Modern Lenses for 5x7 cameras
by Q.-Tuan Luong for
the Large Format Page
Here I survey the modern lenses that I know to be suitable for the 5x7
format. Depending on the use
of the camera, and the intended result, there are many choices
possible which are not mentionned here. In particular I don't discuss
older lenses, or current but little-known lenses.
- 72: The new Schneider Super Angulon XL. It will just
cover 5x7 with no movements. Equivalent to a 14mm in 35mm, it is one
widest lenses (with the 47XL on 4x5) which can be used on any LF camera.
- 90: Older lenses such as the Angulon.
won't cover the format. Among modern
lenses each manufacturer offers a fast (4.5 or 5.6) and a
slow (6.7 or 8) lenses. The first ones are easier to focus and offer
generally more coverage, but they are bulkier, take larger filters,
and cost two times more. Among them
the new Schneider Super Angulon XL offers significantly more
coverage. Among the f8 lenses, the Nikkor SW offers significantly more
coverage (identical to all the fast lenses but the Super Angulon XL).
The other f8 lenses just cover the format with almost no movements.
Therefore the two lenses mentionned are recommended. If you don't
need extensive coverage, you'll be better of with the Nikkor.
- 120: Older lenses (ie Angulons) just cover the format.
Among the modern offerings, the Nikkor SW has the most coverage, being
actually sufficient for 8x10, but the others are also very adequate.
Schneider is releasing a new Super-Symmar 110/5.6 XL aspheric
which is half the size
of a Super-Angulon (the oldest design), sharper, and actually covers
8x10. This terrific lens costs $2300 at B&H in NYC, but it can be found in
Europe (and through some grey-marketters) for less than $1300.
- 135: I know no modern lens of this focal with enough coverage.
The modern plasmats (Symmars, Nikkor W, Sironars...)
will cover the format with little to no movements. I have a
150 Apo-Sironar-S which covers with so little movements that most of
the time I don't bother using it. The discontinued Apo-Sironar-W
has larger coverage, in a relatively compact package.
The Super-Symmar has lost a lot of his appeal since the Super-Symmar
XL was introduced.
The traditional design wide-angles (Super-Angulons, Nikkor
SW, Grandagons...) will be plenty for 8x10 or more but they are
extremely big and expensive, and therefore not recommended for 5x7.
- 210: Plenty of good choices among the plasmats with
adequate coverage. Since this is a popular focal length for 4x5 it
is easy to find used lenses. The focal is equivalent to a 42mm (like
the normal lens of a Rollei 35) which
is slighly shorter than normal, but I find it better in LF to be too
short than too long since you can crop without losing quality.
- 240: Plenty of choices among the plasmats with
adequate coverage. They are bigger (#3 shutter)
and significantly more expensive and rarer
than 210, and therefore I would favor more compact designs such as
the G-Claron or the Fuji A which are also very good. Equivalent to 50mm.
- 300: The plasmats are too big and expensive and would be
recommended only for ultra-large formats (larger than 8x10). The best
choices are narrow field lenses such as Nikkor M, G-Clarons,
Apo-Ronars, which are all quite small. The Nikkor M (covers just 8x10)
recommended by many, however the G-Claron has
more coverage and could be a better choice if you intend to shoot 8x10
as well. The Apo-ronar has the smallest coverage of all (does not
Equivalent to 60mm.
For more details,
general discussion on long lenses for 4x5,
since at this focals they will (almost) all cover 5x7.
- 355-400: Schneider Tele-Xenar, Fuji-T. Both are telephotos
which will cover little more than the format and are somewhat big.
recommended, unless your 5x7 camera doesn't have enough bellows for
this focal (most do).
G-Claron, Apo Ronar: narrow field lenses, but in
#3 shutter which makes them much bigger than the 300mm lenses. They
will cover 8x10.
- 450-480: Narrow field lenses.
The apo ronar is the heaviest. The highly regarded Nikkor M is
reasonable but has also a #3 shutter. The Fuji C is in a #1 shutter,
which makes it as small and light as a 300,
and is also very well regarded. Cover 11x14. Equivalent 90mm.
- 600: Fuji has the only non-telephoto lens in this focal,
as well as the only telephoto to fit in a #1 shutter. Equivalent 120mm.
- up: The first series of Nikon telephotos 360-500-720
covers the format according to Nikon.
The second series of Nikon telephotos 600-800(-1200) is huge
weights a ton. Apart from these, and a couple of exotic lenses with
astronomical prices (Apo Tele Xenars), the only lenses are older
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