Which lens?/Lens bargains? Beginner's questions...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Funny how those bargains always appear when you're not looking... I finally found (on eBay, no less!) that cheap LF camera I was looking for in an earlier thread. I got me a late-model Calumet(still CC400, but black version) for $161. No lens, of course. Which means that I actually have to make a decision about which lens to buy, as opposed to taking whatever I got with a package.

I've been poking around in the archives, and I've been learning quite a bit. Making my way through Stroebel right now, as a matter of fact. But I lack specific knowledge of those lens bargains.

Things I want to do in LF: portraiture and architecture. An odd combination, I realize, because conventional wisdom suggests short lenses for architecture and long lenses for portraiture. And while somewhere off in the future I can see owning more than one lens, for now my budget says I'm only getting one, and it had better be cheap.

What lenses would be appropriate for what I'm trying to do? Any particularly suited items that I should look out for? In a related question, should I be considering buying barrel lens/packard shutter combination?

Thanks a lot for all your help, folks.

-- Josh Wand (josh@jwand.dhs.org), December 08, 1999


i don't think that is an odd combination of subjects. A 90mm f/8 Nikkor SW may be the place to start for you. A sharp lens with a big image circle. Look at Arnold Newman's pioneering work in the field of "enviromental portraiture" where he made the setting as important of story telling device as the pose of the subject. Much of this was done with a medium wide angle lens on a less capable camera than yours.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), December 09, 1999.

You might consider a 120mm or 135mm Convertible Schneider Symmar. This is wide enough to use for most architecture, You can convert them to almost twice the focal length by removing the front element. This makes them about the right focal length for portraits, and the very slight loss of definition may actually be an advantage for portraits. Just remember to focus carefully AFTER the lens has been stopped down to working aperture.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), December 09, 1999.

How about a 150mm G-claron. It is cheap, small, light, and the front can be removed to double the focal length. This lens is optimized for 1:1, but may be used at infinity when stopped down.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), December 09, 1999.

If you are looking for a bargin lens for 4x5, consider these: 152 Kodak Ektar, 162 Optar or Raptar, Kodak Commercial Ektar, 7 to 10 inch, older Schneider Xenar, 180- 210mm. These are all 4 element lenses. The Kodak 203mm is also good. Bargin wide angle lenses: Graflex Optar 90mm, Raptar 90mm, older Schneider 90mm, these all work for 4x5, but with little room for camera movements. If price is your first consideration, any of these will work fine.

-- Bill Moore (wmoore@provide.net), December 09, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ