Preferred 1st lens choice for 4x5

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xkaes

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One of the pleasures of large format is the ability to crop. Like many, I started out in 35mm, which has some cropping capability, but it is limited. Larger formats give you more breathing room. Get it ALL in an the film, and worry about cutting things OUT later.

Farmers aren't the only ones with crops.
 

maltfalc

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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.

the diagonal/normal focal length for 4x5 is 152mm (3.5x crop factor vs. 35mm), so 150mm is wider than 50mm. the idea that it's 162mm comes from people wrongly assuming that 4x5 = 4"x5".
 

abruzzi

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the diagonal/normal focal length for 4x5 is 152mm (3.5x crop factor vs. 35mm), so 150mm is wider than 50mm. the idea that it's 162mm comes from people wrongly assuming that 4x5 = 4"x5".

yeah, I couldn't actually find specs anywhere on the image area of a 4x5 film holder, so I gave an approximate, but what i said is still accurate, i.e. that 150mm on 4x5 is wider than 50mm on 135.
 

Oren Grad

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yeah, I couldn't actually find specs anywhere on the image area of a 4x5 film holder

There are minor variations, but 96 x 120 mm is the nominal format size that Schneider used for reference. By that standard the format diagonal is just shy of 154 mm.

Going back to the OP's question, 135 mm is by far my most important focal length for 4x5. Good luck with your explorations!
 

Martin Frank

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I'm surpised more here don't advocate for a 210mm focal length as a first choice which is my favorite size to use on a 4x5 camera. I'd stick with one-whether its 150 or 210 initially, though. Good luck, though!
Marty
 
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Chuck_P

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Well,.......the lens I wish to get, the Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 Sironar-N, seems to be quite rare locally, meaning in the US.........I'm having a tough time finding one. There are a few listed that are in Japan.
 

GregY

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Well,.......the lens I wish to get, the Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 Sironar-N, seems to be quite rare locally, meaning in the US.........I'm having a tough time finding one. There are a few listed that are in Japan.

I've been thinking Chuck, it really doesn't matter. We obsess here and on other forums about especially 35mm lenses. Edward Weston photographed with a $5 lens. If you're keen on 4x5, buy a lens. Doesn't matter if it's a Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji..... 135,150, 127, 180..... it likely won't be your only one eventually. Take photos....you wouldn't be able to tell the difference
If you're keen on that particular one...buy if from Japan. The shipping is cheap and fast.
I started out with a Apo-Sironar S and over time came to prefer the character of Dagors & Commercial Ektars.
BTW. KEH has an Apo-Sironar N...
 
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John Wiegerink

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Well,.......the lens I wish to get, the Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 Sironar-N, seems to be quite rare locally, meaning in the US.........I'm having a tough time finding one. There are a few listed that are in Japan.

Chuck,
I was going to say what GregY said above. If you buy anything on auction, always ask the important questions first before you buy, not after you've received the item. It'll save much grief later. I have purchased several items from Japan and was surprised when I received them faster than having something sent from Calf. to Michigan.
 

Ian Grant

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Well,.......the lens I wish to get, the Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 Sironar-N, seems to be quite rare locally, meaning in the US.........I'm having a tough time finding one. There are a few listed that are in Japan.

I use a 150mm Sironar N, it's a superb lens. I also use a 135mm Caltar-II S which is just a rebranded Symmar S. The Symmar is just as good as the Sironar the results are indistinguishable.

Ian
 
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Chuck_P

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I've been thinking Chuck, it really doesn't matter. We obsess here and on other forums about especially 35mm lenses. Edward Weston photographed with a $5 lens. If you're keen on 4x5, buy a lens. Doesn't matter if it's a Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji..... 135,150, 127, 180..... it likely won't be your only one eventually. Take photos....you wouldn't be able to tell the difference
If you're keen on that particular one...buy if from Japan. The shipping is cheap and fast.
I started out with a Apo-Sironar S and over time came to prefer the character of Dagors & Commercial Ektars.
BTW. KEH has an Apo-Sironar N...

Yes, thanks, I saw the one at KEH...........however, I find it a bit annoying that, we are expected to purchase a used item without seeing that used item first. I don't know why they can't present a picture of the used item they want you to buy. Now, that may seem a bit too narrow-minded or short-sighted but I don't like purchasing used items that I can't first, at least, visually inspect with my eyeballs when it's certainly impossible to pick up and turn over in my hands to inspect.
 
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Chuck_P

Chuck_P

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John, Greg, and Ian.............you all certainly make good points and I will expand my point of view on my choice.
 

grat

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I also use a 135mm Caltar-II S which is just a rebranded Symmar S

Pretty sure the Caltar-S II was the S/K Symmar S, and the Caltar-II S was the Rodenstock (Sironar?)...?

Although I admit, I have to look them up every time, or pull out my Caltar-S II (which is definitely a Schneider-Kruzenach).
 

GregY

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Yes, thanks, I saw the one at KEH...........however, I find it a bit annoying that, we are expected to purchase a used item without seeing that used item first. I don't know why they can't present a picture of the used item they want you to buy. Now, that may seem a bit too narrow-minded or short-sighted but I don't like purchasing used items that I can't first, at least, visually inspect with my eyeballs when it's certainly impossible to pick up and turn over in my hands to inspect.

KEH is pretty reliable. They have a great return policy, stand behind their goods, have a repair service....& travel N America sourcing cameras and lenses. By something online......how many times does it happen that the photo of the exact object doesn't show the flaws?
There are no new LF lenses being made, chances are your nearest camera store doesn't have one. Any chance you could be overthinking the purchase ?
 

Oren Grad

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Pretty sure the Caltar-S II was the S/K Symmar S, and the Caltar-II S was the Rodenstock (Sironar?)...?

Although I admit, I have to look them up every time, or pull out my Caltar-S II (which is definitely a Schneider-Kruzenach).

Caltar-S II is Symmar-S. Caltar II-N is (Apo-)Sironar-N. There is no Caltar II-S. Yes, it's confusing.
 

Ian Grant

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Pretty sure the Caltar-S II was the S/K Symmar S, and the Caltar-II S was the Rodenstock (Sironar?)...?

Although I admit, I have to look them up every time, or pull out my Caltar-S II (which is definitely a Schneider-Kruzenach).

My mistake, I have the Symmar-S version the Caltar-S II.

Ian
 

blee1996

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When I first started 4x5, my purpose was portrait (head and shoulder shots like Richard Avedon). So my first lenses were in 210-240mm range (Symmar, Heliar, Petzval). Later on I did some full body length and even small group photos, and 135mm Symmar seems to fit well. Lately I have been doing some still life (e.g. classic cameras), and I found the 150mm Xenar quite suitable.
 
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Over thinking? No. Stubbornness? Yes. But that's on me, freely admit.

I will let you know as a customer of KEH over the years that their grading is spot on, and that lens being graded as EX will be a great purchase. So if the pice doesn’t put you off it is more than worth the chance of buying it. I have never needed to return anything I bought from them, but I do hear that they are very good with that so the reduces the risk even more. If that helps at all.
 

John Wiegerink

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KEH has only been “spot on” on one item they shipped me. That's out of more than 15 purchases from them. The one time they got the description right was on a 120mm Hasselblad macro lens. The lens was listed as "ugly" and they were "spot on" with that one. It was certainly ugly. They missed their description by a good mark on the other 14 or more items. They were much, much better than they described them. Not only that, but they are also very good about standing behind your purchase. Pretty much a hassle-free dealer. They have been in business a long time and know how to do it right.
 

Paul Howell

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I have both press and one view type LF cameras, the rangefinder focusing arm on my Crown is matched to a 135, while my speed had the 127, while not much of a differance I like the 135 a bit better. I use a 150 on my view camera as normal and the 127 for somewhat wide.
 

John Wiegerink

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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.

I used the very same lens on a Busch Pressman and had no complaints at all. Very sharp lens with great contrast. Didn’t have a ton of covering power, but certainly got the job done.
 

citychicago

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Congrats on your Canham camera acquisition! I shoot with the bigger brother, the 5x7, and it's a fantastic machine. Happy shooting!
 
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