Reccomendations for *second* lens for architecture : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Well, I'm once again starting to do some research regarding an upcoming purchase. Some time in the next six moths, I will be buying another lens to supplement my 90mm SA XL. My subject matter of choice is architecture and interiors, and I'd like to hear from people with experience in the area. So what's the next logical step? Do I go wider or longer? If I go wider, I was thinking the 72mm SA XL (I want to stick with Schneider glass for consistency). If longer, maybe the SS XL 110mm(?) At this point I'm building up the arsenal of equipment I'll be using professionally after college (in a mere 2 years.....eek), so I want to make sure I make an appropriate choice. Thanks for any thoughts.

-- David Munson (, December 07, 2001


Hi David

These question is very individualy. I would go for 75 or 72mm as you already stated. I work with 55mm 75mm 90mm 135mm 150mm 210mm 300mm. And I`m using the first 3 for 90% of my pictures 55mm - 90mm. But other photographer tell youto go to 110mm. But you now it best in wich dendency you would like to go! Good light!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, December 08, 2001.

I'd go with the 72XL. The 110 is very close to the 90! I tried them both and found that there wasn't that much difference on the GG between the 2 lenses!

-- paul owen (, December 08, 2001.

Wait until you need it to decide.

-- Wilhelmn (, December 08, 2001.

David, You have 4x5, right. I have 6x9 and am using 80, 65, and 47 and need them all. (You make the conversion, my brain hurts.) Although the 80 and 65 are very close, with architecture you often cannot move forward or back to fit something in. The little bit extra the 65 gives me over the 80 sometimes mean getting the shot or not. Of the three, I use the 65 the most. (All exterior streetscapes and individual buildings.) It sounds like 72 XL would be best for you.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, December 08, 2001.

I'd agree with the previous post - wait until you're wishing you had a wider lens or longer lens for specific applications. I often needed a wider lens for exteriors, and certainly for interiors while using a 90, so my next lens will probably be a 72. The next "logical step" for you will probably be different, depends on your requirements and work. Wait until you find yourself saying " If only I had an XXmm I could make this shot" a few times, then start to shop.

-- Michael Mahoney (, December 08, 2001.


I am an architectural photographer and I have been following your posts for some time. I admire your very sensible approach to your photographic education. Since architecture is your area of interest, you will definitely need a wider and a longer lens or two. For the wider lens I would recommend the 58mm SA XL. It's a great lens and absolutely necessary for interiors. The 72 and 110 are both two close to the 90 to make a difference. You only need one of those lenses and the 90 is a fine choice. Next will need a 150 and somewhere down the road a 210 or 240 would be nice to have. The short story is that for architecture on 4x5 you can do 90% of your work with the 58, 90, and 150 lenses. I hope this helps and good luck on your education.

-- Wayne Firth (, December 08, 2001.


If you are intending to shoot full-frame 4x5 then I would definitely suggest the 72mm XL. It is a magnificent lens and it is about the widest you'll get with a truly ample image circle.

There is certainly a case for the 58mm or 47mm when you just can't get far enough back (I have them and use them) but movements are extremely restricted and the stretch at the corners - even on clouds, carpet patterns, etc. - is extremely disturbing at times.

A longer lens would alsobe a valuable asset, particularly with pitched rooves on domestic architecture, since it would allow you to back off and maintain spacial and mass relationships.

But, 72mm first, it is possibly easier and cheaper to borrow/hire a 150mm or 210mm if and when you need them.

Happy shooting ... Walter

-- Walter Glover (, December 08, 2001.

Dave, from preofessional and personal experience I agree with both Sandy and Wayne about the 65mm or the 58mm instead of a 72mm or 75mm lens. A 72 or 75mm will make a nice "fill in the gap because I'm too lazy to crop" lens for later. Lenses that are shorter than 58mm make you work really hard at controlling the natural hear far "stretching distortion, but sometimes you need them.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, December 08, 2001.

From experience, I'll line up with Ellis, Sandy & Wayne regarding the 58mm SA XL. It is a wonderful tool & I own one. Yet, I'd ask myself, what will I really shoot more -- exteriors or interiors? If, in real life, the exteriors rule -- by all means go longer lens first -- a "normal" f.length (but longer than 110!) to avoid edge distortion when you shoot facades. You could add the 58 next. If interiors dominate, enjoy the 58! Happy Shooting! - Paul

-- Paul Chaplo (, December 08, 2001.

I recommend you to rent lenses from 47xl up for now.... Meanwhile, read architectual photography books for examples with data including lens choices: "Photographing Buildings Inside and Out" by Norman McGrath.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, December 09, 2001.

Here are my thought

I used a 125, 90, 75 and 58 for my wide angle set. The 75 and the 90 are quite different and worth having one of each. The 58 is also different than the 75 and worth having. I skipped a 65 becasue the models that were out when I was working offered little movement whereas the 75 and 58 had movement (front rise is used a lot). The 125 - a 120 would be the same - was noticeably longer than the 90.

After the 90 well if you need something qwider go for the 75/72. If you need something longer go for the 110/120/125. Let your needs decide what you need next.

steve simmons

-- steve simmons (, December 09, 2001.

paul is right on - you need to consider which application is most important right now, interiors or exteriors. if interiors, go with the 58 or 65, as the 72 is not as significantly wider than the 90 as you will want. my preference is the 65, as i think that is really about as far as you can push current lens manufacturing techniques and get truly accurate renderings for architecture. as ellis points out, any wider than about 58mm and the lens becomes increasingly more difficult to handle - any disparity from absolute level becomes immediately obvious on the print (in a way which might not have been so apparent on the ground glass, unfortunately). if you do more exteriors, i would recommend a 135mm, as it is the widest of the "normal" lenses for 4x5 - it is normal enough to give a very natural perspective in situations where you can get a reasonable distance from the subject, and it is long enough to be your "telephoto" for detail views.

-- jnorman (, December 09, 2001.

The general rule for interiors is "use the longest lens you can get away with" to minimize distoration. Of course there are occasions where you have no choice and need the wider lens. I would go with a 65mm first and then a 120mm after that. I assume you are shooting 4x5 sheet film. With newer and better films, some (such as myself) shoot 6x7cm or 6x8cm roll film backs. The 65mm is great lens with 6x7 format for exteriors -- about the same as a 120mm on 4x5". In any rate, I shoot with 47, 65, 90, 150, 210 and 300.

-- Richard Stum (, December 12, 2001.

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