to XL or not to XL : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am about to purchase my first large format camera and intend to buy either a Gandolfi Variant Level 1 (5 x 4) or the Ebony SW45. I intend to get a Schneider 90mm Super Angulon lens. I will mainly be using the camera for landscape work and doubt that I will need the larger image circle of the XL. Is the XL version of the lens worth spending the extra on? Many thanks in advance for any advice Julian

-- Julian Hart (, May 17, 2002


If you foresee using large amounts of movement then it is worth the outlay. BTW, the 110XL is a great landscape lens (unless you have a yearning for the 90!)

-- paul owen (, May 17, 2002.

I agreee with Paul, you will need also too big filters for the 90XL; perhaps it could be a good idea to think about it, and buy the lens with the filter system in mind, stepping rings (if you don't choose a square filter system), lens hood, etc.

The 90XL have a 95mm filter slot. You can share filters in the future with a 72XL, and try to find a stepping down ring to use this filters with a 210mm lens (about 72mm filter slot), and another to use with a longer lens (an apo-ronar 300 use 49mm filter, a 360 use 52mm filter). It seems to me too big a 95mm filter in a 49/52mm filter thread. Nothing to say if you like the square filter/hood systems.

The 110XL use 67mm. filters. If you buy 72mm filters, you can use them without rings in a 210mm lens, and with one 67 to 72 ring in the 110XL. Also in a 75/55mm lens with the same ring (without the center filter--if you use the CF in this lenses you will need 86mm filters- also smaller than the 95mm!). The 72mm filter don't look as big as the 95mm's in a long lens.

I wonder if this could help you... I'm not sure...

-- jose angel (, May 17, 2002.

Ooops, I'm here again. The idea that I want to share is that I have a lot of lenses/filters, but for landscapes (usually hours of walking from the car) I go just with a 110 and 210mm lenses to save weight. Then, I take just my "small" B&W 72mm filters and the 72-67 stepping ring. If I take the 300mm I add another ring.

Best wishes,

-- jose angel (, May 17, 2002.

Since you live in the UK, choose the Gandolfi. Go with the 90 Super Angulon, and also buy a 210 Schneider with the money you save. You will need both of those lenses for landscape work. The XL is overkill, and the Gandolfi can be expanded in the future, when you are ready. You should be able to get a good price on those items at Robert White.

-- Eugene (, May 17, 2002.

Julian: As you are in the UK........another reason to buy into the Lee filter system. You can use them in practically any lens. I'd avoid round filters to avoid duplication. The only round filter you need is the Lee Polarizer which fits into the Lee adapter system. I would NOT buy the square Lee polarizer 'glass' filter which is too delicate. My last one crashed to nothingness! I agree with the last poster, XL 90 and even 75 is overkill on 4X5, too big too heavy and worst, too big for the Lee system.

-- Julio Fernandez (, May 17, 2002.

For landscape work, the coverage of the XL is excessive. If you think you might do architecture, though, it might be worth it, though for most things the regular 90SA would probably be fine. I use the 90XL for architecture and only managed to run out of coverage when I specifically tried to. I have the center filter for the lens but have yet to feel the need to use it. If you do get the 90XL and do want to use Lee filters, you'll need to get the FK100 filter holder which is made specifically to fit the XL lenses with a 95mm filter thread. It clamps to the outside of the front of the lens and is wonderful to use.

-- David Munson (, May 17, 2002.

Yes, David.

I have the SA 47 XL, and centre filter, for architecture, and 90, 150, 240, 360, 480, 600 and 900 for landscape etc.

-- Dick Roadnight (, May 17, 2002.

Thanks for all the responses chaps After experiencing various equipment on a workshop and at a dealer, I had come to the conclusion that the 90 is my preferred wide choice and I shall probably go for the non XL version which as suggested will be more filter friendly.This will also enable me to get a 180 or 210mm lens a little sooner Thanks again Julian

-- Julian Hart (, May 17, 2002.

A possible issue is: will it fit on the cameras you are considering? Check the Schneider site for the dimensions of the 90xl and see my posts of a few days ago.

-- John Hennessy (, May 17, 2002.

Julian, As you seem to have decided on the nonXL 90mm, check out Robert White for good kit prices on Ebony cameras (especially the RSW +90mm f8)

-- paul owen (, May 18, 2002.

Thanks Paul

I have already been to Robert White to look at the RSW and whilst I thought it was a great camera it did not have all the movements I want. I think the Gandolfi is my best option at the moment (given its modest s/h cost) but may I move to an Ebony in the future (more for it's light weight than anything else)



ps - sorry for delay, I have just come back from a week on the Isle of Skye

-- Julian Hart (, May 25, 2002.

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