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Thread: My stupid lens question.

  1. #1

    My stupid lens question.

    I'm trying to get into 4x5 on the cheap ...I've done hours of research ... have learned a little ... but am unclear about a couple of things ...

    I've read "multiply your favourite 35mm lens by 3 and that's the focal length you need for 4x5"

    I use a 35mm as my "normal" lens ... so that seems to indicate a 105mm. But then this issue of coverage and movement comes up ...

    I was given a 100 3.5 Zeiss Tessar ... I see an e-bay auction that describes this as "rare" ... asking price $1300 US ... I assume this is a great lens.

    I've been told that this lens is useless for 4x5 ... no movements ... unsharp corners

    I want to do outdoor stuff ... probably want some movement

    I was planning on ditching this lens cheap ... last night I held the lens up to a too-large lensboard ... it seemed to fill the screen ...

    Should I just invest in a 0 board and use this as my WA ... if I do would a recessed board improve coverage and if so what mm board ... and any online source for retaining rings?

    Or should I sell it ... is it really $1300 ?

    I appreciate any feed back

    E. A. Smith
    Chaffeys Lock Ontario
    Canada

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Tessars tend to cover something like 50 degrees. Some less I think a few up to 55 degrees. Pulling out the calculator 55degrees equals 110mm of coverage.

    Lighting the ground glass is very different then coverage. Some lenses will light a much bigger circle. The problems is the corners will at best be fuzzy.

    The Fuji 105mm SW F/8 will give you plenty of coverage for up to 5x7. Used it can be fairly cheap.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Photo-Arsenal have auction prices at least triple what the item is worth.

  4. #4

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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    In 35mm terms a 35mm lens is a wide angle. A Tessar is not a wide angle ergo what you have could be useful if you decide to get a roll film back, but otherwise I'd recommend selling it. Could fetch 50 quid if in a reasonable shutter.

    If you want that wide angle look then you will have to fork out for a proper wide angle lens such as the 110mm Super Symmar XL or whatever (there are slightly cheaper alternatives!). More sensibly – as you are just starting out – something like a 135mm Xenar would give you a bit of room to manoeuvre, and leave you enough money to eat etc.


    Richard

  5. #5
    SF Bay Area 94303
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Since you are new to this game look for an old 135mm Symmar (silver rim) which will be convertable to 240 ish mm also, or a 120mm old Angulon (not super). Then go shoot pictures. After you take 50-100 pictures you will know what to get next. Just because you like a medium wide angle in 35 mm does not mean you will like it in 4X5 as the aspect ratios are different. You need play with the format first. 135mm Xenars were designed for press cameras with very little movement. Straight on they are fine, but no movement. Ignore the 110mm Super Symmar XL, cheap it is not. I suggest you do some reading. Steve Simmons book is good start. K

  6. #6

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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Have a look at the websites of both KEH Camera Brokers and Midwest Photo Exchange. Then pick a cheap lens in the range of 120 to 135mm. Buy used then you can trade for another focal length if you want, once you are used to LF. The links below are to KEH and Midwest, and to the lens chart on the front page of this site.

    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Categ...58&BC=LF&BCC=7

    http://www.mpex.com/InventoryList.as...206X9%20LENSES

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...s/LF4x5in.html

  7. #7
    Dave Karp
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Consider a 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon W (either the older single coated or the newer NW with EBC multicoating). A 105mm f/5.6 Fujinon NW will just cover 4x5. Larger more expensive lenses, like a 120mm f/8 Nikkor, 120mm f/8 Schneider Super Angulon, 125mm f/8 Fujinon, 115mm f/6.8 Rodenstock Grandagon-N, or 105mm f/8 Fujinon SW or SWD, will give you more movements and a darker image on the groundglass. I don't know what kind of camera you have so I don't know if it offers enough movements to take advantage of the larger more expensive lenses. Similarly, I don't know what sort of things you want to photograph.

    I second the recommendation of Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com). Call there and ask for Jim.

  8. #8

    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Thanks for all the suggestions ... but one thing confuses me ...

    If a 150mm is "normal" ... (50mm on 35 cameras) ... why is a 100mm not considered wide angle... its 30 percent shorter than the 150 ...

    Why are lenses of the same focal length often given different designations ... some 210s described as tele and others are not ...

    What makes a 105 Nikor a wide angle but a 100 Tessar ... which is shorter ... not wide angle?

    I've spent a lot of time on line trying to figure this out ... can someone steer me to a site that explains this?

    Thanks again

    E. A. Smith

  9. #9
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    A 105mm Nikon LF lens is "wide angle" because it's amount of coverage is wide enough to cover 4x5 corner to corner, and sharply. The Tessar is not "wide angle" because its coverage is smaller, and it was made for a smaller film format where it would be a "normal" lens, perhaps 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch.

    Similarly, the 100mm lens off a 35mm camera would have very small coverage, and certainly not be a 4x5 "wide angle".

    "Telephoto" is another issue altogether, and is a misunderstood concept by most photographers. It refers to lenses designed to have the angle of view of a long lens, but does not need the extreme bellows draw to focus. (In other words, a 600mm telephoto lens would give the same view as any other 600mm lens, but may only need 400mm of bellows to focus at infinity.)

    BTW, if you're on a tight budget, consider the 127mm Ektar and 135mm Optar; both nice coated older lenses. A good book on large format would help with some of the basic concepts. I'd recommend Steve Simmons' "Using the View Camera", and John Schaefer's "Ansel Adams Guide, Book One", which is a bit simpler but covers a wider range of photographic knowledge.

  10. #10
    Dave Karp
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    Re: My stupid lens question.

    Quote Originally Posted by e. a. smith View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions ... but one thing confuses me ...

    If a 150mm is "normal" ... (50mm on 35 cameras) ... why is a 100mm not considered wide angle... its 30 percent shorter than the 150 ...

    Why are lenses of the same focal length often given different designations ... some 210s described as tele and others are not ...

    What makes a 105 Nikor a wide angle but a 100 Tessar ... which is shorter ... not wide angle?

    I've spent a lot of time on line trying to figure this out ... can someone steer me to a site that explains this?

    Thanks again

    E. A. Smith
    These are toughies. As I am not a lens expert, there are probably others that can answer better than I am, but I will take a crack at providing my lay person's understanding.

    First, there are not too many LF lenses in the 100mm range out there. If we take several lenses that have around a 100mm focal length, it might help. Nikon made a 105mm f/5.6 Nikkor. That lens does not have a large enough image circle to cover a sheet of 4x5 film. It has an image circle of 155mm at f/16. Fuji makes a 105mm Fujinon CM-W that has an image circle of 174mm at f/22. It will cover a sheet of 4x5 with some movement. They used to make a 105mm f/5.6 Fujinon NW that will barely cover 4x5. So, 3 similar focal lengths, 3 different image circles. One covers easily, one barely, one does not cover. These lenses were not designed to cover 4x5 with lots of movement. They are excellent lenses for a MF view camera, and likely were designed for just that sort of application (especially the Nikkor). Its a matter of lens design.

    Other lenses were designed as wide angles for use with 4x5 or larger lenses. The 105 120mm and 125mm f/8 lenses mentioned in my prior post, plus the 115mm f/6.8 were designed for wide angle use on 4x5 and 5x7 cameras. The 120mm Nikkor will cover 8x10. These are much bigger lenses than the ones mentioned in the prior paragraph, and are much heavier. They also provide much more movement capability.

    The 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon W, or CM-W, or 120mm Schneider APO-Symmar-L are smaller, lighter, and offer much less movement than the lenses mentioned in the prior paragraph, but do cover 4x5 without much movement. On the other hand, they are smaller and lighter then the lenses in the prior paragraph. Again, its a matter of lens design. These are not "wide angle" designs, but the lenses do cover 4x5.

    Telephoto lenses are different than long focal lengths. Again it is a matter of lens design. A telephoto lens is constructed so it requires less bellows to focus a given focal length at infinity than would a standard lens design. In addition, the "pivot point" (not the correct term) is located out in front of the lens. So, when you tilt or swing the lens, the image will move, requiring recomposition on the groundglass. With a "standard" design lens, the "pivot point" will be near the center of the shutter. The image will not move nearly as much as it will when applying tilts or swings as happens with a telephoto. The greatest reason to use a telephoto is when you have a camera that does not have enough bellows extension capability to use the focal length you want to use.

    I hope this helps a bit.

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