300mm f9 Nikkor M with 4X5 field with max. 12" extensiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
Will a 300mm f9 Nikkor M lens work on a 4X5 field camera with a maximum extension of 12"? I will be using the lens for landscape photography. I know that 300mm is 12", but in Steve Simmons article in the January/February 2000 View Camera magazine, he recommends using a maximum focal length of 240mm with a 12" extension to give you at least 125% of the focal length of the lens to have for focusing. I am in the processing of purchasing a 300mm Nikkor lens and would like other more experienced photographers input that have 4X5 field cameras. With the suggestions of photographers in this Q & A I have bought a Nikkor 90mm f8, 150mm f5.6 and a 210mm f5.6 and I love each of the lenses. I am just wondering if I will making a mistake buy buying the 300mm for my 4X5 with a 12" extension.
-- Louis Hirsch (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 17, 2000
If your extension is really 12 inches, the lens 'should' work with no closer focusing ability available. If you are going to use this lens on a camera that is so limited in bellows draw there is one simple way to fix the problem. Use and extension lens board. This is a lens board that is like a cone, putting the lens further forward. It can be as simple as a soup can soldered to a normal lens board or a custom machined board. Either will give you two to six or so inches of usable extension and make the lens much more versatile on a camera that has limited bellows draw. I think you will find this model Nikkor to be a good choice. It has a lot of coverage, being usable on 8x10 with some movement, so you won't run out with 4x5. It takes 52mm filters which helps keep the weight of your field kit to a minimum and is a good performer.
-- Dan Smith (email@example.com), August 17, 2000.
Dan's idea is a good one. I own a Wista Field with only 12" of extension and the Nikkor M 300mm. I fashioned my own extension lens board out of masonite, a few reinforcing pieces and screws. It sets the lens about 2 1/2" farther forward which allows focusing to about 10 feet (if I remember correctly. Since I use this lens mostly with distant subjects, this works out well. The only drawback is the limited front tilt/swing due to vignetting, but I can live with that. Hope this helps. ;^D)
-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), August 17, 2000.
All standard design 300mm lenses will focus at infinity at 12" but you'll encounter problems with subjects that are close or if you need movements. You might consider the 360 T-Nikkor instead, which will need less bellows because it is a telephoto design, according to an article the overview of long lenses for 4x5 on the home page of this forum, the flange focal distance for infinity with that lens is 261mm . here is the link for the article on long lens for 4x5. The circle of coverage for the 360 T-Nikkor doesn't have anywhere near the diameter of coverage the 300mm f/9 M-Nikkor does and it weighs twice as much as well as costing more but it is either that or build the extended lens board as others have suggested.
-- Ellis Vener (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 17, 2000.
All standard design 300mm lenses will focus at infinity at 12" but you'll encounter problems with subjects that are close or if you need movements. You might consider the 360 T-Nikkor instead, which will need less bellows because it is a telephoto design, according to an article the overview of long lenses for 4x5 on the home page of this forum, the flange focal distance for infinity with that lens is 261mm . here is the link for the article on long lens for 4x5. The circle of coverage for the 360 T-Nikkor isn't anywhere near the diameter of the circle of coverage of the 300mm f/9 M-Nikkor and it weighs twice as much as well as costing more but it is either that or build the extended lens board as others have suggested. Caveat to the last statement there maybe other telephoto lenses of near this focal length that I am unaware of.
-- Ellis Vener (email@example.com), August 17, 2000.
Although it is possible to focus a 300mm at infinity(with a 12 inch bellows) it is not particularly good for your bellows, unless you enjoy repairing pinholes. Some of the above mentioned options will work but I find them unwieldy to carry around in the camera bag. There are commercially available extension boards (exp. Wista) that can be assembled and disassembled for easy carrying. For another option consider the Fuji 300mm f8 T. This lens uses less than 8 inches of bellows draw and has enough room for your movements on 4*5. It is considerably lighter than the fore mentioned Nikkor 360mm (although not as contrasty) and is easier to carry. Really, the best solution is to get a camera with adequate bellows draw.
-- Pat Raymore (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 17, 2000.
Depending on the camera you have, you may be able to purchase a back entension, which is a set of rails that screw into the back end of the camera. This extension has bellows for focusing but I'm not sure about movements. This will give you the extension to focus closer than infinity & still retain at least lens board movements. This is definitely more expensive than an extended lensboard. Check out Wista & Horseman's websites.
-- Ted Brownlee (email@example.com), August 17, 2000.
I own a Nikkor 300 mm M lens and highly reccommend it to anyone interested in a "portrait" focal length lens for 4X5. As for your 12" of bellows draw, I'd say that you'd have the barest minimum and it will be VERY frustrating to use.
I also would disagree about the 360 Nikkor telephoto being a better choice. First off, the 360 is HUGE and very much more expensive. I'm assuming that you are carrying all of your stuff on your back and the extra weight won't be welcome for long. The 360 also has a small image circle and being a telephoto breaks all of the bellows factor as well as Scheimpflug rules. The 300 M is tiny and cheap, as I'm sure you know, works conventionally and has a massive image circle as well.
So the solution? Get the 300 M and ANOTHER CAMERA! It just sounds like you've out grown your current camera and its 12" bellows, and that's the problem, not the lens.
-- David Grandy (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 17, 2000.
For landscapes a 300mm lens requires at least 400mm extension and preferably a 430mm extension (as in the Linhof Master Technika) otherwise its use will be too severely restricted to give you much use. The cup extensions do help but that would call for tubes bout 130mm (~5") long. Cameras with 12" extensions are simply not ideal landscape cameras. If you are intent on 300mm lenses, try another camera. If you have yet to buy the Nikkor M, consider that the gem of 300mm lenses is the Rodenstock Apo Ronar. The AR is more expensive than the Nikkor M and but in a tight budget the Nikkor M would do fine. On 4X5 the AR's image circle is quite large for movements and what is best, it delivers superlative performance throught the whole image. The above statements are based on ample performance data from Rodenstock including MTFs at various distances including infinity. Do not be deterred by the fact that this lens is said to be optimized for 1:1 magnification. While true, this is so because at 1:1 this lens delivers ZERO distortion, while at other magnifications distortion is slightly higher but still within the range of the best of the newest 6 element lenses such as the Apo Sironar and Apo Symmar. The Nikon M does have a wider IC than the Apo Ronar, this is in fact the only performance data published by Nikon but it is not supported by quantitative data. In the abscence of hard data one can only surmise that the image quality of these Tessar types deteriorates severely away from the center. The Apo Ronar image quality is much mire consistent accross the image. Admittedly, the Nikon M has its followers but with the Apo Ronar and Rodenstock (and Schneider and Zeiss), you know exactly what you will get because these manufacturers do publish performance data. At first this may seem intimidating, however learning to decipher it will pay off handsomely. -Try the Schneider site for a tutorial. Best place to buy the AR is Robert White. PS: the ARs in shutter are multicoated.
-- Julio Fernandez (email@example.com), August 17, 2000.
I think getting the 360mm tele is good advice. I had a 300mm for 4x5, and I didn't think that the focal length was long enough. I'd go for a longer focal length.
-- neil poulsen (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 20, 2000.
If you think you will ever use a 500mm or even a 720, then getting a 360 Nikkor T is a good idea. Otherwise buy a 300 Nikkor M or better a Fujinon C 300 which has only 285 mm flange distance. With that one, you will be able to focus near enough for most landscape works. Or get the extended lensboard or make one yourself. If you are a little of a handy man, walk into an army outlet and try find an aluminum tumbler, as large as your lensboard can fit and with a little work, you can make an excellent customized extended lensboard.
-- Paul Schilliger (email@example.com), August 23, 2000.