Which lens has the largest coverage?

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Out of all the modern lenses made by the big three - Rodenstock, Nikkor and Schneider, which lens has the largest coverage? Which one is the record holder?

It seems there are quite a few with lenses with 500mm of coverage, but none more than that. Do they have a gentlemans agreement not to exceed 500mm?

What about all those guys with 8x20, 12x20 and 20x24. What if they want a modern lens, what do they get?

Just curious.

-- James Bond (james.bond@universal-exports.co.uk), January 30, 1998


In the new (Jan-Feb./98) issue of View Camera magazine, Lens & Repro in NY has an ad for what they describe as a one-of-a-kind lens--a 150mm which they claim covers 20x24! There may be some very long focus process lenses which have a larger absolute image circle size, but when it comes to angle of coverage, this sounds like it just might be a record.

The same issue has an article by Patrick Alt which discusses the problem of lenses to cover very large formats. He makes the point that, because 4x5 is so popular these days, there just isn't much demand for manufacturers to produce lenses with huge coverage. He does discuss some older lenses which you may find useful.

-- Rob Rothman (rrothman@riag.com), February 02, 1998.

The lens you were looking at was probably originally mounted on a vertical printer's copy camera. I have used many such cameras, most of which had a 20 x 24 film board. Typically, there was only about 30" or so between the copy board and the lens on these cameras, which meant that these short focus lenses had to be used. The standard process lens for 20 x 24 is about a 19" symmetrical apo design, which is used on the long bed horizontal copy cameras. At 1:1, the lens would be about 38" from the film (double extension)

I have found in my career as a lithographer, that these short focus lenses are a compromise for flatness of field and ability to render parallel lines at the edge of a 20 x 24 negative.

The long focus symmetrical design does that much better.

For general picture taking the short, wide coverage lenses might be fine, although they are corrected for magnifications of 1:1 to 1:10 usually.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), September 08, 1998.

Usually, Fuji is considered a major manufacturer of lenses, and their 600mm C f11.5 lens has 620mm of coverage, enough for 8 x 20 and 12 x 20, but not 20 x 24. For 20 x 24, I think you have to go with a classic lens, such as the Goerz Red Dot Artar series.

-- Stewart Ethier (ethier@math.utah.edu), September 08, 1998.

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