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Thread: old main street photography

  1. #1

    old main street photography

    in my work, i am often required to reproduce historic "main street" type photogr aphs. since the original views have been made at different periods over the pas t 120 years, it is often not easy to tell what size camera and what focal length lens was used to photograph the historic view. i have been working from a basi c assumption that the earlier views (1880s-1900s) would typically have been made by an 8x10 camera using a 300mm standard lens, and that many of the later views (1930s) have been photographed using a 5x7 graphlex but i dont know what the "n ormal" lens was for that camera. certain images seem to have been made with 4x5 press cameras with a 135mm lens. i use a 4x5 to photograph the contemporary ma in street view to match the historic view as closely as possible, and generally use a 135mm, but i can tell i am a bit wider than most historic views. i was wo ndering if anyone has any specific information on whether my assumptions are cor rect (that generally a "normal" lens was used, rather than a slighly wide, or sl ightly long lens), or what type of format/focal length would have actually been used for this kind of main-street documentation. basically, i am wondering whet her to purchase a 150mm, 165mm, or 180mm lens for this type of photograph - any advice? thanks. jnorman

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon and Austria

    old main street photography

    If you want to reproduce a veiw exactly, the camera position is the most importa nt, not the lens focal length. As long as all of the scene is inside the borders you can always crop to get the desired framing. Perspective is a function of di stance, not focal length. Buy the wider lens if you aren't sure and crop to get the desired final image. ;^D>

  3. #3

    old main street photography

    But also remember that too far from the same focal length p[roduces compression or expansion of the elements in the scene.

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