Question re telephoto-type lenses for 5x4 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Have just taken the plunge and got a Wista VX plus 90 & 150 Super Angulons but am looking for a longer lens too. Wista claim the VX can accomodate lenses up to 300mm but I was thinking about going for a telephoto design like the Nikon 360/8 which only needs 261mm of bellows draw. My question is, are there any disadvantages to these telephotos? How do they rate optically compared with normal designs?

Finally, what about the converter units (ie interchangeable rear elements) - do these degrade the image much? Seems almost too good to be true that one could have a 360 and a 500 in only one and a half lenses and still be able to focus on infinity at 261mm...

(Finally thanks to all for the inumerable old posts on this BB which made the break into LF so much easier)

-- Stuart Whatling (, July 10, 2001


Personally I feel that the convertable's aren't as sharp and the fact that you use so much light... It seemed to me that the bellows draw (in the field can be risky due to wind ect.) was a bit excessive also but that may have been my imagination. I quickly went to a tele 360 and love it. Really the only down fall that I know of on the teles are that they aren't optimized for really close up work... but that isn't what you buy them for.

-- Scott Walton (, July 10, 2001.

Stuart: The telephotos aren't quite as sharp as a standard plasmat but are nearly as sharp as some of the tessar and process lenses (Nikkor M, G-Clarons). The telephotos are very large and heavy though, and if you convert it to a 500mm it won't focus with 261mm of bellows. That number only applies to the 300mm.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, July 10, 2001.

I used a Fuji 400T telephoto lens on a camera with 13 inches of bellows and was very pleased with it. It took a Copal 1 shutter and so was relatively small and light for a lens of that focal length, about the same size as my 210 APO Symmar. I never performed any scientific testing but it seemed to be as sharp as any other lens I use. As a general proposition, convetibles are fine for contact printing but except at their shortest focal lengths perhaps aren't so good for enlarging. I use a Wollensak 360/500/630 triple convertible for 8x10 contact printing but on the one occasion I tried making an enlargement from the 500 focal length I wasn't too pleased. Of course other convertibles might do better.

-- Brian Ellis (, July 11, 2001.

Stuart, I had a Nikon 360 T and was generally pleased with it. I found it sharp and contrasty when compared to all of the true 360's available for my TK 45 (I tested Fuji A series, Schneider APO Artar, Schneider Gold Dot Dagor and Rodenstock APO Ronar). The drawbacks to the telephoto are its relatively small image circle compared to the other lenses (much less rise/fall and tilt possible, but still not an insignificant amount), and it didn't work well when the subject was less than 10-15 feet away. These factors won't be issues for you if you use the lens for conventional landscapes. They were for me and I purchased the Gold Dot Dagor.

I never purchased the 500 mm rear element, and can't comment on its performance.

By the way, the Nikon is relatively light and not overly expensive.

Good luck. Bruce

-- Bruce M. Herman (, July 11, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ