Preferred 1st lens choice for 4x5

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Chuck_P

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I am thinking that I want my first lens to be somewhat less than what's considered "normal" for the 4x5 format......so I guess something less than 150 or 160 focal length. So if you can only start out with one lens, which would you prefer first?

I have purchased a Canham DLC 4x5, just the camera body.
 

woodlandSerenade

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I'll play the contrarian here and suggest a 135mm lens. It pairs great with a 90mm and 210mm for a three-lens landscape kit.
 

rcphoto

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150 is normal. I prefer things a little wide though and usually used a 135
 

Sirius Glass

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135mm for a hand held press camera and around 150mm is good for view or field cameras.
 

GregY

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My most used lens is my Dagor 210........ so when i drop down to 150...that's a wider view for me & if i were to choose one lens only to use...that's what it would be....in that it is versatile. I guess it would also depend on your typical subject matter/ working distance....et al. I'll admit that 90/135/210 is a common generic trio... my combo is 4 3/8" Dagor (110), 150, 210. I know Gary Nylander, could do a life's work with only his 120mm.
 

Steven Lee

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My most commonly used focal length for 6x6 is 60mm, for 35mm is 35mm so I naturally went with the 135mm lens as my first 4x5 lens. This happened just recently, I am a LF beginner. I am not disappointed with this choice, and part of me thinks that large format is less sensitive to minor focal length differences because "zooming on your feet" feels more natural for larger formats, when you must invest a lot of time into each image anyway.

The complete system for me will be a 90-135-210mm kit.
 

ic-racer

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I have ten lenses for 4x5 and 8x10 but, looking back, many of my best prints were taken with 150mm and 300mm respectively.
 

abruzzi

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to me the 150mm on 4x5 feels a little wider than 50mm on 35mm (never actually tested, just a feeling.) It may be partially that the longer short dimension fools me a bit. (though 4x5s diagonal is 162mm--longer than the "standard lens", while 35mm's diagonal is 43mm--shorter than the standard lens) 180mm is probably closer in feel to a 50mm on 35. That said, the next common step down is 135 that people have mentioned. There are modern plasmats in that FL, and also a lot of older tessars and other types at 135.
 

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For your "first" normal lens, your typical choices are 135, 150, and 180. These are all readily available.

135 gives you a slightly wider field of view, but you need to be careful about your choice of lens type. The Tessar type lenses that you commonly see on Graphics, and other press cameras, will just barely cover 4x5, and you won't be able to use movements. If you prefer the 135mm focal length, then look for a Symmar, Sironar, Nikkor W, or fuji W lens that has enough covering power to enable movements.
 
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Chuck_P

Chuck_P

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For your "first" normal lens, your typical choices are 135, 150, and 180. These are all readily available.

135 gives you a slightly wider field of view, but you need to be careful about your choice of lens type. The Tessar type lenses that you commonly see on Graphics, and other press cameras, will just barely cover 4x5, and you won't be able to use movements. If you prefer the 135mm focal length, then look for a Symmar, Sironar, Nikkor W, or fuji W lens that has enough covering power to enable movements.

Thank you for that info. I'm leaning 135 and I will keep those designations in mind. The equivalent chart that I am looking at says the 4x5 135 is equivalent to 40mm in small format and in that format I always found myself backing off the 50mm mark for a bit wider perspective.
 

xkaes

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Like you, I prefer a slightly wider "standard" lens. And while my standard is 150mm, you probably will be happy with a 135mm they are typically much smaller and lighter than a 150mm -- with a smaller IC, but plenty for 4x5". One thing to consider is that a 135mm will give you a wider result -- which you can always crop a little.

Another thing is that while there are tons of 150mm lenses to choose from, there are a lot fewer 135mm lenses -- for some reason. And give consideration to size, weight, filter size, and IC.

Fuji made three of them:

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/byfl.htm
 

John Wiegerink

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I started with a 135mm f5.6 Symmar-S mainly because it was in my price bracket and my Busch Pressman 4X5 would fold closed with one. It was and is still a fine lens. Later I added a 100mm f6.3 Wide-field Ektar and the 203mm f7.7 Ektar. I used that setup for 15+ years and never needed more. Now I have several 4X5 cameras, one 8X10 and many lenses, but truth be known I could still get by just fine with my first three lenses. If it were me, I'd just buy a 135mm Fujinon and see how I liked the 135mm focal length. Those Fuji 135mm and 150mm lenses go for peanuts, and you are out very little if you don't like them. Plus, you will recoup most of your money in selling them. Just a thought.
 

Rick A

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My first 4x5 lens was a 127/4.7 Rodenstock Ysarex that I stripped from a Polaroid 110B. It lived on my B& Speed Press and was my go to lens. Alas, I let that lens slip away when I sold that camera I still prefer the 127 most of my 4x5 work.
 

otto.f

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I have been perffectly happy thus far with the Schneider 5.6/150mm Symmar-S. I‘m a bit surprised everytime how it fits the way I see the scene before I set up my camera, although I prefer a 35mm lens mostly over a 50mm in 35mm film.
 
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Would vounch for a 150 or 135. You would thing a 150mm normal lens would be too narrow but it is actually very usuable for a lot of situations.

Look for either a Caltar or Fuji one. Amazing lens and pretty affordable.

Marcelo
 

Ian Grant

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I use a 135mm Caltar-II S-II *Symmar S) on my Super Graphic and a 150mm Sironar N on my Wista 45DX, there's not a lot of difference between them in terms of Focal length, the 135mm is only a touch wider.

As you've bought a camera with a good range of movements avoid any Tessar or type designs around 135mm/150mm as the image circles are poor, also edhe and corner sharpness drops off significantly atwider apertures.

Ian
 

mrosenlof

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my first 4x5 lens was a 210. it was the only one for several years. I know that I tend to see the world in a "slightly longer than normal" focal length.
 

GregY

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Thanks for mentioning image circle Ian. I used my 150 g Claron on my 5x7. It's a tiny lens, and was inexpensive. In fact all my lenses cover 5x7".....
 

Pioneer

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I use a 90 most of the time now and my normal is a little 135mm Symmar but I use 4x5 more like a press camera instead of large format.
 

Ian Grant

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Thanks for mentioning image circle Ian. I used my 150 g Claron on my 5x7. It's a tiny lens, and was inexpensive. In fact all my lenses cover 5x7".....

A few years ago around 2004/5, Schneider had a clear out and sold of a bunch of lenses, G-Clarons, and the late Xenars. The Xenars were the 150mm f5.6, 210mm f6.1, and the 300mm f5.6, these were the sharpest Xenars Schneider ever made.

They sold these lenses at low prices through two dealers, Badger Graphics in the US, and Robert White in the UK, there may have been others but not in the UK, I'm not sure about in the US. At the same time Schneider were also selling off Centre filters. Robert White also acquired Hoya's remaining stock of Centre filters.

Ian
 
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A photographers most-used lens is a very personal choice.

That said, I'll give you mine. My most-used lens on 4x5 is a 135mm. I have a couple, one Plasmat and an Ektar Wide-field Ektar in the 135mm focal length for when I need a greater image circle (architectural photos mostly).

I have lenses from 75mm through 450mm including 90mm, 135mm, 150mm, 180mm, 203/210mm, 240mm and 300mm. The one that stays in the case unused most of the time is the 150mm. In the field, I find that I'd rather have a slightly wider "normal" lens; I can easily get the 150mm view by cropping the negative made with the 135mm lens, but not vice-versa.

If I were recommending a lens kit, I'd say go with 90mm, 135mm, something in the 200-210mm range and then augment that with a longer lens in the 240-300mm range depending on your vision and the maximum bellows draw of your camera.

Best,

Doremus
 
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Chuck_P

Chuck_P

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A photographers most-used lens is a very personal choice.

That said, I'll give you mine. My most-used lens on 4x5 is a 135mm. I have a couple, one Plasmat and an Ektar Wide-field Ektar in the 135mm focal length for when I need a greater image circle (architectural photos mostly).

I have lenses from 75mm through 450mm including 90mm, 135mm, 150mm, 180mm, 203/210mm, 240mm and 300mm. The one that stays in the case unused most of the time is the 150mm. In the field, I find that I'd rather have a slightly wider "normal" lens; I can easily get the 150mm view by cropping the negative made with the 135mm lens, but not vice-versa.

If I were recommending a lens kit, I'd say go with 90mm, 135mm, something in the 200-210mm range and then augment that with a longer lens in the 240-300mm range depending on your vision and the maximum bellows draw of your camera.

Best,

Doremus

Thanks....... I think my mind is made that I'll be wanting the 135mm lens.

Of coarse will be still listening to comments but I want to thank all for your thoughts and excellent advice.
 
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