Long lens - short bellows

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I'm looking for a longer lens, 360 - 500mm range that I could use with my existing 30cm 4X5 monorail. Am I correct that a telephoto design would allow for such a short bellows? Any particular lenses that someone could recommend? I'd be happy with a 180-190 or larger image circle, and compact size with low cost would be strong considerations also. Many thanks.

-- Michael Mahoney (mmahoney@nfld.com), October 01, 2001


I have and really like the Nikkor T* ED 360/500/720mm lenses as well as the separate 270mm lens. Up to 500mm works on a Linhof Master Technika. The 720 easily works on my Technikardan 45S.

-- Jim Brick (jim@brick.org), October 01, 2001.

You might also want to consider getting someone like S.K. Grimes to make you an extended lens board (it is the reverse of a recessed board.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), October 01, 2001.

The two standard telephotos for the typical 12"/300mm field camera are the Nikkor 360 and the Fujinon 400. Both focus at infinity somewhere around the 10-1/2" range, allowing a little play on your camera. (I don't have the exact specs here.) I've used the Nikkor extensively on both a Wista VX and a Toyo 45AII. The Nikkor becomes a 500mm--or even a 720mm--by screwing on different rear components. However, neither one of these will focus on your short bellows. (The 500mm needs about 14-1/2 inches, I think, the 720mm about 19 inches.) Both the Nikkor and Fujinon are heavy, expensive lenses.

Another option, as already noted, is an extension board for a standard, non-telephoto 360mm. I use a Wista extension board to mount a Fujinon 450mm on my present Linhof Master Technika (it has 16"+ extension.) The Wista design is quite nice; it's a set of threaded rings that can be screwed together to provide up to 4" extra extension--though all that extension can be a little unstable, depending on your camera. The Wista board may not fit your camera, either. (I have seen some that fit Toyos.)

Another, even simpler option? A non-telephoto 300mm lens, like a Nikkor-M or Fujinon-C. Because some of these actually focus at a little under 300mm, they might work on your camera, though you won't have much close-focusing ability. There have been numerous good posts on both these lenses--as well as other 300mms--on this forum. Good luck!

-- Scott Atkinson (Scottatkinson@Earthlink.net), October 01, 2001.

Whoops, I forgot. I think Schneider also has a new 400mm "compact" tele that's supposed to be a bit smaller than the others mentioned. I haven't seen one, but I'd imagine that it too focuses at less than 12". (Otherwise, what's the point?) It should be listed on the Schneider website.

-- Scott Atkinson (Scottatkinson@Earthlink.net), October 01, 2001.

I used the Fuji 400 T lens on a camera with a 13" bellows. It actually is a fairly compact, light lens considering it's focal length. It takes a Copal 1 shutter which cuts down a lot on the size and weight compared with a Copal 3 shutter. Price varies with exchange rates but I bought mine new from Midwest Photo Exchange for about $1,100 as I recall. The Nikkor T is by all accounts an excellent lens but the one I've seen was a lot larger and heavier than the Fuji, though I'm not sure what the configuration was of the one I saw.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), October 02, 2001.


The new 400mm Schneider APO Tele-Xenar Compact is smaller and lighter than the previous 400mm Schneider, it is still bigger and heavier than the 360mm Nikkor T-ED or the 400mm Fujinon T. This is due to the fact that it has a faster f5.6 maximum aperture and comes in a Copal #3 shutter.

Here's a quick comparison on these three lenses (new prices from www.badgergraphic.com)

360mm f8 Nikkor T-ED Shutter - Copal #1 Weight - 800g Filter Size - 67mm Image Circle (f22) - 210mm ftf for infinity focus - 261mm Price - $1640

400mm f8 Fujinon T Shutter - Copal #1 Weight - 600g Filter Size - 67mm Image Circle (f22) - 220mm ftf for infinity focus - 252.4mm Price - $1095

400mm f5.6 Schnedier APO Tele-Xenar Compact Shutter - Copal #3 Weight - 916g Filter Size - 82mm Image Circle (f22) - 250mm ftf for infinity focus - 285.1mm Price - $1275


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), October 02, 2001.

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