WA Advice for LF Newbie Using Crown Graphic

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by joffre_swait, Jul 26, 2002.

  1. I have just begun shooting LF with the CG using a 162mm Optar lens.
    However, in MF I very much enjoy using a 50mm lens on a Mamiya 7II,
    its coverage is just right for the kinds of landscapes I enjoy doing.
    So, my question is as follows: what 4x5 lens options should I
    consider to get a similar coverage to the Mamiya 50mm lens on MF? I
    would like to have low- and high-price options, if possible.
    Thanks for any help you can extend!

  2. anywhere between a 75 and 90mm would come close to your way of seeing.
  3. The obvious choice would be a 90mm lens. There are several to choose from, but I recon that you want something that gives you something extra when compared to the 50mm Mamaya lens on a Mamaya 7. As the Mamaya system is excellent as such, you will not gain much, if anything, in terms of sharpness. The main reason, in my opinion, for using a LF camera compared to MF is the possiblity to use movements.
    There are a couple of lenses, such as the Schneider Angulon 90mm f/6.8, which just about covers 4X5. They are nice, compact and wellknown lenses, but 30-60 years old. As they just about covers the film format, you cannot really use movements with these lenses.
    What I recommend is rather e.g. a Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f/8, which is a more modern construction (A Biogon deriviate, i.e. virtually the same as the Mamaya 50mm lens.) that covers 5X7, i.e. you'll have plenty to move around. There are equivialents made by all four of the major manufacturers, and telling them apart by result is hard or impossible. A new lens costs around $700-$900. But there are plenty of used lenses in that category around, which could be found for around $300 or so.
    There are also f/4.5-5.6 90mm lenses, but they are much bigger in size and are primarily intended for studio work. The same goes for the Schneider Super Angulon XL lenses.
    Another option could be the Schneider Super Symmar XL 80mm f/4.5. But that would set you back some $1300 or so.
    Finally, you can learn much more at Kerry Thalmanns pages.
  4. I picked up a 90mm Nikon F8 for my Super and love it. As far as it's size to anything else it uses 67mm filters. The GG does get dark on overcast days, or late evening, but I do have a DOF chart for the lens and have a cam for the rangefinder, so I can always focus it pretty well without the ground glass. The big problem is using it without the GG for framing. The sportsfinder is more set for the 135 lens that came with the camera. I find the lens about as wide angle as I want to go from a movement perspective, any movements can be tough as the bellows are small, as well as accessibility to controls. I could definetly see using a bag bellows with the lens, but i'm stuck.
  5. There is also a very nice Schneider 80mm Xenotar. I used one on a Century Graphic and it's a first class lens.
  6. Joffre, when you go buy the lens i would recommend you to bring
    the camera with you in case the Crown Graphic bed shows in
    the bottom portion of the image when the focus is set at infinity..
    Just my experience with my Speed graphics.
  7. Look, if you want the effect that a 50 mm lens gives on 6x7 (assumed 56 x 72), to match the vertical angle of view you'll want roughly a 90 mm, to match the horizontal you'll want 80 - 85 mm. Remember that 6x7 and 4x5 have different aspect ratios. There are numerous ~ 90 mm lenses that will cover 4x5 with varying amounts of movements, also some ~ 80 mm lenses. Go look at Chris Perez' site' lens tests (search for it, I can't remember the URL). Look for Michael Gudzinowicz' very informative posts on rec.photo.equipment.large-format.

    If you want advice on what's been used successfully on Graphics, go to www.graflex.org, read the lens sections, search the help board, and then ask questions for which you haven't found answers.

    A couple of hints. With a wa lens, you'll probably have to drop the bed. Quite short lenses have been used on Crowns. Someone recently reported using a 35 Apo-Grandagon (image circle 125 mm) on a 2x3 Crown.

    Stop thinking that photo.net is the center of the universe.

    Go do y'r homework, the results may surprise you.


  8. Gee, Dan - what a nice way to help introduce newbies to LF. Give
    the guy a break, he just bought an ancient camera in an alien
    format - his question is exactly what this forum is for.
  9. Joffre,

    I can only give you a low priced recommendation based on personal experience. A 90mm WA Raptar can be had for under $150. It covers the format with a small amount of room for movements. Enough tilt to do landscape work. You can get about ¼ inch of rise when stopped down, but beyond that you start to darken corners. Chris Perez' site has lens test results for this and many others, but for armature use you should be able to print up to 20x24 with this lens with good results. Also you can get the rails in the bottom of your photos with this lens, but only a very little section that you can crop out when you print. I have found that the drop bed, raise lens and then tilt process to be too much of a hassle, and with the small amount of rail that intrudes into the frame, it is not worth the time needed in my opinion.
  10. Thanks, everyone, for the prompt and useful answers. Looks like I have a range of options to explore from the price perspective, and those other sites mentioned should be of great use once I start knowing a bit more about LF.

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