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Thread: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

  1. #1

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    why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Just came across a Xenotar 150mm f2.8, and wondered, why are there no "modern" ultra fast lens designs or at least something more recent then the xenotar?
    Maybe the lively lens designer thread will shed some light here as well.

  2. #2

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    How many LF lenses are in production at all? Five, maybe? Who's still making shutters? The days of what you want are looooooooong past. Your question is like asking why no one's making a steam-powered roadster.
    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

  3. #3

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Between Rodenstock and Schneider there are 3 large format lenses in current production. The 135, 150 and 210 Apo Sironar S. All others are discontinued.
    Rodenstock/Sinar make the eShutter, but only in a 0 size. No one currently makes a mechanical shutter in any size, Schneider has either ended or are about to end their shutter and the manufacturer of the Rollei shutter went in to bankruptcy in August. Packard might still make a shutter but that isn't a real replacement for a Copal or Compur or Prontor shutter.

    Over the recent past 25 or 30 years, at least, the demand was not for speed. It was for coverage and performance. The days of news work with a large format camera is decades behind us. So was the demand for the high speed lenses, especially since the vast market for lenses were using them at optimal aperture rather then open aperture. And, if they needed the effect of a high speed lens wide open, art directors and clients accepted small formats shot that way.

  4. #4
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Also consider that in terms of depth of field, f5.6 on 4x5 is somewhere between f1.4 and 1.8 on 35mm.

    And on 8x10, f8 like f1.2 on 35mm.

  5. #5

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    What do you mean by "modern?"

    Size and weight get large very rapidly as focal length increases and so does the difficulty of making shutters fast enough to use such lenses near wide open when the light is bright. They might be usable on low ISO wet plate. Is that what you have in mind?

    To give you an idea of weights, the 6"/1.9 Dallmeyer Super Six I sold years ago weighed 3.5 pounds. The 200/2.0 S.F.O.M. I sold last year weighed around 15 pounds. Both cover 4x5. The 500/2.5 Uran-15 (1944 design) weighs 15 kg. It covers 8x10.

    USAF bought several long fast lenses that cover 4x5. 6"/1.5 Perkin-Elmer, 10.7 pounds. 12"/1.5 Perkin-Elmer, 76 pounds.

    Good luck finding any of them. And be careful if you get one. These aren't lenses to be dropped on feet.

  6. #6

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Dan, one of THOSE dropped on one's foot is better than dropped on concrete. Bones heal... rare glass does not.

  7. #7
    (Shrek)
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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    There are lots of modern, multi-coated superfast lenses in sizes that cover LF. They're just not designed for LF, they're all projection lenses. I currently have lenses of f1.2 (145mm), and f2.0 (305mm) that cover 4x5 and 8x10. I have mounted the 145mm on a 5x7 camera to check out coverage and image, it's actually pretty useless for doing photography. I have not yet bothered wasting a sheet of film on it, though I might try this week. I'll have to use the hand-fired flash method, at night so I don't get too much stray light through cracks around the window. And I'll have to set the flash on the lowest setting and bounce it off the far wall, I imagine. The only reason it's on the 5x7 studio camera is because it's the only smaller-format camera I have with a large enough lensboard.

    I should add: I've never paid more than $25 for one of these.

  8. #8

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    There are no modern superfast LF lenses because the military doesn't need them anymore.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  9. #9

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    Dan, one of THOSE dropped on one's foot is better than dropped on concrete. Bones heal... rare glass does not.
    Ok, the next I get will be dropped on your foot. I think that will change your mind.

  10. #10

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    Re: why are there no "modern" super fast LF lenses?

    Once the world supply of digi era babies arrived in the management work force began the trend of digital images as acceptable. Who needed real negative truth you could gather information from the image characteristics formed in the emulsion layer. When sortta OK is OK then real quality has no funding.

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