Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to choose medium format lenses

How to choose medium format lenses

best lenses for medium format

More Glass  -  Johan Biilmann

I don't like to think of myself as a collector. It's more like I'm hoarding. So this is my stash. I'll admit it looks suspiciously like a collection.

I've used almost all of the lenses that are mounted on lensboards. There are a few exceptions, but that's because I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I've been shooting 4X5" for the past 20 years, so most of the lenses are best suited for 4X5". Recently I bought a Deardorff V8, so lately I've been looking for lenses that will cover 8X10".

Some of these lenses are enlargement lenses and they're fine lenses in their own right, but not much use to me, as it's been years since I had a darkroom. Never the less I'm keeping them.

Some of the lenses, like the Rodagons and G-Clarons, are repro lenses. They were designed for near field, but particularly the G-Clarons are okay for use at infinity. In addition the G-Clarons have large image circles which makes plenty room for movements.

I have a lot of Schneider lenses and they are all great lenses. The Symmars are exellent general purpose lenses. If I could have only one camera and one lens I would be happy with a 4X5" field camera and a Symmar 150mm.
I have 135, 150, 210 and 300mm Symmars. The 300 is a normal on 8X10".

The two Angulon 90's are wideangles for 4X5". They're fine lenses and they have the advantage of being very small and lightweight. There's no doubt the Super-Angulon is a better lens, but it's much bigger and much heavier than the Angulon. Mine is mounted on a Sinar board and I mainly use the Sinar for portraits, so the Super-Angulon doesn't get much use these days.

I've developed a taste for old lenses, preferably brass lenses from the 19th century. I like the way they render.
It began sometime in the 90'es when I acquired a Ross Xpress 8,5 inch lens from 1947. I used it for portraits and I particularly liked the bokeh (the out of focus areas). I also liked it's softness and the slightly unusual way it renders colours. (My LF portraits of Marianne, Carla, Cecilie, Petra and Selma were made with this lens).

A couple of years ago my attention was caught by the "swirly" bokeh of the petzval lens. I then bought an unnamed 5,5 inch petzval on Ebay. As it turned out it doesn't quite cover 4X5". It is probably better suited for 6X9. My ... continue

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  3. 6x9
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