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BABartrug
24-Mar-2012, 16:51
Back into large-format after a hiatus of ten years or so. Previous experience using large format photography was largely confined to landscape work, first using a Speed Graphic with the front standard reversed to get both front rise and front (forward) tilt. Then I had a Wista for a couple years but sold it to buy digital equipment. Lens options currently limited to a Nikkor W 180mm/f5.6 in a Copal 1.

I made one of those accidental semi-fateful decisions a year or so back and bought a Panasonic GF-1 with 20/1.7 lens and a Novoflex adapter to allow use of Pentax lenses (of which I have a slew, including primes form 15 to 400mm.) I bought the GF-1 as a travel camera, and it works quite well in that capacity. But.....it dawned on me that the low weight might now allow me to take a medium format along on travels, so bought a GA645, which, paired with my venerable Rollei has rekindled an interest in architectural photography. I even have leads on work in that area. OMG.

That leads to ridiculous question number 1: Can someone compare the Sinar F1 with the Horseman LE for quality, portability, and durability? I have local options for purchasing both. I'm impressed with the Horseman, but the Sinar is lighter.

I would like to use both a 6x9 film back and 4x5, so I'm looking for wide angle lens options that could accommodate both. I appreciate the f/4.0 of the Nikkor SW 65mm for viewing in dim interiors, but I'm thinking a 75mm lens might be better for 4x5 work, just because of the larger image circle, accommodating more movements. There are similar options here among the big four manufactures. A 75mm gives a 135 film-equivalent on 6x9 of about 32 or 33 mm, while a 65mm gives that of a 28mm. Second ridiculous question: is that difference significant for architectural work? (My 2x3 film back actually measures closer to 6x8cm.)

Third ridiculous question: where can I find a SuperAngulon 47 for less than $400? One that works I mean.

OK, forget the last question :).

BAB

Any advice welcome, and thanks in advance.

Frank Petronio
24-Mar-2012, 17:05
For paid architectural work, why not use a digital camera with a tilt-shift lens? The practical advantages are overwhelming for all but the highest caliber of clients with largest budgets. Otherwise film and processing will hamper you unless you are low-balling for fun, in which case you are depriving a legitimate photographer from a decent job. I'm not saying not to do it, everyone starts somewhere and we're all adults, but you might take a moment to consider the big picture and where you want to go with it.

For 4x5, the heavier and better built the camera, the better in my opinion. But then you also need a sturdier tripod, etc. so think in terms of building a balanced system within a reasonable budget. Nothing worse than putting a heavier Horseman onto an undersized tripod. A Sinar F is still a serious and capable professional camera. Then again, a Sinar P would be even more robust than the Horseman....

Also for 4x5, the ultra wides aren't that fun or practical... the actual subject gets really small in the image. Most architectural photographers use their 90mm lenses the most on 4x5. Don't forget that you can always stitch two frames together if you need an ultra wide. It often looks better too.

If you're committed to using roll film backs, the 6x12 backs are really nice and will work well with lenses chosen primarily for 4x5 rather than medium format. For example, a 6x12 shot with the 65 or 75 will be a lot nicer than a 6x7 shot with the 47. You might also consider that even though the 4x5 film is more expensive, if you don't use the ultra wide much it may be less expensive overall (cost of doing business) to get a 65 or 75 for the 4x5 than to get a 47 for the medium format.

If you have to use a 65 or 47 on 4x5 then be sure to check that the Horseman can physically draw its standards close enough. I know the Sinar can practically zero out so it wouldn't be a problem with a bag bellows. But most cameras can't do that.

Joshua Dunn
24-Mar-2012, 17:34
Bab,

I have several Sinar F2’s, multiple formats for the Sinar P and one Horseman L. The Sinar F2 is much lighter and overall a better camera than the Horseman L. The Sinar system is easy to grow and change to your shooting needs. The Horseman is solid but very heavy. Listen to Frank carefully on what he said about putting the heavier Horseman on an undersized tripod. If you don’t mind the additional weight, have a heavy enough tripod and if it’s a lot cheaper than the Sinar then it may be a good way to go.

One good thing is both of these cameras use the same size lens boards. So if you go with a Horseman and later decide you want a Sinar then you just have to buy a different camera and use the lens boards you already have. With the Horseman the monorail is pretty long, not so great for architecture. They are rare but try to find a short rail for the Horseman if you can. It will be easier to work with and save you some weight. With either camera you will probably want a bag bellows. The original Horseman bellows are a few inches longer than a standard Sinar bellows (the bellows are interchangeable between the two systems so someone could have swapped the Horseman bellows for a shorter Sinar one) which is good for longer lenses or macro work.

As far as lenses start with a 90mm and slowly go wider. Borrow or rent wider lenses if you can before you buy any ultra wide angle lenses. I own all of the Schneider Super Angulon XLs and do 95% of my architecture work with my 90mm and 72mm.
I hope this helps. I have been meaning to list my Horseman (along with some other equipment) on the forum for sale. If you are interested PM me and I’ll send you some pictures.

-Joshua

Old-N-Feeble
24-Mar-2012, 18:08
I haven't read the answers to the OP yet so I'm just trying to be funny and helpful at the same time...

I haven't seen many "ridiculous questions" over my many years reading numerous forums covering many topics... but I've seen a heck-uv-a-lot-a ridiculous answers. :)

Okay... I read the OP. My choices for lenses would be...

47mm SA XL
72mm SA XL
110mm SS XL
150mm Apo Symmar or similar
210mm Apo Symmar or similar
300mm Nikkor-M or Fiujinon-C or similar

Okay... after seeing prices posted by the OP maybe my suggestions are ridiculous.

BABartrug
24-Mar-2012, 18:56
For paid architectural work, why not use a digital camera with a tilt-shift lens? The practical advantages are overwhelming for all but the highest caliber of clients with largest budgets. Otherwise film and processing will hamper you unless you are low-balling for fun, in which case you are depriving a legitimate photographer from a decent job. I'm not saying not to do it, everyone starts somewhere and we're all adults, but you might take a moment to consider the big picture and where you want to go with it.

For 4x5, the heavier and better built the camera, the better in my opinion. But then you also need a sturdier tripod, etc. so think in terms of building a balanced system within a reasonable budget. Nothing worse than putting a heavier Horseman onto an undersized tripod. A Sinar F is still a serious and capable professional camera. Then again, a Sinar P would be even more robust than the Horseman....

Also for 4x5, the ultra wides aren't that fun or practical... the actual subject gets really small in the image. Most architectural photographers use their 90mm lenses the most on 4x5. Don't forget that you can always stitch two frames together if you need an ultra wide. It often looks better too.

If you're committed to using roll film backs, the 6x12 backs are really nice and will work well with lenses chosen primarily for 4x5 rather than medium format. For example, a 6x12 shot with the 65 or 75 will be a lot nicer than a 6x7 shot with the 47. You might also consider that even though the 4x5 film is more expensive, if you don't use the ultra wide much it may be less expensive overall (cost of doing business) to get a 65 or 75 for the 4x5 than to get a 47 for the medium format.

If you have to use a 65 or 47 on 4x5 then be sure to check that the Horseman can physically draw its standards close enough. I know the Sinar can practically zero out so it wouldn't be a problem with a bag bellows. But most cameras can't do that.

Thanks, Frank. Good advice about the weight of the Horseman. Which does give me pause even though I have a tripod that weighs more than the Horseman. I also would prefer to work with a 90mm as a first-choice lens, but that's not very smart if I'm using a roll-film back. I might as well use my Rollei.

The roll-film is for quick processing and turn-around, and for paying work will only be used in those situations that require back movements to get a decent final image. Yes, I will be using digital equipment but without a tilt/shift lens because there isn't one for Pentax APS-C. There is a 28mm tilt/shift but I'm feeling that's much to narrow (on an APS-C sensor) for average interior space. The only other option is pasting images together made with a 15mm prime.

I'll be charging the going rate.

Thanks for writing. I appreciate the input.

BAB

BABartrug
24-Mar-2012, 19:02
Bab,

I have several Sinar F2ís, multiple formats for the Sinar P and one Horseman L. The Sinar F2 is much lighter and overall a better camera than the Horseman L. The Sinar system is easy to grow and change to your shooting needs. The Horseman is solid but very heavy. Listen to Frank carefully on what he said about putting the heavier Horseman on an undersized tripod. If you donít mind the additional weight, have a heavy enough tripod and if itís a lot cheaper than the Sinar then it may be a good way to go.

One good thing is both of these cameras use the same size lens boards. So if you go with a Horseman and later decide you want a Sinar then you just have to buy a different camera and use the lens boards you already have. With the Horseman the monorail is pretty long, not so great for architecture. They are rare but try to find a short rail for the Horseman if you can. It will be easier to work with and save you some weight. With either camera you will probably want a bag bellows. The original Horseman bellows are a few inches longer than a standard Sinar bellows (the bellows are interchangeable between the two systems so someone could have swapped the Horseman bellows for a shorter Sinar one) which is good for longer lenses or macro work.

As far as lenses start with a 90mm and slowly go wider. Borrow or rent wider lenses if you can before you buy any ultra wide angle lenses. I own all of the Schneider Super Angulon XLs and do 95% of my architecture work with my 90mm and 72mm.
I hope this helps. I have been meaning to list my Horseman (along with some other equipment) on the forum for sale. If you are interested PM me and Iíll send you some pictures.

-Joshua

Thanks for the advice on the lenses. If I weren't thinking of using primarily roll-film I'd be happy with a 90mm. Unfortunately, with a 2x3 that's like using my Rollei. I'm beginning to believe the Sinar is a better option than the Horseman. Although I do like the rigidity of the latter. Light and transportable is the reason I bought the GF-1. Thanks much.

BAB

BABartrug
24-Mar-2012, 19:15
I haven't read the answers to the OP yet so I'm just trying to be funny and helpful at the same time...

I haven't seen many "ridiculous questions" over my many years reading numerous forums covering many topics... but I've seen a heck-uv-a-lot-a ridiculous answers. :)

Okay... I read the OP. My choices for lenses would be...

47mm SA XL
72mm SA XL
110mm SS XL
150mm Apo Symmar or similar
210mm Apo Symmar or similar
300mm Nikkor-M or Fiujinon-C or similar

Okay... after seeing prices posted by the OP maybe my suggestions are ridiculous.

I know precisely what you mean :).

Great suggestions for lenses. The 72 SA XL is my single best choice for a wide angle. And I have a 180. So that leave something in the middle, like a 90 to 110. Thanks for writing. I noticed you didn't ask why I wasn't using the digital equipment I acquired. Well, I will be, but I like back movements. Photoshop will only do so much correcting.

BAB

Old-N-Feeble
25-Mar-2012, 06:15
If I wanted to limit my lenses to three with a 72mm at the wide end and a 180mm at the long end then I'd be looking at a 110 SSXL or 115 Grandagon to fit in the middle. IMO, 90 is a bit too close to the 72. After those you may want to consider a longer lens in the 270-300mm range.

That would be a darned fine 4x5 four lens kit...
72 SAXL
110 SS XL or 115 Grand. or 120 SA
180 whatever you have
270 or 305 G-Claron or Nikkor-M or Fujinon-C

If you want an ultra-wide for 6x12cm then you could add a 38 SA XL... but the shortest lens that will also cover 4x5 is the 47 SA XL.

BABartrug
25-Mar-2012, 11:41
That would indeed. I've always liked the G-Claron lenses.

I've decided the Sinar F system is more what I'm looking for. It weighs about half the Horseman L series. Don't quite know about forum rules (maybe I should read them?) but if anyone has an F1 or F2 they really want to part with, please write me a private message.

Thanks much for the input from all those who wrote.

BAB

Old-N-Feeble
25-Mar-2012, 11:52
^^^ If that's what you want then I suggest you start a new WTB thread for a Sinar F1 or F2 system.

BABartrug
25-Mar-2012, 16:25
I need to rescind that request anyway, as I just bought a Sinar F+ in excellent condition for less than I've paid for used SLR lenses. I'm not concerned about the lack of geared focusing on the front standard. Same lever for tilt/shift might get a little hairy, but I can at times be quite patient. I'll need a bag bellows (and a wide-angle lens), but one of the reasons I selected the Sinar over the Horseman L (besides difference in weight) is that there are a jillion parts available for the Sinar on eBay.

Thanks much for all the advice to everyone that responded.
BAB

rdenney
26-Mar-2012, 07:08
By the way, for 6x9 and (barely!) for 6x12, the 47mm f/5.6 Super Angulon (NOT the XL!) in a Compur 00 quite often sells for under $400. I paid $300 for mine some years ago, and prices have only gone down since then. Take care of the shutter--they are difficult to replace.

The expensive one is the 47/5.6 XL, which covers 4x5.

The Sinar F series will focus the 47 on a flat board and still provide a bit of room for movements, but only if you use the Sinar Wide Angle Bellows 2. With the regular F, you may have to put the standards on the same side of the tripod clamp. The regular bag bellows will work, but you have to take care to make sure there is no wrinkle between the standards or it will push them apart. The WA Bellows 2 is also much more flexible for shifting those really short lenses without curling around and getting in the way of other things.

The Wide Angle Bellows 2 is harder to find and more expensive, but the regular bag bellows are cheap and common enough to own and use while you are looking.

The later F2 (starting in '92 or thereabouts) had a separate lock for swing and shift (tilt has always independently locked). If you decide you really want it, look around for a later F2 standard for the end of the camera where it seems most useful to you. But the advantage to the F is that the rise rods are shorter making a more compact package all the way around. I've certainly managed some complicated combinations of tilt, swing, and shift using an F front standard, though I now use an F2.

Frank is right that a very short lens will reduce the size of objects in the frame, but it also allows you to get very close to foreground objects which increases their relative size. If the main subject is in the foreground, it's a useful effect. Like all effects, it can become cliche. Ask me how I know. But sometimes it's just the right combination.

The 65/5.6 Super Angulon might be the cheapest of the 65's on the used market that provides some movements. It's often cheaper because Schneider made a lot of them over a long period, but even the old single-coated versions are excellent. The gold standard in the 65-75 focal range, though, is the 72mm Super Angulon XL. Bring your checkbook.

An older 65 for solving problems in 4x5, and a good 90, is a combination hard to beat. I have just that--an early-70s-vintage 65/5.6 and a later multicoated 90/5.6.

But, as you know, you have to be careful with really short lenses in architectural work--they allow such close positions that perspective can be distractingly exaggerated. Again, ask me how I know.

Rick "who likes short lenses and uses a Sinar F" Denney

BABartrug
28-Mar-2012, 12:19
Thanks, Rick. Very useful information. And comes at a time I'm rethinking my original thoughts about lenses.

Thirty years ago I carried a 20mm when shooting with with 35mm film. I found it most interesting when shooting interiors to have the wide option. But I also learned to temper my judgement about the angles and perspective, so yes, I know of what you and Frank spoke. Something closer to 28mm usually produced better results in most situations.

The one lens I have left, a Nikkor 180/5.6 give me about normal on 4x5 and about portrait length on 6x9. So I've been considering a lens that will give super wide on 4x5, but about 28mm-on-35mm-film for 6x9. The 65mm lenses fit that bill to a T, but I'm thinking I'd rather have a 75mm as it allows more movement on 4x5.

I'm considering a 75/5.6 SA that's only single coated, but the glass is clear and shutter works well. The shutter is listed as a Copal bulb on the ad for the lens, and as a Copal 0+1 under Schneiders' lens specs for the single coated, and Copal 0 for the MC lens. The photo of the item seems it's mounted in a run-of-mill Copal 0.

Any comments here? Thanks in advance.

Rick, you didn't mention the f/8 SA 65 and 90s. Care to comment on those?

Thanks again, BAB

Ari
28-Mar-2012, 12:40
If you can afford a 72XL instead of the 75SA, I would suggest you go for the 72.
The main reason is the large image circle it provides.
It is also a wonderfully sharp and contrasty optic.

A 65 will offer limited movements, usually around 10-15mm in either direction, and f8 might be somewhat dark on a ground glass.
But it's a very small, light lens.
The 90 is a must-have for architecture, and the SA f8 is a sharp lens, but it's worth considering an f5.6 for easier composing and viewing.

Frank Petronio
28-Mar-2012, 12:48
The older single coated optics are pretty nice for B&W, they actually help in some interiors with more open shadows, lower contrast. But if you can afford it and don't mind the size the XL lenses are awesome.

I'd still highly recommend something like a 90/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon over the wider lenses. That's not a cheap or "old fashioned piece of glass" by any means, but it is a more practical size and price than the XL versions and it also has a 5x7 image circle, plenty of sharpness, etc. it is the most useful lens for architecture and landscape on 4x5.

BABartrug
28-Mar-2012, 15:17
Thanks for the recommendations. It seems 90mm is everyone's favorite for architectural work in 4x5, so I may change my mind. Certainly couldn't go wrong.

I have noticed the Grandagon lenses, Frank, and do appreciate the lower weight.

Thanks again, BAB

Frank Petronio
28-Mar-2012, 15:21
A 90/4.5 isn't tiny or light or cheap, just smaller than a 90XL!

rdenney
28-Mar-2012, 15:29
Rick, you didn't mention the f/8 SA 65 and 90s. Care to comment on those?

The 65/8 is a fine lens, but provides no room for movements with 4x5. It was really intended for 6x9, like the non-XL 47.

The 90/8 is also a fine lens, though the earliest examples came in a 00 shutter which is rather light for a lens this size. The f/8 SAs provided 100 degrees of coverage, while the f/5.6 models covered 105 degrees.

Don't forget to budget for the center filter for lenses shorter than the 90. They might cost you as much as the lens, but they are needed for narrow color transparency film.

Rick "who has a 121mm f/8 SA which is a classic" Denney

cdholden
28-Mar-2012, 17:13
I'd still highly recommend something like a 90/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon over the wider lenses. That's not a cheap or "old fashioned piece of glass" by any means, but it is a more practical size and price than the XL versions and it also has a 5x7 image circle, plenty of sharpness, etc. it is the most useful lens for architecture and landscape on 4x5.

Agreed. I use the 90/4.5 Grandagon for landscape work in the 5x7 format. I get a lot more movement out of the f4.5 Grandagon than the 90/8 Super Angulon offers. While the lighter weight of the f8 SA is nice for being less to carry around, the larger Grandagon offers a lot more in the way of flexibility... something to consider for architecture work if you're not restricting yourself to 4x5. Sometimes I need some rise or shift to get the framing where I want it.
If you're only shooting 4x5, either work well but the f8 can be tough to focus in low light.

Frank Petronio
28-Mar-2012, 17:22
Well I think of the 90/4.5 as a 4x5 lens since it would be ridiculously wide on 5x7 ;-) But it also offers an evenness of coverage that saves needing a center filter as often, and it is quite bright to focus with. If you do a lot of architecture you'll find the limits of any lens's coverage but this one does have more coverage than any of the lighter field camera lenses.

Ari
28-Mar-2012, 17:26
Since we're now discussing 90mm lenses and movements, in addition to the Grandagon 90 f4,5 you could consider the equally great Nikon 90mm f4,5
They have the same size image circle, and both are sharpies, and great for architecture.

BABartrug
29-Mar-2012, 08:22
This seems a lens I should acquire for 4x5 work, not only for architecture. Thanks.



Well I think of the 90/4.5 as a 4x5 lens since it would be ridiculously wide on 5x7 ;-) But it also offers an evenness of coverage that saves needing a center filter as often, and it is quite bright to focus with. If you do a lot of architecture you'll find the limits of any lens's coverage but this one does have more coverage than any of the lighter field camera lenses.

BABartrug
29-Mar-2012, 08:26
Rick and Ari: I may consider an SA65/8 for 6x9, as the older lenses are less expensive, and this isn't a lens length I would use much on 4x5. I don't believe. I could change my mind after a few months.

Thanks, BAB


The 65/8 is a fine lens, but provides no room for movements with 4x5. It was really intended for 6x9, like the non-XL 47.

The 90/8 is also a fine lens, though the earliest examples came in a 00 shutter which is rather light for a lens this size. The f/8 SAs provided 100 degrees of coverage, while the f/5.6 models covered 105 degrees.

Don't forget to budget for the center filter for lenses shorter than the 90. They might cost you as much as the lens, but they are needed for narrow color transparency film.

Rick "who has a 121mm f/8 SA which is a classic" Denney

BABartrug
29-Mar-2012, 08:27
Check.


Since we're now discussing 90mm lenses and movements, in addition to the Grandagon 90 f4,5 you could consider the equally great Nikon 90mm f4,5
They have the same size image circle, and both are sharpies, and great for architecture.

BABartrug
29-Mar-2012, 19:47
Well, this forum is certainly a font of knowledge, especially compared to parsing out specific information using internet searches. What I wouldn't give for a search engine that worked like a card catalogue.

I have no idea what's going on with eBay, but I've about given up on it. In the last few years, as soon as I encounter an automatic overbid, I just give up; although I occasionally wish I were wealthy and could run up a stupendous bill for the dude who attached the auto pilot to a certain item. But twice in the past week I've encountered another impediment. A few days ago I encountered a Grandagon-N 90mm f/4.5 that was selling for $410 and had less than an hour to go before bidding would end. Well, natch I was going to try to snag this item. I mean, this is a lens that sells for $800 in not such perfect shape. So I waited until the 15second mark and entered a bid of $450. It wouldn't take, and the $410 won. The same happened with a Nikon 65/4 a couple days later. So I'm suspecting that somehow dealers have found a way to block last minute bids. These lenses will soon appear as offers beginning at $700 to $800 dollars.

At any rate, I found a supplier that had an SA 90/8 multicoated, and a Grandagon 90/6.8 single-coated for about the same price. I opted for the Grandagon. Yes, it's a stop slower than the 4.5, but it's also half a stop faster than the SA f/8. And I was more concerned with the light fall-off than the multicoating. The Grandagon, even the older model, has a reputation for smoother fall-off. It also throws a 102 degree circle as opposed to the 100 degree of the SA.

Frank mentioned earlier that single coated lenses show a bit less contrast and are good for b/w. Well, I love b/w and this lens should certainly get me started until I have the time/experience to figure out what else I might want/need. (Want is always bigger than need.) Perhaps it's just nostalgia (I've been a photographer for over 50 years) but there is something about b/w images made with older lenses that is very pleasing. At least to me. Here's an image I made on 120 film with a Zeiss Ikonta with an uncoated lens. I could have guessed it was made with a pre-war lens even if I didn't know that for a fact.71056

So for the moment I'm good, and I can take the time to shop with real dealers, like KEH, and others. Thanks ever so much for you input.

BAB

Frank Petronio
29-Mar-2012, 20:28
Congrats, the 90/6.8 Grandagon is a great lens and being more compact and less expensive is also a good thing!

I doubt eBay dealers don't want you to bid but occasionally there are glitches, either from your internet service or eBay's. The system has evolved so that most serious buyers will use sniping software that is easy and reliable to bid in the closing seconds, it works very well. You simple decide what your best offer is hours or days ahead of time, then run with it and let the card fall as they may. Bidding earlier only drives the price up for the dealer so it's rarely a good idea unless you bid a low amount just to mark it or just in case you get lucky.

http://www.jbidwatcher.com/ has worked well for me.

Otherwise a dealer like KEH is more consistent and has a good return policy. You could even try a lens for a couple of days (carefully) to see if it is worth the difference to you.