Fujinon-A 180mm f9 lens purchase

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by John Wiegerink, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Back in March of 2017 I started a thread asking about the Fujinon-A 240mm f9 lens and said I was going to watch out for one and snatch it if it came my way cheap enough. Well, no 240mm came my way, but the 180mm f9 "A" did. The price was so cheap I was floored. Yup, I snatched it. It has the writing on the outside the front lens barrel so I'm assuming it must be multi coated, but won't probably know until it gets here. I really didn't need this lens, but couldn't pass it up. Besides, I have two excellent Fuji 150mm's and can unload one of those and come out even. If the 180mm turns out to be a lens I really like then it will end up in my light travel 4x5 kit.. That kit will look like this...........4x5 Toyo field camera, 100mm f6.3 Wide Field Ektar, Fujinon-A 180mm f9 and a 203mm f7.7 Kodak Ektar. All three of these lenses together don't weigh as much as my 210mm f5.6 Symmar-S lens. This is only for light travel and landscape photography. I have other lenses that can do the job in different situations. Are there any tips or suggestions I should know before it gets here? Also, the serial number is 280045, which I think should put it around 1979-80. JohnW
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member
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    John, where did you find a Fujinon chronology?
     
  3. Peter Schrager

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    I use the fuji 180mm wide angle and it kicks ass .but dont tell anyone else. Used for 4x5 5x7 and whole plate
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Dan,
    I didn't find any Fujinon chronology other than their ads. I did however do some digging and searching online and could catch a glimpse of ser. no.'s from pictures. One fellow had one he said he bought new in 1980 or 81 with a ser. no. in the 282XXX. I found another with a ser. no. less than mine that was claimed to have been purchased on or slightly before 1978. That placed the one I have coming at around the 79-80 vintage. Of course none of the dates these folks mention is 100% verifiable, but I see no reason for them to lie. Truth is I'm not concerned with age only the end results on film and paper, but it would be nice to know for just out of curiosity. JohnW
     
  5. Steve Goldstein

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    John, I'm curious why you're planning to have both the 180mm Fujinon-A and 203mm Ektar in your kit as the focal lengths are very similar. Is there something in particular you're trying to achieve with one lens or the other?

    When I go lightweight (usually) I carry either a 180 Fujinon-A or a 200mm Nikkor-M, never both, in addition to a lightweight 300mm and 100mm WF Ektar.
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Steve,
    That's a very fair question and a very reasonable one. First, I have nothing longer than 210mm and both the 210mm Symmar-S and my Fuji 210mm f5.6 "L" lens are bigger than the tiny 203mm7.7 Ektar. Second, I just like the rendering of the old Ektar better. I suppose I could just take the Fuji 210mm "L" lens as its 4-element Tessar design renders nicely also, but it is bigger. The other question on your mind is probably why I don't have something in the 300mm-360mm range? I do, but what I have in that range is far to big. Yes, I have to find a compact of at least 250mm to 3
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Pete,
    I've read and have been told the 180mm and 240mm f9's have excellent coverage. I really want the 240mm f9 since I have an 8X10 camera and it's suppose to cover that, but no rush. Pete don't worry I won't tell anyone either. It'll just be our little secret. Shhhh!
     
  8. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member
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    FWIW, I do quite a bit of work in European cities, that are rather tight and have limited possibilities for camera set-up (traffic, etc., etc.). My "city kit" includes both the Fujinon A 180mm f/8 and the Fujinon L 210mm f/5.6 (in addition to the Fuji A 240mm, a WF Ektar 135mm and a Nikkor SW f/8 90mm). I find that, even though the focal lengths are close, I use both quite a bit to get the more exact framing I want. If I had to leave one at home, however, it would be the 210mm, since I can always crop the image from the 180mm a bit to get the same view as with a 210.

    My field kit has wider spacing: 90mm, 135mm, 203mm, 300mm (and sometimes a 240mm Fuji A if I don't mind the extra weight).

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    The Fuji A series is what they term Super-Plasmats, and they are. They're way better at very close range than general-purpose plasmats, but are also superb at infinity. Plus tiny size = portability. They're similar to Schneider G-Claron lenses but with the advantage of being multicoated, at least all the later ones (EBC). I have long used 180, 240, and 360 A's - the latter two on 8x10 as well as 4x5. But they're all plenty sharp enough for even small 6x9 cm roll film backs. Nikkor M's are also very crisp and compact, but with not the same degree of coverage per image circle, or enhanced macro performance, but with a tad more contrast due to less air/glass interfaces. There's nothing secret about Fuji A lenses; outdoor large format photographers have prized them for decades. Some, like the 360 or longer, are uncommon and can be quite expensive.
    The 180's and 240's are relatively abundant.
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Drew,
    There will be a portable long lens in the stable by summer. I'd love to be able to justify a Fuji A 360mm f9 or even the 360mm Nikkor, but for the amount of use and my scenery in Michigan I just can't do it. I'm thinking along the lines of the Fuji T 300mm f8 or T 400mm f8 would meet my modest needs. I know movements would be a pain in the butt with a tele, but I don't foresee using much of any movements at all in scenic shots. Plus, the bellows draw/extension is so small that it will work out fine with my Toyo Field camera. Oh, and one nice thing with the Fuji "T" tele's is the price is right in my ballpark. JohnW
     
  11. Steve Goldstein

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    If you're looking at 400mm, consider also the Congo 400mm f/8. Mine is branded Osaka but it's the same lens. The image circle is slightly smaller (200mm vs 220mm), which probably won't matter for 4x5 usage. The Congo's flange focal length is slightly shorter and it weighs almost 6oz less than the Fujinon-T 400mm. I've done some very unscientific comparison testing (I also own a Fujinon) and couldn't tell the difference, so I normally reach for the Osaka when I want to carry a 400mm.
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Steve,
    I'm not brand loyal like many folks unfortunately are and I'm willing to try something a little different. If said item does what I want and is less expensive(the Dutch heritage kicking in). I will certainly do some searching now and see what I can find. I really want to thank you for this tip and I'll let you know what I find. I just checked USPS tracking and my Fuji "A" 180mm will be here in about two hours. Kind of like Christmas eve all over again. JohnW
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 9:41 AM
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    UPDATED! The little bugger got here a couple hours ago and I just got a chance to check it all over. I have never held either the Fuji A 180mm or the 240mm and I'm now amazed at the size and weight. The lens really looks nice. With the naked eye I can see nothing negative, but when I hold it to a bright light and look through the rear, three or four supper tiny cleaning wisps show. This was in the description so came as no surprise. I just didn't think they were there because I couldn't see them by just looking at the front element. The Copal runs like clockwork and is very clean. Even came with the original Fujinon lens caps. All said, I couldn't be happier for $88.00 including shipping. The only sad part is that my Toyo field camera is north at my cottage at the moment. I just dug my monorail 4x5 out and will give this little guy (or gal) a tryout this weekend. I'll update my finding after the trial run. JohnW
     
  14. Alan Gales

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    As our Australian friends say, "No worries!". :smile:

    Congratulations on the nice lens!
     
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    John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member
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    Yes, I believe I have no worries at all with this one. I shot a couple of shots this weekend and will develop them tonight. All my scanning gear is at my cottage, but I do have an Epson Pro 1600 scanner in the basement that I'll dig out latter in the day. My two heavy tripods are north also so I used a "far to small" Bogen I had here. If I can get the scanner up and running I'll scan them. JohnW
     
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