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Thread: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2021

    Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    Good evening. I am new to large format photography and recently bought a Tachihara 4x5 field camera. I would appreciate the help on what range of focal lengths will work with this camera to help me narrow my search for my first lens or two.

    I am a newer member and unable to access the buy/sell section of the forum but would greatly enjoy any feedback that is willing to be given.

    Thank you in advance.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    Look for lenses in good shutters in the 150mm-210mm range. If you want a wider view go to 90mm.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    Hmm. Pick the focal length you want and then look for a lens with that focal length and enough coverage. In post #2 above, Jim Noel suggested some focal lengths that are commonly used on 4x5. Thing is, not all lenses with those focal lengths will cover 4x5.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    I had a 4x5 Tachihara for ten years. I successfully used 90mm lenses (wide angle) and a 300/9 Nikkor-M (long). Mr. Noel's advice above is good.

  5. #5
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    If you go with a bag bellows and/or recessed lensboard, you can use an even shorter focal length with movements. If you use a telephoto lens, you can use a longer lens than the standard bellows will allow. But I agree with Dan, let your vision decide your focal lengths.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #6
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    There are lenses that range from 47mm up to 300mm, 600mm and beyond that cover 4x5.
    Some of those lenses will offer more movements on 4x5 because they make a larger image circle when light goes through them.
    What Jim said is good advice. Start simple, with a normal, long or wide lens.
    This page is for 4x5 lenses: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...s/LF4x5in.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    There is a pretty steep learning curve involved with using large format, with all kinds of specific terminology. This website contains a huge amount of good information on it an dyou might want to read the introduction to large format lenses to get a good idea about what you might need: Jims advise is good: almost any lens in the focal lengts between 150mm and 210mm with a large enough image circle and a properly working shutter will do.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5


    "Focal lengths with movements" is a bit ambiguous. Are you looking for lenses with a large enough image circle and a long enough focal length to take full advantage of all the movements possible on your camera?

    Or are you looking for lenses that will allow you to use movements without running into limitations from crimped bellows, etc.?

    These are two different, but related problems. Field cameras like the Tachihara often won't allow much in the way of movements with shorter focal length lenses (e.g., 90mm and shorter) even if they have a large image circle. The compressed bellows restricts the available movements. This can be ameliorated in a couple of ways (if shorter focal lengths are what you're looking to use with lots of movements). First, as mentioned already, is to get a bag bellows or a "universal"-type bellows (that has a combination of pleated and bag bellows) to reduce the bellows crimping. Second is to use a recessed lensboard so that you are working with more bellows extension to begin with. Both of these things together works very well for me.

    However, if you are just trying to find out which lenses have large enough image circles to allow movements, here are a few general observations:

    First, most lenses intended for use with 4x5 format of 150mm or longer will have an image circle generous enough to allow movements. Yes, as Dan mentions above, there are lenses in these focal lengths that won't even cover 4x5, but as long as you look for Plasmats (a lens design) from the "big four" manufacturers, you'll be fine. These are designated: Schneider Symmar (or any variant of that, e.g., Apo-Symmar), Rodenstock Sironar (or variations thereof, e.g., Apo-Sironar S), Nikkor W and Fujinon W (the "W" means "wide" as in larger image circle).

    Plasmat lenses in the 125-135mm range allow some movements; usually more than adequate for landscape, but often not enough for architectural work where lots of front rise is needed.

    Shorter lenses 90mm and shorter need to be designed to cast an even larger image circle to offer much in the way of movements. These lenses are larger and have the designation "SW" (super-wide) or "Super Angulon" from Schneider or "Grandagon" from Rodenstock (or variations thereof). 90mm examples of these kinds of lenses often have very generous image circles. However, as the focal length gets shorter, the image circle shrinks. A 75mm lens of this design allows only a little movement; a 65mm usually covers 4x5 barely, with little in the way of movement available.

    There are numerous other specialty lens designs as well. There are online resources (this forum's home page for one) with lots of information about lenses and their coverage. I recommend you seek those out and familiarize yourself with them.

    Hope this helps,


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Purcellville, VA

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    One thing I don't think anyone has referenced, is that the 4x5 Tachihara does not feature interchngeable bellows, as far as I know. Mark, above, said he successfully used a 90 on a Tachihara; as you may realize, both back and from standards can be move toward each other for shorter focal lengths (I move my back forward when I mount my 135). I have not used a universal bellows, but a regular bag bellows, in my experience with a monorail, would not generally be adequate for a 210, at least at shorter subject distances.

    If you do replace the bellows, it will, I believe, require ungluing the current ones and mounting the new, something you may be comfortable doing; I would not (I'm not a woodworker) and would have to send it out. Folks here can help you with advice on that if needed.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Sunshine State

    Re: Focal Lengths with movements for Tachihara 4x5

    I have a Tachihara 4x5 camera too. The camera bellows is not removable. I have used the lenses from 47mm XL to telephoto 400mm. I prefer to have light weight lenses for this camera. For general use, 1st choice is a 150mm lens, 2nd choice is a 90mm lens.

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