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Thread: Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

  1. #1

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    I am interested (for many reasons) on building a Aletta 4X5 from the kit they offer. They have everything I need except the lens/shutter. My price range is anything up to 250-300 (used). I would like a 90-150mm lens. I was wondering if the 105mm f4.5 Tominon Polaroid lens is any good. I have tried to get info from the provider but they won't respond yet, how do I know what the f-stops are? It says Copal shutter with the add. Where can I find a cable release for this? What are the shutter speeds for this? The provider didn't say what size shutter it is. If I buy this lens will I need any other things pertaining to the lens/shutter systems other than a lens board? Thanks so much. These are the last of my questions concerining equipment before I make the jump into LF. Thanks for any help!

  2. #2

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    The 101mm tominon comes in a Copal size 0 shutter, but will not cover a 4x5 negative. I'm not sure a 127 would, but a 135mm tominon or 135mm rodenstock ysaron/ysarex will cover 4x5, but little room for movements. The Ysaron/Ysarex uses a special glass and is supposed to be quite sharp. Watch out though because some of the Tominon 135's are actually enlarging lenses mounted on the front of a shutter rather than proper lens elements on the front and back of the shutter.

    Pay attention to the shutter the lens is mounted to. Many shutters will be lagging on the slow speeds. The prontors and copals used in polaroids are great shutters, but can still be off. Also some are not standard. Some have smaller-than-normal apertures (as in the 75mm Tominon), and some do not have apertures at all.

    Your best bet for an inexpensive 90mm (wide angle) lens to start with would be an Angulon. For a normal lens, around 150mm, you can find deals on Symmar convertables, Xenars, or Ektars.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Middletown, NJ - Land of the Living Dead

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    As has been mentioned, the 105mm Tominon won't cover 4X5 at infinity. Since this is your first 4X5, do yourself a BIG favor and spend the money on a lens in a modern, accurate shutter. 150mm to 165mm is a "normal" lens in 4X5. There are plenty of these available on the used market should you not have the green for a new one. I agree with Darin about the 90mm Angulon, it's a good "starter" wide angle. Most of them I've seen have been mounted in Synchro-Compur shutters (or Linhof badged Compurs).

    Don't jump at the first piece of glass you see on ePay - shop around a bit. KEH, B&H, and Adorama all have used (as well as new) gear and have excellent return policies if you're not happy with your purchase.

    Oh yes, welcome to the world of the big neg!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Darin is slightly mistaken about the Tominon lenses for the Polaroid MP-4 system. These lenses are easily recognized; they are in barrel, don't have serial numbers, and are threaded M40x0.75, i.e., #1 shutter, at the rear. They are all macro lenses intended to be used at magnifications above 1:1, i.e., with a small object in front of the lens and a larger image behind it. They are not enlarging lenses. Enlarging lenses are designed to work best with a small object behind the lens and a larger image in front of it.

    Polaroid describes the 135/4.5 as a "general purpose lens." I've shot mine at infinity on 2x3. The results at f/16 and f/22 were very disappointing, much much worse than shots of the same subject with a 101/4.7 Ektar. Cheap yes, cheerful no.



  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Ryan, in choosing a lens for a view camera, the first thing you want to consider is coverage. Your image circle needs to be larger than your film size or you can't use your movements. Your budget is quite adequate for a lens that will give you a good idea of what view camera advantages are. Your money, though, will go farther if your lens choice goes a little longer. Lenses that work at a wide angle commonly cost more than a longer lens with the same or larger image circle size. My first suggestion for a "budget" 4X5 lens is the f7.7 203mm Wollensak Raptar. It is a very versatile lens that usually costs much less than the excellent f7.7 Kodak Ektar which is similar in design. There are lots of good lenses in the 210 to 250mm range. Patience is your best asset in finding a realy good one within your budget range.

    Within the focal length range you mentioned, you might find a G-Claron that has been put into a shutter, or a convertible Symmar. In the 150mm length, these have a moderate amount of excess coverage.

    A visit to your local library could be very helpful. Look for "View Camera Technique" by Stroebel, "Using the View Camera" by Simmons or "A User's Guide to the View Camera" by Stone.

    If you look through the older threads and articles of this site, you'll find lots of helpful information, including links to other sites.

  6. #6

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Thank you all for such good advice. I am so excited about LF. It is so much more involved than 35mm. I don't remember getting this much help when I got into 35mm. Thanks again everyone!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    My first LF camera had a lens that was "too long," and I spent two years with it, wishing for more (wider) coverage so I could shoot groups, buildings, interiors, landscapes, and that sort of thing. I'd recommend that you start with a good 135mm lens in a modern shutter (Copal or Press-Compur). They're cheap, plentiful, and if you want less that what is on the negative you can always crop. Be sure that your shutter has a "press focus" feature, so you don't have to sit it to "T" every time you want to focus. Enjoy!
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Ryan, I am sure others would like to hear about your experience with the Aletta. Make sure to write back about your experiences.

    Get involved! -Darin

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Focal length choice is a very personal matter, having a great deal to do with what sort of photography the user spends the most time on. I'm happy that Bill has found a shorter lens to suit his needs. The relatively inexpensive 135mm lenses I know of, however, particularly those in modern shutters, have little or no reserve coverage. Without the ability to use the cameras movements, you can't really come to appreciate how the camera can help you make your pictures something more than can be accomplished with a small format camera.

    I don't know the Aletta. I assume it has at least some movement capability.

  10. #10

    Proper Lens for the Aletta 4X5.

    Thanks again,

    I will try to give some feedback and whatnot after I get the Aletta and a lens etc. Someday I would like to buy a Linof or Sinar. But I am in college, so maybe in ten years or so. I have been searching more for some lenses. Here are some that I have been interested in since I posted my question here.

    150/5.6 Caltar II-S

    135/4.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar, Compur shutter

    150/4.5 Schneider Xenar, Synchro-Compur (is Synchro-Compur the name of the shutter type?)

    150/5.6 convertible Symmar-S, Sinar DB shutter.

    Any thoughts? Any of them not work w/ 4X5? I am leaning more to the Scheider Xenar, but I don't know what Synchro Compur is, I am hoping it is a shutter if it is I am buying it asap!


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