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Thread: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    Hi Folks,

    Iím in the process of very slowly designing a custom 6x17cm camera with bellows for movements. 120 is much easier to work with and costs a lot less than a 5x7 crop, and my camera design is significantly smaller than a LF camera. Most of the 617 cameras on the market and ones that are custom built typically have a fixed lens, or a lens board that shifts. Iím building mine with bellows intended to allow all movements, for maximum flexibility in creativity.

    Iíve done lots of research on the best possible lens for this application, and have found the Rodenstock Grandagon-N 115mm f6.8 has the largest coverage and the least distortion of all the other 4x5 (semi 5x7) lenses on the market. But, Iím new to this game, so Iíd love to hear your thoughts.

    Iím in med school and have an extremely limited budget, but I know better than most that itís best to invest in the correct tools rather than buy a series of cheap ones, only to eventually replace them with the expensive ones that would have worked the first time..

    The Grandagon 115s go for anywhere between $250-800 depending on condition and who is selling, and I currently have an offer to buy one from a respectable photographer for the high end of that range. Before I shell out over a monthís worth of rent on a part of a project that might not work, I figured itíd be best to confirm my ideas with the folks that know the most about this game.

    I know nothing of 5x7 lenses or 8x10 lenses, so I suspect there may be more options than the Grandagon. My ideal lens has enough coverage to allow decent sized movements, is a wide angle (wider than 115 would be fantastic, but I can work with it), has the least distortion, and is tack sharp closer to wide open.

    Thatís a dream lens, but maybe you know of something close? If you do, and you happen to have one for sale, Iíd love to buy it from you. Or if you know of a cheaper option for the 115, the more money I save on the lens, the more I can spend on my build..

    Thanks for your help!

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Landscape Addict
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    if you want to stay relatively wide, the Schneider Super Symmar 110/5.6XL is great. Great coverage, very sharp. I've seen it used effectively on 6x24. Others like the Nikkor 120SW are slightly longer but has more coverage again.

    I would love to design a 617 with movements.. I've designed my latest camera, a 4x5 P&S. I figure a 6x17 should be easy enough... I would love to see your plans for making the rear of the camera though. I'm a little confused as to the best way to design the film spool carriage....

    Best of luck with it, and please post as many pics as you can of the construction. I for one am very interested.
    Chamonix 045N-2 - 65/5.6 - 90/8 - 210/5.6 - Fomapan 100 & T-Max 100 in Rodinal
    Alexartphotography

  3. #3

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    Feb 2010
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    Your definitely against using the Chinese 6x17 backs on a 4x5? You'd end up with a nice 4x5 camera and a nice 6x17 camera, with movements.

    A hard learned lesson: I'd rather be taking pictures than working on cameras. That's the inverse of some people, which is fine.

  4. #4
    Landscape Addict
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    I have a 617 back on my 4x5.. Its pretty damned limited let me tell you. 90 to 150mm lenses only, the 90 allows 0 movement, and the entire setup weighs a ton. I think if you can build a 617 (folder or point and shoot) that weighs less than a 4x5 plus the chinese back and is more flexible then go for it.

    I too definitely prefer making photographs than making cameras, but sometimes they are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes to make the photographs you want, you simply have to build the camera to do it... I guess you could very easily make a rudimentary 6x17 folder using a Shen-Hao NSH-617 film back as a base, then build a simple field camera around it. I reckon you'd get away with the entire camera up and running for sub $700.. Better than $1600+ for other 6x17's and should only take a day to make and a few days to iron out bugs.
    Chamonix 045N-2 - 65/5.6 - 90/8 - 210/5.6 - Fomapan 100 & T-Max 100 in Rodinal
    Alexartphotography

  5. #5
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    Just buy a Shen Hao 617, a 90mm and get shooting.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  6. #6

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    BesanÁon, France
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    Hello from France !

    i'm not entering into the discussion regarding a self-built 6x17 camera, but let's continue about the choice of the lens.

    There are several issues here
    In the 110-120 range of focal lengths, the 115 Grandagon-N, the 110 SSXL and the 120 Nikon SW have been mentioned, but
    the Schneider Super Angulon 120 mm does not seem to have been mentioned here. Usually you find it more easily than the the Rodenstock 115 Grandagon-N. I have several Grandagons including the 115 and those lenses are really superb, if you can get a 115 grandagon, you'll never regret it.

    Another important issue is the choice of the focal length in terms of perspective rendition. I have a 612 rollfilm back and I find the that 75 mm perfectly fits, it is like two standard 6x6 frames (56x56 mm) "glued together" side-by-side to make a "natural" panoramic shot.

    Hence you should pay attention to the fact that if the focal lenght is too long, you'll get cropped landscape images in the vertical dimension, this might, or mignt not be OK for what you are looking for. With a 75 mm in 6x17, you'll get "natural" panoramic shot equivalent to three 6x6 frames glued together, but you'll enter into other difficulties like: light fall-off in the corners for example.
    However there exist 75 mm lenses covering the 6x17 format with a small amount of available movements. (see below a small home-made spreadsheet to download, containing the relevant formulae to simulate the allowed movements on a 56x170 mm frame)

    A small spreadsheet film to be downloaded ad libitum: Enjoy !


    You enter the focal length and the angular coverage of the lens in degrees, e.g. 102į for a 6-lens-element Grandagon-N or 105į for a 8-lens-element-Grandagon N ; or whichever angular coverage as specified by the manufacturer.

    You enter the format size in millimetres, for example
    82 and 56 mm for the 6x9 format
    112 and 56 for 6x12 format
    170 (168 ?) and 56 for the 6x17 format

    The spreadsheet computes and displays the X and Y values for lateral and
    verticals shifts on both directions. E.g. if the spreadsheet says : '10 mm'
    it means plus or minus 10 mm allowed in both +X or -X directions (or,
    vertically, +Y or -Y directions)

    example : format 56x168 mm (check for the actual image length delivered by the 6x17 roll film holder, this may vary from one make to another)
    a 75mm covering 105į will allow + or -9.6 mm in X and + or - 22 mm in Y
    a 120mm covering 100į will allow + or -56 mm in X and + or - 87 mm in Y, which is more than you'll ever need.

    ----------

    As a conclusion, i cannot but congratulate all of our readers who like to fabricate their own large format camera. This is a real pleasure.
    Those who consider as a loss fime to fabricate a LF camera are right, from their point of view, but large format photography is a hobby where you find the ultimate photographic freedom !! Including freedom to use a self-built camera delivering professional-quality images !!

  7. #7

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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    I've been out of practice for a long time and am just now getting back into larger film... film at all, really... so... grain of salt.

    If I had a moderate budget and wanted the best I could get and wanted wider than 115mm (that provides for significant movements) then I'd look for a nice used 90mm SA XL. If I wanted to keep cost down by limiting the lens kit to three optics then I'd add a nice used 150mm SS XL and 300mm Apo Symmar (non-L).

    90mm SA XL
    150mm SS XL
    300mm Apo Symmar

    Okay... so those are really hurting a moderate budget. So will the ones below except for the 210 and 300 if you do your homework and shop wisely.

    I prefer wider (72mm SA XL) as mentioned above and closer FL spacing but, if I'm reading you correctly, you want more movements available. If that's not set in stone and if budget allows then the following would be my choices.

    72mm SS XL
    110mm SS XL
    150mm SS XL
    210 Apo Symmar or just about any modern (post 1970) 210 plasmat.
    300mm Apo Symmar or just about any modern 300 of dialyte, Dagor, or Tessar construction.

  8. #8
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    I don't think the huge and expensive 90 XL is really necessary for 6x17. I shoot my Nikkor 90mm f/8 on my 6x17 back and I don't get even a hint of fall-off in the corners. Though I've not shot chromes I really would have expected some to show up on my scans even on negatives...but nope.

    I really want a 72mm XL but can't really justify it!
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  9. #9

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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    Corran... the OP stated he wants a lot of movements. So that's why I made those recommendations.

  10. #10

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    Canmore Alberta
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    Re: Perfect Lens for a 617 with Movements???

    ONF....... We must have a different view of 'modest budget'.....The OP also said "I’m in med school and have an extremely limited budget".....He also mentioned $250-$800 for the 115 Grandagon... PM me if you hear of any XL lenses in any focal length in this range....

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