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Thread: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

  1. #1

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    How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    I am new to large format, but am fairly experienced with medium format. I am considering getting into an 8X10 large format system. Probably with an adapter for 4X5 use also. I have questions on how to chose suitable lenses.

    I see there are a large selection of large format lenses available at very reasonable prices in eBay. However, it is not always easy to identify if a lens suited for 8X10 without vignetting or generally poor performance on the edge. For example I understand that a 360 mm focal length lens is pretty typical for a standard lens for the 8X10 format. Logic says I should be able to get something of roughly half that focal length for wide angle applications in the 8X10 format. There are 180 mm lenses labeled (by the seller) for 4X5 use. Some just say that they are for large format. Most do not publish the image circle diameter.

    So there is little information for me to use when choosing.

    So does anyone have any advice for picking and choosing lenses for the 8X10 format? Is there any published information that I can rely on before purchasing a 2nd hand lens?

  2. #2
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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    Use the charts at largeformatphotography.info as a good starting point.
    Keith Pitman

  3. #3

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    The home page of this very site may have the info you're looking for.
    While it is not an exhaustive list of lenses that cover 8x10, it should cover the newer ones: https://www.largeformatphotography.i.../LF8x10in.html
    There are certainly older lenses that aren't listed (i.e. those by Kodak, Wollensak, Goerz), and ones made by smaller manufacturers (Computar, Docter), but searching older posts on this very forum will often come up with an answer to "Will X cover 8x10?"

  4. #4

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    Feb 2019
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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    look for the listed image circle to be larger than 325mm. Keep in mind:

    - at 325mm you will have zero room for movements
    - you usually need to be stopped down to ƒ22 to get the listed image circle
    - if you focus closer than infinity you will get a bigger image circle than the listed amounts, so borderline lenses may cover if you focus closer.

    On a 35mm camera or a medium format camera, you can be pretty sure that if the lens has the correct mount, it has enough image circle (unless you buy digital era lenses for APS-C), but LF doesn't work that way since almost any lens can be mounted on almost any camera, so you need to do more deliberate research on each and every lens, and aside from focal length, you'll be constantly looking for a lenses image circle before buying.

  5. #5

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    159mm Wollensak f/9.5 is a great lens IMHO. not too huge and I've been happy with the results. Not huge. A tad dim, but has worked well for me

  6. #6

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    Thank you. The table was helpful.

  7. #7

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    Yes. That is good information. Unfortunately the sellers often list their lens as being for LARGE FORMAT, but don't bother giving an image circle. Actually I would be willing to tolerate a little vignetting on the corners. It is easy enough to crop out.

  8. #8

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    Thank you. The table helped. I will try the search query also.

  9. #9

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions

  10. #10

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    Re: How do I recognize lenses that will cover an 8X10 plate with no vignetting

    The table is good; but, it's focused on modern lenses. There are many other lenses known by reputation to cover 8x10 or larger formats.

    For example, a Fujinon 250mm f6.7 covers 8x10 with decent movement, even though the more recent Fuji 250mm f6.3 has a much smaller image circle. In fact, the f6.7 version sells for reasonable prices. A Kodak Wide Field Ektar 250mm lens will cover with even greater movements. Or, a 12" Dagor, f6.8 will cover with some, but limited movements. But, none of these lenses are listed in the table. Loosely, the longer the focal length, the more likely a lens will cover 8x10. For example, my Repro Claron 610mm lens has huge coverage. There are many other examples.

    If you have an interest in a particular focal length, you're in the right forum to ask.

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