Long lenses for 8x10?

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Does anyone out there have knowledge/experience of specific long lenses for 8x10? By LONG, I mean BEYOND the Fuji 600C. Any first-hand evaluations on the Nikkor-T 800? Schneider Tele-Xenar 800? Classic lenses like the 30" Red Dot Artar? Anything remotely compact? Anything else I'm not aware of? Thanks!

-- Scott Atkinson (Scottatkinson@Earthlink.net), December 04, 2001


I have used the longest modern lens available, the Nikon 1200T. When you get to this much bellows draw, stability is the major limiting factor. I have an Ebony 8X10, probably about the most rigid camera that will actually allow you to use a lens this long in the field, and I find that vibration can be a problem with ANY wind. I now carry a little Linhof monopod to set under the front standard when I am using these LOOOONG lenses. This seems to help quite a bit. Others on this forum have had other suggestions ranging from umbrellas to 2nd tripods. A wind-beating "kit" is available from AWB, the guy who also sells the beautiful film holders (filmholders.com, I think). My general feeling a this point: for 8X10 and up, the real advantage is in WA to long-normal lenses, with long lenses up the the Fuji 600 12.5C being practical even for closer subjects, and for face shots in the studio. Anything that involves much more than 70-80 cm of bellows is the field can get to be quite a headache. I think the stability of your overall setup (camera/tripod vs wind) rather than fine differences between lenses will be your rate-limiting factor.


-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), December 04, 2001.

I use an 800mm Nikkor-T for natural landscapes (with a Deardorff) and have been able to stabilize the rig even in windy conditions by using triple supports - tripod mount under lens, main tripod in normal mounting plate on bottom of camera, and Bogen tele lens support under film holder. It takes a bit of doing to set up but has gotten me images of extreme sharpness even in a strong wind where I could differentiate individual leaves on trees on a nearby mountainside on my developed chromes (in areas not being hit by the wind, which travels in waves). A more stable camera, such as the Phillips, might not need such elaborate attention to multiple support points. My feeling about the Nikkor 800mm is that although it is very sharp, it does not quite equal the 600mm T in this regard. And I would expect the 1200mm rear cell to follow this trend and be less sharp than the 800mm. At some point around this focal length - for the best possible results - one should be ready to step down to a smaller image size if still more enlargement of a subject is desired.

-- John Burnley (oreamnos1@fnol.net), December 05, 2001.

I use the Fuji 600 C, Nikor 800T and 1200T. I agree with the comments above...except, when there is no wind, the Nikors have produced some exceptionaly sharp images for me. But many times I beleive this can vary from lens to lens of the exact same type.

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), December 07, 2001.

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