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Thread: 11x14 Lens Options?

  1. #1

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    11x14 Lens Options?

    I have been working almost exclusively with my 4x5 Monorail for the last several months but this afternoon I pulled out my 11x14 Century and dusted it off. I am seriously thinking of doing some winter field photography during the upcoming year so I have decided that I want to work with my big camera. I have done this type of thing before but never with the big camera. So if I go forward with this it will be a 4-wheel drive, snow chains, long johns, mittens and Parkas for me once Christmas is behind us. I did this type of thing once before a few years back when I followed the California Trail across Nevada; but it wasn't Winter, and I wasn't working with large format that time.

    Right now I have a Wollensak 500mm Meniscus lens mounted with a Packard Shutter on the big camera but I want to go with a little different setup this year. Digging around in the drawer I found a 450mm Nikkor M and a Goerz Apo Artar 19 inch lens, both mounted in Copal #3 shutters. I haven't tested the shutters recently but they were pretty close to accurate the last time they were used, so I really don't expect any nasty surprises. They may need a little exercise to get back to normal but I need that myself so I don't consider that to be unusual.

    So I have a couple of questions for the knowledgeable out there. Which of these lenses should I consider for this upcoming project and what should I be thinking about in order to keep the camera working effectively out in cold weather. Though I am pretty experienced with winter, mountains and cold weather, I have never worked out in cold weather with a large format camera for any length of time before.

    Anyway, give me your thoughts and feel free to give me any advice you may think will be useful. I have about a month to put things together so I do need to get my behind in gear and get started.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  2. #2

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    Sounds like a great venture & adventure.

    But all your lenses are pretty much the same in terms of perspective -- normal. For scenery, I'd suggest considering at least a wide-angle, and at least a short tele.

    How about a 300mm and a 600mm? Is that an option?

  3. #3

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    Kodak wide field 250mm covers 11x14 without movement. Cooke XV and XVa also cover 11x14 with 3 focal lengths, 12.25, 19 and 25.5 inches. Nikon-M 450mm is a nice lens in normal focal length for 11x14, which I use the most.

  4. #4

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    That is an interesting thought. I do shoot the Cambo with a 90mm or 135mm occasionally. I have a few 300mm lenses but I honestly don't know which ones would cover 11x14. I will need to do a bit of research.

    The longest is that 500mm Meniscus I have been using lately.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    My main lens for the 11x14 is a Fuji W 360/6.3 -- not huge coverage at infinity, but sufficient for movements closed down below f16.

    I would use my Red Dot Artars (19" and 24") more if they were in shutters, but they are fine under the redwoods where the light is low. A little tougher out under the open skies.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6
    multi format
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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    I have been working almost exclusively with my 4x5 Monorail for the last several months but this afternoon I pulled out my 11x14 Century and dusted it off. I am seriously thinking of doing some winter field photography during the upcoming year so I have decided that I want to work with my big camera. I have done this type of thing before but never with the big camera. So if I go forward with this it will be a 4-wheel drive, snow chains, long johns, mittens and Parkas for me once Christmas is behind us. I did this type of thing once before a few years back when I followed the California Trail across Nevada; but it wasn't Winter, and I wasn't working with large format that time.

    Right now I have a Wollensak 500mm Meniscus lens mounted with a Packard Shutter on the big camera but I want to go with a little different setup this year. Digging around in the drawer I found a 450mm Nikkor M and a Goerz Apo Artar 19 inch lens, both mounted in Copal #3 shutters. I haven't tested the shutters recently but they were pretty close to accurate the last time they were used, so I really don't expect any nasty surprises. They may need a little exercise to get back to normal but I need that myself so I don't consider that to be unusual.

    So I have a couple of questions for the knowledgeable out there. Which of these lenses should I consider for this upcoming project and what should I be thinking about in order to keep the camera working effectively out in cold weather. Though I am pretty experienced with winter, mountains and cold weather, I have never worked out in cold weather with a large format camera for any length of time before.

    Anyway, give me your thoughts and feel free to give me any advice you may think will be useful. I have about a month to put things together so I do need to get my behind in gear and get started.
    if you can find out. look for a 13-20-25 wollensak triple it's a sleeper, beautiful and you will never be sorry ... ( it's in a betax so you know it is built like a brick sh*thouse ...)

    <added later> I just checked to see the other I was using ... sadly it's a cheep no name brass lens .. thought I'd have another name for you .. ( that might not be pricy )
    Last edited by jnantz; 6-Dec-2023 at 07:24.

  7. #7

    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    I recommend using a lens hood. It will help protect your lens from snow and other debris. It will also help reduce glare and improve contrast. pokedoku

  8. #8

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    Don't shoot much 11x14 these days...but when I do, I find that my 305mm G-Claron, as a moderate WA, covers wonderfully. Versatile in that it is fine at infinity out to the edges - and great for close subjects as I don't run out of bellows!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    My experiences with 11x14 lenses over the years:

    5.9” No. 5 Gray Periscope: Extreme WA. Tiny bit of movement is possible. Least used lens but there are times that it just works.
    200mm f/6.5 TAYLOR-HOBSON Cooke Series VIIB WIDE ANGLE ANASTIGMAT: Very WA with a little bit of movement possible. Extremely sharp over the whole 11x14 format. Love to use this optic.
    10 3/4" f/6.8 Goerz Dagor: Just got it back from SK Grimes (was put into a #3 Copal). I think that it will be my go to WA lens for this format
    355mm f/9 G-Claron: classic. IMO the best 11x14 lens to acquire. Fortunately prices on it are reasonable and not inflated to sky high.
    360 f/6.3 Nikkor W: Actually prefer it to the G-Claron. Really lights up the GG. Purchase price was too good to pass up on.
    508mm f/7 Caltar: My first 11x14 lens acquired back in the 1980s. Most used optic till I acquired the KangRinpoche
    600mm f/11.5 S KangRinpoche: Probably a third of the price of the FUJI when I bought it, and IMO just as sharp. My go to "long" lens for 11x14.

    My first 11x14 was a B&J Commercial View. I had serious problems with internal reflections off the bellows increasing the density of my negatives along their edges. Using a round lens hood or shading the lens with the dark slide of little help. Second 11x14 was an Improved Empire State which had the same problem but to a lesser degree. Present camera is a Chamonix. When using it in the wintertime with snow on the ground, I always use a Sinar Hood Mask 2 (533.21) with its four roller blinds in front of the lens. It eliminated any problem with internal reflections off the inside of the bellows, but then this most probably is not a problem with the Chamonix. A Sinar Hood Mask 1 (533.11) might also work. Using a bellows lens hood would be the absolute ideal solution, but after using and setting it up one time on a very cold windy day, never again... also nothing like having a second bellows to act as a second "sail" in the wind. I actually have had very few problems with my equipment when photographing in the dead of winter. Only major one that I can think of was the time when I left my equipment in the car overnight and the temperature plummeted to below zero. Next day by noon it was well above freezing, and when I went to use my equipment I was plagued with condensation problems.

    For me dressing in layers is an absolute must. Hiking in and breaking trail in a foot of snow is much different than essentially standing still while setting up the camera. I've always taken with me two plain water to hydrate when hiking in and out. Also a thermos of hot Constant Comment tea with plenty of honey in it to sip on when I stopped to set up my camera.

    good luck

  10. #10

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    Re: 11x14 Lens Options?

    Wow. Lots of info. Thanks everyone.

    I am still digging into the old lens stash but right now I am looking at an Ilex Paragon Anastigmat 12 inch f6.3 in an old Ilex Acme #4 shutter and a Goerz Dagor 12 inch f6.8 in a nice Ilex No 4 Acme Synchro that was serviced by Carol Flutot a few years ago. I have no idea when or if the older No 4 Acme was serviced but it was being used right up to when I had surgery a little over two years ago. I suspect that old shutter will keep ticking for awhile yet. Besides, if all else fails I can always fall back on that old Packard.

    And thanks a lot for your cold weather advice as well. Shit happens no matter how experienced we are so it never hurts to make sure you have the necessary equipment.
    Last edited by AuditorOne; 29-Nov-2023 at 17:49. Reason: add information
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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