Small lens for 8x10 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm looking for a small (size, not focal length) lens that will cover 8x10 and allow for reasonable movements. My preference is for something in the 210-240mm range. I found a reference to a "mystery lens at: Check this list for a 210mm f/8 lens that is not identified, but is alleged to cover 11x14! Any idea as to what this lens is? Are there any good alternatives?

Gary Helfrich

-- Gary Helfrich (, January 20, 1999


Gary: Fujinon might make something in that range that covers 8x10, otherwise I suggest the 300mm f/9 M-Nikkor. You also might find some older Dagors or Commercial Ektars as well.

-- Ellis (, January 20, 1999.

I've already done quite a few hours of research on this issue. I have exhausted the information that is available on both Quang-Tuan Luong's Large Format Home Page, and

Thanks for the suggestion on the Nikkor, but 300mm is too long. Most of the stuff I shoot is close, and requires a good deal of shift. On my 4x5, my most commonly used lenses are 75 and 125mm.

What I would really like is some information on what that mystery 210mm process lens is that is mentioned on the Glen Evans site.

-- Gary Helfrich (, January 20, 1999.

I wonder what Nicholas Nixon is using for his portraits? It looks like a 240mm from the pictoral effects, but my bet is that is not a small lens. How close are you working, what repro ratio (subject to image on film size?)

-- Ellis (, January 20, 1999.

I have the Fuji 240mm f/9 that covers 336mm. Not alot of shift but if you're working close up (what the lens is corrected for...) you will have more room for shift. It is an excellent sharp lens, but recently discontinued by Fuji. Some may still be available new. It is small, Copal 0 and light.

-- Gary Frost (, January 20, 1999.

I'm shooting reproduction ratios from 20:1 (min) to infinity. Most of the time outdoors. Color print film (PRN100 mostly.

-- Gary Helfrich (, January 20, 1999.

Sorry for the bad URL. It should have been:

-- Gary Helfrich (, January 20, 1999.


I think you would be crazy to spend 1800$ on this lens. Take a deep breath and think for a moment. Evans is charging a 25% restocking fee if you return it. He knows what the make of the lens is, but he won't divulge it he says because he "doesn't want any competition." This is not a "mystery" lens to him, he just won't tell you what it is. Pardon me but that sounds like a whole lot of bullshit to me. If you are to spend 1800 bucks on a lens and give up 450$ should you not like it, then you deserve to be told what it is. Go to and check the "neighbor to neighbor" listings there for Glenn Evans. I bought a lens from him once and was somewhat dissatisfied, as was another person who listed his story on neighbor to neighbor. You might have a different experience. Perhaps he is the most honest dealer on the web. I don't know. But I think a whole lot of red lights ought to go on by his description of the lens and refusal to take it back without a $450.00 "restocking" fee.

My two cents.

Good luck. (Since you are willing to buy a lens in barrel, I'd suggest the dagor. Or maybe one of those f9 Paragons that are coated, take great images and cost 100$? It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that is what the so-called "mystery" lens is.)

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 20, 1999.

Here is Evans' description of the lens Gary is thinking about, cut and pasted exactly as it appears on Evans' site:

"~210mm ~F8 lens, coated, Copal #1, covers 11X14, small, Mint, $1800. The only other similar focal length lenses that will cover 11X14 with such quality are the 210 S-A and the 200 Grandagon, and they are 6-7# heavier, 20 times larger, and much more expensive. Because this lens' capabilities are known only by a few very knowledgeable photographers, and although rare, the lens does come onto the market occasionally (I've bought 2 in the last 10 years), and I don't want any more competition than necessary--I will not list the lens' name. If you buy it from me you'll know, but you won't have any need for another. 25% restocking charge if returned. If you want to see for yourself what the lens can do, send $50 for 11X14 contact print made with this lens."

Maybe the description will ring some bells out there and others will be able to guess what the lens is.

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 20, 1999.

I can guess what the lens is, it is a Bullshit special being sold by a con artist.

Name the lens & give the specifics and don't rip people off with a scam like this. If you buy a lens from someone like this, with an exorbitant "restocking fee" you deserve to get screwed and it looks like the seller is more than willing to accomodate you.

Buy your lenses from reputable dealers or second hand sellers who don't screw their customers & give value for the money spent. If the guy isn't upfront about this let him play with the lens himself, don't buy it.

-- Dan Smith (, January 21, 1999.

Thanks all for your help so far. The Glenco deal of course smacks of snake oil, of course, and I have no intention of buying anything from a place that sells stuff in this manner. It would be interesting, however, to discover the identity of this mystery lens. Anyone got a clean 10" WF Ektar that they want to part with?

-- Gary Helfrich (, January 21, 1999.

A 10"WF Ektar can be had for considerably less than 1800 bucks. I see them in shutterbug often, in the 500-700 range. Very good lenses.

-- Ron Shaw (, January 21, 1999.

The mystery lens is likely a Goerz 8.25" Multi Coated Gold Dot Dagor made in Switzerland. Your can buy them from reputable dealers, such as George Ury in Illinois (check Shutterbug) for about $1100 in pristine condition. This lens is not to be confused with the Goerz of America version. This Swiss made lens is somewhat rare, but shows up on the used market. While I cannot vouch for 11x14, it should. I used it on 8x10 and had coverage for 2" shifts without loss of image or quality. A less expensive option is the Kowa Graphic 210mm f9--not the Symmetregon (sp?) f6.3. The f9 Kowas will cover will easily cover 8x10 with moves to spare and fit in a #1 Copal. Their 270 f9 will cover 7x17 if you play with it properly. Be careful thought, like any other lens, ther are some clunker Kowas out there. Good luck.

-- michael jones (, March 07, 1999.

Just see this question about photmall's mystery lens

I guess I know what it is: JML 209mm f/8 !! Yes, it cover 11x14..barely.

You want one ? I know the source (I got two from him, both new cost MUCH less than 2500)

-- I know the answer (, January 07, 2001.

Sorry meant to say:

Cost much less than 1800 (which Glenn Evans ask for)

-- I know the answer (, January 07, 2001.

While I have an idea which lens this is I will try to check and post the resullt if I'm right tomorrow.

But I can give you this information.

As the US Linhof distributor we sell the master technika Instruction book new for $10.00.

He is offering it for $30.00

-- Bob Salomon (, January 07, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ