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Thread: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

  1. #11

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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Kerry Thalmann was our resident expert in lightweight LFP kit, especially for hiking. He's still keeping his old website up, but it hasn't been updated in quite a while (a couple of decades?). That said, there's no real reason to update it -- nothing has changed. No one is designing or making new lenses. What's available new is just stock that was made years ago.

    I bought most of my kit, most of my lenses, based on Kerry's work. I'm grateful that he published it, and sad that he's no longer active on this site. His was a valuable voice of reason.
    Except he never tested many lenses that were current while he was doing his “tests”.

  2. #12

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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    If you’re only carrying 1 lens, almost any will do just fine and you won’t notice the weight difference.
    In that focal range you can pick any in this list and it will do fine:

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...s/LF4x5in.html

    You can decide how many more grams you can allow to gain a bit more coverage for movements.

  3. #13

    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Kerry Thalmann was our resident expert in lightweight LFP kit, especially for hiking. He's still keeping his old website up, but it hasn't been updated in quite a while (a couple of decades?). That said, there's no real reason to update it -- nothing has changed. No one is designing or making new lenses. What's available new is just stock that was made years ago.

    I bought most of my kit, most of my lenses, based on Kerry's work. I'm grateful that he published it, and sad that he's no longer active on this site. His was a valuable voice of reason.
    Top info. Thank you.

  4. #14
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi7475 View Post
    If you’re only carrying 1 lens, almost any will do just fine and you won’t notice the weight difference.
    ...
    I went the other way Kerry suggested -- just one lens (Caltar IIN 150/5.6) with 4x5 for 8 years or so. The shutter is a big hit in weight -- so anything in a Copal 0 (like my Caltar) will be on the lighter side.

    I suppose a casket set and one shutter would give one the range minus the weight. I have a casket set that is set-up for Speed/Crown Graphics, but 4x5 does not see much use right now. I am not a big fan of having a bunch of exposed glass elements and a naked shutter out in the field. Between wind and dust and my clumsy fingers, I'd probably end up lens-less 4 days out.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #15
    (Shrek)
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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    The condition of the individual lens you use will matter more than the name on the front. One of the best lenses I've ever used was a Xenar 135/4.7, which I regrettably sold for a more modern Symmar-S 150/5.6. The Symmar is an ok lens and I've never bothered replacing it, but that Xenar i sold was outstanding. Since these lenses are cheap and plentiful, I suggest you try out 2 or 3 different ones and pick the one that produces the images you find most pleasing.

  6. #16
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Are you taking a lightweight tripod?

  7. #17

    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Are you taking a lightweight tripod?
    Yes I believe a lightweight tripod is an essential bit of kit. Reducing the weight of my rucksack prevents blisters on my feet and aches and pains from the straps. I am talking about 3-4 day hikes over mountains.

  8. #18

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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I went the other way Kerry suggested -- just one lens (Caltar IIN 150/5.6) with 4x5 for 8 years or so. The shutter is a big hit in weight -- so anything in a Copal 0 (like my Caltar) will be on the lighter side.
    I quite agree. If it is only a single lens I would either use the Rodenstock Geronar 6.3/150 (Caltar) or the Schneider-Kreuznach G-Claron 9/150. The first one is very well coated, which improves contrast, even if the corners are blurred at open aperture, because there are only 3 elements in 3 groups. The second one is very sharp also in the corners, because it has 6 elements in 4 groups, but it has "only" single coating - this is only problematic with backlighting, and there you have to use a sun shade anyway. - Two lenses are not necessarily heavier than one, just compare a Symmar 150 in Copal 1 with two Fujinon W 5.6/125 and A 9/180, filter thread 46mm, Copal 0.

    You want to travel lightweight? What is the weight of your darkcloth? Do you have the Chamonix leather wrap? What filmholders - Grafmatics, standard 4x5 holders, how many of them? What is the weight of your lightmeter? The backpack weight? The tripod? The heaviest accessory is a film holder with a blurred image in it.

    There are many options to travel lightweight. The abandonment of optical possibilities is counterproductive, IMHO. Just think how much volume a 125mm lens gives to objects or how much structure is accentuated with a 180 or a 210. Some lenses can serve to both landscapes and macros, e.g. Fujinon A 9/180, G-Glaron 9/210.

    Tschau zäme

  9. #19

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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    Generally, Nikon has quite compact and lightweight lenses. I even have a very short 300mm which fits in the Chamonix canvas little bag (that comes with the camera) alongside the film holders.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails E7811EE3-B922-4A87-89EE-8D95B466DE70.jpg  

  10. #20

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    Re: What small lightweight lens for 4x5 backpacking?

    As Martin has mentioned, all the major LF lens manufactures made compact lenses in the 120 - 150mm range, most weigh 200 - 300 grams. If you only want to carry one lens you could consider splitting the difference and getting a 135mm.

    The Rodenstock APO Sironar Ns are amongst the lightest, most compact lenses in that focal length range. The Fujinon NW lenses are also quite light, multicoated and have a sensible 52mm front filter thread compared to the later CM-W design which is 67mm.

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