Fujinon-W S 150mm f6.3

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The Fujinon-W S 150mm f6.3 is a small lens for a big camera. It weights only 140g and as shown in the photo above with the lens placed beside a box of 4×5 sheet film, it is also highly compact. In fact, it is so small that it has a 40.5mm filter thread. On the other hand, this is a lens designed for large format cameras and will cover negative size up to 4×5. Though the lens has a Fujinon series designation “W” (which means wide), it actually has a horizontal field of view approximately the same as a 50mm lens for 135 format. Thus, one could call this a standard lens for 4×5 cameras. For the “S” suffix, an online source points out that it is believed to mean the lens has a built-in shutter. This is to distinguish it from the shutterless lenses made by Fujinon in the same era. However, it is worth noting that some copies of this lens does not have the “S” suffix. Nevertheless, they are all the same optically and mechanically.

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Optically, though could not be confirmed with a cross-section diagram, this lens is a relatively simple 4-element/3-group Tessar derivative. Based on the reflections on front element In the photos, one can tell the lens is single coated. Mechanically, it has a size-0 Seiko shutter with a speed range of 1 to 1/500 seconds plus B. The lens also has a PC-sync terminal and is designed to sync with either electronic flash (X) or light bulbs (M,V).  Aperture value is set by rotating a dial-lever on the side which runs steplessly from f6.3 to f64. So how does it perform in the real world? With no movement on the camera, and at a distance about 5m from the subject, the lens gives more than satisfactory results. The figures below are from a 2400dpi scan of a sheet of Ilford FP4+ and they are respectively: full view, 100% centre crop, 100% lower-left crop.

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When focused at infinity and with movements, the image quality of the corners start to degrade. Large to extreme movements should also show vignetting on images. However, this is normal and as expected for a lens of this optical design and size. Given that, the lens is still pretty usable with small amount of movements. Here is another 2400dpi scan of a sheet of Ilford FP4+. Shooting from above, the rear-standard was tilted backward and the front-standard was risen. Again, the figures are respectively: full view, 100% lower-centre crop, 100% upper-left-corner crop.

City4x5_001 City4x5_001_CenterCrop City4x5_001_UpperLeftCrop

The Big Four of Large Format Lenses

In the past, there are four companies that manufactured the bulk of the large format lenses in the market. They are Fujinon, Nikon, Rodenstock and Schneider. As of today, only the last two are still making large format lenses and many of the in-production models are specially designed lenses (e.g. the Digitar from Schneider) for medium format digital sensors mounted on “miniature” view-cameras. These lenses have ultra-high resolution but cover a much smaller image area than a traditional large format lens.

Finally, a portrait of the lens when mounted on my Toyo-View C.

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Status: In Collection

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