edited by Steve Goldstein; 3-Sep-2020 at 12:12.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    You are correct, the distance from the front to rear standards equals the focal length of the lens (except for telephoto designs, as you know.) Therefore, the Fuji 450C will require 18" of bellows draw to focus at infinity. I'm not all that familiar with 4x5 Chamonix models, but you would probably need either an extension bed or a top hat on your camera to focus this lens even at infinity. All that said, I own a copy of this lens that I use on both 4x5 and 8x10 and it's a fantastic performer!

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    Thanks guys. This is helpful. So far, I think I'm going to just hit the gym and pack the Fuji 400T only when needed, but keep an eye peeled on some of the lighter bretheren. Some of these aren't cheap, and as a relatively new LF man, perhaps I've got to prove myself a bit more before stepping up to the $'s. Not a rush because the truth is there's only so much you can do, and my geared tripod head feels like it weighs more.
    Last edited by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau; 3-Sep-2020 at 11:52. Reason: more thinking

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    I've owned both lenses. If you're only ever going to shoot 4x5 (nothing larger) then the vast coverage of the 450C may go to waste. Telephoto lenses for Large Format enable the use of smaller, lighter cameras - where the savings in size and weight may be considerable.

    Also keep in mind that the difference in weight between one lens and another (or the bellows/extension required) becomes less significant when we consider the weight of a few film holders. Even changing from one dark cloth to another can save more weight than changing a lens.
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 3-Sep-2020 at 14:41.

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    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    The 450C is going to be significantly lighter and optically superior, apples to apples, even though the Fuiji 400T has a deservedly high reputation, and the 600T just slightly less so. However, the comparatively enormous image circle of the C design is capable of throwing a lot of superfluous light into a small bellows, so an effective lens shade is important. And if you end up using a tophat board, your lens nodal point is obviously going to be way out in front of the actual front standard axis just like with a telephoto. But the 450C is one of my favorite lenses 8x10 use, and also used quite often for 4x5. So the question I'd first try to solve in my head, if I were you, is whether or not you potentially plan to scale up to 8x10 in the future, in which case acquiring a 450C would make the most sense. If not, a tophat solution is hardly ideal because it creates extra leverage and vibration problems in a lightwt field cameras when the front standards aren't always rigid enough to handle that much extension torque well, especially out in the wind. Then there's the expense issue. Fuji T's are a bargain right now, while the C's are fetching a premium.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    Ken: Yes, exactly, and thank you for simplifying the problem: It's not the lenses.... it's all the other stuff. For now, can't say I'll pick up another larger size... as I'm having my hands full with just 4x5 and getting it under control. Different kettle of fish than the smaller formats, but I am enjoy both the challenge and the outings more... as they're engaging in a singular rather than multiplicity of ways. With smaller formats, you remember stumbling into a great scene and getting the image. With this LF stuff, I remember setting up, and then watching the light fill in to reveal the image. Nice! Yes, I could do that with any size film or digital camera, but the degree of effort involved tends to determine what sort of knot it works me into.


    But in terms of the lugging, let me say that I actually bought the geared Manfrotto tripod head you recommended on your site from KEH for a happy price (thank you for that btw)... and it is wonderful and a big step up in ease of use, but feels like 3 elephants in the sense that I now notice it. My tripod used to be big, now it added the feature of weight. I'll get this figured out eventually.... but it's not exactly the puzzle I thought I'd be spending my time on. I'd kind of thought all those other things like bellows factors, and the like. Maybe that comes next? Anyway, my last outting had a lot of camera movements for the first time... but I didn't take enough shots to justify throwing them in the tank to find out whether I inadvertently cropped my image.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    Anyway, my last outting had a lot of camera movements for the first time... but I didn't take enough shots to justify throwing them in the tank to find out whether I inadvertently cropped my image.
    If you don't mind a word of advice...don't overdue camera movements. Complex and/or large movements are rarely needed in LF outdoor photography and tend to mess things up. I've shot 4x5 and 8x10 for 40 years, mostly in the great outdoors, and the only movements I've ever employed are front/back tilt and front rise/fall. OK, to be totally honest, I know I've used swing movement a few times, but so occasional that I can't really remember.

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    Re: Fujinon C 450mm F/12 .5 (or another) to replace Fujinon T 400mm F/8 for Lightweig

    Alan:

    Thank you. Advice accepted. By a lot, I mean "yes I had some." I had front rise, and a very little forward tilt (down). It was easier to get the top of the tree so it wasn't cut off. As a short person (5 foot 8), raising the tripod would have been above my eyeballs. So far, I usually have almost zero movement. But this time, it was instructive to discover another way to "fix" the composition. New to this, I'm not trying to do much more than that and simply work it if I feel I have to. Maybe I need to go out and really really work the edges the way you do when you're learning to skate, but for now I'm more patient and content to let this stuff come me rather than work it that way.

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