8x10 lens choices

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Decisions, decisions. I'm trying to make up my mind for my Bender 8x10. Here's what I've come up with: 1. A 10-inch Wide Field Ektar and a Turner Reich 12-20-25. or 2. A 240mm-420mm Symmar convertible. 3. 10-inch WFE and a long lens (14">) in barrel mated with a shutter.

I plan to do 95 percent outdoors, mostly landscapes, some closeups, 99 percent B&W. I'm itching to get something, but want to avoid making the wrong choices.

-- Bruce Schultz (bschultz@theadvocate.com), January 05, 1999


I think the 10" & 14" is a good combination. I own a 10" WF Ektar and I like it very much. I also own a 14" Commercial Ektar which is fine too. I have no experience with that particular Symmar convertable, but such lenses usually are not really sharp at their converted focal length.

-- Peter Hughes (leonine@redshift.com), January 05, 1999.


I don't have any of these lenses but my photographic subjects seem to be about the same as yours and I find myself mostly using a 9.5" dagor and a 15" process lens. I have a 24" I never seem to use and a 12" which I also never seem to use and it isn't because I don't like the images they produce.

Further, my lenses are a very, very, very long ways from being new designs and particularly sharp, and my camera is a rickety old antique. So I guess I would disagree with the above post. I expect you are going to be making contact prints and I think that a slightly sub-perfect lens will probably give you images that will blow your mind as to their sharpness.

On the other hand, your eyes may be better than mine and your standards higher. On thing you might consider is a newer coated barrel lens and a packard shutter and see what you think of the images. I do prefer the two coated lenses I have, both of which were scavenged off copy machines going to the dump (I got 'em for free!) and I use a packard shutter with them. At f 64 with APX100 film (rated at 80) and a #12 filter I very quickly reach exposure times that I can time with a metronome. You can find pretty nice barrel lenses fairly inexpensively if you are patient.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), January 05, 1999.

I own a 240/420 Conv. and it is acceptably sharp as a 240mm in 4X5-8X10 as long as it is carfully hooded. When used at 420mm I find that it can be sharp for contacts but ONLY when used with a yellow filter on B&W film, of course. I've heard this is because the lens does not focus all light wave lengths on the same plane and the yellow limits that segment of the spectrum that must be focused on the film. For whatever reason it works.

-- Rob Tucher (rtphtotodoc@juno.com), January 06, 1999.


About the Symar covertible what no one has mentioned is that when using the 420 or long Focal lenght that you have to refocus once you have stopped down. Borrow or rent one and test it out. and see for your self. Also The 250 widefield is a great piece of glass. Sharp is not just another word.

Ron Gulsvig

-- Ron Gulsvig (uff_dah@msn.com), January 18, 1999.

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