8x10 lens quandary

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Hello all,

I am planning on shedding my old Century and getting a Phillips 8x10, which I plan on using for landscape photography primarily. I will be shooting color as well as B&W. I have been debating the merits of the variety of lenses that are available, and would like some input from other users.

I was hoping to put together a camera and three lens package that will be lightweight so that I can take the equipment far afield.

Here are the lenses I originally considered as the three lens system:

1. 165mm SA *Big and heavy, but a good compromise for a wide angle.

2. Fujinon 240 A *very small and lightweight, and ample coverage?

3. Fujinon 450 C *also very small and lightweight, but long enough for some decent detail work.

My most used lens in 4x5 is a 90mm, then a 125mm, then a 300mm, then a 180mm or 75mm, with the other bringing up the rear.


1. The 165 SA is huge, heavy, etc. So, I thought about the 150 Symmar XL as a reasonable alternative. The problem is, this is much more comparable to a 75mm in 4x5, and I don't use that lens too often right now. If I did get this lens, It would force me to get another wide angle (maybe an Ektar 190 WF) to cover the huge coverage gap between it and the 240. I would probably not get a 240 A then, and use my 300 M as the middle one.

2. Does the 240 A have sufficient coverage for landscape work? There is some excess, but not a great deal (20mm I think).

I'm sure some of you have gone through this debate before, and I would appreciate any insight you may be able to provide.



-- Michael Mutmansky (psu4ever@ix.netcom.com), February 27, 2000


Michael, Your 3 lens approach is a great way to go... on the wide side, I would definetly go with the SS XL 150, it is by far the best of all 6 of my 8x10 lenses. The image is breathtaking, you have to see them to beleive it. I beleive it's the incredible contrast as well as super sharp optics that make this lens a real breaktrhough in 8x10. If I had to get rid of all my lenses and only keep one for 8x10, it would be the SS XL 150.

I have the Fuji 240A, great small lens, very sharp for 4x5, but for 8x10 it has ver limited coverage... the smallest movements and the image circle is gone! The edges can go a bit soft also since you are so close to the edge of the image circle. If I did go with the 150 XL, then I would want something 300 - 360mm for normal. I use the Nikor 360W, huge image circle, I would rate it a middle teir lens as for image quality, as for image circle, nothing can beat it! I would investigate the Rodenstock G Clarions at this fl. I have heard good results with this lens, but have not used them myself.

For your long lens, the 450 Nikor and Fuji are very close to each other in every way.... however, in addition to my Nikor 450M, which is my least used fl on 8x10, I highly reccomend the Fuji 600C. It has a massive image circle (612mm) and is very sharp. Its the sharpest 600 out their, but beware of bellows draw, the wind loves this lens. 600mm in 8x10 is equiv. to 85mm in 35mm, not that long at all. I would be concerned 450 is way to short for your long lens, specially if you have a 300 - 360mm.

As for size, the wide and long lenses I mention are reasonable, its that normal lens with a large image circle that may be way too big for backpacking... the Nikor 360 W is not a back pack lens for sure, but the other two are fine. good luck...

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), February 27, 2000.

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