Need a lens to go with my 110mmXL : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I will be buying two lenses for 4x5 field landscape work. #1 Is the Schneider 110mm XL! so I'm looking for a 2nd lens to go with it. I had pretty much thought the 180mm but now i'am thinking its not enough different. Just want one more great one! I been reading threads for days and can't find something that says YES! 180MM, 210MM, 240MM? 300? Appreciate any input from you landscape regulars. Steven Meyers

-- Steven Meyers (, March 23, 2002


A 240mm Fujinon A would be a good companion

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, March 23, 2002.

My most used lenses are 180 and 110 mm. I find them plenty different.

If you ever want another lens longer than the second that you are currently considering, the most popular choice would be one of the f9 300 mm models. In this case, you would probably find the 210 or 240 mm focal lengths too close to 300 mm. The 180 and 300 mm lenses are sufficiently different.

-- Michael Briggs (, March 23, 2002.

I dont know which lens, but I would consider one that has the same filter size as your 110, otherwise you will end up spending more money on filters than on lenses.....

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, March 24, 2002.

Ditto Glenn C, Fuji 240A

-- Bill Glickman (, March 24, 2002.

I have the 121mm and the 180mm, and like both a lot. I find them substantially different, and think that the 180mm would be a good follow-up to the 110mm.

-- neil poulsen (, March 24, 2002.

This is getting very helpful! I can add that I'am shooting on a Ebony RSW 4X5. So, If I go past 180mm I will need to buy accessories.(top hat) Not a big deal really. A trip comming up involves seascapes, black and white, with some 6x12. I always liked a little compression in my medium format landscapes! The Fuji 240 A does sound like a real winner! Looks like its out of production, and a little bit hard to find... I'm leaning a little towards my original choice, the 180mm. Seems I would be in a good position to add the 240 or 300 later! I could probably fix it so the 110 and 180 have the same filter size.. Now if I could just find some 4x5 XP2! ;) Steve Meyers

-- Steven Meyers (, March 24, 2002.

If you're ONLY going to have two lenses (110 and ???), I'd go with either a 210 (APO Symmar or APO Sironar-S) or the 240 A that others have recommended. The 240 A has the advantage of being a LOT smaller and lighter (and it even has more coverage, although any of these lenses will have more than enough coverage for 4x5 landscape use). Although it was officially discontinued in August, 1998, the 240mm Fujinon A is still avilable new through Badger Graphic for $750.

If you think you might eventually add a third lens, as others have suggested, the 110, 180, 300 progression makes good sense. In a 180, my first choice would probably be the APO Sironar-S (or APO Symmar), but if weight is a big factor, Fuji also makes a 180mm Fujinon A that is absolutely tiny. Like the 240 A, it is still available new from Badger Graphic. In a 300mm, my personal favorite for 4x5 landscape use is the 300mm Nikkor M, but the 300mm Fujinon C would also be a good choice. Both are small, light, reasonably priced, readily available and offer excellent performance.

WRT to the filter size, just plan ahead a little to determine the biggest size you will need (at LEAST 67mm for the 110 XL). If you plan on getting a 210mm APO Symmar or APO Sironar-S, you can start with 72mm filters and add a 67 - 72 step-up ring for use with the 110. Or, if you already have a serious investment in 67mm filters, you can just do what I do with my 210mm APO Symmar - use a 72 - 67 step-down ring. In theory, I loose some coverage due to mechanical vignetting, but since this lens has way more coverage than I need for 4x5 landscapes, I have found this to be a non-issue in actual use. Likewise, if you get a 240 A, 300 C or M, all take 52mm filters, so a 52 - 67 step up ring is all you need to share filters with your 110.

It all comes down to personal shooting style. Fortunately, there are a lot of great lenses available in the 180, 210 and 240 focal lengths. So, ultimately, it comes down to which focal length you think you would use the most.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 24, 2002.


If you add a tophat longer than 60-70mm to the RSW front standard it might get a little shaky with a lot of weight so much off-center, due to the short bed of the RSW. It's really a camera for wideangles. On my SW23 I am using a 180 Apo-Symmar on a 35mm tophat, which works well, but the 210-240mm lenses in that series get a bit heavy. So if you are considering lenses in the 240-300 range then make sure they are really light. Once again, the 240mm Fuji is a good contender, but you will need 60mm tophat just to focus to inifinty, probably another 40mm for closer work. I am not quite sure that this is a good idea, the instability you get in the front standard will be similar to using the center column on you tripod - if you put a big weight on a long rod, it will be prone to oscillation. Nobody has mentioned the f8/200 Nikkor-M? Best regards, ke

-- Åke Vinberg (, March 24, 2002.

A lens in the 210mm to 240mm range would do well as a second lens. Later you could always get one with a length somewhere in between to "fill the gap". A nice set might be your 110, a 180/190, and a 240.

-- Steve Gangi (, March 24, 2002.

When I got a used Toyo field camera it came with a 90 mm SA. At the time I thought that a 210 would be the next most logical step to take, and I bought a 210 Symmar. A few years and a few lenses later I was able to buy a 300 mm f9 Nikkor M for a very reasonable amount of money. Now I find that I use the 300 for almost everything I would have used the 210 for.

The Nikkor M is no bigger than my 210 although a stop and a half slower . When I first got this lens I thought that the slowness of this lens would make focusing difficult. When the lens arrived, I proved to myself that that wasn't a problem by rushing out to make some pictures. Shooting under those conditions was probably a case of a new toy biting hard! Well it wasn't until I was processing the film when I realized that I hadn't noticed that the groundglass was dark.

Although I don't know exactly why this is, it seems that the light travels more directly to your eye in a lens of this focal length and appears bright, while a wide angle appears darker. Let me put it this way: the 300 is slightly brighter than my 90 f9 and significantly brighter than my 65 f8. I know that this is only "apparent" brightness but what the heck.

The 300 mm focal length corresponds with a lens of around 85-105 mm in the 35 mm format. It is kind of funny since the 300 is like a 85, 90, 100 or 105 depending on which reference source you choose to read! Anyway it's a short general purpose/portrait lens and very useful.

If there's a down side to a 300 it would be that you'll need a camera with a lot of bellows draw. 300 mm is needed just to focus this lens at infinity and twice that to focus at 1:1. You probably won't do much 1:1 but you will be focusing closer than infinity. To split the difference I'd suggest at least 450 mm of bellows draw.

Even if you can afford one I wouldn't buy one of the 300 mm f5.6 lenses unless you are sure that there's an 8x10 in your future. These lenses are the size of your foot, probably weigh more than your foot and are much more expensive than the 300 M.

I DO use this 300 for 8x10 and it has plenty of image circle to cover that format. In fact the bellows gets in the way before I lose lens coverage - and that's in 8x10, not 4x5. In 4x5 you couldn't come close to running out of lens!

So having a 110 and a 300 would be lot like having a 35 mm and an 85 in 35 mm format. and that is probably a good place to start.

-- David Grandy (, March 24, 2002.

Hi Steven-

I think you'd be well advised to stay within the designed constraints of your RSW and get the best 180mm lens you can (my preference would be foa either a APO-Symmar or APO-Sironar-S). This will maximize the camera stability/extension and if you take a couple of steps closer to your subject (or crop a little)the image will be pretty close to a what you'd get with a 210.

-- Jim Bancroft (, March 24, 2002.

I think the real question is whether you are going to stop at 2 lenses, or ultimately get 3 or more. I like the 110-180-300 combo and find that there is certainly enough difference between a 110 and 180 to have both... BUT, if I were to have only two lenses, 110 and 180 wouldn't be a big enough spread, and 180 would definitely no be long enough. That is why I originally recommended the 240A Fujinon but at the time, didn't realize the bellows limitation. You could go with a 180mm, and then pick up a Fujinon 300T telephoto. It might just focus on a flat board, but will definitely focus on a short "top-hat" board.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, March 24, 2002.

One thing not mentioned in this thread (but it's been mentioned many times before) is that you just can't go screwing in any old filter on the XL series lenses, many will contact the front element's surface. Don't use the 67mm filter as your largest, find another size. I settled on 86mm since that is what the center filter has for female threads - you may want something smaller. Just keep in mind that if you intend to use multi-coated filters that Hoya tops out at 82mm - you'll need to buy Heliopan or B+W to go larger.

-- Wayne DeWitt (, March 24, 2002.

Oops, in my earlier post I didn't take into account the limitations of your camera. It sounds like a 180mm is the longest practical focal length. In which case, you pretty much have your answer.

WRT to filters on the 110... Yes, some 67mm filters do not fit properly (I've had problems with Tiffen, but a couple of my B+W 67mm filters work fine). It really varies from brand to brand. Since I already had a complete set of 67mm filters, I didn't want to have to go out and buy an entire new set of larger filters for a lens that has 67mm threads. My solution was to just take the glass out of an inexpensive 67mm UV filter and leave the aluminum ring mounted on the front of the lens. This gives me a 67mm - 67mm spacer ring that has eliminated all of my problens using 67mm filters on this lens. In theory, you might get some vignetting or limit your coverage if you stack too many filters on the front of this lens with the spacer in place. In practice, I never stack more than two filters (and rarely even two). So, it hasn't been an issue. Also, the rear of this lens is threaded for 52mm filters (which happens to be the size of the filter kit I use for backpacking). When using filters on the rear, be sure to focus with the filter in place, make sure you are using a good quality filter and that it is clean, and I even then, I would not recommend more than one glass filter on the rear of a lens.

It's unfortunate that your camera has such a limited bellows draw. It sounds like it is only really designed to be a wide angle camera, and if you try to use lenses (non-telephoto) longer than 180mm you're asking it to do something it was never intended to do. Personally, I like using longer than normal lenses (240mm, 300mm and 450mm). Obviously, I have chosen a camera to support my personal shooting style. I am a little curiuos why you bought this particular camera if the 110 XL is the shortest lens you plan to use on it. Just about any camera made will easily handle the 110, and most will also easily handle longer lenses as well. I'm sure the Ebony is a work of art and a joy to use, but by design, you've pretty much limited yourself to 180mm on the long end. The 180mm focal length is quite nice, and as others have mentioned significantly different than 110mm. I think you'd be very happy with a 180mm APO Sironar-S or APO Symmar and either lens will take the same 67mm filters as your 110 (the APO Symmar has 58mm filter threads, so a 58mm - 67mm step-up ring will do the trick). Given the limtations of your camera, I think either of these two lenses would be your best option.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 24, 2002.

Kerry, and all! Really appreciate all this input! Bellows limitation on the Ebony RSW does really suck, but I guess I was looking for something different. After many Years of packing 6x7 gear around, my knees are shot, so I wanted somthing light and a non folder easy and fast to use. Otherwise my lazy ass wouldn't get out and make any pictures. Plus I wanted to force my self to see a little different as I was never into wide angle stuff. I really visulized the 110 being all I need. My taste in landscapes is very simple(love David fokos)My second lens I was thinking it would be nice if it got me a little closer so I wouldn't have to stand in the (water-ocean) to get the shot!I knew I could easily sell the RSW if I wanted to get into longer lenses. So for now, I just wanted a slightly wide and maybe one other for different closer perspective.Also I do have a few 67mm filters from my Pentax 6x7 stuff.I thought the filter issue was most applicable to the 80mm XL? Is this an issue with all the XL lenses? I'am a little obsessive compulsive sometimes, currently I have no interest in doing landscape work like I did with the 6x7 for years. I do have a full Toyo G studio camera that I use for table top stills. I have a Rodenstock Geronar 210mm, after calling on sales people,they are claiming a vast improvement if I get a Symar 180 or 210. Its rare that I can get out for a week at time to do fun landscape stuff so I was reluctant to use Geronar only to come back and find it stinks compared to the enlargements from the 110 xl. I got the Geronar with the camera both really cheap! Steve M. Need a break from-

-- Steven Meyers (, March 24, 2002.

Kerry's note about do-it-yourself adapters is a good one. Another thing people used to do was to mount filters behind the lens. A gelatin filter (Kodak Wratten) and some tape was all it took. Unfortunately, gel filters are a bit fragile compared to glass ones.

-- Steve Gangi (, March 24, 2002.


Just to calrify where I'm coming from, I am not personally overly fond of ultrawide lenses. Just not my cup of tea. For general purpose shooting, I usually carry a six lens set of 75mm, 110mm, 150mm, 210mm, 300mm and 450mm. The 75mm is my least used focal length, but when you need something that wide, you really need it. Although the spacing of 110, 150, 210 may seem a little close to some, this is my most used trio of lenses and probably gets used for over 80% of my images. If I was to personally limit myself to two lenses, it would probably be 110 and 210. I'd miss the 150, but I could always shoot wider with the 110 and crop in a pinch.

When I want to go REALLY light, I carry a three lens set of 90, 150 and 240. That gives me a decent range of focal lengths with a minimum amount of weight (all three are very compact, lightweight lenses).

Just sharing what works for me. Your personal style and needs are likely different. So, what works best for me might not work for you. Given your current camera, 110, 180 probably makes the most sense. And, it you ever decide to get a camera with longer extension, the 110, 180, 300 progression is nicely spaced.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 24, 2002.

I find myself like kerry using the middle lenses more than any trio is 90, 120 and 150. The 210 and the 65 get used rarely and the 300 and 450 0nly on the 8x10 and 12x20.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, March 24, 2002.

"I thought the filter issue was most applicable to the 80mm XL? Is this an issue with all the XL lenses?"

As far as I know, the "filter issue" is only with the 110 XL. I'm not sure about the 150 and 210 (haven't used them), but I do know for a fact that 67mm filters fit the 80mm SS XL just fine. After the obvious snafu with 67mm filters on the the 110 XL, I think Schneider went overboard to make sure the same thing didn't happen on the 80mm SS XL. The front barrel is WAY oversized on this lens so that there is no potential problem using 67mm filters on the front. However, the point may be moot. I found fall-off sufficient enough to require a center filter with this lens (for use with high contrast color transparency films, YMMV). So, I still can't use my 67mm filters on it. The proper 67mm center filter is threaded on the front for 86mm filters (of which I have none). Like the 110 XL, it is threaded on the rear (for 40.5mm filters in this case). So, it is still possible to use a filter on the rear when using the center filter on the front.

In any case, it is the 110 XL that has the problem with SOME 67mm filters. My 67mm - 67mm spacer works for me. A potentially better solution would be a step-up to a slightly larger filter size (maybe 67mm - 72mm or 67mm - 77mm). That would give the benefit of a spacer, plus reduce the chance of vignetting (although I have not personally found it to be a problem on 4x5 using my stright 67mm - 67mm spacer).


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 24, 2002.

The filter "issue" affects both the 110XL and the 150XL (stepping up to 105mm bites).

-- Wayne DeWitt (, March 25, 2002.

If filter compatability is a concern then you might consider using the Lee rubber band system and whatever Lee filters you need to go with it. Then you'll be able to use the same filters with all of your lenses plus you'll have a much lighter, probably less expensive, filter system (though the Lee filters aren't cheap). The only exception is the polarizer. You can get a Lee polarizer but the one I bought about four years ago cost $150. I was so afraid of breaking the thing that I never used it. Now I just carry one or two normal screw in polarizers and one or two step up rings in addition to the Lee rubber band/holder/filters.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 25, 2002.

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