OMG Not another what should I buy for my first LF lens question! : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

As you all most likely know from earlier posts, I'm getting ready to make the plunge into LF. The last thing I'm desiding on is what will be my first lens. In 35 my normal lens is a 35mm. My 50mm does duty as a paper weight. So I was concidering a lens that would be close to the same angle of view in 4x5. The two lens I have been thinking about are the 135mm f5.6 Rodenstock APO Sironar-S and the 125mm f5.6 Fujinon CM-W. They are pretty close in FL and coverage is about the same from what I see. I'm thinking the Rodenstock is most likely the sharper lens, but I wanted to get some feedback. I'm know about the 110mm Super Symmar XL and that it's a wonderful lens, but it's really outside of my budget. So I won't feel bad I'll call it too heavy for backpacking. ;-) The only problem I have with Rodenstocks are, that I repair photo finishing equipment for a living and the gretags I work on, Half have Rodenstocks and half have Docters and the Zoom Rodenstocks are really pretty crapy. So I kind of have a bad taste. But then I've used Rodenstock enlarging lens that were good and I work for Kodak and will most likely loose my Job for buying Fuji products...J/K. Anyway, I guess I'll stop rambling now.

Thanks in Advance for the feedback, Ed

-- Ed Candland (, February 22, 2002



I cannot comment on the Fujinon, but my first hand experience with the Apo-Sironar-S 5.6/135 may help you making a "politically correct" decision ;-). The Apo-Sironar-S 135 is under consideration of it's size and weight really a fantastic lens with exceptional shaprness and contrast.


-- Thilo Schmid (, February 22, 2002.

Ed, I have faced exactly the same situation when I begun 1 year ago. I have eventually gotten a 150/5.6 because the 135 mm usually have less coverage than 150 mm , don't know why perhaps the optical configuration for a "normal" sacrifies a bit of coverage in favour of angle of view. Since coverage is a key factor for LF operations, there was my decision.


-- Roberto Manderioli (, February 22, 2002.

Do not discredit Fuji lens. They are sharp and nicely contrasty. I have been using them for years! Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, February 22, 2002.

I just took the plunge into LF and went the Rodenstock route, my other choice being Nikon (to which I have a fierce 35 mm loyalty). However, the coverage of the 150 mm Rodenstock Sironar-S was greater and only once have I gone off the deep end with swings and tilts and managed to vignette an image. The lens is really sharp right out to the edge of the image circle. I haven't shot any color film with it yet so I can't comment on its qualities in that respect, but it is an apochromat. I too hardly ever shoot with a 50 mm in 35mm photography, except with an old Retina sometimes. However, 150 mm seems to be a good focal length for learning the trade because it gives a natural perspective close to one's own vision and therefore I find it easier "see pictures" by looking around and then setting up the tripod and camera. Remember you can't wander around looking through a viewfinder with LF (unless you buy a press camera).

-- Tony Galt (, February 22, 2002.

Most all your answers are at Kerry Thalmann's website:

You can always make your employer happy by buying an old wide field Ektar. ;-)

-- Donald Brewster (, February 22, 2002.

Ed, This is a non technical answer. I too use a 35mm on my 35mm camera. But I take very different pictures with my 4x5. There is even a difference for me between 4x5 and 8x10. I really don't think you can just "transfer" a focal length equivalent. If there is any way you can borrow or even rent lenses I would suggest you do so over a wide range of focal lengths and see what feels good for you with your new 4x5.

-- jeff schraeder (, February 22, 2002.

It would be hard to make a bad choice of what you've mentioned. I think you were on the right track thinking of the 125 Fuji. After reading Kerry's piece in View Camera I'm saving for one myself. I doubt that the Rodenstock is sharper. You're bigger problem is going to be explaining to the boss what those green boxes in your case are!

-- Jim Galli (, February 22, 2002.

That reminds me of a story I heard at Noritsu. The Guy who did the news letter would change the color every month. One month he made it a little to close to Fuji green and I guess he almost lost his job

-- Ed Candland (, February 22, 2002.

What kind of photo's do you want to take with your 4x5?

-- neil poulsen (, February 23, 2002.

Neil, Mostly landscape with maybe an arch. element added from time to time.

-- Ed Candland (, February 23, 2002.

My favorite lenses for landscape are a 180mm plasmat design (e.g. Sironar, Symmar, etc.) and a 120mm super-wide. Sounds like you are tending towards the latter, although I think the former is more general purpose. I have a 121mm Schneider Super-Angulon with which I get good results. Being an older, single-coated lense, you can find these on EBay for reasonable prices, usually around $500.

-- neil poulsen (, February 24, 2002.

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