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Thread: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

  1. #1

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    Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    I bought a 250mm Wollaston meniscus lens a while back and finally decided to play with it while at the Grand Canyon last week. First, this isn't the best subject matter for a meniscus lens, but I wanted to see how it rendered foreground OOF (out of focus) areas as well as background OOF areas.

    I made this shot on 4x5 Acros at f/11. I was trying for f/8 (supposedly optimal for this lens), but I couldn't get the shutter speed where I wanted it while using a front mounted Packard shutter. I thought about using my 10 stop ND filter, but it was too windy for that. This shot was done at about 1/25 sec, the automatic speed on the Packard with a yellow filter hand held against the front of the Packard.

    The background of the canyon behind the tree is rendered nicely with the buttery smoothness that I expected, however, the foreground bush on the left side appears lumpy and rather odd looking

    Lesson learned: Only have OOF areas behind the subject.

    I usually reserve complicated shots for the studio, but it was fun (and time consuming) to get this set up never having used the lens or the front mounted Packard before.

    The bottom of the image was cropped to make it square.


    Jim Cole
    Flagstaff, AZ

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Looks great, but that darn bush needs help...
    sin eater

  3. #3

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    I am going to be rebuilding an 11x14 and intend to use a Wollaston Meniscus. It is nice to get a sense for what it can do.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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    I live in Connecticut now.
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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Where within the canyon was the shot? Very nice, I did something of a test like this before using another meniscus lens and everyone told me it wasn't even possible, but sometimes simple glass can be just as effective. But good to know that the background out of focus is more pleasing.

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    Where within the canyon was the shot? Very nice, I did something of a test like this before using another meniscus lens and everyone told me it wasn't even possible, but sometimes simple glass can be just as effective. But good to know that the background out of focus is more pleasing.
    Stone,

    It was shot along the south rim near Yavapai. It would have been a great image if I could have eliminated that foreground tree (yeah, it was a small tree). I'll try this type of shot again next time I'm up there. I'll find a more isolated tree, where the canyon still looms in the background.
    Jim Cole
    Flagstaff, AZ

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    I am going to be rebuilding an 11x14 and intend to use a Wollaston Meniscus. It is nice to get a sense for what it can do.
    It will be great fun with the 11x14. I hope to try using it in more situations that have a properly isolated subject and a background that will work.
    Jim Cole
    Flagstaff, AZ

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Cole View Post
    The background of the canyon behind the tree is rendered nicely with the buttery smoothness that I expected, however, the foreground bush on the left side appears lumpy and rather odd looking

    Lesson learned: Only have OOF areas behind the subject.

    ]
    well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

    Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

    So maybe it is different from lens to lens?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails plasticca3.jpg  

  8. #8

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by gandolfi View Post
    well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

    Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

    So maybe it is different from lens to lens?
    Nope, let's consider all meniscus lenses.

    Thanks for sharing. Nice image. Your foreground works a little better, but I see the same sort of issue where the foreground effects are more "graphic" in nature instead of a smooth transition between elements. In your image the foreground elements are long leaves which take on a tubular look. In mine, the foreground was small bunches of juniper needles which took on a circular or "lumpy" appearance. The background in yours is smooth as silk, so I think we're getting the same results with some exaggeration going on in the foreground OOF areas.

    This is interesting. I hope more people post.
    Jim Cole
    Flagstaff, AZ

  9. #9

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Just FYI, I've been following a group on Flickr called "Monocle", which apparently is Russian for single element lens. There's lots of good stuff there. I ran through that whole group's photos before I ordered a Reinhold Wollaston, to see what it would be able to do.
    https://www.flickr.com/groups/monocle_lens/
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  10. #10

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    Re: Playing with Meniscus Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by gandolfi View Post
    well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

    Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

    So maybe it is different from lens to lens?
    I'm not surprised at the differing result with the Plastica. My experience is that every SF lens produces a different image from its cousins. A few years ago I made the same image with 10 different lenses and they definitely were different.
    I tape ND, and other filters behind my Wollaston lenses

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