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Thread: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

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  1. #1

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    Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    I am struggling with lenses and hope for help identifying lenses that would solve my problem, chiefly a problem of fall-off with lens fully open.

    I am shooting 8x10 wet plate portraits (full standing figure). Due to slow effective film speed and my lighting choices I need to shoot with the a lens full open, f6 or faster is better. The lighting and exposure time (10-30 seconds) are necessary to get the look I want so going with strobes and stopping down is not an option. I need even coverage into the corners including with movements (I tend to move the front lens standard up and down, mostly up). And, lastly, I need the camera pretty close to the subject (8' is ideal up to 10' is possible).

    I'm thinking that the only way to get fully even coverage with an 8x10 fully open is to use a lens designed for 11x14 or larger in which case I believe I need a pretty wide angle for 11x14 to keep the camera fitting in the room (lens 8' from subject).

    I have a few lenses but none are giving me even coverage to the corners. What I have:
    Fujinon W f6.3 250mm (covers 4x5 beautifully but looses light in the corners for 8x10)
    Ross Express 10" f4.5 (too long for my needs for 4x5, uneven coverage for 8x10 at corners)
    Ross Rapid Symmetrical 5x7 (brass barrel lens) approximately f8 I believe. (came with an 1880s full plate camera works great for that)
    Ilex Paragon Anastigmat 5 1/2" f4 (popped this one in last week and it looked terrible - uneven focus within a 4x5)

    I prefer sharp over soft and I need even focus and even illumination to the edges.

    Budget of up to $1500.

    Thanks for any advice!
    Alexandra

  2. #2

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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Except for your budget the Rodenstock 240mm 5.6 Apo Sironar-S should work. Fall off with this type of lens is about 1/3rd stop cnter to edge. The lens covers a 372mm circle at f22 at infinity (I know you want to shoot wide open but the lens specs are at f22). While the circle is smaller wide open it also grows larger at closer distances so 372 should be pretty good in your case. A 372mm circle on 810 gives you a little bit of rise.

    You could also go to a wide angle design like a 200mm Grandagon-N but while that has a massive circle (495mm at f22 at infinity) it is also a wide with the typical fall off of a wide of about 1 1/3rd stops center to edge. It is also physically massive and very heavy and center filters no longer are made for it. It is also a 6.8 rather then a 5.6 lens.

    Lastly there was the 210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar W that covered a 352mm circle, has about 1/3rd stop fall off and would allow over an inch of rise on 810. It was also pretty large and heavy but may be the best choice, especially if you prefer sharp. This lens is probably the dictionary definition of sharp! It was also available briefly as the 210mm Apo Sironar.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    How about the 250mm f/6.7 Fujinon-W? This single-coated predecessor to the f/6.3 has a 398mm image circle (quoted at f/22, I'm not sure what it is wide open). It's in a Copal 1 and well within your budget.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    It sounds like a quandry. You need something that will cover 8x10, be wide enough to get a full body portrait at 8 to 10 feets, and be F6 or faster, right? There might be something out there like that, but keep in mind your perspective may look pretty "wide" that close. As in bending edges and close parts of the sitter being larger than real life.

  5. #5

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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Thanks for this advice. Turns up one point I want to touch on. Size doesn't matter. I'm shooting in-studio on a Horseman 8x10 so I can deal with a huge lens and be fine.

    Bob, does fall-off remain consistent from closed to open? You think I'd really get even coverage with the 210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar W? Before buying my fujinon w 250 I thought it would do this, it doesn't.

    I understand why the specs are all given for f22 or similarly closed-down lens but I wish they would give them for wide open as well. I guess that's what leads me to think that going with an 11x14 lens would be the safest bet but I have no experience with that format and so don't know what to look for.

    I'll look at the lenses mentioned so far in addition to the 210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar W.

  6. #6
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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Quote Originally Posted by aopie View Post
    I understand why the specs are all given for f22 or similarly closed-down lens but I wish they would give them for wide open as well.
    The full versions of the technical data sheets for Rodenstock and Schneider lenses include charts showing falloff at a range of apertures.

  7. #7

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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Quote Originally Posted by aopie View Post
    Thanks for this advice. Turns up one point I want to touch on. Size doesn't matter. I'm shooting in-studio on a Horseman 8x10 so I can deal with a huge lens and be fine.

    Bob, does fall-off remain consistent from closed to open? You think I'd really get even coverage with the 210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar W? Before buying my fujinon w 250 I thought it would do this, it doesn't.

    I understand why the specs are all given for f22 or similarly closed-down lens but I wish they would give them for wide open as well. I guess that's what leads me to think that going with an 11x14 lens would be the safest bet but I have no experience with that format and so don't know what to look for.

    I'll look at the lenses mentioned so far in addition to the 210mm 5.6 Apo-Sironar W.
    The fall off will be pretty consistent. If you went with a wide angle and a center filter you need to stop down 2 stops from wide open for the filter to work.

  8. #8
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    250mm Wide Field Ektar, f/6.3 and a listed image circle of 422mm. A 240mm Dagor might also be a consideration. If you could go to a 12" lens, there are many more options.

    I'm surprised the Fujinon W 250mm isn't covering 8x10 at portrait distances; are you raising the front that much? Keeping the optical axis centered on the plate might take care of the issue...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #9
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    250mm Wide Field Ektar, f/6.3 and a listed image circle of 422mm.
    I'll second that recommendation. Coverage is huge, and since you're only 8 feet from the subject, you can even apply movements and you'll be miles from the edge of the image circle.

  10. #10

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    Re: Lens advice needed for 8x10 fully open in a tight space

    Cooke 222mm Series VIIb perhaps.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

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