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Thread: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

  1. #1

    Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    I don't have a 4x5 camera yet but I've seen some that I am interested in, some of which include a lens. My wish is to use it for landscape photography and I'm thinking that I'd probably want to use lenses 150mm and wider. I've looked at photos I'd like to have taken and very few indicate the lens used and I'm not so good that I can estimate that from the photo (or is this even possible). If I am to buy one that includes a lens, I'd like to know that it would be in the range of the images I'd like to take.

    The camera I'm considering is a Wista 45D. I'm not sure it will support a 58mm but likely it will support a 65mm at the wide end.

    What might you suggest, either as a first lens or a series of 2-3 lenses that might meet my needs?

  2. #2

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    I'd recommend starting with a 90mm and see how you like it.
    There are plenty around, so they're not too expensive. Superwides can get expensive.
    Schneider, Nikon, Rodenstock, Fuji...
    Be sure to get one in a working, modern shutter like a Copal.
    If possible, Try Before You Buy.

  3. #3
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    Completely agree.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    A 90mm would be a good bet, doubtful a 65mm lens will work in a 45D.

  5. #5

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    Okay, let me give you the standard spiel first:

    A 150mm lens is considered "normal" for 4x5 for a couple of reasons. First, it approximates (kind of) the angle of view of your eye, for most, that is. Second, it has enough coverage to allow generous movements (for architecture, etc.). And, it is small enough to be easily portable and not break the bank when purchasing filters. Many recommend this focal length for starting out.

    That said, I use my 150mm lens rarely, preferring the slightly wider 135mm. Since I enlarge my negatives and don't hesitate to crop my images, I can easily crop to that 150mm-lens view if I want, but also have the option of the slightly wider view. 135mm Plasmat lenses are small, light have enough coverage for moderate movements and fold up in some field cameras (like my Wista DX). The most common design, designated "W" by Nikkor and Fuji, Schneider has "Symmar" in the name, Rodenstock uses "Sironar."

    When you go wider, the next most common lens is a 90mm wide-angle design. In order to cover 4x5 with movements, the lens design results in a larger, heavier lens with larger front and rear elements and, hence, larger filter sizes. Look for the "SW" designation from Nikkor and Fuji, "Super Angulon" from Schneider and "Grandagon" from Rodenstock. The 90mm members of this design family usually come in two sizes the smaller around f/8 (Grandagons are f/6.8) and the larger f/5.6 (Grandagons are f/4.5). The largest lens I carry is a 90mm f/8 lens; the f/5.6 versions are just too bulky and heavy for me.

    90mm is really wide on 4x5, so I wouldn't recommend starting with anything wider. Usually I'd suggest you get a two-lens kit to start, something in the 135mm-150mm range and then a 90mm.

    If you need longer, then you'll have to make a decision about size/weight vs maximum aperture. The Plasmat "family" of lenses has lots of members, up to 360mm and longer. The longer the focal length, the larger and heavier they get. Some like the 210mm f5.6 Plasmat lenses for starting out, but they are too large for me. I like really compact lenses. Fujinon A series lenses are really compact, high-quality Plasmat lenses. The owe their small size to the smaller maximum aperture of f/9. the 180mm and 240mm members of this family are the most common (I own both and love them).

    Kerry Thalmann's website has a lot of info about lenses: http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/ . It's well worth checking out.

    FWIW, I carry a four-lens lightweight kit much of the time: 90mm f/8 SW Nikkor, a 135mm Nikkor W f/5.6 Plasmat, a 203mm f/7.7 Ektar (older, but very compact lens), and a 300mm Nikkor M f/9 (compact Tessar design) or a Fujinon A f/9 240mm.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  6. #6

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    Without breaking the bank, I would choose the following starter duo:

    105mm f/8 Fujinon SW or 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon
    180mm or 210mm f/5.6 Fujinon-W

    If acquiring only one lens then it would be a 150mm. In the mid 1970s I acquired and used an 8x10 with only one lens (equivalent to a 150mm on 4x5). For almost 10 years this was my complete LF "system". Shot hundreds of negatives with this combo.

  7. #7

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    I agree with Greg to at least get one lens on the camera and start shooting... Your new format probably has one sweet spot that works with the way you see a scene, and you may find it works perfectly for you most of the time... (Wides may seem too wide, and teles not long enough etc coming from other formats)... Then you can make an informed choice on how to expand your lens lineup...

    Don't buy everything at once, but your choices will be better if you wait to see how you evolve...

    Steve K

  8. #8

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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    Take a gander at what Roman Loranc does with a 210mm
    https://www.romanloranc.com/
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  9. #9

    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post

    90mm is really wide on 4x5 ...
    Ah, I didn't realize that it made such a difference on 4x5. This is good to know. I think then that I might start with a 150mm, as they can be relatively inexpensive and light and when I'm ready (and feel the need to), pickup a 90mm.

    Thanks everyone for your comments, this has been really enlightening.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lenses for landscape w 4x5 camera

    All depends on how you see and what you shoot...90mm is more or less a "normal" lens in my eye. I rarely use anything longer than 150mm, and some days I'll shoot an entire day with just a 47mm or 58mm lens. Just depends. Consider what you shoot on 35mm or 120 and those lenses. If you really like a 25mm on 35mm film or a 55mm on 6x7 for instance, a 90mm might be your perfect lens. A 150mm is like a 45mm on 35mm film or 90mm on 6x7.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

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