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Thread: 4x5 lenses

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2004

    4x5 lenses

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me some direction on a good all round 4x5 lense for wooden field camera. I take mostly landscapes (no interiors, etc). I'd like it to be very sharp & good contrast for chromes. Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    4x5 lenses

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me some direction on a good all round 4x5 lense for wooden field camera. I take mostly landscapes (no interiors, etc). I'd like it to be very sharp & good contrast for chromes. Any thoughts?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Stay with lenses made in the last 15 years. People will argue over Schneider, Rodenstock and Nikon but the differences are only apparent with very high magnification. Fuji has also has some pretty good lenses.

    What focal lengths are you looking for. If you are just getting started in large zformat there is some free info on our web page that might be helpful

    go to the section on Free Articles

    steve simmons

  3. #3
    Ted Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    New Hampshire

    4x5 lenses


    I think most will agre that there is very little difference between 'standard' focal length from any of the big 4 as long as yo stick to current/recent production as Steve already mentioned. Somewhere in the range of 135 mm tto 210 mm is the comfortable 'normal' range for many. I prefer to stay wider and the Rodenstock 135mm Sironar S is my choice when I want to go light withy one lens.

    OTOH if I had to choose just one lens for all seasons it would be the Schneider Super Symmer XL (pricy however). I'd recommend a 135 or 150 for your first lens.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    4x5 lenses

    "Stay with lenses made in the last 15 years." IMO that's bad advice. Replace "the last 15 years" with "since WW2" is a more reasonable suggestion for LF lenses.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    4x5 lenses

    Half of my lenses are from before WWII and are not coated. They produce outstanding results(Dagors and Heliars). The contrast is subtly different from multicoated lens, but that is no reason to avoid them - in fact, I sometimes prefer the look. There is no substitute for research about the qualities of individual lenses. There are many dogs to avoid from the past, but many gems as well. I suggest that Bob do some research, most of it available from information available in this website's article section, and from Chris Perez' giant lens test (as well as other sources).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    4x5 lenses


    World War II ended in 1945. There have been many advances in lens design, coating, and manufacturing technique just within the last 15 years. All of the major lens manufacturers have introduced new models (except for Nikon) since 1990. I recommend that Bob look for the latest designed lenses that will fit his budget. Start with a lens in the 135-180mm range. Then add longer and shorter (wide angle lenses) in the future.

  7. #7
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    4x5 lenses

    I agree with Bill - almost. Except for very special situations, a coated lens is far better than an uncoated one. The difference between single-coated and multicoated is an order of magnitude smaller.

    Any post-WWII lens that is coated; if Schneider, newer than 1970 when quality control seems to have improved a lot. That said, I have a very sharp 1924 Xenar 180mm/f:4.5, so you can be lucky.

    My first suggestion? A 150mm/f:5.6 Schneider Symmar "convertible". It's not the sharpest lens ever made, nor the one with the most coverage, nor the brightest. But it's a very decent all-round lens, available for a decent price, and you can even unscrew the front group and use it as a (fairly poor) 265mm/f:11. Most of my chromes were shot with this lens, and I have no complaints. They are not as magically sharp as those I've shot with APO-Lanthars (210mm and 150mm), but the price is about 1/10th of these.

    Buy a decent cheap lens first, then you can still afford a better one (in a different length) when you decide you need one.

  8. #8

    4x5 lenses

    A simple beginner question deserves a simple answer.

    Buy a used Nikon 135mm W or a Nikon 150mm W lens and you will be assured of one of the best combinations of performance and costs.


  9. #9
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    The Incredible Pacific Northwest

    4x5 lenses

    having just gone through this process a few months ago, i will relate my experiences.

    after much research, i bought the following lenses:

    150 Sironar S: Wonderful lens, contrasty and very sharp to the edges.

    240 Fujinon A: I love this lens - very compact, contrasty and sharp.

    i just ordered a 90 Grandagon... if it performs anything like the 150, i'll be very pleased.

    i don't speak with much authority, as these are the only lenses i've used. however, i can't imagine getting consoderably better results had i chosen other glass. there's a lot of good info at the following links:

    i will restate what others have said - choose any of the modern lenses out there and you won't go wrong. there's probably a larger drift in performance between individual samples of the same lens then across brands.

    whatever you choose, get out and enjoy it, scott

  10. #10

    4x5 lenses


    I suggest you look at what lens you use most in smaller formats. If you tend to go for wide angle landscapes (say 28mm in 135 format) then something like a 90mm f8 Super Angulon would be good. If you tend to use a 'standard' lens then a 150mm f5.6 Schneider Symmar-S would fit. (or the earlier Symmar and the current Apo-Symmar). Similarly a short tele lens of 70mm equates to the 210mm focal length. (Again the Symmar would do here). I have cited Schneider lenses but Rodenstock, Nikon and Fuji make equivalents which are all very good. Depending on your budget you can buy new examples or get older versions which tend to be progressively cheaper.

    good luck

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