Lenses for 11x14

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I am taking the plunge to 11x14 (from 4x5). I have a 480mm Nikkor (process lens I think), and would like to get one lens with a shutter. I beleive a wide angle lens (210 - 360mm), will do me. I have looked at the lens coverage specs from the Bostick & Sullivan web site, which is very useful indeed; the site however does not detail the "pros and cons" (for lack of a better phrase), of each one. I will be shooting B&W only. Cost is an issue so I will be scanning ebay. The 210 Super Angulon was looking good but then on the Wisner web sit, Mr. Wisner says that it is huge - transportability is an issue.

Any insights would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help.


-- Matthew Hoag (hoagm@bostonpizza.com), January 28, 2002


I would recommend reading an article on the ultra format subject in the Jan/Feb 2001 edition of Photo Techniques. Rather than take space up here, the author details several lenses including the older Goertz Dagors and the Artars along with the more modern G-Claron. While you did not mention other concerns about your move to 11x14, the article talks about films holders, film, tripods and film development.

Several other resources are listed as well that support the larger formats. Good luck.

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@attbi.net), January 28, 2002.

Matthew: The above is good advice. Since you mention the Nikkor process lenses, I wanted to say that I have gone that route with the 360 mm and 480 mm f:9 Nikkors, albeit for smaller film. After machining adapters and putting together a Packard shutter for them I ended up being unimpressed with the sharpness of both lenses. With film as big as you are using (you are contact printing, I am sure) this probably is not important to you, but thought I'd mention it. Good luck.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), January 28, 2002.

Hello, I would look on ebay or at midwest photo for a 12" Dagor. I paid about $150 for mine and though it is well used, it still passes light and will easily cover 11x14. A 10" dagor may cover as well?? The Dagors in these sizes are small enough to carry in a backpack or etc. Good luck with the 11x14. I think thats a smart move.

-- David Vickery (vickeryphoto@cs.com), January 28, 2002.

Another hint: You can front-mount a barrel mount 12" Dagor on an Ilex #5 shutter without vignetting, if you happen to find one in barrel. Front mounting is cheaper than mounting the shutter in the iris position usually, and having one big shutter for a few barrel lenses makes it easier to travel with more lenses and gives you consistent shutter speeds. I've used my 12" Gold Dot Dagor on 8x10" with substantial movement and haven't run out of image, so I am sure it will still cover 11x14". I use the same shutter for a 10" WF Ektar (the original lens in this shutter--also should cover 11x14"), 12" GD Dagor, and 19" Apo-Artar (also front mounted). Actually, these three would make a great compact 11x14" set (sorry, not for sale).

If your 480 will work on the Ilex #5, you might look for the 10" WF Ektar in shutter, have an adapter made for the 480, then eventually fill in the middle with a 14" barrel lens mounted to the same shutter.

Check www.skgrimes.com for info on shutter sizes and adapting lenses to shutters.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 28, 2002.

Matthew, The Nikkors are terrific lenes and I understand from previous posts that Schnieder is discontinuing there G-Claron s and that they remaining stock can be had for really good prices, I think Badger Graphic was mentioned as having them in stock. The G-Claron is another terrific lens that is lightwieght,apochromatic, and gives good coverage but for 11x14 you'll probably need a 355mm. Don't overlook the 14" Commercial Ektar that came in a No5 Universal shutter. This is a single coated lense that should offer plenty of movement for 11x14. The specs I think are in "More on Classic Lenses" on this site. The Commercial Ektar is a great value and can be found anywhere in the $250-450 range. Most spent thier lives in commercial studios and therefore were well taken care of. FWIW, I believe that for B&W it is the equal of many of the new lenses produced today. You'll find them on E-bay and at MidWest Photo. Make sure that whoever you buy from will stand behind thier claims as to the condition of the shutter. I've had good luck with No5s, but whenever you buy a used lens in an old shutter, its condition has to be a consideration. Incidently, the current issue of View Camera has a portfolio of portraits shot with the 11x14. Good Luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), January 28, 2002.

There are 2 355mm G-Clarons on Ebay right now. There's also a 305 Computar f9 which is rare. It covers 1114 excellently and is in a modern Copal 3S shutter. I just picked up a 333mm Kodak f10 copy Ektanon. Put it on the 1114 this weekend and it covers with an inch to spare. 1960 single coated and WAY sharp. $51! but in barrel. There's a lot of stuff in barrel mount if you can live with that. Rodenstock Gerogons from 270mm up, but they're nearly impossible to put in a shutter so beware. I think my 305 G-Claron will JUST squeak around but I can't remember. Have to check that out. Good luck.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), January 28, 2002.

A friend of mine uses a 305 on 7x17, which is 1/2" bigger diagonal than 11x14. Closed down he says it has a lot coverage, a lot more than Schneider states in their specs.


-- Andy B. (buckwiet@yahoo.com), January 28, 2002.

A friend of mine uses a 305 G-Claron on 7x17, which is 1/2" bigger diagonal than 11x14. Closed way down he says it has a lot of coverage, a lot more than Schneider states in their specs.


-- Andy B. (buckwiet@yahoo.com), January 28, 2002.

Don't overlook Graphic Kowa in barrel, both 270mm and 305mm. I have both and use them on my 7x17 and they are very sharp, dirt cheap, and small. I use mine in front of an old Sinar Norma shutter converted to fit most of my cameras.

-- Rob Tucher (rtphotodoc@hotmail.com), January 28, 2002.

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