Multi tasking with a G-Claron : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been looking at a 305 G-Claron enlarging lens and wondering about the practicality of having it fitted to a shutter in addition to the barrel in currently resides so I could use it as both a taking lens and an enlarging lens. I emailed S.K.Grimes about this and it seems practical from both an economic and an engineering standpoint, but I wonder if any of you out there have personal experience with useing one lens for both taking and enlarging. The G-Claron is reputed to be an excellent choice for both functions. Also, will I gain anything in sharpness by using the more modern G-Claron as opposed to the coated lenses I'm currently using---a 14" Commercial Ektar and a 229mm Paragon(not APO)? This combination works well for me, so I'm unsure if the "upgrade is worth the effort and expense.

-- John Kasaian (, March 20, 2002


Hi John, I can speak to a couple of your questions and I'm sure others can address the areas I'm not sure of. The 305 G-Claron is an impressively sharp lens that far surpassed my 14" Kodak. Same image circle too. However, that can always be a "local phenomenon" The coating on both is probably fairly close since both are single coated. None of the G-Clarons are "multi". I haven't enlarged with one, but I have mounted a 150 f9 Gerogon, same formula but smaller, and found it un-workable because of the small aperture. It was significantly hard to focus compared to f5.6. However that doesn't always carry through to larger sizes. f9 at 305 can seem like plenty of light compared to f9 at 150 even though mathematically it's the same. I've used my 305 as a wide angle on my 11X14 but I don't think I was quite at infinity. It has the bonus of being light and in a modern reliable shutter compared to the older Kodak.

-- Jim Galli (, March 20, 2002.

I have a G-Claron 305, which came in a Copal-1 shutter.

I've taken some of my best pictures with this lens; I have not, however, used it as an enlarging lens since I shoot 4x5 only. That said, I have lots of movements with 4x5 :-)

I would definitely recommend using it for photographs, and not just enlarging. The only thing is that you must stop it down to about f/22 to get maximum sharpness.


-- Ken Miller (, March 20, 2002.


my 240 G-Claron has turned into the most useful lens I've ever owned, this is what I've successfully used it on.

4x5 as a portrait lens, great results 8x10 as a wide angle lens, did some nice landscapes with this combo

#8 Cirkut camera, 95% of shots done with this lens

4x13 colour enlarger, for panoramic 120 negs (13" long) sharp edge to edge, out performed a few big name enlarger lenses

4x13 panoramic camera, just built it and testing now, the idea of using the 240 was for distant scenes where wide angle has too much foreground in it.

I originally bought the lens for 8x10 (has lots of movement) but for various reasons it ended up on other equipment. It gave excellent results on all gear although it flared badly on the Cirkut when it rotated around and pointed into the sun. Focusing was never a problem at f9, maybe I just got used to it.

The 305 will go straight into a copal 1 as does my 240, as I don't have a barrel for it I leave it in the shutter when using it in the enlarger. In my experience the G-Clarons are great multi task lens.


-- Clayton Tume (, March 20, 2002.


I have used both a 150mm and a 210mm G-Claron for both enlarging and 'taking', and have been quite pleased with the results. I have shutters in camera lensboards and barrels in enlarger lensboards, and simply switch the elements. However, this does attract dust and finger-prints, so one must be very careful.

I have never used a 305mm, but can't imagine that it will be too much different than the shorter lenese. As for sharpness, I would guess that the G-Claron will be marginally sharper than the Ektar. I don't know anything about the Paragon, is it an Ilex?

-- jason (, March 20, 2002.

I can only add to the accolades being heaped on the G as a taking lens. I bought mine with an extension tube as a multi-camera lens: with tube as a long lens for my 4x5 and 5x7, and a wide for my 8x10. tack sharp. I dont think I'd want to enlarge with it unless I had a an extra strong light source, maybe you could arrange something like that to make it work

-- Wayne (, March 20, 2002.

I mounted a 305 G-Claron on the Copal 1 of my Fujinon 300 and it fitted perfectly. Same space between cells. I suppose this is all it takes: setting the space between the cells. Maybe the space is standard on Copal 1. Besides, the shots I have made with it were very sharp. This is a good lens; I purchased as a used repro lens, very affordable solution. But Copals are expensive to buy separately and I finally thought it would be better to buy a new recent Claron especially if the repro lens had been used and heated. But then I was tempted to look at a better lens for landscape such as a Nikkor M or Fujinon C. Ended up with the best lens in my opinion (others might have other opinions). The colour rendering of the G-Claron I have is not quite as good as that of the Fujinon and it is only single coated. To summ up my thought: a good choice if you can have it mounted for cheap. The G-Claron is a bit dark as an enlarger lens but should work if you have plenty of light.

-- Paul Schilliger (, March 20, 2002.

Jason, My enlarging lens is a late model Ilex Copy Paragon on an 8x10 Elwood with a whole lot of light as there is no diffusion disc, just a homemade ground glass centerfilter mounted about 6" above the negative carrier, makeing for very fast exposures at f5.6, 6.3, 8, and 11. If I can get the G-Claron cheap enough, I think I'll give it a try. Badger Graphic has new ones in copal shutters they're closing out, but at close to $700 its still a little too rich for my pocketbook, considering the equiptment I already own. I do have back ups, a 14" APO Artar in a dial set compur and a 13" coated Ilex process paragon as well as a 300mm Nikkor M f9 in a copal 1 that lives on the aerial camera, and a dog of a 19" Artar in barrel...whew! now that I see all this on my computer screen I'm wondering if I've become a gadget-aholic!

-- John Kasaian (, March 20, 2002.

I have a shutter-mounted 305 G Claron that is a couple of years old. It is my enlarging lens for 8X10 negatives and I use it to take pictures as well. 305mm is not my favorite focal length, I tend to use 250mm and 450mm mostly. The 305 performs as well as my other lenses but really excels with close subjects. It also has a very useful amount of coverage. After years of use, I consider the 305 an excellent enlarging lens and an excellent taking lens.

-- Steve Barth (, March 20, 2002.

Thank you one and all for the excellent advise! I'll have to wait and see if my offer on the G-Claron goes through. Your testimonials about the G-Claron sure have me sold on the idea.

-- John Kasaian (, March 21, 2002.

John - The 305 G-Claron is $556 at Robert White.

-- Wayne DeWitt (, March 21, 2002.

" . . . also will I gain anything in sharpness by using the more modern G Claron as opposed to the coated lenses I'm currently using . . . " Not sure what you mean here, "uncoated" perhaps or "single coated" perhaps? However, FWIW G Claron lenses aren't multi-coated, they're single coated (contrary to what the Calumet catalog used to say), so I don't know how different they wil be from your existing lenses in this respect since I don't know what coating, if any, they have. I use a 150 G Claron for 4x5 and a 210 for 8x10, mostly as general purpose lenses but occasionally as close up lenses (never with an enlarger). They've both been excellent lenses for both purposes and are real bargains IMHO when bought through Robert White.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 21, 2002.


A few more comments. I agree with comments about the 'dimness' of G- Claron for enlarging. Using the 150mm with my old cold light head is difficult, however the 210mm with my 5x7 Elwood is fine. The reason I change elements, rather than pop my whole shutter into the enlarger is because I like the 'click' stops on the barrel. If I use my shutter I need to use a flashlight to check on the f/stop. Lastly, and perhaps someone has a comment on this, I wonder how different your 14" Artar (if it is coated) will be from the G-Claron. I have a 14" RD Apo-Artar (coated) which is really sharp--as sharp as my G- Clarons. The Artars, like the G-Clarons, are process lenses, and if I remember correctly, more recent issues are optimized for around 1:10 (or is it 1:8?), the G-Clarons are optimized for 1:1 (I *think*, please correct if wrong). So, perhaps the Artar might be actually better for what you are doing...

14" APO Artar

-- jason (, March 21, 2002.

The G-Clarons are optimised for 1:5 and 5:1 but work equally well at infinity.

I have a 250 watt dichroic light source in my enlarger and have no problems at all focusing a f9 lens, if you have enough light, focusing wont be a problem.

The only reason I leave my lens in shutter when enlarging is because I don't have a barrel. Yes I would prefer a barrel with click stops, owuld make life easier!

-- Clayton Tume (, March 21, 2002.

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