Wideangle Lenses For Various Formats

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Some wide-angle lenses provide a greater angle of view than other, more gentle, wide-angle focal lengths. The most extreme wide-angle lenses produce the greatest degree of distortion, which is most noticeable with objects closest to the camera.

Some wide-angle lenses provide a greater angle of view than other, more gentle, wide-angle focal lengths. The most extreme wide-angle lenses produce the greatest degree of distortion, which is most noticeable with objects closest to the camera.

Rodenstock Lenses Telescope

Illustrated here are some wide-angle lenses frequently used on 4 x 5 cameras. The top left Schneider Super Angulon 90mm lens was the standard wide-angle lens for many many years. This focal length is comparable to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera. Over the last few years several new and very good brand name 90mm lenses have appeared; these new lenses are made by Fujinon (one is shown top right), Rodenstock, Nikkor, and Caltar. The 90mm lens generally comes in two styles: an F8 model with an image circle of approximately 216mm, and models with maximum apertures between /4.5 and /5.6 that produce slightly larger image circles. The latter models also produce slightly brighter images on the groundglass and allow for a little more camera adjustment, but they are approximately 75-percent more expensive than an F8 model.

The Super Angulon 65mm lens on the bottom left is very wide for a 4 x 5 camera. It is about the equivalent of a 20mm lens on a 35mm camera. The image circle is just large enough to cover the 4 x 5 negative and allows only minimal camera adjustments. The primary use for a 65mm lens on a 4x5 camera is in interior photography and studio and table-top work when the near-to-far relationships between various objects need to be greatly exaggerated. Using a recessed lensboard is essential with this focal-length lens.

The Fujinon 75mm F8 lens on the bottom right is no longer available new, but it is a very good lens. This focal length is comparable to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. The new Fujinon 75mm lens is an /5.6 model with slightly more covering power. Lenses of this focal length with maximum apertures of /8 and /5.6 are available from Schneider, Nikkor, Rodenstock, and Caltar. All these 75mm lenses enable some adjustments on a 4 x 5 camera. The 75mm lens also requires the use of a recessed lensboard.

The Fujinon 125mm F8 lens at the top is a gentle, wide-angle lens for the 4x5 camera and is comparable to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. A similar wide-angle lens for 4 x 5 is available from Schneider. These lenses have tremendous covering power and will work on 8 x 10 cameras if used without any adjustments. Smaller 125mm lenses are also available from Fujinon and Nikkor, but they have only minimal covering power and are more suitable for a field camera or a 2Va x 3Va camera.

Twin Lens Camera Old With Gun Flash

Good, functional wide-angle lenses for an 8 x 10 camera are somewhat difficult to find. It takes a very large angle of coverage to facilitate any camera adjustments, and the optics must be able to produce a clean, crisp image on the film plane.

A lens in the 150mm to 165mm range is comparable to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. The Schneider Super Angulon 165mm lens, shown on top, and the Wollensak 159mm/6'/4" PI2.5 Yeliow-Dot lens, shown on the right, are both in this category. The Wollensak is only available as a used lens, but the Super Angulon can be purchased new or used. Their difference in size is due to the difference between /8 and /12.5 in light-gathering power and in their angles of coverage. The Super Angulon allows for more camera adjustments. Other lenses in this category are the Cooke 165mm lens, the Wide-Angle Dagor 6Va" lens, and the Roderstock Grandagon 155mm lens.

The bottom left lens shown in this photograph is an Apo-Kyvytar 210mm F6.8 lens, which is comparable to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera. This is a new, relatively unknown lens that functions very well as a wide-angle lens on an 8x10 camera. It allows ample adjustments and is quite sharp. It converts to 370mm by removing the front element, but the results in its ability to produce a sharp, flare-free image are somewhat marginal. Another 210mm lens available new and used is the Schneider Super Angulon. Rodenstock makes a Grandagon 200mm lens with an image circle of 498mm, and this lens functions quite well on an 8 x 10 camera.

Although not included in this photograph, there are several other good wide-angle lenses for 8x10 cameras. Good new lenses include the Apo-Fujinon 240mm, the 250mm F5.6 lenses made by Schneider, Nikkor, Caltar and Rodenstock, and the Fujinon 250mm F6.7 lens. Good used lenses include anything with the name 'Dagor' in the 240-250mm/91/2-10 inch range.


The definition of a long lens is one that has a focal length longer than the diagonal measurement of the film area. The long lens has a narrower-than-normal angle of view, and will minimize the size of objects near the camera while exaggerating the size of more distant objects. Portraiture often utilizes a longer lens because its shortened perspective enhances facial features.

A longer-than-normal lens will shorten, and sometimes eliminate, the foreground space in an image. Depending on the camera position, this shortened perspective can make distant objects appear relatively larger in relation to closer objects, which is opposite to the effect of a wide-angle lens.

A popular long lens for the 4 x 5 camera is the 210mm. Its slightly longer-than-normal length works well for such various applications as portraiture, table-top work, some landscape photography, and displaying a piece of architecture within its environment.

The 4x5 field camera cannot practically use a lens longer than 240mm. These cameras have a maximum bellows draw of 12 to 13 inches, which means that a 300mm lens could only be used to focus on objects at infinity (200 feet away from the camera). An alternative to the 300mm lens is the 270mm Tele-Xenar, which is a true telephoto lens and only requires 7 inches of bellows when focused on objects at infinity distance. This still leaves plenty of bellows for focusing on objects closer to the camera.

Another telephoto lens for a 4 x 5 field camera would be the Fujinon T 400mm F8 lens with a bellows draw of 10.4 inches at an infinity focus. A 400mm lens on a 4 x 5 camera is approximately comparable to a 135mm lens on a 35mm camera. This lens is significantly longer than a 240 lens, and it might be worthwhile to have both of them if your need for a long lens is great enough to warrant the expense. The primary use is in scenic and landscape work.

It is important to know the maximum bellows extension of any view camera before deciding to purchase a long lens. Some 4x5 field cameras have only 12 inches of bellows, which means that the longest lens that can be used for general purposes is a 250mm/10" lens. This would allow only 2 inches of bellows for focusing objects that are at closer-than-infinity distances, but it would still require that the object be 15-to-20 feet away from the camera. Monorail 4x5 cameras generally have 16 to 20 inches of bellows which will accommodate lenses with focal lengths between 300mm/12" and 360mm/14". The 2Va x 3Va view camera usually has at least 9 inches of bellows, and some will have as much as 14 inches. The 8 x 10 view camera has anywhere from 24 to 36 inches of bellows.

Rodenstock Imagon Holes Size8x10 Camera

Long lenses for the 8x10 camera include anything longer than 375mm/15". These lenses range as long as 1300mm/52" although in most cases the longest lens used in general photography applications is 24 inches (600mm). The three older lenses pictured in this group are currently functioning very well on 8 x 10 cameras. The shortest lens here, shown on the bottom, is a Goerz Apochromatic Artar 420mm/16,/2" lens that has been mounted in a Copal No. 3 shutter. The middle lens is a Wollensak Apo-Raptar 530mm/21!/4" lens mounted in a No. 4 Ilex shutter. The top lens is an Artar Apochromatic 600mm/24" lens mounted in a No. 5 Universal shutter manufactured by Ilex.

The Artar lenses (also available in 480mm/19" and 760mm/30" lengths) are among the best used lenses available on the market. They have a large following and are therefore a little more expensive than other used lenses of the same respective focal lengths. The Apo-Raptar is also a very good lens. The disadvantage with all these lenses is that they are somewhat large, and the Wollensack and Artar lenses have to be mounted in the older No. 4 and 5 shutters.

There are a variety of other long lenses available for the 8x10 camera. Fujinon makes its CS series lenses in 450mm and 600mm focal lengths, 480mm/19" lenses are made by Schneider and Rodenstock, and a 450mm/18" lens is made by Nikkor.

Nikkor 760mm Copal


Long before photography was invented, the appearance of the first optics, telescopes, and magnifying glasses set lens design in motion. Before the computer revolution, it was an arduous procedure to work out the many mathematical computations necessary to design a lens. Now, with the use of computers, developing a new design or improving on an old one is a much easier task.

For a lens to produce crisp, clean images on film, several corrections must be made in its basic design. Over the years, manufacturers have developed a number of solutions to the following lens problems: chromatic aberration, the failure of a lens to focus blue and red light to the same point; spherical aberration, the failure of a lens to focus rays at the center and at the edge of a lens to the same point; curvature of field, the failure of a lens to focus its image onto a flat plane; astigmatism, failure of a lens to equally focus horizontal and vertical lines; and coma, the failure of a lens to sharply focus a point source of light that is off the center of the image circle.

All of these designs involve using multiple cells, which are concave or convex pieces of glass within the lens barrel, positioned in front of and behind the diaphragm. Each individual cell, as well as each set of

Probably the most popular long lens for the 4x5 camera is the 210mm focal-length lens. Many photographers actually use this as their "normal" lens and don't have anything in the mid-range category. The 210-mm lens works well for table-top photography, some portraiture, and some landscape photography.

The 210mm F5.6 lenses pictured here on the top and on the right are made by Nikkor and Schneider and are typical in design and size of lenses in this focal length. They have image circles of approximately 300mm, which facilitates a great deal of movement on a 4 x 5 camera. Similar lenses are made by Rodenstock, Caltar, and Fujinon.

The bottom lens in this group is a Fujinon Apochromatic 240mm F9 lens. It is comparable to an 85mm lens on a 35mm camera and is designed for closeup work, but it also functions very well as a long lens for a 4 x 5 camera. With care it can also be used as a wide-angle lens on an 8 x 10 camera, although its angle of coverage limits the adjustments possible on the larger camera. Because of its focal length and apochromatic corrections, it works well as a copy lens for photographing flat artwork and other documents and for doing closeups of jewelry and other finely detailed subjects.

The lens on the left is a Fujinon Apochromatic 300mm F9 lens that is twice the normal focal length for a 4 x 5 camera. It is comparable to a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera. Most 300mm view-camera lenses can also be normal lenses on 8x10 cameras. Lenses in the 240- to 300mm category make good portrait lenses when there is enough room to back away from the subject and are good for some nature and landscape photography.

cells, is shaped and configured to correct as many problems as possible. It is a fact, however, that not all problems can be corrected equally and compromises must be made. Because of this, some lenses are designed for flat field or copy work, some lenses are designated apochromatic, and so on.

Lens speed is an especially important design factor to consider when buying a lens. Most view-camera lenses have maximum /-stops that range between //5.6 and //8. You'll rarely find or need lenses that are as fast as the ones you may have for a smaller camera. At the other end of the scale //45 and //64 (remember the group //64 made up of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and others in the 1920s who wanted absolute sharpness throughout the image?), and sometimes even settings of//90 and //128 are available to provide the necessary depth of field on longer view-camera lenses.

Camera lenses are generally designed to focus two of the primary colors, blue and green, onto the film plane. The third primary color, red, is focused onto the film plane by the depth of field. This amount of correction is quite good and is sufficient for all but the most exacting scientific and close-up applications. Depth of field is a function of the /-stop and the reproduction ratio (see chapter 4 about depth of field).

The Apochromatic Lens. When a lens is designated as being "apochromatic," it has been corrected to focus all three of the primary colors onto the film plane. These lenses are sometimes corrected for subject-to-image-size ratios of 1:1 through 1:4, which means they are suitable for close-up and copy work. However, when stopped down, they can also be very good, general-purpose lenses. The apochromatic lenses frequently have a smaller angle of coverage than lenses of equivalent focal lengths, so if you want to use an apochromatic lens, consider one with a normal or longer-than-normal focal length for your film size.

The Convertible Lens. Some lenses are called "convertible/' which means that they have more than one focal length. When assembled as a whole, a convertible lens has one length, and when the front element is removed, it will have another focal length that is about 75-percent longer. Some older lenses are called "triple convertible," which means that they have three focal lengths. The first, and shortest, length occurs when the front and rear elements are in their proper places. The middle length is usually achieved by removing the front element, and the longest length is obtained by placing the rear element in front of the shutter. When convertible lenses are properly assembled, they range from adequate to good in terms of their ability to produce a sharp, crisp image on film. In their converted state, sharpness suffers, and they may cause some flare in bright areas of the image.

The Telephoto Lens. Don't confuse telephoto lenses with long lenses; they aren't the same thing. The telephoto lens is unique in that its optical center is out in front of the lens rather than being at the point of the diaphragm, as is common for most lenses. The telephoto lens was designed for use on cameras with short bellows when a long lens was required in relation to a given film size. The telephoto lens will have a bellows draw of approximately two-thirds of its focal length. Because of its design it has a limited covering power that necessitates back movements rather than front swings and tilts. A telephoto lens also limits the use of the rise and fall and the shift adjustments. These lenses were originally designed for use on press cameras that had a limited amount of bellows. Today, telephoto lenses are still employed with some field cameras for the same reason. Telephoto lenses are usually distinguished by having the word 'tele' in their name, such as the Tele Xenar and the Tele Arton made by Schneider in a variety of focal lengths including 180mm, 240mm, 270mm, 360mm, and 580mm. More modern telephoto lenses are the Fujinon TS and Nikkor T series lenses.

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  • magnus
    Is the fujinon 240 a a good lens?
    8 years ago
  • macario
    What is 8x10 240lens in 35mm?
    2 years ago

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