useful image circle for 5 x 7 camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Although it is my general understanding from reading other posts that a lens with an image circle of 210 is the minimum necessary to cover 5x7, I would appreciate guidance regarding how much covering power one needs to use a significant amount of movement -- for example, the kind of movement possible on a Canham 5x7 (the camera that I have been eyeing). The lens descriptions in the B&H catalog, for example, make recomendations regarding the maximum format for each listed lens -- but it is hard to get an idea of whether the lenses listed for 5x7 are at the minimum range for this format or are really useful if movements are used. I am considering moving up to large format to have negatives that I can contact print using non-silver methods. My subjects are architecture, statuary and landscape. I am considering three focal lengths: 150 mm (because it appears to best approximate the 50 mm lens that I use in 6x6); 210 mm (as a normal lens); and 450 mm (for details). A 4x5 negative seems too small -- if I'm going to bother with sheet film, it seems to make sense to have a negative that I can crop if necessary and still contact print. I would also appreciate any advice regarding my proposed choice of format.

-- Jeffrey Krenzel (, July 22, 2000


5x7 is an excellent choice for what you plan, the 450 will give you all the movements you need, I use a 210 and 240 for portraiture and landscape, I don't do buildings except for parts of them. I am into albumen, you might go to Bostick&Sullivan's site and check it out. Regards, Pat

-- pat krentz (, July 22, 2000.

The 150 mm Super Symmar XL, just about any 210 (Nikon Schneider Fuji or Rodenstock) and the Nikon 450mm f/9 would be my choices. I thoink a 90mm (either the Rodenstock /4.5 Grandagon, or the /4.5 Nikon or the Super Angulon XL) might be a better match to your 50mm; Even better would be the 110 mm f/5.6 Super Symmar XL.

-- Ellis Vener (, July 23, 2000.

The lenses you mention should work for 5x7. As a rule, take the minimum coverage and apply a factor od +25 % to it for some coverage room. A 135 mm lens like the nikkor will cover 5x7 with ample movement and avoid the problems of center filters etc. you might experience with a shorter lens like the 120mm. And you may find it a small but useful lens for landscapes and some architecture. As to the format, many find a 5x7 contact somewhat small and yearn for the 8x10. You must determine that for yourself of course. If you want to enlarge, however, the 5x7 provides 35 and the 4x5 a mere 20 sq. in.. You sacrifice little in the weight of cameras or lenses and you gain a lot. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (, July 23, 2000.

A 50mm lense on 6x6 will be rather wider than a 150mm lense on 5x7. You may find it useful to look at a 120mm lense, such as the Nikkor SW120mm, the image circle of which can cover 8x10. For the applications you listed, it could be just the job.

-- fw (, July 24, 2000.

I've the Canham. My 3 lens set is 110, 210, 450. I fell you need 250mm image circle. I've other lenses with smaller image circle, and I seldom use them. Instead of the 150, I'd definitely get the Schneider 110 XL. It's smaller and ligher, and covers more than the 150 HM. The wider angle of view would be beneficial. One thing to bear in mind is that when you raise the lens, the apparent field of view becomes significantly smaller. You've mentionned that you wouldn't object cropping. 150 is pretty close to 110.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, July 24, 2000.

Thanks much for the very useful and amazingly fast responses to my questions. I will begin by getting a 210 mm lens -- probably a used Schneider Symmar-S (which is reasonably priced and appears to have coverage to spare), and then the 110 mm Super Symmar XL that everyone has recommended so highly. Is there any reason not to purchase the 110 mm Super Symmar from Robert White in the UK for about $500 less than B&H charges? (Apart from a mad desire to spend money.) I would then buy the 450 mm lens. Ellis suggested the 450 mm Nikon f/9 -- is this also the recommendation of others? I probably would not want to go to a smaller maximum aperture, given the fact that much of my work is indoors in ill-lit buildings. Of course, I will have to make a decision regarding the Canham 5x7 first. I was considering the metal version. There do not seem to be many choices in 5x7 cameras. I know that Ellis has posted many favorable (and informative) comments about the metal 4x5 and I have read Q.-Tuan Luong's very useful review of the metal and wood 5x7. Is there anything new or different that I should consider before I commit to the metal 5x7? I have spent an hour with the metal 4x5 in a cameral store and found it light, compact, reasonably easy to manipulate and more solid that the one wooden field camera that I have used in the past. Thanks again to each of you who took the time to respond to my questions.

-- Jeffrey Krenzel (, July 26, 2000.

Based on the subjects that you mentioned in your initial question and follow up comments, I am assuming that you won't be hiking any distance with your camera. If that is the case a new or used 5 X 7 monorail may be most useful for you. About all of them will have adequate movements and if the rail and bellows are long enough, you can use it for close ups with rather long lenses.

-- Bob Eskridge (, July 26, 2000.

According to Calumet, a useful image circle for 5x7 is about 235mm. That is the minimum plus 10%.

-- Ellis Vener (, July 27, 2000.

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