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Thread: faster lens for speedgraphic?

  1. #1
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    faster lens for speedgraphic?

    So, I've been shooting more and more with my speedgraphic (hand held, with flash), using a (standard?) ektar 127mm f4.7 lens. Usually shooting at around f5.6, but dipping down to f4.7 and wishing I could go wider sometimes!

    I sometimes wish that I could get more blur in the backgrounds, but I like the view angle I get with the 127mm. Are there any lenses that would fit inside a speedgraphic that are close to the 130mm focal length, with a faster aperture? f3.5 maybe? faster? (and still cover 4x5, but don't mind if the corners are dark)

    I've got an Aero Ektar (that probably has a reversed lens element, because it gives a pretty wild looking image!), but it's way to big to fit inside the speed when closed up, and it's noticiably bit longer in focal length, 175mm or so. I like being able to close the speed and just grab it by the flash handle and tote it around.

    Any suggestions? Would going from f4.7/5.6 to f3.5 really show much of a difference in the background blur? My range finder focusing seems to be pretty dead on, so I'm not afraid to shoot wide open, since I've learned to trust the range finder when shooting at normal focus ranges.

    Would need to have the flash "posts" on the shutter, so that I could trigger the strob-flash.

    Thanks for any suggestions! Not desperately looking, but would like to have some idea of a lens to keep my eye open for, if there's something that would fit the bill :-)
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  2. #2

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Why not an Aero-Ektar 178 mm f/2.5?

    It's been quite popular ever since David Burnett made it so. Even he is experimenting with other lens now.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  3. #3

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Ah, Daniel, so you want a 125 mm +/- lens faster than f/4.5 or so that will cover 4x5. Speed isn't a problem, just remember the 125/2 Xenon, but coverage is. Most of the lenses that are fast enough for you are double Gauss types that cover at most 50 degrees. Do the arithmetic and you'll see that this isn't enough to cover 4x5.

    If a fast 150 mm lens will do for you, accumulate your small monetary units and wait for a 6"/1.9 Dallmeyer Super Six to come to market. Or wait for one of the large 6"/2.8 Elcans (s/n begins with 180-) or equivalent aerial camera lenses to turn up. None of these is inexpensive.

    Don't get a 6"/2.8 Elcan whose s/n begins with 138-; these bon-bons cover only nominal 6x6. Also avoid 6"/2.5 Aero Ektars and the B&H equivalent; these little delights seem to have been delivered in barrels without diaphragms.

    You could also go down in format to nominal 6x9. Then, if you have the money and can find one you could get a 4"/2.0 TTH Anastigmat as fitted to, e.g., Vinten F-95 aerial cameras, or a KOMZ Uran-27 as fitted to, e.g., AFA-39 aerial cameras. I have one of each; both cover nominal 6x9 wide open but are a bit soft wide open, really want to be stopped down a bit. The TTH is better at large apertures. Both work on 2x3 Speed Graphics.

    Sweet dreams, happy hunting,

    Dan

  4. #4

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Faster film, or develop in Diafine. (Much cheaper option.)
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  5. #5
    アナログ侘・寂
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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Xenotar 135/3.5 and Planar 135/3.5 come to mind immediately.

    See also here: http://motamedi.info/speed.htm.

    Denis

  6. #6
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Thanks for the replies

    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Calahan View Post
    Why not an Aero-Ektar 178 mm f/2.5?
    I do own an Aero-Ektar (as I stated) However, not only is it to big to close up in the camera (which I might be able to live with), but since it doesn't have a leaf shutter, I can't use my flash with the focal plane shutter on the speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_1856 View Post
    Faster film, or develop in Diafine. (Much cheaper option.)
    as I stated, I'm looking for more blur in the background, unless Diafine helps with that


    Quote Originally Posted by Denis Pleic View Post
    Xenotar 135/3.5 and Planar 135/3.5 come to mind immediately. See also here: http://motamedi.info/speed.htm.
    Thanks, I will look into these


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Ah, Daniel, so you want a 125 mm +/- lens faster than f/4.5 or so that will cover 4x5. Speed isn't a problem, just remember the 125/2 Xenon, but coverage is. Most of the lenses that are fast enough for you are double Gauss types that cover at most 50 degrees. Do the arithmetic and you'll see that this isn't enough to cover 4x5.

    If a fast 150 mm lens will do for you, accumulate your small monetary units and wait for a 6"/1.9 Dallmeyer Super Six to come to market. Or wait for one of the large 6"/2.8 Elcans (s/n begins with 180-) or equivalent aerial camera lenses to turn up. None of these is inexpensive.

    Don't get a 6"/2.8 Elcan whose s/n begins with 138-; these bon-bons cover only nominal 6x6. Also avoid 6"/2.5 Aero Ektars and the B&H equivalent; these little delights seem to have been delivered in barrels without diaphragms.

    You could also go down in format to nominal 6x9. Then, if you have the money and can find one you could get a 4"/2.0 TTH Anastigmat as fitted to, e.g., Vinten F-95 aerial cameras, or a KOMZ Uran-27 as fitted to, e.g., AFA-39 aerial cameras. I have one of each; both cover nominal 6x9 wide open but are a bit soft wide open, really want to be stopped down a bit. The TTH is better at large apertures. Both work on 2x3 Speed Graphics.

    Sweet dreams, happy hunting,
    Thanks for your reply, very informative
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  7. #7

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    I enjoyed the 135/3.5 Xenotar on my Technika but I also missed focus more than with my 5.6 lens... personally if you can shoot sharp handheld at 5.6 consistently you should probably not break something that is working well enough and put the time/money/energy into shooting. Just my practical experience, the gear quest is fun in itself but remember the ultimate goal, making cool pictures.

    I'd give a testicle or two if I could get every f/5.6 handheld 4x5 shot in proper focus ;-)

    Perhaps a wee bit of front tilt and a little cheater mark on the focusing scale could be even more effective than an extra 1.3 stops of speed?

  8. #8
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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    If you could change the composition enough to get the subject closer to the camera, the background would be proportionately further away and more blurred. So if the subject moved from 8' to 6' away from the camera, and the background was 12' away, the background would change from 50% further to 100% further distance. This change would create substantially more blur in the background upon the refocusing.

  9. #9

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    Daniel, thanks for explaining that you want to use electronic flash. Yes, that eliminates lenses in barrel on a 4x5 Speed Graphic unless the lens is mounted in front of (or behind) a leaf shutter that has X synch.

    The need for a leaf shutter adds another twist. Ignoring pupillary magnification, the shutter's max aperture, in mm, will have to be (lens' focal length)/(lens' lowest f/ number). So y'r mythical 125/2 Xenon what won't cover 4x5 wants a shutter that will open 62.5 mm. An Ilex #5 would do.

    You might want look for other ways than a really fast lens to achieve your goals. By all means calculate whether a 135/3.5 will give you enough more of what you want than, say, a 135/4.5 or a 127/4.7, to justify its cost. They're not cheap.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  10. #10

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    Re: faster lens for speedgraphic?

    I think 135mm f3.5 is the reasonable way to go, anything faster might be a little to hard to focus. On my speed, i have coated xenar 135mm f3.5 in a barrel.. when i have so extra money i will be purchasing a shutter for it, i have seen xenars on ilex no. 3. This is the cheap way to go.. planar and xenotar are probably much better but they will cost a lot. This xenar, cost me about 45$ as it was sold as an enlarger lens in ebay.

    Resently i tested 120mm biometar (p6 lens) on my speed, and it almost covers 4x5. Really sharp and f2.8.

    My personal dream would be a 135mm f3.5 dialyte type lens, and get it modernly coated.

    Almost forgot to mention the Press-Xenar 135mm f3.8.. these are pretty rare, but they are in shutters.

    Here's two color test shots with the V coated 135mm f3.5 xenar lens:




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