150/180 for 4x5, and which at either?

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First let me thank this forum and its knowledgeable contributors for their assistance, which has far exceeded that of any salesman. I use a Canham DLC with Schneider 110XL and Nikkor M 300 F/9 lenses and am thrilled with everything. But last weekend I was in a situation that really demanded a normal focal length and am writing to solicit suggestions. First of all, 150mm or 180mm? Splitting the difference between the 110 and the 300 suggests the 180mm (perhaps a 200? doubtful). This lens reviews on this site rave about the Rodenstock Sironar-S at 150mm, but what about at 180mm? Schneider, ROdenstock, Nikkor, or Fuji? I backpack this stuff. Thanks very much.

-- Burke Griggs (griggsb@bc.edu), August 17, 2000


Burke. if I were you I'd go for the 180, It can be used a lot more universally than 150, 180s are Ideal for head and shoulder portrait and product stills with a slight wide feel to them. Bear in mind that I have a 150 if choosing this last one why don't you go for a XL, this would make the image circle considerably larger. Brans are a matter of taste and availability on the market, major brands are all very good. Good luck.

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), August 17, 2000.

Burke, One of the biggest mistakes I've made in photography is selling my Fujinon 180/AS. It was extremely sharp providing you kept it away from f90, compact(46mm filter thread) and light, it weighed 170g. This lens will easily cover 5x7. Good luck,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), August 17, 2000.

I started out with a 135 and a 210, added a 90mm Super Angulon along the way. I ended up about 40% 210, 30% 135 and 30% 90. All the while I had a 150 on loan from a friend, which was just to close to the 135 to be of much use for my purposes. I stumbled across a 180 at a price I liked and went ahead an picked it up. Now I use about 40% 180, 40% 90 and 10% 121 Super Angulon.

I realize that is kind of a long story but I use it to illustrate how sometimes equipment does make a difference, and you don't know how much until you try. As to brands, I have Rodenstock and Schneider, and access to a Fuji and frankly I can't tell the difference in Black and White from one to the other. A quality modern lens is going to perform well beyond the naked eyes ability to discern a difference.

By the way I vote for 180.

-- Marv (mthompsonn@home.com), August 17, 2000.

Burke: I use the 110, a 300 and a 180 and find it to be nearly an ideal set. While I use a Fuji 180, any of the big 4 are fine. The Rodenstock Apo Sironar-S is a spectacular lens, but larger and heavier than some others.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), August 17, 2000.

I too recommend 180. Added to your 110 and 300, it makes a good set. The 150 would be too close to the 110. Also, the difference in coverage for 4x5 between a 150 mm plasmat-type lens and a 180 mm is pretty significant.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), August 17, 2000.

Here's a general rule of thumb. If you want a focal length exactly between two existing ones, take the geometric mean, that is, the square root of the product of the two existing focal lengths. In the case in question, we get square root(110 x 300) = 181.66. Yes, the 180 would be perfect.

-- Stewart Ethier (s_ethier@parkcity.net), August 18, 2000.

Most 180's have a much bigger image circle than 150's, making them much more versatile. I had a Rodenstock 180 and was very pleased with it. I've never had a 150, and don't miss it.

I currently have an Angulon (not Super Angulon) 90, a Fuji 120 and a Fuji 210.

I really like the 210, and most lanscape photographers consider this a "normal" focal length, though it is slightly long. You might consider this size as well.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), August 18, 2000.

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