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Thread: Which One Lens for Landscapes?

  1. #1

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    Of all your lenes, which lens has been responsible for more of your most success ful landscape images?


    If you were going on a long hike and wanted to minimize weight by bringing only one lens along, which one lens would you bring?


    If your initial budget allowed you to purchase a complete view camera outfit wit h only one lens for landscapes, which lens would you select as being the most ve rsatile?

    Please specify the format used / to be used in your answer.

  2. #2

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    In the 6cm x 9 cm format, I'd take the 75 mm f6.8 Grandagon, equivalent to about a 110mm in 4 x 5.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 1999

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    Without a doubt the 110mm XL on 4x5

  4. #4

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    270mm G-claron for 8x10.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 1999

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    For 4x5 ;

    First choice - a 90mm f/8 (e.g. Fuji or Nikkor)

    Second choice - a 300mm (e.g. Nikkor M f/9, Fuji C f/8.5)

    These account for about 90% of my photographs.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 1997

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    For 4X5: Schneider 110XL

  7. #7
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1997
    San Jose, CA

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    110 XL in 5x7

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    For 4x5 -- f:4.7/135mm Xenar.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?


    For 8x10, 240mm APO Sironar S.


  10. #10

    Which One Lens for Landscapes?

    Tough choice. Over the years, my most used focal length has been the 210mm, but ever since I got my 110mm Super Symmar XL it's been one of my all time favorite lenses. Given that, if I had to choose just ONE lens, I'd probably compromise and take something between these two. For me, that would be the 150mm APO Sironar-S. It's small, very sharp, less expensive than the 110 XL or a 210 APO Symmar or APO Sironar-S, and has good coverage for 4x5 landscape use. If you prefer something a little wider, the APO Sironar-S also comes in the 135mm focal length.

    So for me, one lens = 150mm APO Sironar-S

    two lenses = 110mm Super Symmar XL and 210mm APO Symmar (or APO Sironar-S).

    BTW, I cover these lenses (and several more) in much greater detail on my Future Classics page at:

    In answer to your second question, it would still probably be the 150mm APO Sironar-S. Although if you were serious about counting every ounce, the little 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W is absoutely tiny and weighs nearly 40% less than the 150mm APO Sironar-S (but in lenses this light that only amounts to a little over 3 oz. lighter - 140g vs. 230g). If I knew my destination called for a longer lens, I'd take the 240mm f9 Fujinon A. This is a wonderfully compact lens with big coverage that is great for both close-ups and distant landscapes. On a six day backpacking trip to Grand Gulch last October, I took three lenses (90mm f6.3 Congo, 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W and 240mm f9 Fujinon A). On that particular trip, the 240 A was by far my most used lens So it would be the ONE lens I'd take to that location. Still for general purpose use the 150mm would probably be a better choice (for me).

    I also have a Lightweight Lenses section on my large format site at:

    For your third question, I haven't gotten around to writing my section on Budget Lenses yet, but if I could only afford one lens, I'd probably go for a used, but multicoated 135mm or 150mm from one of the big 4 manufacturers. These are the cheapest new lenses on the market, and they are also plentiful on the used market, so the prices are usually quite reasonable. One of the prior generation, but still modern multicoated lenses (Symmar-S, Sironar-N or Fujinon W) should be available for a very reasonable price if you're patient. A friend of mine just picked up a 135mm f5.6 Fujinon W in very clean condition for $250 at a local camera shop. This is a reasonably modern (between 10 and 20 years old) multicoated lens in a good Copal shutter for two and a half bills - not bad. You may have to dig a while to duplicate this bargain, but you should have no trouble finding something of similar age and performance in the $300 - $350 range.

    All these answers assume 4x5 format.


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