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Thread: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

  1. #1
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    4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    Hello,

    I'm putting together a setup for landscape work with a 4X5" view camera with a 6x12cm 120 back, and I'd like to use a wide angle most of the time.

    Looking through the options, I'm thinking of either a Nikkor SW 65/5.6 or a Schneider Super Angulon 65/5.6 - is there any realworld difference in quality between the two?

    I know there are many alternatives, but 1) the price for these is reasonable, and 2) they are wide enough for the formats I want to use.

    Are there any alternatives that are in the same price range that you would suggest?

    Thanks for your input!

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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    You can't go wrong with any of the lenses from the big four - Nikon, Fuji, Schneider or Rodenstock. The differences in performance are very small. There are of course some special lenses with superlative performance like the Apo-Sironar S, but by and large, they're all pretty good. The Nikon is an f/4, by the way, making it a bit easier to focus. I use the Rodenstock Apo-Grandagon f/4.5 series from 45mm to 90mm with film and digital, and they're all excellent.

    Kumar

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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    You will see little, if any, quality differences between reasonably modern large format lenses, the main buying points are specification and what shutter it comes with etc. As Kumar has said, I think anything slower than f/5.6 is a pain to compose with in the landscape. Good luck, 4x5 and a 6x12 back is a great combination.

    Steve

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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    Thanks for the advice!

    If the difference in quality is that minimal, I think I'll go for the Nikkor 65/4 for the extra ease of focusing, as most of my work will be done at dusk or later...

    Don't know exactly when I'll be able to get the setup, but when I do I'll be sure to post the results here!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    Actually you can go wrong even with lenses from the big four.

    I have a 65 Super Angulon that I've used with 6x12. I also have a 47 SAXL and a 100 Apo-Symmar. My impression is that the 65 Super Angulon is not a very sharp lens - especially the 47 but also the 100 are noticeably sharper than the 65.

    My sharpest lens is still a 150 Super Symmar XL - it outresolves a 1.8 GB scan on 8x10" film. To me, that says that Schneider-Kreuznach saw the shortcomings of the older Super Angulon construction - it's really an old design.

    I have no experience with the Nikkor-SW design but I would also see f/4 as an advantage.

    You might also want to consider adding a a fresnel lens to your focusing screen.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    One of the issues with buying used LF lenses is this: Many -- and Schneider especially -- have very thin brass spacer shims under the front element between it and the shutter. These are installed at the factory to optimize the lens. Over time, folks remove that front group to clean it or clean or even replace the shutter and lose or wrinkle one or more of the fragile shims and the spacing is no longer optimal. Moreover, the effects of shimming are most notable on shorter focal lengths, so especially with wides, you need to be careful when purchasing used. (I used to pull the front element on Schneiders and confirm the shims were there. If they were, it was a good bet the lens was going to be good. If they weren't there, it didn't mean the lens was bad, but it did mean I needed to test it thoroughly before purchasing it.) I also found shims occasionally on wide Nikkors, but rarely saw them on Fuji's or Rodies FWIW.

    If however you are buying new, then I would agree that most of the big 4 will give you very serviceable images. What you will notice are subtle differences in the way they render color, falloff, contrast etc. However, like Lars indicated, there are very definitely some standout lenses available, but not many of them are shorter than 90 One of my best ever was a 450 APO Ronar I got from Lars! Also had a 210 Super Symmar XL that was stunning.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
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    Re: 4X5"/6x12cm wide lenses

    I love me some nikkor 65mm!!!! great great lens

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