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Thread: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

  1. #11

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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Hi Ken,

    I know what the specs are, but here are 2 of my photos shot with the NIKKOR-AM 210mm lens which you can judge for yourself. 1st is an 8x10 self-portrait taken at f16, 1 second, Fuji NEOPAN 100 ACROS:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (Scanned on my EPSON V750; pardon the dust).

    2nd photo is a 5x7 landscape taken at f22, <1 second, Fuji PROVIA 100F:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (drum scan courtesy of WEST COAST IMAGING). Hopefully, these images will upload properly.

    Yesterday I exposed 2 sheets of 8x10 T-MAX 400 film using this lens for a portrait of my girlfriend and her 2 daughters. No vignetting on the ground glass. Give me a week or so to get the film developed and I will post it if you want additional proof :-) I can't explain it, I just know it worked for me. Weird, huh?

    Namaste
    Daniel

  2. #12
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    The magnification ratio of Daniel's portrait in the previous post is about 1:3 or 1:4 on 8x10", so I wouldn't be surprised if a 210mm macro could cover the format.

    The point is valid, though, that you should pay attention to the magnification ratio at which the image circle is given in the specs. For conventional lenses, it is usually given at infinity. For macro lenses, it's typically given at 1:1, and one shouldn't expect the lens to cover the normal format for such a focal length at infinity. A 210mm lens should cover 5x7" amply, but a 210mm macro lens like this one covers 5x7" at infinity just barely.

  3. #13

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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Is the size of the image circle the only possible problem with Nikkor AM ED 210mm? Then, it's not a problem for people who only shoot 4X5. Personally, I only shoot 4X5 so I suppose I'll only get benefits by using this lens.

    By the way, Dolphindan's photos are very nice. I thank him for sharing his experiences with me.

  4. #14
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Lenses are optimized to have the least distortion and the sharpest image in a specified magnification range. A 210mm macro lens may have a large enough image circle for infinity on 4x5" and be sharp enough and have low enough distortion for your purposes at infinity, but it may not be as good as a lens of comparable vintage and complexity designed for shooting at infinity, rather than at macro distances.

    Most people who aren't dedicated macro/micro photographers use an ordinary lens like a Symmar or a Sironar for everything, just focusing closer for close subjects, and if they find they do a lot of macro work or have very precise reproduction requirements for photography at high magnification, then they may get a dedicated macro lens.

  5. #15
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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    For 4x5 the 210 Macro Nikkor will be wonderful.

    The only "exception" to what we see among macro lenses, is the Fujinon A series. Those lenses are optimized for somewhere between macro and distance shooting. 1:5 perhaps rather than 1:3 or 1:10.

    They are plasmat designs (like normal landscape lenses) but open only to F/9 instead of f/5.6, which makes them roughly 1/2 the size of f/5.6 plasmats. Smaller lenses are also lighter, and the Fujinon A lenses are light compared to the others - but they have comparable coverage and superb fidelity.

    When comparing my 210mm Macro Sinaron to my 240mm Fujinon, I could not distinguish a difference under a loupe using 4x5 film - at either infinity or close range. Perhaps there are color-related differences. The f5.6 aperture of the Macro Sinaron makes focusing and composing much easier under less-than-ideal light, because it's 150% brighter. On the other hand, it's larger, takes 67mm filters compared to the Fujinon A's 52mm filters.

  6. #16

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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Hello Ken. To tell the truth, I emailed a question to Nikon in Japan regarding this lens. I received 2 responses from Nikon yesterday and today. They say this lens is for macro photography and not recommended for general photography. As the distance between the lens and a subject increases, the quality of the image goes down, and you might lose sharpness.

    I'll receive the lens today. I'll make some test shots, and compare results with a Schneider APO Symmar 150mm.

  7. #17

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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    I heard that Harry Cory Wright once tried the Nikkor 210 AM-ED lens on his bespoke 8x10 Gandolfi P&S and found it soft and lacking coverage for general use. Looks like he uses a 240mm now........http://www.harrycorywright.com/index.php

  8. #18

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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Wouldn't an enlarger lens be a good choice for macro? Componon lenses can be had for little money. Worth a try.

  9. #19
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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    "Wouldn't an enlarger lens be a good choice for macro?"

    People use them - and as long as you're shooting straight ahead they should be great. If you want a lot of coverage and view camera movements, that's another matter.

    If we want a lens for shooting macro, there's nothing quite like a macro lens

    Here's a photo of a rose, larger than life-size, made with a 210mm Macro Sinaron, mounted on a Sinar DB board, using a Sinar Copal Shutter on a Sinar P. It's easy to carry short distances outdoors. A wonderful rig for flower photos.

    One thing I really like about Large Format lenses, is that they generally have lots of coverage. We don't have to chop off the edges of the frame or run the images through a special "filter" to eliminate "color fringing", which is often necessary when shooting with "modern" equipment
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 6-Jun-2012 at 12:17.

  10. #20
    8x10, 4x5, ..., Tessina
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    Re: The difference between normal large format lenses and macro lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Hudson View Post
    I heard that Harry Cory Wright once tried the Nikkor 210 AM-ED lens on his bespoke 8x10 Gandolfi P&S and found it soft and lacking coverage for general use.[/url]
    Nikon states very strongly that this is a macro lens designed for 1:1 ratios.

    Coupled with the fact that the image circle at infinity is only 200mm, "soft and lacking coverage" is to be expected.

    Nobody with a working brain cell would try it on such a camera.

    - Leigh

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