300 mm Lens Options

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I would like to add a 300mm lens to my 4x5 camera. I'm not sure at this point that I would use it enough to justify an expensive new or recently used lens. Wondering if there are any bargains in the vintage or classic lenses, Kodak, Wollensak, etc. I do want a lens in a shutter, no barrels considered. Are these old lenses in Aplhax or other old shutters going to be useable? I shoot strictly black and white if that matters. Any suggestions? I don't want to spend the $400-500 that a used Nikkor M 300/9 of G-Claron 305/9 would cost.

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), March 30, 2001


Linhof 360 f5.5's are GREAT. I have one at home and we have some at work. You might be very surprised on how much you will use it when you get it!!! I really like the compression and use it alot. Take a look at www.ebay.com Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), March 30, 2001.

Dave: I have a 300 Fujinon T that I use on my Tachihara field camera. Once you get a 300, you'll be surprised how much you will use it. 300 really isn't all that long of a lens, about equal to an 80 in 35mm (based strictly on relative linear magnifications). I too have purchased old lenses in old shutters, and I found that the main problems with such lenses can be the old shutters. If you do decide to get an old lens, by all means make sure the shutter is in extremely good shape. Sometimes repair costs can be higher than the value of the shutter.

-- Ken Burns (kenburns@twave.net), March 30, 2001.

You don't say what camera you have, and how much bellows draw it has. That is a major limiting factor in choosing a long lens.

-- Dick Deimel (Bbadger@aol.com), March 30, 2001.

I have the Toyo 45E camera, about 450mm of bellows draw. Not planning to use the 300mm very close so I don't think I'll have problems with bellows. The Nikkor-M or G-Claron would do nicely but would like to spend about half that amount.

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), March 30, 2001.

If by "half that amount" you mean $200 - $250 I think you're going to have a difficult time finding a clean 300 mm lens and shutter in that price range that will have sufficient coverage.I wouldn't say it can't be done but it's going to take a lot of patience and a lot of time I suspect. Your best bet might be to look for lenses with "cleaning marks." If the marks aren't too lmany or too large, and are towards the edge of the lens rather than the center, they might work fine, especially for black and white, and cleaning marks might discourage enough purchasers so that the seller would give you a large enough discount to bring the lens within your price range.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), March 30, 2001.

Maybe I am wrong. I am not an expert. I just want to convey to you what I understood after reading comments by earlier contributors.If your camera uses a small lensboard (96 x 99 mm) with tapered bellows, you may want to consider a compact 300/f9 mm lens, easily stashed in a pocket of your camera bag/backpack, while if your lensboard is large (e.g., 140 x 140 mm), and could never fit in the pocket, maybe you would be more inclined to buy a brighter but bulkier 300/f5.6 lens. Camera bellows tapered to fit a 96 x 99 mm lensboard are unable to accept lenses the rear element of which has a diameter larger than 80 mm. Best of luck in your search.

-- David (caldw@aol.com), March 30, 2001.

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