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Thread: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

  1. #1

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    135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    I'm planning on buying my first lens for my first large format camera system and I need some of your input. I will be using a 4x5 monorail view, probably a Horseman LE, and plan on shooting mostly landscapes and architecture. I eventually plan on buying a 90mm lens also, but first things first, I want a "normal" lens at the outset. I am leaning toward either the 135mm or 150mm Rodenstock Apo Sironar S.

    So, tell me in your opinion, why or why not I should get one lens length or the other. I really can't decide and need some persuading. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    150mm--it will give you better spacing from the 90mm you plan to get in the future, and you will have more image circle to learn to use the movements of a view camera, which makes it a good first lens.

  3. #3

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    Well I would make it breaf - if you would comare to 35mm format the focal lenghts you've mentioned would be something like 39 and 43 mm. It's more a matter of taste and of coverage.

  4. #4

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    This is subjective decision and there is not a great difference between these focal lengths. That said, I would opt for the 150. More coverage, and it works well as a single lens kit, or part of a three lens kit, such as 90, 150 and either 210 or 240.
    Last edited by Ron Marshall; 18-Aug-2006 at 05:25.

  5. #5
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    My favourite lens is my Rodenstock Apo-Sironar 135mm. I've always liked the 135mm over the 150mm, in any lens brand I have used. I found it an easy format to learn with.

    I suspect this debate will take on something of a "Ford vs Chevy" tone after a few more messages, there will be no one right answer, just what you tend up liking best.

    joe
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

  6. #6

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    Whichever turns up cheaper on eBay

  7. #7

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    My inteests are similar to yours. I have the Rodenstock f/5.6 150 mm Apo Sironar-S. I am very happy with it and generally prefer it for architecture if I can get far enough back from the subject. Unfortunately, often that is not possible. (A 135 mm lens would not be much better in this respect.) When I started I also got a 90 mm lens and the two lenses together still account for most of what I do.

    One thing you should do is to construct a cardboard viewing frame with a 4 x 5 inch opening. (Actually it would be better if it were 96 x 120 mm, closer to the actual format size.) Tie a piece of cord to it and place knots at the focal lengths you are considering. To use the frame, put the knot at your eye and view through the frame. Try this with typical scenes you think you might photograph. That will give you some idea of what to expect.

    You can enhance the usefulness of the frame by putting appropriate marks along each edge. Put one mark at the center, and then add marks above and below it indicating the maximum rise or fall your camera allows. When using the frame, start with your horizontal line of sight passing through the center, and then raise or lower it within the limits marked.

  8. #8
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    Having used both 135mm and 150mm for (4x5", 9x12cm and 6x12 RF-back) I do not think there is much differences between the two.

    It really depends on which other lenses you plan to have in your kit. You mention a 90mm...do you plan to get a larger lens too?

    OTOH, you might start to suffer from the infamous 'can-not-resist-to-buy-that-lens'-syndrom which means you suddenly have many more lenses than you ever planned ;-)

    Since I started shooting more 4x5" over 9x12cm I tend to use the 150mm more often than the 135mm since it supports slightly more movements.

  9. #9
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    Either lens would be good as a "starter" lens for your kit. But, as mentioned, the choice is really very subjective. Which focal length would be better for you, personally, is a matter of how you "see" things, and that often changes with different formats. The technical issues of coverage, etc. can play a role, but probably a secondary one.

    If you are unsure, try walking around with a framing aid for a couple of days, composing "air" photographs to see which focal length seems to pop up more frequently for you. If you are unfamiliar with framing aids, the knots are tied at the focal-length distance from the framing card, and held the the cheek below the eye. You see what the film would when using that focal length.

  10. #10

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    Re: 135mm or 150mm - Help persuade me

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonard Evens
    One thing you should do is to construct a cardboard viewing frame with a 4 x 5 inch opening.
    A 3 x 3.75 opening is the same aspect ratio as 4 x 5. Makes the frame smaller and easier to pocket.

    Dave

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