View Full Version : Newbie with vignetting problems.

14-Oct-2007, 09:56
I recently bought my first large format camera, a sinar F1, from then main auction site. It came with a lens, which I don't know anything about. The front has DOCTER - WETZLAR - GERMANY 1541 TESSAR 4.5/105 written on it. Every photo I've taken so far has had blank corners, which I'm told is called vignetting! I've only used digital cameras before, so it's all new to me :p.

I've tried taking photos at aperatures from wide open to f/22 without much difference. I also tried the film both ways around in the holder!

Am I doing something wrong, or does this lens just not have enough coverage for 4x5? I noticed that the front part of the lens, with the writing on it, rotates really easily along with the front part of the glass. Is that normal, or might it be broken?

Thanks for the help... I'm going through a lot of Ilford Delta 100 without taking a single usable photo!

Jon Wilson
14-Oct-2007, 10:26
I am speculating, but your lens may only cover 6x9mm. Try to focus the image on the ground glass and check the corners before you make your exposure. That image on the gg should be what you get on the 4x5 film.

BTW, we probably are very distant cousins for on my mother's side we have Beeson family members who came from England in the 1700's to America and have distant relative who was a Pennington and a Mayor of London in the 1600's.

Take care, Jon

Dan Fromm
14-Oct-2007, 10:30
Tessars cover their focal length plus perhaps 10%. Your lens is normal for 6x9, is not a wide angle for 4x5.

If the front cell isn't seated in the shutter the lens won't give its best performance. That said, it is barely possible that it was made for a 6x9 folding camera and that it has front element focusing. If so, there will be a distance scale ...

Neil Purling
14-Oct-2007, 11:53
If the lens is a Docter then is it a product of the man who bought the old Zeiss Jena plant?
Possibly a rare beast? Just buy a Super Rollex.

14-Oct-2007, 12:34
I'd agree it's probably a lens that's not designed for 4x5... so, I'd suggest that you head back to that auction site and look for something like a 180 or 210 made by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, or Fujinon.

Secondly, pick up some good large format photography books and do some reading... if you do a search here on the forum, you'll find many postings discussing which books to read.

Good luck... it may be frustrating when you're at the bottom of the learning curve but it won't last forever. :)


Rick Floyd
14-Oct-2007, 12:39
Nice lens for 6x9 but not for 4x5. This is very typical of that auction site to offer a camera with an illfitted lens. Call Midwest Photo or Badger Grapgics and get your first lens; they will treat you with respect and the right lens.

Good light,

Rick Floyd

14-Oct-2007, 14:29
Thanks for the info... I suppose I'll hang onto it incase I ever get a roll film back!

Ole Tjugen
14-Oct-2007, 14:46
...This is very typical of that auction site to offer a camera with an illfitted lens. ...

"That auction site" offers nothing but an auction hosting service; the SELLEr is the one who offered a camera with a lens designed for use with a rollfilm back.

Hang on to the lens - it's a really good one for 6x9 and 6x7. Not much use on 4x5" though, so you should look for a longer or wider one (wider = more coverage, not necessarily shorter focal length).

it's quite normal that LF lenses are easy to unscrew from the shutter, but they should be screwed in tightly for use.

Look for a lens in the 150 to 210mm range - all of those will cover, and all made in the last 50 years will give decent pictures.

Pete Watkins
15-Oct-2007, 11:55
D, I've got one of those lenses (bought it new from an infamous South London dealer). It was my first L.F. lens. I was told that it covered 4x5 but it just clips the corners. Even with a roll film back it gives a "wide" effect, which I don't like. It is a very sharp modern lens but I hate the bloody thing, I havn't used it for a few years but I can't see many people wanting to take it off my hands. As a beginner I would suggest that you stay away from Tessars, yeah you get more speed but this lens design suffers from lack of movements and you will drastically over estimate the amount of movement you need to start with, well, I did. I won't suggest a suitable lens as
1). This has been covered by a lot of posts already.
2). It depends what you want to photograph.
3). I don't need this lot jumping on me :-).
Best wishes,

Joseph O'Neil
15-Oct-2007, 12:47
The only 105mm lens that I know that does 4x5 for certain is the Fujinon CMW. All other 105s I have seen (which is far from complete) - including the Nikkor version, only cover 6x9.

Enjoy th elens until you find something better. For what it is worth, sometimes vignetted image can look kinda cool