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Thread: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

  1. #11

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    The 105/4.5 Tominon is one of a set of macro lenses, all designed to be used at magnifications > 1:1, for the Polaroid MP-4 system. There are versions of it in Copal #1 (I think) shutter for Polaroid GelCams and a variety of oscilloscope cameras, also intended to be used at magnifications > 1:1.

    I've tested all of the MP-4 Tominons except the 105 as macro lenses and the 135/4.5 at distance. There are better macro lenses but the shorter ones (17, 35, 50) are usable. Not so the 75. The 135 is lousy close up and at distance.

    OP, as has already been stated if you want to shoot wide on 4x5 you'd be best off with a proper w/a lens that has ample coverage. I use some ancient ones (Berthiot Perigraphe VIa, mine were actually made in the late '40s but the designs are pre-WW I) that are quite dim. Modern alternatives are easier to use. Fujinon CM-W lenses are excellent but aren't wide angles; Fuji's w/a lines are SW and SWD.

    About filter threads etc. As Mark Stahlke mentioned in post #8 above, this forum has resources. Start from https://www.largeformatphotography.info, read the FAQs and articles, ... Also go to the Lenses sub-forum where there's a sticky "Where to look." The first post in that discussion has a link to a list of links to catalogs and much more. The list is a pdf with bookmarks that serve as an index. Download it -- the bookmarks don't work in on-line pdf readers -- and rummage around.

  2. #12

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    I'm assuming I won't need a shutter any faster than 1/200, is this true?
    You can always use an slower film, that may be sharper...

    Sunny 16 says that in full direct sunlight you expose ISO 400 at 1/400 at f/16, so you may have to shot at f/22 for 1/200s speed. Usually you always overexpose a bit say 1/2 stop as a safe factor (with negative film). Many times shutters having 1/400 speed don't reach that...



    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    I'm assuming I won't need a shutter any faster than 1/200, is this true?
    The math for optimal f-stops shows using more than f/32 for any show with more than 6mm of focus draw. Will I ever run into this?



    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    The math for optimal f-stops shows using more than f/32
    Many times best aperture in 4x5 lenses is around f/16, by f/22 diffraction starts damaging performance of a good lens, but also many times you have to stop f/22 or beyond to ensure DOF, first you may try to put subjects in focus by using tilt-swing movements, then you stop what necessary. Balancing movements vs dof vs diffraction can be complex for an optimal result, and this may require some learning.


    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    Also......how the heck do you find the filter thread for LF lenses? Do you just have to bop around the internet until someone tells you? As far as I've found there's no indicator, so you just measure it?
    Here there is a column with filter sizes: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...s/LF4x5in.html

    See also datasheets or catalogs, for example here you have all Nikons: http://www.kennethleegallery.com/pdf...rmatLenses.pdf , in the section drawing of the lens you have the filter thread, also each lens has an entry in its data.

    See also "Filter Size" for each lens here: https://static.bhphotovideo.com/Fram...rmatLenses.pdf

  3. #13

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Well with an accurate shutter 1/200 should be good enough, but if shutters aren't accurate I might need one 'rated' to 1/400 or so to actually get a 1/200 or so exposure, right? I guess what I'm actually asking is how far off I can expect old shutters to be.

    I know someone who said he has a 127/4.7 I can borrow. If I feel cramped by it I might move got something wider but I'd like to get some shooting experience before buying a new lens, so for now I think I know what to do and where to go.

    Thanks for all y'all's help!

  4. #14

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    This question comes up periodically, and I always give the same suggestion. Look at your digital photos, and see which focal length (or zoom setting) you use the most and give the results you enjoy the most. Then get a large format lens of the equivalent focal length. There are quite a few “focal length equivalents” on the web. As a very rough rule, 150-180mm are roughly similar to a 50mm on 35mm (or FF digital). 90-105 will be similar to a moderately wide-angle (35mm or so), and 210similar to a moderately longer lens (say around a 100mm or so on 35j.

  5. #15

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    I guess what I'm actually asking is how far off I can expect old shutters to be.
    Even recent Mechanical Shutters were sold new with a +/- 30% accuracy in the specs. Film has a great latitude, so a first approach is overexposing a bit as a safety factor, but when you can you should check what the real exposures are. Fortunately today you may find cheap shutter testers that are plugged in an smartphone for some $20, or around $80 standalone testers, see this search: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...ester&_sacat=0

  6. #16

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    Other questions: What do I look for in a shutter? Pere Casals mentioned checking speed but is there anything else? I'm assuming I won't need a shutter any faster than 1/200, is this true?
    The shutter is pretty much going to be dictated by what lens you buy; if just about any modern plasmat, it will be a Copal shutter. Older lenses, like Fujinon's, for example, have Seiko shutters. Many old Kodak lenses have Ilex shutters. There are many types/styles of shutters, but you don't really get a choice. Copal and Seiko shutters are very reliable and fairly accurate (shutter speed) over time. Older shutters, like the Ilex, will need a loving CLA over time and, even at that, the faster speeds will probably never reach the marked speed.

    As for needing a speed above 1/200th, I've shot LF for 40 years and I've never even come close to 1/200th...and for the past 20 years I've shot outdoor scenes in the blazing sunshine of the desert southwest. Even Vermont snow scenes in full sunlight were shot on Tri-X 320 at about 1/60 @ f/22.

  7. #17

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    The shutter is pretty much going to be dictated by what lens you buy; if just about any modern plasmat, it will be a Copal shutter. Older lenses, like Fujinon's, for example, have Seiko shutters. Many old Kodak lenses have Ilex shutters. There are many types/styles of shutters, but you don't really get a choice. Copal and Seiko shutters are very reliable and fairly accurate (shutter speed) over time. Older shutters, like the Ilex, will need a loving CLA over time and, even at that, the faster speeds will probably never reach the marked speed.

    As for needing a speed above 1/200th, I've shot LF for 40 years and I've never even come close to 1/200th...and for the past 20 years I've shot outdoor scenes in the blazing sunshine of the desert southwest. Even Vermont snow scenes in full sunlight were shot on Tri-X 320 at about 1/60 @ f/22.
    Or, in Compur, Synchro Compur, Prontor, Prontor Professional, Compound and many other common shutters.

  8. #18

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Look at the digital images of your history to get a good idea of the kind of images you're making along with where and how these images were made. This will aid in knowing the lens focal length and if 4x5 camera in hand will suffice for the kind of images you're making. Depending on lens and focal length needs, 4x5 camera in hand may or may not be amenable to the lenses-optics needed.

    It would be helpful to post the most often used focal length on your digital camera and it's sensor format size. From this a similar 4x5 lens focal length and lens aperture-lens type can be roughly estimated.

    Stay with lens choices from the big four, Schneider, Fujinon, Rodenstock, Nikon in any of their focal length and optic prescription offerings will be more than sufficient at this point. Prime importance is shutter accuracy, repeatability and reliability. Modern shutter brands are often Copal, Prontor, Seiko, Compur any of these in proven good condition with proven accuracy will do. The shutter is important as it is difficult enough to deal with the sheet film_LF learning curve, adding problems that will handicap moving up the learning curve, like a iffy-problem shutter will cause all sorts of frustration and grief. As for lens condition, long as the glass is original as delivered with it's shutter and mechanically reasonable lens should be good enough. Don't worry about stuff like spots in the edge of the internal elements (_ritis as this condition of edge painting problems) or minor front element defects or tiny pecks on the glass. These minor issues often results in significantly lower purchase price.

    The Tominon 105mm f/4.5 was commonly found on Polaroid MP-4 cameras specifically for copy work or close up work. The Polaroid MP-4 looks like an enlarger or camera on a copy stand. This lens is more specific application than general LF image making.

    What condition is the 4x5 camera in hand in? Does the bellows leak light or in fine condition? Are the mechanicals fully functional with good smooth movements and solid when locked. Is the camera stable when set up or wobbly like a chair with on shorter legg? Any problems with the camera will also compound the problems of moving up the learning curve.

    Beyond camera, lens.. what about tripod or camera support, dark cloth, light meter, filters (if needed), ground glass magnifier, cable release, film holders, case, tape measure?

    Once the film has been exposed, what about processing and print making?

    Unlike Digital, there is an entire process chain intimately related to LF image making that does not happen with digital images (digital as a different print making process chain).


    Bernice




    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    Hey y'all,

    I've been shooting digital for years, 35mm for a little while and I'm now moving into 4x5.
    Most of what I do it landscape and portraiture(more environmental than studio).
    I got my hands on a 4x5 camera but I don't have a lens yet.

    Any recommendations? I'm thinking something in the 90-115mm range. Is this stupid? From what I've heard it's better to err on the side of too wide, as you can crop without losing too much detail(I'm not planning on doing any ginormous prints so some cropping won't be a huge IQ image for me)

    Are there any mistake I need to avoid, lens specs I need to find before buying, etc? I'm looking at a Tominon 105mm f/4.5. It's not on the largeformatphotography.info list of 4x5 lenses, and I can't find much about it. Does anybody know anything about it? Specifically its coverage? I think with the landscape I do I'll probably be doing some view movements and I'd rather not be hampered too much by undercoverage. Also, is the fact that it only stops down to f/32 an issue? For a 90mm I would expect this to still have a very large dof but I don't know.

    Sorry this is so much. I'm kind of overwhelmed by how much I don't know. Any help would be appreciated.

    Benno
    Last edited by Bernice Loui; 21-Nov-2019 at 10:45.

  9. #19

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    Bernice,

    The camera is a Brand Camera company Brand-17
    It's old as the hills and ugly as sin, but it focuses smoothly, it's solid when locked off, and the bellows don't leak(as far as my testing has shown). I have a freight train of a tripod and an accurate Gossen pilot, as well as an inaccurate Luna pro I'm working on atm. I was figuring on getting by with a blackout curtain as a darkcloth and a negative viewing loupe for gg focusing. I don't have a cable release but that's going to be based on the shutter type, no?
    I can process film in my school's darkroom or in my WIP home darkroom, but I can only print at school.

    What's the issue with looking at my digital images to find a good focal length is that they vary tremendously. Some are shot at 16mm FF equivalent, some at 225mm, and a spectrum between the two. I've liked shooting on a 50mm lens on my 35mm camera so far and I haven't felt too creatively cramped by it, but I haven't been out shooting landscape with it yet.

  10. #20

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    Re: Lens questions from a new 4x5 shooter

    The 4x5 focal length that's roughly equivalent to 50 mm on full frame 35 mm is conventionally said to be 150 mm, which is 4x5's normal (= film gate's diagonal) focal length. However, 35 mm's normal focal length is actually 43 mm, that 50 mm is considered normal is due to an historical accident. The 4x5 rough equivalent to 43 mm on 35 is 174 mm.

    I say rough equivalent because the two formats' aspect ratios are different. 166 mm on 4x5 has the same horizontal angle of view as 50 mm on 35.

    Be conventional and ignore all this nonsense, just get a decent 150 and go shooting. If it doesn't suit you, sell it and get something more to your taste.

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