wide angle lens for 12x20 format

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

I need help in choosing and finding a wide angle lens, 14" range for a 12x20 camera to be used for landscape photography, to include infinity in focus. I am told that the Schneider G-Claron 355/9 covers the format stopped down but is this at 1:1 or at infinity? At infinity focus, what will be the image circle? How much movement will the Goerz dagor 14"/7.7 allow? Are there other lenses I should consider? Thanks Lewis Lauring

-- Lewis Lauring (dlauring@tampabay.rr.com), March 29, 2000


Your 12 by 20" format has a massive diagonal of over 590mm. You haven't got a prayer of covering it with a 355mm normal angle lens, and neither the Dagor nor the G-Claron are wide-angle lenses by any means. See the post 8 down from this.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), March 30, 2000.

At 14" focal length you'll need a lens with an angle of coverage of just about 80 degrees... which leaves no room for movement. I know that the Zeiss Protar Vs (fives) have an angle of coverage of right around 105 degrees (in barrel, slightly less if mounted in a shutter), which should be just the ticket. And you get the added bonus of a highly corrected convertible lens.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), March 30, 2000.

The LF home page associated with this forum has some useful lists of lens coverage (Click on 'about' on the main page and follow the obvious link). Michael Gudzinowicz has also recently posted some other lists which include older barrel lenses to the usenet group rec.photo.equipment.large-format: you can retrieve them at www.dejanews.com.

The consensus on usenet seemed to be that older 14" Dagors would cover 12x20 but modern formulations wouldn't. The 360 Fujinon-W seems to be a universal recommendation as a modern lens that will cover the format with a little room for movements and a wider than normal angle of view.

-- Struan Gray (struan.gray@sljus.lu.se), March 30, 2000.

Glen Evans has some info on lenses to cover 12x20 (that is, the ones he's selling) on his web site (www.photomall.com/gevcam.htm) and Wisner has a page on lenses that cover 20x24 (www.wisner.com/20x24lens.htm). Collectively, these might give you some useful info.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), March 30, 2000.

I use my 355 g-Claron on 7x17 (at infinity) with no problems what so ever, and I know of one photographer that uses the 355 G-Claron on his 12x20. I only saw him use it up to middle distances, but he was using tilt (if I recall correctly). 355's are abundantly available used, and most likely if you weren't happy it is easily re-sold. I would say try it.


-- Steve Nieslony (sejn@pacbell.net), March 30, 2000.

Lewis - I shoot on 12x20 with a 14" Goerz f/7.7 Dagor. I love this lens on this format - my favotite 4x5 lens is the 90mm and a 14" (360mm) lens on 20" wide film has the same horizontal angle of view. Although my particular lens is uncoated, Dagors inherently have good contrast due to their construction (only 4 air-to-glass surfaces). You don't get a lot of extra coverage with the 14" Dagor, but enough for slight movements and (more importantly) enough to use a filter without vignetting. (Realizing, of course, that most of your pictures will be taken at f/64.) The lack of coverage has never been a problem for me with landscapes. My camera (Korona) has front tilt and rise/fall (no front swings) and a bit of rear tilt and swing. The only movements I really use are moderate rear tilts, which I prefer to front tilts because 1) they don't eat up any coverage, and 2) I like the slight foreground exaggeration - it adds to the near/far 3-D effect.

I haven't personally used the 355mm G-Claron so I'll avoid the curse of the web and refrain from making unfounded conjecture based on third-hand hearsay. Some of the sources mentioned in the other replies seem like good bets for reliable info.

Have fun with your big camera, and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me offlist.


-- Mark Parsons (Polar@thegrid.net), March 30, 2000.

Thanks to you'all in providing great and useful information. This website is really fantastic. In the few short weeks that I have been visiting the site, I have significantly added to my photographic knowledge. What a tremendous resource. Now all I have to do is make an expensive decision between the Dagor and Fujinon. Lewis Lauring

-- Lewis Lauring (dlauring@tampabay.rr.com), March 30, 2000.


The 355 G-Claron works wonderfully for 12x20 format: it's my usual lens with this camera. The G-Claron design gains enormous coverage over the published stats as it is stopped down to f/45 or farther. At 45, you've got at least 3/4" of rise/fall available. No objectionable light falloff either.---Carl

-- Carl Weese (cweese@earthlink.net), April 02, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ