One lens for 5x7? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just purchased an old 5x7 Ansco. I used to have a 4x5 ZoneVI camera and loved using a 125mm Fujinon with it. Does anyone know what lens might come closest to that on a 5x7? Money is an issue so I am looking for something inexpensive, in a barrel would be fine because I have a packard shutter. I am only going to make contact prints.



-- Steve Williams (, August 18, 2001



-- Wilhelm (, August 18, 2001.

a 135mm nikkor-w would also work and give you somewhat more of a WA feel. While not inexpensive, you may be able to locate one used, because Nikon has quit promoting their LGFrmt lenses, and many people think little of the 135mm focal length. The lens covers 5x7 with ample movements. Bob

-- bob moulton (, August 18, 2001.

A 160mm focal length would be the closest to a 125mm on 4x5.

I would opt for a 150mm. I hear what you are saying about wanting to take advantage of the Packard shutter, and if you look hard enough, you could find something that would work. But I think that you will more than likely be able to find something fairly recent like a Caltar in a fairly modern shutter for a very reasonable price.

Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (, August 18, 2001.

Hi Steve,

As others have suggested, something in the 165mm - 180mm range would be similar to the 125mm focal length you prefer on 4x5. Any of the 180mm plasmats would have enough coverage for decent movements. You might be able to find a decent price on a used multicoated Symmar-S, Sironar-N, Fujinon W or Caltar. Cheaper still would be a single coated convertible Symmar.

Another possibility would be a 165mm Angulon (not Super Angulon). These are also single coated, reasonably compact and just hit the corners of 8x10 (stopped down), so would have plenty of room for movements on 5x7.

Others have suggested 135mm - 150mm lenses. Be aware, however, that most modern lenses in these focal lengths either don't quite, or just barely cover 5x7. The ones that do offer decent movements on 5x7 will not be cheap.

If you're really on a tight budget, you might look for an old 6" or 7" Dagor, or a 6 1/4" Wollensak Extreme Wide Angle. These will give coverage similar to the 165mm Angulon, but if you get an older, uncoated or barrel mount sample, should be quite inexpensive. I have also seen older, uncoated Bausch & Lomb Series VII convertibles in this focal length range go quite inexpensively. I used to own one that consisted of 13 3/4" and 11 3/16" elements that combined to make a 7" focal length. It was mounted in an older Volute shutter. This lens was a pretty decent performer in the 7" length, with the added bonus that it was also usable at the longer focal lengths - plenty good enough for contact printing. These seem to have acquired a bit of "mystique" in recent years, but you still might be able to find one at a reasonable price - especially in barrel.

Good luck.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, August 19, 2001.

Steve, 150mm XL would have to be the best quality and most modern choice(but very,very expensive) or alternatively a 165mm (wideangle construction) angulon or super angulon, depending on how much cash you've got, if you are really skinned of cash, then, a repro-camera lens would do the job(150mm mounted on Agfa repro-cameras) they cover the format and have no shutter and are really cheap! Good luck

-- Andrea Milano (, August 19, 2001.


You may have more lens choices if you opt for a 210mm lens. A 210mm would be slightly longer than 180mm but would still be considered a "normal" focal length lens for 5x7. Many 210mm lenses will cover 8x10 and, if you really catch a bad case of the LF bug, 8x10 may be you next stop! I use a 210mm Fujinon on 5x7 and the lens doubles as a wide angle for 8x10 field work. I also find that it comes in handy for tabletop work on 4x5.

If you are looking at lenses for contact printing exclusively on 5x7 and money is limited, many older lenses will produce acceptable results--especially if you are willing to use contrast controls in development, printing, and toning. Older lenses are typically uncoated so you should also take precautions against flare. On the other hand, older lenses tend to be very inexpensive (less than $100) and readily available in barrel mounts.

I've done some recent 5x7 work using an old B&L Rapid Rectilinear lens to make contact prints. I've been very pleased with the results even when compared to similar shots taken with my 210 Fujinon.


-- Dave Willison (, August 19, 2001.

I second that last response. The 210 Symmar (convertible to 370) is a great plasmat. Single-coated and pretty easy to find in Synchro-Compur. Very reasonable prices. For contact printing, sharp as a bloody tack. I've been using one on 5x7 for awhile, and it's probably my favorite lens. I'm getting an 8x10 w/ 5x7 reducing back soon and will use the Symmar on 5x7 and 8x10 both. BTW, many 4x10 users seem to end up using the 210 length the most.... Just last night I was reading one of the old Zone VI Newsletters by Fred Pickard. It was a late 70s number. He spoke of regular use of his Symmar 210.... -jeff buckels

-- Jeff Buckels (, August 19, 2001.

Since you are thinking barrel and cheap, how about a 210 Repromaster that is a german f9 lens and never fetches more than about 35 bucks on Ebay? I've got a 135 I'm playing with and it's got the Schneideritus bubbles in the interior????!! Hmmmm. Too early to give you a report on the quality but it looks to be sharp and very good coverage. It was $23. If you get lucky and can find a G-Claron in barrel, the 150 will cover your 5X7 with lots of movements in spite of what the Schneider web site says, or the 210. If money weren't an issue the Fuji 180 f9A is what is glued to the front of my 5X7 and is rapidly becoming my favorite lens. Let us know what you settled on and how it's working.

-- Jim Galli (, August 20, 2001.

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