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Thread: focusing wide angle lenses

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Tacoma,WA
    Posts
    131

    focusing wide angle lenses

    I have been using my Linhof Technikardan 45S for over a year now and enjoying al l it has to offer. I recently purchased a Schneider 72XL and as most, struggle w ith the ground glass focusing. after a particulary difficult low-light session, with movements that exacerbate the problem, I thought I might ask how others tac kle this problem. I have almost come to dread having to use this lens, despite i ts excellent performance. no problems with my longer lenses, the 110XL and 210SA .

    suggestions?

  2. #2

    focusing wide angle lenses

    How? Just like you, with lots of difficulties! Wide angles require a certain (re ad: large) ammount of light. Otherwise it's striving and guessing. Taking off the center filter for composing (sorry, it's obvious). A loupe that can be used with an angle can help. Do you have a fresnel?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
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    Tacoma,WA
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    131

    focusing wide angle lenses

    not having other cameras or access to different ground-glass types, I was curious about improvements to help facilitate focusing. I had to laugh, as my last series of low-light images had a Gitzo tripod leg sneaking into the bottom of the frame. in trying to catch the disappearing light, I could only focus in the center and hope for the best. it is a difficult proposition, making movements almost impossible, and frustrating with fleeting light. I use the Toyo 3.6x loupe.

  4. #4

    focusing wide angle lenses

    Daniel, I have the end of my Technika's flatbed extension on some slides too! Do I understand you use no fresnel screen? In that case, getting one would help a lot. It's a kind of an op tical plastic device that you add on top of your GG. It diffuses the light towards the edges of your frame and mak es the corners more visible. Another thing that has less effect but can be done in addition, is to change you r standard GG for a Bosscreen. This is a sanwiched layer of paraffin between two sheets of glass. It diffuses t he light more evenly on the entire frame than a standard GG would.

  5. #5

    focusing wide angle lenses

    Hey, quit complaining! I use a 120mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/14 on my 8x10--slightly wider and 2.5 stops slower than your 72XL--and I've been using it for a series of shots in a dark interior space. It's mostly guesswork: I focus on something that looks like it may be 1/3 or so within the range of DOF, maybe apply a little movement based on intuition (bellows are too tightly packed to do much anyway), close down the aperture all the way, and hope for the best. It comes out OK surprisingly often. One thing that helps me is to focus as if I am using a rangefinder--that is swivel the camera around aiming the brightest central area on the GG at various points in the scene to determine their focus, then recomposing.

    Obviously, w/ 4x5 an easy option is to shoot a Polaroid to check focus.

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
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    4,561

    focusing wide angle lenses

    I use the same lens as Chris, and it can be difficult. I don't use a fresnel. Be sure you are blocking out all extraneous light with the darkcloth. Stay under the darkcloth for a minute or so, so that your eyes can adjust. To check the corners and edges, realize that the arial image is being projected at quite a wide angle, so you can't see it if your eyes are parallel to the groundglass. You might need to tilt the loupe to catch the arial image.

  7. #7

    focusing wide angle lenses

    Let's make it easy: if you are not sure about framing with your wide angle lens, get the 545 Ploaroid back and check the final framing. There is no better way to be sure if you are on the "good frame". If we are allready going to extreme and shooting with such a big film format, an extra gadget in the "big bag" will save a lot of grief. Are you with me people?...

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    626

    focusing wide angle lenses

    i do a lot of very low light view-camera work-- at night in dimly-lit urban areas where my light meter gives me an exposure value of below 1 in the brightest areas of my images (requiring exposures in the several-hour range). my trick is to bring a super bright flashlight and shine it on my subject while focussing. i use one of those black 5-D-cell mag lights that's about as bright as a car headlight-- it makes focussing much easier, and it doubles as a scarying looking protective device when groups of drug dealers saunter by... ~chris jordan

  9. #9

    focusing wide angle lenses

    Are you using a fresnel lens?

    Are you using an enhanced brightness screen?

    Are you using a center filter?

  10. #10

    focusing wide angle lenses

    Daniel, a fresnel is a must with such wide angle lenses. If you live in the US c ontact 'Quality Camera Company' and ask about the Ebony Wide Angle Fresnel it wi ll fit most other makes of 45 cameras. You've just got to use it to believe it. I use it with the 47XL and with just a little head movement you can see right in to the corners even in low light situations. Its not too expensive either, I pur chased mine from 'Robert White' for about #50. Good luck,

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