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Thread: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

  1. #1

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    Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Is it possible to use modern Nikkor Manual lenses on Large Format cameras? If possible what type of LF Camera one would use? What are advantages and limitations. I have many Nikkor lenses just lying around. I would love to use them
    Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    If they are lens for 35mm cameras, then no. They only project images large enough to cover 35mm film, not large film. Do a google search of "large format lens"

  3. #3
    multi format
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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    you might be able to use a nikkor manual lens but since the image circle is so small
    you will have to use it as a macro lens. a 50mm lens for example you might have to
    use at 150 or 200mm. some put lenses that don't cover the format on in reverse
    (so the back of the lens / lens mount is in front sticking OUT ... ) some suggest that it will
    work better if used this way .. i have no idea, never really tried using a 35mm lens that way.
    enlarger lenses, ive used that way .. it might take a bit of experimenting to see what you can do with your nikkor ( if anything at all )

    good luck !

  4. #4

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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Have had luck using a 28mm PC Nikkor and Nikon's full frame fisheye (with built in lens shade cut off) mounted on a Sinar board, board mounted on Sinar Copal shutter, and finally Sinar 4x5 back. These two optics produce nice circular images inside 4x5 film.

  5. #5

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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    You might enjoy the smaller than full sheet circular image you get. Similar to using a 47mm Angulon on 8x10 film.
    There is a place for it among all the lenses that cover the entire field. Try it and maybe you will produce images that are excellent and then people will be trying to do what you do.

  6. #6
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    You might enjoy the smaller than full sheet circular image you get. Similar to using a 47mm Angulon on 8x10 film.
    There is a place for it among all the lenses that cover the entire field. Try it and maybe you will produce images that are excellent and then people will be trying to do what you do.
    I'm glad you brought that up, Willie. I do not readily have an 8x10 that can accept a 47mm Super-Angulon as-is. Does the lens have a physically restricted cut-off (built in), or does it just project a gradually diminishing circle of coverage?

    Anyone?

  7. #7

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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Even if you could you have other problem then not covering the film size. Maybe the most important is the loss of maximum resolution due to diffraction. Modern, high performance lenses for 45 are optimized to deliver optimal performance at f22 or 16. Since a 35mm DF film area is only 1 X 1.5" the aperture required for optimal resolution on 35mm is much larger then 16 or 22. However, to get the depth of field on 45 that you would be happiest with would require stopping that 35mm lens so far that you would be well into diffraction. Then there is the problem of flange focal length. That is the distance the lens needs to be to be in focus at infinity. However, your lenses are not short mount lenses. They are in focus mounts and fit a body that is much thinner then most 45 cameras. Then you would also need a shutter, and if that is a standard Copal 3 size shutter that you manage to graft your lens to that shutter has physical depth that will increase the distance from the lens to the film plane. That means that you may not even to be able to get the lens in focus at infinity. Lastly is the focal length problem. A true normal lens for your Nikon is 44mm but the commonly accepted normal is a 50mm. A normal lens for 45 is 135 to 150mm. A normal lens being defined as the diagonal of the negative. There are very few 45 cameras, with or without a wide angle bellows that can accommodate lenses as short as 50mm this really means that only long lenses might work but you will still have that diffraction and flange focal length problems.
    Now, if you are only considering doing macro work it might be possible to use some of your lenses but they will still have the diffraction and mounting problems.

    And you might just consider that very few, if any, 35mm camera lenses can match many current, modern, large format lenses optically. There are some really outstanding lenses out there.

  8. #8
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Oh, gee whiz Bob, you are right but so very discouraging.
    Let us move on to what other lenses other than LF lenses which would work.
    There are a couple MF lenses to add to the adventure.

    With respect,
    Jac

  9. #9

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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Oh, gee whiz Bob, you are right but so very discouraging.
    Let us move on to what other than LF lenses would work.
    Besides a couple MF lenses, what else?

    With respect,
    Jac
    Many large format digital lenses will cover a 150mm circle, so they would cover, without movements, and are optically spectacular on either film or digital. But they are also optimized for optimal performance at larger apertures then 16 or 22 since the chip sizes they were designed for are, at most, only the size of 45 film. So the DOF at f8 on that chip size is about the same as the DOF at f22 on 45.

    Not that much different then going to a hardware store to buy a new tool. There isn't one type of hammer or one type of saw or one type of saw or one type of drill, etc., etc.. For best result you use the tool designed for the job in hand.

  10. #10

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    Re: Is it possible to use modern camera lenses on the Large Format cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    I'm glad you brought that up, Willie. I do not readily have an 8x10 that can accept a 47mm Super-Angulon as-is. Does the lens have a physically restricted cut-off (built in), or does it just project a gradually diminishing circle of coverage?

    Anyone?
    From my experience the smaller the aperture the more abrupt the image cut-off is. Think of it this way... Remove the GG and set the lens at its minimal aperture. Move to the side till the aperture ceases to transmit any image light. Within the distance of maybe 5mm you will go from transmitting light to no transmission of light. Now open up the lens to its maximum aperture. Do the same thing. This time the circular aperture opening will slowly go from being a circle, through being an oval, and finally no transmission of light but this will take moving you eye maybe a couple of cm. Does that make sense?

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