View Full Version : Short Tele lenses on 4X5 at close range

Henry Ambrose
2-Feb-2004, 13:45
I'm switching cameras and I'll be limited on bellows draw on the new one. (from a monorail to a small Ebony) I almost always use wide lenses but sometimes I need a little length for a detail at maybe 4-10 feet from the camera. An example would be a window or door or a trim detail - that kind of thing. My old camera has enough draw that I could use a 240 with the desired result. (but I'm selling it as soon as I know the new camera will do what I want)

What I'm considering for the new camera is a 250-300mm tele lens like the Schneider 250 Tele Xenar (or Arton) or the Fuji 300T. I do not need a lot of room for movements. In general how are tele lenses when used up close? In particular does anyone have direct experience with the named lenses used at close distance? How much draw do I need to focus the 300 Fuji at six feet? I know the formula for regular lenses but I don't know if it applies to tele design lenses. Thanks!

steve simmons
2-Feb-2004, 13:53
I would recommend the Fuji over the Tele Arton or the Tele Xenar. The latter are older lenses and not very good by today's standards.

steve simmons

Christopher Condit
2-Feb-2004, 14:12
Don't forget that doing tilts and swings are a real drag with a telephoto, as the optical center of the lens is not centered in the shutter, like it is with normal lenses.

Tony Galt
2-Feb-2004, 15:37
OK--I have a Shen Hao and I just bought at 300 mm Fujinon tele. I just checked to see how much bellows you need to focus at 6 feet. I assume you mean six feet from the film plane and I am also measuring the bellows extension from the film plane. This should take care of potential differences in the way the bellows might be mounted between the Shen Hao and your Ebony. I can focus at about 11 inches or 280 mm (film plane to front of lens board). Obviously if you mean 6 ft from the front of the lens or lensboard, it would require less bellows extension.

I haven't used the Fujinon tele very much yet and the only shots I've taken were 6x7 roll film negatives, so I don't know what it will do for a full 4x5 frame, but the shots I did do were nice and sharp. Of course, they utilized only the middle of the lens coverage. I haven't tried much movement yet, so I have little experience with trying tilts and swings on the front end. Some of the problem mentioned above might be taken care of with rear swings and tilts, remembering, of course, that they alter size relationships of objects in the frame.

Hope this is useful to you.

Leonard Evens
2-Feb-2004, 15:47
I finally found the rear flange focal distance for the Fujinon 300T. (It was at www.largeformatphotography.info/lenseslist.html.) It is 199 mm. To focus a normal 300 mm lens at 6 ft = 72 in = 1828.8 mm, you need an extension of about 363 mm. The nodal plane of the tele lens is 300 - 199 = 101 mm in front of the lens board, so subtract that from 363 to get 262 mm.

Gem Singer
2-Feb-2004, 16:01
Hi Henry,

You didn't stipulate which small Ebony camera you will be using, but I am assuming it is a 4X5 model. The non-folding 45SW (wide angle type) does not have enough maximum bellows extension for the Fuji 300T. This lens needs 195mm of bellows extension to focus at infinity. The Ebony folding models can easily handle the Fuji 300T lens, however.

I used a 300T on a Shen Hao HZX45AII, and it focused at 6-8 feet with bellows extension to spare. I also use the longer Fuji 400T on my Toyo 45AII. The Toyo has a maximum bellows extension of approx. 300mm, yet it allows the 400T to focus at 8-10 feet for a head and shoulder portrait.Neither of these tele's are designed for extreme close-up work, but they seem to be sharp at moderate distances.

Tele lenses are designed to work best at longer distances, and it is difficult to use movements with them at closer distances, because the entire image tends to move off of the groundglass when using even a small amount of rise, swing, shift, or tilt.

Robert A. Zeichner
2-Feb-2004, 16:12
One other thing you need to consider when using a tele formula lens for close up work is something called exit pupil factor. When the size of the object on the ground glass exceeds 1/10 of it's actual size, that's when exit pupil factors need to be calculated and compensated for. Have you ever noticed how telephoto lenses on hand cameras have minimum focus distances that are longer than normal lenses? That's so you can't focus so close that exit pupil factors need to be taken into account. Coupled with the primary nodal point being in front of the lens, this makes for a lot of work. You might want to consider a "tele" lens board that will allow putting a conventional lens a bit further away from the film plane. Or, you might want to re-think your choice of camera.

Henry Ambrose
2-Feb-2004, 16:35
Wow! Thanks for all the great replies!

I'm beginning to think that I should just go for a back extension and let my 180 be the longest lens I use. I've bought a SW45 after a great deal of thought given to how I actually use my view camera. I find that 90-95 percent of the time I need nothing beyond what the SW45 will do in terms of movements and bellows extension. I am/was trying to cover the remaining times when I might want to do something different.

Its a little strange going from the seemingly endless possibilities of a monorail to a somewhat "limited" little field type camera but it fits what I do. More importantly I hope it will fit more into my using the camera more for personal photography. I find that now I am mostly unwilling to carry the Arca when nearly all the time I use a couple of wide angle and normal lenses. I'm carrying a lot of extra capability that I practically never use. When money is on the table I gladly shoulder the load along with the lights and stands and cords and sandbags etc. as the Arca is WONDERFUL to use once its on the tripod. For fun shooting though I've been grabbing my Mamiya 7 which is not a bad thing but I miss the ability to do basic rise, fall, shift, tilt etc. Really most of the time just rise or fall.

The new camera will be here in a couple of days and I guess I could send it back if I don't LOVE it. Its kinda hard to buy something like this without spending some time with it in your hands but I think I'm gonna love the smaller size and weight and overall ease of use. I might be smart to keep the Arca but I have a hard time justifying more than one 4X5.

I'd still like to hear more....

Frank Petronio
2-Feb-2004, 17:03
Hi Henry, I just bought a 270 Tele-Arton for the same sort of thing. My one shot so far confirms it should be a good portrait lens, but I'm not sure how it will do as a critically sharp landscape lens. Also, after going to great lengths to get size of my kit down, this lens is fairly large compared to the Copal 0 lenses I usually use. I'm considering getting a 240 G-Claron or Ronar instead - they seem like versatile and compact lenses, if you have the bellows length.

Gem Singer
2-Feb-2004, 19:24
Hello again, Henry,

The maximum bellows extension on the Ebony SW45 is 190mm. The optional back extension will add 90mm of additional bellows length, for a total of 280mm. That should be enough to allow the use of the Fuji 300T at moderate distances. It will also enable10 degrees of rear tilt.

Midwest Photo Exchange has an Ebony rear extension in stock. It is listed on their website (www.mpex.com) at $449. Call, and talk to Jim. Tell him you saw the recommendation on this forum. It is possible that he can offer it you at a lower price. Midwest also stocks the Ebony 17mm and 34mm front extension tubes.

3-Feb-2004, 03:51
I use a 180mm Tele-Arton with 6x9 at these distances. This Linhof marked lens has always seemed sharp enough to me. I know in their discription Schneider talks about using this lens for studio work and portraits.

Emmanuel BIGLER
3-Feb-2004, 04:35
To Henry : the additional bellow drag required for focusing in close-up is exactly the same whatever the optical formula can be. Once you've set your lens in the infinity-focus position, after taking advantage of the reduced distance between the lens board and the film due to the telephoto propperties, any additional bellows extension for close up is exactly similar to what you would get with a perfectly symetrical lens : additional extension ( E ) = focal-length ( f ) x magnification ratio (M). This is valid even it the lens is very thick and very asymetric, if you count the additional extension E from the infinity-focus position.

To Robert Zeichner, in principle, a telephoto being a-symmetric, you have to take into account the non-unit pupillar magnification ratio when computing the exposure factor vs. bellows extension. However telephotos are not as asymmetric as retrofocus lenses, so in practice the difference with respect to the approximate formula or method valid for a quasi-symmetric lens is not a real issue.

The general formula for the bellows factor is simple

multiplicative factor for exposure time = (M+M_p)^2 / (M_p)^2

M is the image/object magnification ratio, M_p is the lens pupillar magnification ratio. Most view camera lenses are qausi-symmetric with M_p ~1, hence a simplified formula equal to (M+1)^2.

the M_p factor is given either directly or indirectly in manufacturers' data sheet, it is the ratio of exit/entrance pupil diameters.

for telephotos, M_p is smaller than unity, it can be as small as 0.5 for some telephotos designed for 35mm photography, but I do not think that current LF telephotos reach this figure. For wide-angle retrofocus, M_p may be as big as 2.7 (last version of the Zeiss Distagon® 50mm for 6x6).