Speed Graphic as a starter 4x5? What lenses?

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Often on this and other sites, people have suggested trying LF ("why bother with MF?"). I have shot 35 and MF for years and now I have three projects requiring 4x5 format and/or a *moderate* amount of architechural perspective control.

I have concluded that I could get my feet wet with a good quality Speed Graphic and a few good lenses, then upgrade to a more modern field or view camera later on. While I have much to learn about this format, I would like to obtain a selection of very good lenses that would work well with this camera as well as with the future camera.

(1) Any comment on this approach? (2) I would be interested in your recommendations for 4x5 lenses in the W/A to short-tele area..."sharp lenses at good values." (I have an Ektar "normal" lens and am aware of its low-contrast shortcomings. Also I have a Super Angelon 90mm f9 (used). Your favorite lens recommendations please... (3)As for the future camera (at reasonable cost and portability in mind), what would my next-step camera be (field or view, brand, etc.)

As always, thanks for the comments and advice! ---Henry Stanley

-- Henry T. Stanley (HTStanley@aol.com), March 16, 1998


I use a Speed Graphic and find it to be very capable. While it doesnt have the front swings, it does have rise/fall (19mm) fwd./bkwd. tilt, and left/right shift. These are most useful in archetectural shots. The shortest lens you can use on the SG is around 75mm I think. Your 90mm SA should work great on this camera. Its image circle exceeds the movements of the SG. The Ektars are very sharp lenses. If you find you cant live with its contrast, the only alternative is an optic of a more modern vintage. Good late model Nikkors, Rodenstock or Schneider in the normal range can be found used for well under 500 used. In the tele range, again maybe a 8 1/2 in comm. Ektar, or something newer in the 210mm range. Maybe up to 250mm. The SG has about 12 1/2 in bellows extension, which places a maximun on the upper limit, if you still want to focus to closed distances.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), March 17, 1998.

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