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  Monday  August 14  2006    10: 30 AM

large format lens line-up

My lens selection for my Burke & James 5x7/4x5 is now complete.

It's a Wollensak 4x5 Series IIIA EX.W.A. f/12.5. This will give me a 35mm equivalent of an 18mm lens on the Burke & James with the 5x7 back and 25mm with the 4x5 back. The shutter works fine except for the B setting sometimes doesn't hold the shutter open. It just may need to be exercised. I usually use the T setting anyway. All other settings sound fine. A CLA wouldn't hurt but is not needed at this time

Most listings for the Extreme Wide Angle claim only 4x5 coverage but I did see one listing that claimed it would cover 5x7 without movements. I mounted it in a piece of cardboard and taped it into a lens board for a quick check. It does appear to cover 5x7. Woo hoo! At f/12.5 it is pretty dim and I couldn't see the corners very well but I will be able to at least do high aspect ratio prints by cropping off the top and bottom for 6x17cm (2 1/4" x 7") panoramics. Some test shots will verify just what it will do. Even better is that I seem to be able to focus the 90mm lens without a recessed lens board. The bellows is pretty much collapsed at this point. I will probably recess it's lens board a little. Not enough to make using a cable release a pain. Here is a chart of my complete large format lens line-up:

I couldn't be happier with these lenses. First of all, this was all done on a very small budget. The most expensive lens was $94 and the least expensive (two of them) was $0. The lens cost averaged out to $43 each. All but the Kodak are like new with beautiful glass. The big Kodak will be fine with a CLA. The ones without shutters are process lenses and are slow, which means a dim image on the ground glass. It will be worthwhile to invest in a BlackJacket focusing cloth. Now to mass produce some lens boards and adaptors for my Packard shutter. And the Kodak will need an extension box for the rear standard to get that 21 plus inches it will need.