Linhof Technikardan - lens selection for aviation subjects : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have read the archives, and though there is a wealth of information out there, I would like to solicit general opinions of lenses for my new Linhof Technikardan 45S. I was forced to return my Canham 5x7, exchanging it for the 4x5 format Linhof. long story, but the requirements remain the same. I will be using the lens for aircraft profiles and hangar architecture. the Schneider super-symmar 110mm f5.6 XL came highly recommended for the 5x7 format, and I would presume it is wide enough. favourites? any recommendations for a cheap (cheaper) general purpose lens at the other end?

the Linhof Technikardan is a work of art.

-- Daniel Taylor (, November 29, 1999


Thanks for the comments on the TK.

As to lenses there are 2 things to bear in mind.

1: Diameter of the rear lens cell of the lens. If it is larger than 80mm you can't mount it on the camera as it won't fit through the hole in the front standard.

2: Bellows needed for infinity.

I don't have the specs with me but you best check 1 above for the 110mm. 2 is not a problem for this lens.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 29, 1999.

The Super-Symmar 110 XL's rear O.D. is ~60 mm. You shouldn't have any trouble using one on a Technika-style lensboard.


-- Patrick Chase (, November 29, 1999.

"The Super-Symmar 110 XL's rear O.D. is ~60 mm. You shouldn't have any trouble using one on a Technika-style lensboard. "

Fitting lensboards are no problem. The TK/Technika board takes up to a #3 shutter.

The reference to lens diameter is that the front standard has a hole appx. 86mm in diameter. The lens rear element has to pass through that hole after the lens is mounted on a lens board.

If the rear element is only 60mm then there should be no problem in this regard as we regularly mount the 115mm Grandgon on it which has a 70mm rear diameter.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 29, 1999.

To Bob Salomon;

You might note that I said "using" instead of "fitting" in my post. I did that for a reason ;-).

Given that my LF experience is with a Linhof Color Kardan (uses Technika boards, just like Daniel's TK) and an Arca-Swiss F 4x5 with a Technika adaptor, I'm _quite_ well aware that you can get Tech boards for all common shutter sizes, and that the main issue is getting the rear of the lens through the hole in the front standard. The reason I didn't state that is because I felt that you yourself had done such a good job of explaining the issue in your initial post that it didn't bear repeating.

An aside: I DO know one guy who's crazy enough to take his lens apart and reassemble it around the front standard with the bellows detached every time he want to mount it...


-- Patrick Chase (, November 29, 1999.

In addition to a moderate wide angle such as a 90 or 110mm, you may find a long lens useful for excluding background clutter. I use a Nikkor-M 300mm f/9 on my TK 45; it's compact, lightweight, and very sharp. The TK has plenty of bellows for this lens, even when used for moderate closeups.

-- Sean Donnelly (, November 29, 1999.

the 300mm f/9 M-Nikkor is a terrific lens: big image circle, sharp, produces crisp, snappy images and it is a relatively small lens (it is smaller than most standard coverage 150mm lenses).

-- Ellis Vener (, November 29, 1999.

I use the Super-Symmar XL 110 mm f5.6 with a Technikardan 45S. A great lens and a great camera. The 110 lens has very large coverage; to use the lens with the maximum movements that it will permit, you will need the bag bellows. You can use the lens with the regular bellows with limited movements.

Before buying a second lens, I suggest taking photographs for awhile. You will soon realize what you want based on the photographs that are difficult or impossible with your single lens. You might need a wider lens if your back is "to the wall" and the 110 doesn't encompass the full subject. You might find that you want a normal or long lens. My most used lens is 180 mm, followed by the 110. I also have a 72 mm and 300 mm, but don't use them very often. If you have only an occasional need for a long lens, you can always use a shorter lens and crop.

-- Michael Briggs (, November 30, 1999.

Super Symmar XL 110/5,6 takes 52 mm filters in rear thread, the outside diameter is 54 mm. You can look technical information at The lens is for 5x7" - coverage is enormous 288mm. A little bit overkill for 4x5", TK will need bag bellow for full movements. It may be on quite rare occasions you'll need so large coverage. Super Symmar is really fine piece of art, I suppose, but something like 90 mm Super Angulon or 90 mm Nikkor SW would be not so expensive and a little wider alternatives. 65 mm Super Angulon is really super if you need a lens that wide - there is no coverage for movemens. I second that 300 mm Nikkor W would be fine.

-- Sakari Makela (, November 30, 1999.

i do architecture for a living, and have shot a couple of hangars. i also do engineering recordation for accurate structural documentation. my recommendations would include a 90mm, such as the nikkor sw, for the hangar/building photography, and a normal focal length lens for the aircraft. a normal length (between 135mm - my favorite - and about 180mm) is required for accurate rendering of scale in perspective views (otherwise, you get elongation with wides, and compression with longer focal lengths). elevation views (straight-on views from front or side) can be made with nearly any focal length. i use a 210mm as my "telephoto" and for detail views. all of the current lens manufacturers make very good lenses, but if you want to buy new, the nikkors seem to offer the best value. for good used values, look for one of the schneider symmar "s" lenses. if buying used, be most careful about the condition of the shutter.

-- jnorman (, November 30, 1999.

The 110XL should easily mount to the TK, as the rear element is small as others have mentioned. Where you run into problems is w/ the 90XL, as I mentioned yesterday in another post. The total outer dimensions of the rear element and aluminum ring is large enough that you can't fit it into the hole on the Linhof without unscrewing the aluminum ring (which is why schneider designed it to be unscrewed). It just means that everytime you mount the lens, you have to unscrew that ring and when you change lenses, you have to reattach that ring, as the rear lens cap slips onto it. Still, this is one of my most used lenses. For architecture, I find that I sometimes would prefer a 110XL, as the 90XL is occasionally too wide, but I just crop the final image (instead of shelling out the $$$ to buy [and carry] yet another lens).

-- James Chow (, November 30, 1999.

I agree with J.Norman for the focal lenght selection. For indoor shooting, the 90 mm SA 5,6 (non-XL) is my favorite. I have a SA 120mm but find it too narrow for that use (equivalent to a 35mm in SF).

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 01, 1999.

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