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Thread: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

  1. #1

    Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Hi, I have a Chamonix 45 and also have a Sinar Multi Format Roll Film Back. I have lenses ranging from a Nikon 65mm f4, Super Angulon 90mm f8 all the way up to a Nikon 300mm f9. I like to shoot landscapes and architecture and was just wondering if anyone had any tips on lenses they find useful with the 6x9 and even 6x7 formats? I have also tried a 47mmXL on my camera but find both the 47mm and 65mm to be fairly fiddly with the Chamonix..

    Do these wider angle lenses need to be shot more wide open due to the smaller formats and also diffraction? I remember shooting a city night skyline with the 65mm on a 6x7 frame on the RollFilmBack and the results being noticeably soft, to the point of not really being able to use it.. Any suggestions for working apertures with this lens for both 67 and 69 formats? Would the same apply for the 47XL?

    Also, would using a 65mm with the 6x7 back on my Chamonix be roughly equivalent to using a 65mm lens on my Pentax 67? Apart from of course the ability for movements?

    Ok, thanks so much, any suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated!

    Best Regards


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Mandon, I shoot 2x3 with 2x3 Graphics and a 2x3 Cambo SC. My typical working apertures run from f/11 to f/22. Smaller than f/22, very rarely.

    With shortish lenses:

    80/6.3 WF Ektar, f/11 - f/22
    60/14 Perigraphe, f/16 - f/22
    47/5.6 SA, f/11 - f/22
    38/4.5 Biogon (doesn't cover 2x3), f/5.6 - f/11
    35/4.5 Apo Grandagon with center filter, f/8 - f/11

    Diffraction's effects depend on relative aperture (f/#), not on focal length. My choice of shooting apertures is based on image quality and depth of field. When I need to use selective focus I shoot longer lenses (100 mm up) as wide as f/5.6.

    6x7 is 6x7 is 6x7

    I have a lens diary, you can read it here:

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Indianapolis, Ind.

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Dan, How do you find the 80mm WF Ektar? I don't get much use out of my 6x9 view camera rig, a reducing back and Graflex roll film holder for my 4x5 Cambo. I have 65 and 100mm lenses, plus longer covering 4x5 & up. (I also have 47 & 90mm lenses on inflexible 6x9 cameras.) For my purposes, I know that I don't really need this intermediate focal length, but there is some appeal. The 80mm WF Ektars seem a bit uncommon. The 80mm convertible Symmars, even more so.

    Thanks - Alan

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Alan, I like my little 80/6.3 WF Ektar very much. Thing is, it really is f/6.3 to focus, f/11 and smaller to shoot. f/8 in a pinch, but ... Kodak said, IIRC, that it was good from wide open. Puffery, IMO.

    Afterthoughts: The f/6.5 Cooke Ser. VIIb and f/6.3 WW Aristostigmat are much like WF Ektars, but have more coverage. I b'lieve the WF Ektar has a field stop. Anyway, Cooke and Meyer lenses were made in 80 mm. Jim Galli likes Ser. VIIbs very much. I have one f/6.3 WW Aristostigmat, 100 mm in barrel and don't use it; not that its bad, but it makes no sense at all to use it as a normal lens for 2x3. IMO the WW Aristostigmats are considerably undervalued. If you come across as post-WWII coated 80/6.3 in shutter at the right price you ought to try it. Don't get either the Cooke or the Meyer in barrel, there's no guarantee that the cells will go in a standard shutter. My 100/6.3 Aristostigmat's cells won't, this really limits its usefulness and saleability.

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    I recently took at long mtn backpack in wild weather using a 6x9 Horseman back on
    my Ebony 4x5. I used very fine grained films like Efke R25 and Pan F. The lenses I chose were 300 Nikkor M, 180 Fuji A, and 125 Fuji W. I shot pretty much the same
    f/stops as with 4x5, typically around f/22, but sometimes f/16 with movements. The results were technically superlative. You have to be very careful with focus and to lock the focus and everything else before switching the backs; but otherwise, the results were noticably better than I typcially get with the P67 even at optimum apertures. The availabilty of movements is one of the big advantages. With true wide
    angle lenses relative to format you might have to be a bit more wary of diffraction.

  6. #6

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Hi, Thanks so much for your responses, much appreciated! I guess I need to shoot a little more with my 65mm to see if it was just a one off.. By what I can remember, I was shooting at f16 and the results were softer enough for me to consider not using it (on the 6x7 setting on the Sinar Zoom) . This was without any movements at all. I think I did the same with the 47mm XL. I realise that these lenses are not as sharp as the 90mm and above (something I can see in the groundglass) but i would have thought they would be more useable for this format..

    Any suggestions at what apertures to work at for optimum sharpness (without movements)? For both the Nikon 65mm and 47mmXL?

    Ok, thanks again.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    new york city

    Re: Lenses for a 6x9 back?

    Virtually all of my work is done with the 6x12 Format Roll film holders on a Cambo Wide DS . Quite often I would stop my 72mm Super Angulon XL to F 45 and then produce enlargements up to 40x60". I have yet to see evidence of reduced image quality from diffraction, and would certainly be disappointed for the loss of depth of field, but as the camera has no tilts, stopping down was way to maintain long depth of focus.As for the 47mm and 65mm Super Angulon lenses which I used previously on a Cambo Wide, I have had the same experience in stopping down to the smallest aperture....excellent, sharp results.

    In your case, you mentioned a night photograph... perhaps the camera was moving due to wind or other vibration which you might not have noticed. If you have
    a bubble level on your camera you can observe the bubble to see if the camera moves in the slightest. Because your camera has front tilt, you can increase depth of field without stopping all the way down. In summary- there is no different procedure required.

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