8x10 lenses

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I'm currently shopping around to jump from a 4x5 format to an 8x10 format. My question is, if you had to choose only two lenses, which focal lengths would they be??

-- Scott F. Feighner (sfeigh@aol.com), August 15, 1998


1st question: Why are you going to make this change? 2nd question: Where (field or studio) and what kind of photographs are you going to make? Having asked those questions, I would suggest that you start with a 300mm lens and if want wide, go with the new 150XL Schneider or the Nikon 150SW, or if you can find it used, a recent 165mm Super Angulon. Something in these focal lengths, more moderate would be a 210mm that covers 8x10. If you want to do tight portrait work, a 600mm, a little less tight, a 450mm. I tend to find that 240mm and 360mm lens are overly large and heavy compared to the options in the neighboring focal lengths.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), August 15, 1998.

I like my spread of lenses in 8x10 photography to be tight. I have a 10" WF Ektar and a 14" Commercial Ektar. It is not possible to tell in the finished prints which lens took which photo. I like that. 10" is wide enough for landscape work and environmental portraits; 14" is long enough for everything else. See my Page at: http://www.ravenvision.com/rvapeter.htm

-- Peter Hughes (leonine@redshift.com), August 16, 1998.

Ellis: Why do ask the "1st Question"? Do you have views on why people should or shouldn't change to 8x10?

-- Chris Bitmead (chrisb@ans.com.au), August 17, 1998.

Ellis: Why do you ask the "1st Question"? Do you have some views about why you should or shouldn't change to 8x10"?

-- Chris Bitmead (chrisb@ans.com.au), August 17, 1998.

To answer Ellis' 1st question about why someone would want to switch to 8x10 is simple for me: I contact print everything as I just don't have the $$$ to buy a 4x5 enlarger and everything that goes with it. For me it was simple to get a big piece of glass for the contact printing; I also made a simple contact printer with UV light source for my alternative processing. So in effect, the money I spent on my 8x10 is saved on at the end with inexpensive processing. Well, the chemicals can add up, but it will take a while to equal a Durst enlarger and everything that goes with it.

The only draw back is that I can only get 8x10 prints. Sure, I could send it out for a larger interneg..but then again, so could someone with a 4x5. It's just that I have a problem with second-generation images.

Anyway, those are my reasons. Of course, everyone's milage will vary to what he/she is doing with what.

-- Scott Gant (sgant@interaccess.com), August 19, 1998.

Scott, cool answer and makes sense to me. Are you familiar with Nicholas Nixon's work? All 8x10 and contact printed. It is beautiful and emotionally powerful.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), August 19, 1998.

I like Scott's (and Ellis's) answer also. In addition to recalling my college photography courses where we saw movies of AA working in 8x10 and contact printing, which I was fascinated with, I am now about to retire and will spend time in New Mexico, Texas , Florida and traveling around the West. I have just bought a Kodak Masterview 8x10 for its portability and also so I can develop (rotary drum) and contact print in bathrooms, kitchens, etc. with ease. Great for alternative printing work too. Regards to all.

-- Henry Stanley (HTStanley@prodigy.net), November 21, 1998.


Steve Simmons of View Camera Mag fame sez take your favorite lenses from 4 X 5 and multiply by two i.e. 90mm = 180 so a 190mm Ektar or, more likely a 165 Angulon if weight & cost are issues, if not a 165 Super Angulon. If moving from 35mm format, multiply by a factor of six (6 X 50mm = 300mm)

Patrick Alt reccomends a seperation of 4 inches, anything else can be accomodated for by moving the camera - so 10, 14, 18, etc.

Don't forget Ansel liked his Cooke Triple Convertible 12 1/4 - 19 - 23" as did Edward Weston his Turner Reich 12/21/28" with the addition of a 19" Protar element.

I like the idea of choosing a "normal" based on your other format experiences, and then adding to that by halves depending on your preferences, i.e. a range of 6, 12, 24" or 210mm, 14" 21" or some such, weighted towards the long end if you shoot portraits and the wide end if you like architecture or forced perspective landscape shots. I currently own a 254, & a 12/21/28 and wish I could afford a 17 or 18" and then a 159 Wollensack or 165 Angulon in that order.

Whatever you do, if you buy good glass to begin with, you'll always be able to trade up later. I payed $125 for my 90mm 6.8 angulon in '93 and you see what they're going for now.

Last thought, I think it was Adams that said something to the affect, "If you own more than 1 lens, you've always got the wrong one." I.e. with multiple choices, you're always kicking yourself for not having brought the whole arsenal.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), November 21, 1998.

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