View Full Version : how wide can you go w/o needing a center filter

scott russell
9-Apr-2008, 09:38
I searched the forums for a few minutes and didn't find what i was looking for, so i'm going to annoy you guys with a question thats probably already bee asked a dozen times. I have a super graphic; which will eventually be upgraded to a toyo view or field camera (depending on price, and if i find that i don't mind lugging a huge box with a view camera in it everywhere vs spending 4 times as much on a field). So anyway, I want to build an inventory of 3 lenses (wide, standard, short telephoto) and i was wondering how wide i can go with this press camera before i start having major fallout problems requiring an expensive center filter. It seems debatable whether or not one is required for a 90mm lens on 4x5, which is what i would like to use, but i think i rather sacrifice wideness for a lens that is less complicated to shoot on a normal basis. Does fallout occur as you stop down, or is it visible throughout? I would like to use as many movements as i can; but if i upgraded to a view camera; that would be significantly harder to achieve. At this point in my shooting, i have ended up using (or needing) rise/fall and shift movements.

9-Apr-2008, 10:02
I don't use a center filter on my 65 f8 super angulon on 4X5 because I don't have one. I might pick one up eventually, but it doesn't seem terribly important.

It takes pictures. There is falloff.

Here is a shot with the 65mm at f22 on Provia. It does get quite a bit worse than this sometimes though.


Same is true of my 75 f8 super angulon, but there is less falloff on the 4X5.

Here is a shot with the 75mm at f22 on Provia.


I definitely don't need one on my Fuji 125 or anything longer.

I would consider a 90, 125 or 135 to be a wide lens. The 75 and shorter I would consider to be ultrawide. 150 or 180 would be "normal" on 4X5 and 210 starts to look longer than normal.

Also, my 65 provides absolutely no space for movements on my field camera. A little tilt or swing is all it will offer and it has some mechanical limits as well. The 75 offers some reasonable room for movements on 4X5, but the standards are still really close together and the bellows scrunched up to do much.

Walter Calahan
9-Apr-2008, 10:22
As wide as you want if you don't mind drop-off.

Who says there are rules? Grin.;)

Ole Tjugen
9-Apr-2008, 11:10

That's a 90mm f:6.8 Angulon on 13x18cm (a mm or so larger than 5x7") film.

And this is a 90mm f:8 Super Angulon on 5x7" film.

The difference in fall-off is visible, but I'm certainly not considering a center filter for the 90/8 SA - even if I use it most on 5x7" and 13x18cm.

On the other hand I have a 47mm f:5.6 Super Angulon XL, and I'm thinking about a center filter for that. But I haven't tried it without yet, since I only received it a few hours ago. ;)

9-Apr-2008, 11:28
Hi, Scott.

Take a look at the work at www.clydebutcher.com. I was told in another thread that he does not use a center filter. His work is wonderful and the fall off makes it more dramatic.

I love the way the effect tends to concentrate attention into the image. We used to use vignetters to make the same sort of feel in portraiture, so I am ingrained into the effect.

I use the 58XL Super Angulon in much of my architectural work and have not yet found a time when I wished for a center filter, even in very light colored spaces.


Ron Marshall
9-Apr-2008, 13:15
The shortest focal length I use on 4x5 negative film without a CF is 75mm. Falloff is not apparent. For positive film it is 90mm.

9-Apr-2008, 15:13
It also depends what type of film you are shooting. Transparency film is more succeptable to drop off problems than B&W negative films would be.

Roy L Faverty
9-Apr-2008, 17:16
In my experience a center filter is only really important when using color positive film. These things were not even available when many of the master bw photographers worked. Light falloff is easily dealt with in the printing. I have never bothered to use it in 40 years of landscape photogaphy. There are lot of more useful itiems to buy than a center filter.

Steve Hamley
9-Apr-2008, 17:43
As wide as you want if you don't mind drop-off.

Who says there are rules? Grin.;)

Walter has the ultimate answer. Look and see. BTW, this question has been asked on several forums probably hundreds of times, and the answer is always the same; it's up to your individual preferences.



9-Apr-2008, 19:04
The filter costs more than some lenses too, doesn't it? May not be an issue for some.

David A. Goldfarb
9-Apr-2008, 19:32
Does one "need" a center filter with a wide lens for which one is available?--not necessarily. But having a center filter in the bag, would one probably use it?--I find that I usually do for lenses wider than 90mm on 4x5", and sometimes for 90mm too, if I'm using sufficient movements to justify it.

When I use a 75mm lens on 6x17, then I do think it's really necessary and never shoot without it, even with B&W.

Brian Vuillemenot
9-Apr-2008, 20:44
I use a 75 mm grandagon on Velvia without a center filter. Although there is a bit of fall off in the corners, it's not enough to be detrimental and often the effect is nice. With my 58 SA XL, I always use a center filter.

9-Apr-2008, 21:04
The filter costs more than some lenses too, doesn't it? May not be an issue for some.

It isn't that expensive. I think I paid around $250 for mine, that isn't a lot of money in the LF world.

scott russell
10-Apr-2008, 08:22
Ok, well you guys kind of validated a couple of my ideas on the subject. I wouldn't mind having a bit of falloff; but it also depends on the situation. It also seems to be a lot less extreme that I imagined it after looking at the pictures some of you posted. I'm still curious as to how aperture size affects falloff - or does it?

11-Apr-2008, 23:51
Something I am curious too, is what happens when you are at the very limit of the film (i.e. a lens that has ZERO movements)...would a center filter actually "hurt" the image at this very fine line or does it still play a valueable role? I have heard both sides, but many saying when it is at the very limit/no movements to be had, a CF is often not desireable and can actually limit the image's resolution even more. Beautiful images posted, btw...