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Thread: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

  1. #41
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Been a while since doing any of this.

    Mount the lens to be tested on the Sinar P. There is a reason for this, lenses are checked at full aperture and stopped down. Camera alignment cannot be an issue that affects the performance of the lens. If the camera's front to rear standards are NOT absolute parallel out of focus due to the front to rear standards being out of alignment this applies to full aperture more than stopped down. Lens must be properly mounted to it's lens board. If the lens mounting is outa-whack, this can and will affect lens performance.

    Point the lens out a open window on a bright sunny day at some far distance object with fine details like a building, tree cluster or similar. Apply a high quality 5x to 7x loupe on the GG, examine the GG image very carefully for focus, image quality and all that at full aperture, then two stops down then f22, then f45 across the entire area of the GG. If the lens cannot pass the GG basic test, stop here and reject the lens. Don't bother wasting any film as the lens will be an automatic dud.

    Film flatness is an issue, simplest way to aid this is to apply a small piece of double stick tape ( 1/2" x 1/2" or so will do for 4x5) to the center of the film holder before the film is loaded (bit tricky as the film sheet might want to hang up on the small piece of tape while loading, so do this upside down or curve the film slightly while loading) . Press down gently with a cotton cloth at the center of the film after it is loaded. Yes, it raises the film by a few thousands of an inch, but it is a LOT better than having the film pop out or not stay flat to the film holder affecting the test results.

    If the lens looks GOOD on the GG, make two color transparencies at full aperture then at f22. Exposure will typically be sunny 16, verify with a good light meter. Take the film to the processing lab, get the film processed then examine the results on a 5000K light table with a good microscope or high quality loupe 10x or so. Schneider once made high magnification loupe that were not bad, there is certainly equal to better ones easily available today.

    If the lens gets this far. To the color rendition test as noted in post# 20.
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ght=elinchrome

    Rinse-repeat what was done above. If the results are acceptable. Apply the lens to your print image goals, evaluate the results to see if all is acceptable. This is where the personality of the lens begins to be revealed in ways those test above cannot reveal.

    For image circle test. lenses for 4x5 is easier than lenses for larger film formats. Set up a 8x10 view camera (easy with a Sinar) mount the 4x5 lens to be tested and do the point the lens out a open window on a sunny day test. This will give some idea of how big the image circle is and how the lens behaves at the edges of it's image circle. Keeping film flatness and camera alignment is a LOT more difficult with 8x10 due to the physically large parts involved.



    Bernice
    Thanks Bernice. What is the criteria for sharpness between an acceptable lens and a dud? ?

  2. #42

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Thanks Bernice. What is the criteria for sharpness between an acceptable lens and a dud? ?
    How well you think fine detail is resolved in the final print. Good enough or not? Come to think of it, sharpness is overrated.

  3. #43

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Bob, I don't understand. Right now, I've been shooting at f/22 on all my lenses because everyone seems to be saying that's the sweet spot. So could you explain your process above?
    To test it take shots of what you will use it for. If you will use it for copy work shooting a flat page from a newspaper is fine. If for landscapes test it on a landscape, etc..

  4. #44

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    "Sharpness" IS over rated. There are a LOT more elements and factors to what makes an emotionally expressive print than "sharpness" alone.

    Being obsessed with sharpness alone could be the result of Chronic f22 syndrome where f22 has been defined as the optimal taking aperture for modern lenses. Difficulty with chronic f22 syndrome, it tends to limit the vast expressive image possibilities made incorporating out of focus rendition and LOTs more. It is very possible chronic f22 syndrome, "sharpness", everything in print in ~sharp~ focus is a result of the Group f64 legacy and the "Straight Photography" Doctrine. While this is a very viable technique and method, it can be self restraining in exploring ALL the potential expressive means photography can offer.

    Early on in my LF endeavors with 4x5 (during the mid 1980's), chronic f22 syndrome was combined with the Group f64 Doctrine.. "sharpness" was primary and what mattered most.. Those images made by AA and other like them held a very significant influence over what my image goals were.

    Not long after that working photographer friends and artist, did not think the obsession with everything "SharP" and the Group f64 Doctrine myopia was good at all. This was when trips to the local art museums, considering what film makers were doing and LOT more were imposed on me.. This resulted in a long term influence with how images made to this day or why image quality of a LF lens at full aperture is as important as "f22"... View camera movements can be applied to keep items in an image in focus, what is not always considered, view camera movements can also be applied to controlling what is out of focus, using geometric distortion that can be done using movements of the rear camera standard. This is much about using all the tools available to achieve the print goal in mind.

    Numerous other lens personality factors beyond sharpness:

    ~Contrast rendition. High contrast can be easily mistaken into the perception of higher sharpness.

    ~Out of focus rendition.

    ~Transition from out of focus to in focus.

    ~Color rendition.

    And more.. How does any given image maker pin a point of reference on what is acceptable -vs- what is not acceptable?

    Yet other factors like film, film processing, print making, print making materials, chemistry, method of projection and much more all have
    an effect on the finished print and can impose their personality more on the finished print than lens alone.

    Essentially, once a lens is tested and verified it is good enough, move on to address and deal with all these other aspects of print making as the lens along or "Sharpness" alone will NEVER define the results finished print alone.


    Bernice
    Last edited by Bernice Loui; 30-Jul-2020 at 11:15.

  5. #45

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Even the digital crowd is discovering sharpness is overrated and are looking for lenses with character. They now make adapters to adapt old 35mm lenses to mirrorless cameras. Some of the most popular lenses are old M42 screw mount lenses.

    They would probably "freak out" over all the lens options for large format!

  6. #46

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    They would probably "freak out" over all the lens options for large format!
    I really don't see it that way. For LF the choice of lenses is very restricted, not to say extremely restricted. Also very little optical formulas compares to 135, even compared to MF. And then the 4 major makers made lenses so comparable that it isn't even a contest. And they make even more 135 lenses every day!

    I think there are more different 50mm 135 lenses than all LF lenses together.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  7. #47

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Majority of 50_ish mm lenses for 35mm film from back in the day evolved to become variant the Double Gauss Lens Formula.

    Majority of modern f5.6 full aperture LF lenses evolved to become Plasmat lens formula design.

    Ponder why?


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    I think there are more different 50mm 135 lenses than all LF lenses together.

  8. #48

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    This is the most sensible and knowledgeable answer anyone can give, to which I subscribe wholeheartedly.

    Just a note however that for those learning, mastering sharpness is important. Like everything else in the tool bag, achieving full sharpness is a technical tool that should be mastered, and so striving for sharpness (within reason) is not a bad goal it in itself as long as it's understood as a path for learning. Once that is achieved, and you know the tools of the trade, ie. what apertures do to the image you intend to capture, out of focus behavior, you know your lenses, and the technicalities about the movements and many other aspects on exposure, development, etc., then you effectively have at your disposal a deep understanding of all those tools to achieve the expression that you're looking for.

  9. #49

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi7475 View Post
    This is the most sensible and knowledgeable answer anyone can give, to which I subscribe wholeheartedly.

    Just a note however that for those learning, mastering sharpness is important. Like everything else in the tool bag, achieving full sharpness is a technical tool that should be mastered, and so striving for sharpness (within reason) is not a bad goal it in itself as long as it's understood as a path for learning. Once that is achieved, and you know the tools of the trade, ie. what apertures do to the image you intend to capture, out of focus behavior, you know your lenses, and the technicalities about the movements and many other aspects on exposure, development, etc., then you effectively have at your disposal a deep understanding of all those tools to achieve the expression that you're looking for.
    Much simpler is that you can not increase sharpness if your lens canít deliver it. But any lens can be made softer.

  10. #50

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    Re: Which of my 5 LF lenses are worth keeping or worth upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    I really don't see it that way. For LF the choice of lenses is very restricted, not to say extremely restricted. Also very little optical formulas compares to 135, even compared to MF. And then the 4 major makers made lenses so comparable that it isn't even a contest. And they make even more 135 lenses every day!

    I think there are more different 50mm 135 lenses than all LF lenses together.
    I'm talking about character. Look at Cooke, Dagors, Commercial Ektars, Heliars, Aero Ektars, Imagon's, Verito's, Kodak Portrait, Pinkham and Smith's, Petzval's and on and on.

    Most 35mm camera lenses are sharp and contrasty. I can't even think of a soft focus lens for 35mm cameras.

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