300 mm lens for Toyo 45AX

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I want to buy a 300mm lens for my Toyo 45AX and found that only Nikkor T series lenses (270mm or 360mm) are in Copal 1 and other 300mm Rodenstock or Schneider lenses are all in Copal 3. However, the Nikkor lenses are f8 lens and I worry about the focusing issue. I don't know the 45AX will be strong enough to hold the lens in copal 3. I guess that it will be difficult to do the tilt movement for the lens board will be easily fall down if it has not been locked very tightly. I don't know this statement is correct for I never use a lens in Copal 3. I do appreciate for any uggestions especially from Toyo 45 A,AII or AX users. Thanks!

-- Yong-ran Zhu (yzhu@mcw.edu), October 08, 1999


Think about the Nikkor 300 F9 M. Small, light, sharp and a huge image circle. Those telephoto Nikkors don't obey the regular Scheimpflug rules either, they're huge and three times the money of the M.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@accescable.net), October 08, 1999.

Fuji makes a nice, small, light 300mm f8.5. Go to http:// www.badgergraphic.com/

-- Steve Pfaff (spfaff@hrl.com), October 08, 1999.

You might check out a Fujinon 300 T f8. These can be had from places like Midwest for under $1,000. They are mounted in Copal 1, if I remember correctly and are very sharp. FFD is about 180mm, which makes the need for a lot of bellows draw uneccessary. If you're doing general landscape work, the Scheimpflug differences won't create too much of a problem for you. If you have the bellows, try latching on to a 305mm Repro Claron f9. These are amazing lenses and I bought one a few months ago for about $250. Mine came in a Copal 1. Good luck.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (razeichner@ameritech.net), October 08, 1999.

Generally, a photographer should select a telephoto design only if their camera lacks sufficient bellows draw for using a regular design lens. Telephoto lenses will typically cost more and have much less coverage. According to the Toyo web page, the 45AX has 321 mm of bellows draw. This will allow you to focus to 4.6 m with a regular lens. If you wanted a focal length longer than 300 mm, you would have to use a telephoto.

The 300 mm f9 Nikkor-M is an excellent choice. Choices in 300 mm lens are discussed in articles on the Large Format Photography Home page. I would recommend against a lens in Copal 3.

Focusing with a slow (f9) long focal length lens is NOT a problem. Focusing a 300 mm f9 lens is much easier than focusing a 72 mm f5.6 lens. This is because the light rays from the 300 mm lens are coming almost straight back to the ground glass. If your ground glass is fairly fine, they continue on almost straight back, creating a relatively bright image. The light rays from a short focal length lens arrive at a wide range of angles, creating a hot spot effect on the ground glass. Even when you move your head, the rays arriving at the corners at acute angles are hard to see.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), October 08, 1999.

Michael Briggs is completely correct. I have the Nikkor 300M which has the max. aperture of f9.0. Even though it is the slowest lens in my bag, it is by far the easiest to focus. I often don't even bother to use the dark cloth with it because the image on the ground glass is so "bright". I do have a frensel screen though, your results may vary. I can heartily recommend the Nikkor 300M as an excellent lens in a very small package, which is just what's needed for a field camera system.

The biggest drawback to these lenses is the availability. I have seen people complain about new Nikon lens availability. I don't know if this has been worked out. These lenses sell quickly on the used market, also.

Good luck,


-- Michael Mutmansky (psu4ever@ix.netcom.com), October 19, 1999.

I also have the 300/9 M Nikkor. It's a decent lens, though not as sharp as my Schneider 210/5.6 AS or 90/5.6 SA XL and a little on the cold side (I'm thinking about using a 1A filter with it all the time). If weight/cost are no object (just sharpness), you can go with the Schneider 300/5.6 apo symmar or Rodenstock apo sironar S and just use the center of their image circles. These lenses are big weigh a ton (like 3+ lbs vs 1/2 lb for the 300/9M). Unfortunately, there really is no lightweight alternative for a 300mm other than Fuji (don't know how it compares to the Nikkor). BTW, would anyone have the MTF's for the 300/9M? Maybe we could compare them to the plasmats.

-- James Chow (jchow@isl.melco.co.jp), October 20, 1999.

Thank you very much for all your kind assistance. I have bought Nikkor M 300 mm lens and received it 3 days ago. I am sure that I will use it in this weekend. with very best regards, Yong-ran Zhu

-- Yong-ran Zhu (yzhu@mcw.edu), October 20, 1999.

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