View Full Version : Archiving Artwork, Best lens to use with Toyo 45F?

14-Dec-2004, 12:17
Hello and thank you for a fantastic forum and website. Thanks also to those who help us newbies by answering our queries!

I am a painter who is getting into LF because I would like to archive my work. Currently I have pieces scanned by a pro studio but it is costly! I am familiar with photography and consider myself to be at an intermediate level. I have an opportunity to purchase a Toyo 45F in near mint cond. for $300. I've researched extensively and have found this to be a fair price. The photographer selling the camera is also including a light meter, some basic extras for the camera and some tutorial sessions. he's very helpful, so I feel it's a good deal all around.

My question: I will be photographing paintings, sizes 8x10" up to 5x6 feet. I have a decent sized room to shoot the work, lighting will be ??? ...addressed as money and know-how allows - but I'm wondering what will be the best size lens to use? I'm on a budget (starving artist and all that) so I'll be looking at purchasing a used lens.

thanks in advance for your response and help!

Michael S. Briggs
14-Dec-2004, 12:37
Based on excellent performance in this application, reasonable price and ready availability on the used market, I suggest a G-Claron. These are symmetrical lenses optimized for closeup work but which also work well even for objects at infinity. They have more coverage than some of the other process lens types. They cost less than the currenlty made LF maco lenses. 210 mm would be a good focal length for your application.

Glenn Kroeger
14-Dec-2004, 12:56
Ditto... this is what the G-Claron lives for!

tim atherton
14-Dec-2004, 12:59
Although I don't agree with everything 100% this is a pretty good little primer

http://www.kinesisgear.com/copywork.html (http://www.kinesisgear.com/copywork.html)

Gem Singer
14-Dec-2004, 13:11
Hello M.S.,

The camera you are referring to is actually a Toyo- Omega 45F. It is a discontinued model, but for $300, incl. accessories, it sounds like an O.K. deal. Just make sure that the bellows does not leak and the camera package includes at least one lensboard milled for a Copal 0 or a Copal 1 shutter, to fit whichever lens/shutter you will use on the camera.

A Schneider G-Claron, in the 150 or 210 focal length, would be a good lens choice, as would a Nikkor 200M, a Fujinon 180A, or Fujinon 240A. All of these lenses are process lens formulations and are idealized for photographing flat objects, such as paintings.

14-Dec-2004, 15:28
For your needs, and to save money, I believe that the best possible lens would be a good used Kodak Ektar f:7.7/203 mm. Be sure to get a coated one. Should go for $150-200.

jerry brodkey
14-Dec-2004, 17:42
I would also suggest that you invest in a polarizer. I always use one for this kind of work.....

But I'll be the devil's advocate: I'm wondering why you have chosen to do this in large format.

There are alot easier formats to work with including digital which might be more convenient in the long run.

The only reason I use a view camera for this kind of work now is if I need an 8X10 transparency which is

what most, but not all, museum curators want to see....Alot of art work is sent around the web now

and so I do alot with a digital camera....


Christian Olivet
14-Dec-2004, 20:18
Yes G-claron. They were made just for that and are great and not that expensive.

14-Dec-2004, 20:31

I have chosen the 4x5 format for its high quality and relative ease in obtaining gear, and inexpensive film & lab costs. Speaking of 8x10 transparencies - I am excited about the 45F because of the removable bellows - I could obtain an 8x10 rear frame for large transparencies, yes?

I have been using 35mm (Nikon 6006) and digital (Canon 4 megapixel) for archiving my work, and wil continue to do so even along with the 4x5. But a new digital that has the resolution I want is far too expensive, and 35mm slides will not allow for large reproductions.

Thanks for bringing that up though - pro-digital will definitely be a future purchase!

Paul Fitzgerald
14-Dec-2004, 22:34
Hi there, starving artist:

IF (big IF) you can find them in clean condition:

Steinheil V-Quinon 210/5.6 , a great APO copy lens;

Wollensak Pro-Raptar enlarger lenses, about the sharpest lenses ever made;

Kodak 203/7.7 Ektar, originally for 5X7 copy work, single coated, slightly less contrast.

For flat copy work would it make sense to build a box inside a box camera, no movements so the lens and film are always parallel to each other and considerably cheaper. You can always find a 4X5 Graflok back assembly on ebay.

Just a thought, happy holidays

15-Dec-2004, 01:34

A box inside a box camera - can you please describe this in a bit more detail? It sounds interesting. Thanks.

Paul Fitzgerald
16-Dec-2004, 01:30
Hi there,

The cheapest solution is a box camera, it is exactly what it sounds like. A 4X5 Graflok back is 6 1/4 X 6 1/4" so a 3/8 - 10mm birch hobby store plywood box 6 1/2" X 6 1/2" X 8" (for a 210mm lens) with another box, 8 1/2 - 9", that fits snugly inside. Cut a rebate near the front / inside of the outer box and rear/ outside of the innner box 3/8 X 1/8 for two strips of felt as a light traps and to apply enough drag to make focusing easier. A piece of metal with a slot cut down the middle (an aluminium ruler), a small carriage bolt and wing nut to lock the focus. Two 1/4 X20 tee-nuts thru the outer box as tripod lugs to rotate from horz. to vert. or just set it up on a bench. Final fine focus by moving the camera or art work. Everything should be perfectly square and level, there are no movements front or rear. Rustoleum BBQ paint is ultra flat black but takes 2-3 days to dry well.

The easiest solution for flat copy work would be a Burke & James Rembrant portrait camera or a Agfa/Ansco Studio Portrait camera. Both were 5X7 and could have 4X5 reducing backs. The front standard has no movements, it's built solid at 90* and the focus is with the rear with slight swing & tilt. They both have large, square bellows and can take a Packard shutter easily. You could use halogen lamps on an enlarger timer instead of strobes BUT the burn-down from the lamps would throw the color balance out the window.

I will have either as parts shells after the holidays. If you're still working it out contact me off-line, this is not the place to sell.

Happy holidays

Paul Moshay
17-Dec-2004, 00:16
Since I have been doing this work for 12 years now I can offer some advise to ease the way. First, don't get into the camera building business, fun as it can be, because you want to make your paintings and photograph them. The GClaron 150mm lens is perfect for the job, I use all the available focal lengths from 150 to 305. Dim as the 9 aperture is they are designed for that work and don't cost too much. Lighting is very important to be even and constant in color balance, flash works well if you can control the reflections on the artwork. You should use Kodak EPN film stock because it is the only film that is accurate in color balance and has the longest tonal scale and scans very well. Buy enough film to do at least one years work and get all the same lot number or your color balance will be all over the map, and find a Kodak Q-Lab to process the film for the same reason. Since the main reason to do 4x5 transparencies is for reproduction, do not mess with other films that have more contrast and brighter colors, save them for your vacation photographs. The Toyo camera line is fine and the one I use for 4x5 and 8x10. The accessories are very available and not too expensive. If you can get that model 45F it will make the job easier because of the geared movements, and you will want them. Also get a grided ground glass to make sure everything is square on the film. If you want anything more, contact me offline.

Paul Moshay

Stephen Hall
17-Dec-2004, 21:21
Just make sure you use a standard to long focal length - wide angle will introduce distortion.
Since you are photographing flat field subject matter a process lens around 210 mm for 5x4 is perfect. Process or copy lenses are very sharp over a very flat field and are designed to be colour corrected and distortion free. Rodenstock makes excellent lenses that also double as long focal length camera lenses. Or pull one off an old process camera.
In regards to lighting polarising gels over the flash heads and a polarising filter over the lens will remove the majority of flare and reflection from uneven painted surfaces.
Beware of using flouro lighting or tungsten globes as the spectral output of the lights is different to 5400K daylight and the response of many painting/graphic mediums will introduce uncorrectable colour casts.