Using Fuji 180A f. 9 at infinity : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am looking for a modern 180mm lens that will cover 4x5. My primary use for the lens is landscape, and I carry my equipment in a backpack a bit.

The question I have is: Is this lens acceptably sharp at infinity to use for normal landscapes? The lens is a great size and weight, would allow me to do some high quality 1:1 work, and is the right focal length.

I am willing to use the lens stopped down all the time if this will give me the sharpness at infinity.

If this lens is not acceptably sharp, I will probably get a Nikkor 200M instead, but I would prefer the shorter focal length.

Please let me know what you think. Thanks in advance,


-- Michael Mutmansky (, November 18, 1999


Let me test my Fuji 180 A sometime this weekend. If you're looking for one for all lens, I guess you have to do some compromise. If the primary use for this lens is for landscape, then you'd be better off with something like Symmar-S MC(Caltar-S MC), Sironar-N(Caltar-II N) or any other plasmats (Nikon W, Fuji W, etc). Personally speaking, 180mm is really great for macro and the focal length seems a little bit too long to me for landscape. I use 300mm to isolate a subject in landscape instead. What other lenses do you have? If you like 180mm for landscape and can compromise then I'd recommend a 135-150mm plasmat and Fujinon A 180mm (which is also a plasmat [6E4G]). Or you could just buy a normal 180mm plasmat as mentioned (from what I hear in this forum, it does a fine job for macro work, which makes sense from the lens design). Nikon 200mm M is optimized for infinity so that makes sense but may not give as good result as plasmats at a macro range. Someone who has both Nikon 200mm M and a plasmat in this range could tell you the difference. Another option is to use a diopter. I believe Dan uses a Nikon diopter on his Nikon 300mm M (the same filter size!). I recall he commented a good result in one of the threads here or at large format category.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, November 19, 1999.

Masayoshi, In responce to your questions, I do plan on using it mostly for landscapes, but I don't have a dedicated 'macro' lens right now, so I was hoping to use the lens for double duty. Since the lens is so small, it will be ideal for backpacking.

The 180 is the last lens I need to get to fill out my 'normal' set of lenses. I have a 75mm, 90mm, 125mm Fujinon NWS, and a 300mm Nikkor M. The 125mm is the reason I am looking so closely at the 180A. I am very impressed with the quality of the images I get with the 125mm.

I use the 125 most, and the 300 probably second, with the 90 a close third, and the 75 a distant fourth. My biggest problem is the empty spot between the moderate wide-angle of the 125, and the short tele of the 300. I end up wanting a lens between. I was playing with a 210 and it felt too much like the 300, and the 180 felt 'just right'

Since size is of major significance, I would probably go up to the 200M rather than get a much larger 180 5.6.

Thanks for your help.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, November 19, 1999.

I have both lenses. To the casual observer, at f22, you will not be able to tell the difference even at infinity. But there are differnces. The 200 M is more brillant. Its image resolution falls of more suddenly when you reach the limits of its coverage. It is less prone to flare. Its out of focus image is not as smooth as the 180 A. In the 180 A favor it has a more gradual fall off in resolution as you move to its coverage limits, it has more coverage, it is killer macro in the 1:1 to 1:10 range, and it can be found on the cheap. One other thing. When focusing wide open and using tilt and or swift, the 200 M gives you a better peripheral focusing image. I think this has more to do with contrast than with resolution.

-- Pat Raymore (, November 19, 1999.

I have used both the 200M and the 180A. My 180A is superb at infinity. I find it more contrasty than the Nikkor and as sharp if not sharper at infinity than the 180 Apo-Symmar it replaced (I shot a comparison before selling the Apo-Symmar). By the time all of these lenses get to f/22, they are diffraction limited in terms of resolution, however chromatic aberation differences may persist.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, November 19, 1999.

Thanks for the responses everyone. I have decided to try the 180 A from Fujinon. I am intrested in the larger image circle than the 200M, and the comments are favorable enough for me to give it a go.

One note, I talked to Badger Graphics, and they indicated that the 180 A has been discontinued! Apparently, they are phasing out the entire A series over time.

So, I guess I'd better get one before the pickings get slim!



-- Michael Mutmansky (, December 03, 1999.

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