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Thread: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters?

  1. #11

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    Jun 2009
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    140

    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by maxcooperavl View Post
    Wellllll, funny story about that. I have only used a 4x5 camera once, about 15 years ago. It was a Speed Graphic. The one that just arrived was supposed to be an Anniversary SG. But it was a lot smaller than I remembered. Seemed very handy and packable. I thought "This isn't so bad, what's all the fuss about these being heavy and hard to carry?" Then I got out the ruler.

    It's a damn 3x4 Graphic. Good thing it was only $80. Guess I'll re-sell it and start from scratch.
    Max, Freestyle stocks 3x4 film, but it is a little pricey at $83 for 25 sheets of FP4. They say next month they'll have Adox 100 in stock for $59. Film holders and metal hangers are cheap and common on the used market.

    But our LF forum considers 3x4 to be a small format, so you can't post your work in the main LF image section.

  2. #12

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    Jul 2010
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    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Personally I would try a modern f5.6 210mm or 240mm lens before I got too caught up in the vintage lens rabbit hole. F5.6 on a 4x5 camera is already pretty shallow (1.4 or 1.2 on a 35mm camera) and a lot of the effect you want can be gotten by just getting relatively close with a lens like that. A 4.5 tessar clone isn't going to be radically different and has other downsides. If that doesn't work at least you have a decent sharp, functioning lens you can use for other things. To an extent very fast lenses can be just a quick fix to rescue otherwise boring pictures. Basically an instagram filter but expensive and radioactive!

    I have shot a lot of portraiture with my large format camera and never shoot wide open now because it's very hard on both you and the sitter to make sure focus is in the right place. I found this became an overriding consideration in my work flow to the detriment of overall creativity. Even a headshot at F16 has relatively little DOF on a 4x5 camera. My worry for you as a newcomer would be you would lose too many shots shooting wide open with a very fast lens and become frustrated or disheartened. If you look at the work of someone like Dan Winters who has shot a lot of LF portraits commercially everything is shot at F22 or 32, and there are very good reasons for that.

  3. #13

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    Sep 2020
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    Asheville, NC
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    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Tobias, I hear and for the most part agree that the shallow look is overrated. Without getting too much into the philosophy of it, I will point out that IG filters do not require the skill of truly capturing razor thing DOF sharpness with a manual focus camera. As a wedding photographer, I shoot 100% manual focus primes, so I'm aware of the struggle. Personally, I really like the Aero Ektar look, but I'm also coming at it from a marketability standpoint. That look is completely unique in my market, even if every hipster on IG has a million photos just like it.

    If it were up to me I'd be a normal lens purist, which leads me to my next question: Ektar 152mm or Nikkor-W 150?

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    331

    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Apples vs. Oranges...
    Plasmat vs. Tessar

  5. #15

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    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    I am a wedding photographer too and my main issue with shooting something like a Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar combo would be reliability, particularly with a decades old focal plane shutter. Even the late large format lenses bought secondhand are going to be 20 years old in all likelihood. I did experiment with adding large format to my weddings last year, but haven't shot any weddings big enough to justify it this year. It's been less than a month since weddings returned to the UK with up to 30 guests only and no dancing allowed. So most of my days have finished early.

    I have settled on shooting with a Wista 45DX and a Schneider 210mm APO Symmar, but also have a 125mm Fuji and 75mm Super Angulon in the bag. Everything is relatively modern and I fitted a new bellows to the camera.

    My take from last year was using large format did add something extra but you need to do it in a quieter part of the wedding. I used the time between the speeches and the first dance when the light is nice but nothing is really happening. If I could I would set up the camera and compose the shot with an assistant or cooperative member of the bridal party before I called over the bride and groom. Obviously you can't do that at every venue. My aim was to minimise the time that I was fiddling with the camera in front of the bride and groom and make the best use of their time. The settings I used were quite conservative, possibly erring on too conservative, but I like to be sure I have a good choice of usable images, I can always shoot more images with shallower depth of field afterwards.

    The other issue you may run into is have too much light to shoot the camera wide open. If it is sunny you'd be lucky to get below F4 even with 100 iso film. Overcast conditions would be better and fading light ideal, but that would depend on when sunset is and whether that clashes with any of the set events in the wedding. You might have to attach ND filters but I don't think an aero ektar has a standard filter thread on the front of it so you'd have to work out some kind of solution for that problem.

    Hope this is helpful!



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  6. #16

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    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias Key View Post
    ... haven't shot any weddings big enough to justify it this year. It's been less than a month since weddings returned to the UK with up to 30 guests only and no dancing allowed. So most of my days have finished early.

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    I hear this loud and clear. The wedding scene is so desolate here that many vendors (including me) are looking for an exit strategy. I have exactly two weddings booked for next year, plus a bunch of reschedules from this year. And the last couple of weddings I've shot have been so poorly socially distanced that I'm thinking they might be the biggest COVID vector for our family. My wife works from home, we're keeping our kid home from school, but then I go out and shoot a no-mask dance party every weekend? Not wise.

    Hence the transition to portraits. But I agree about the shutter (and everything else). I believed I mentioned above that I've picked up a Mamiya C330 to get started with, and if the project takes off I'm now leaning toward modern lenses as you suggested, probably on a Crown Graphic. Honestly, digital would work fine for what I actually want to do, but the camera has to look the part, and I'm much more interested in film these days.

  7. #17

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    Re: NEWB Questions! Speed Graphic/Aero Ektar? Interesting portrait lenses in shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by maxcooperavl View Post
    I hear this loud and clear. The wedding scene is so desolate here that many vendors (including me) are looking for an exit strategy. I have exactly two weddings booked for next year, plus a bunch of reschedules from this year. And the last couple of weddings I've shot have been so poorly socially distanced that I'm thinking they might be the biggest COVID vector for our family. My wife works from home, we're keeping our kid home from school, but then I go out and shoot a no-mask dance party every weekend? Not wise.

    Hence the transition to portraits. But I agree about the shutter (and everything else). I believed I mentioned above that I've picked up a Mamiya C330 to get started with, and if the project takes off I'm now leaning toward modern lenses as you suggested, probably on a Crown Graphic. Honestly, digital would work fine for what I actually want to do, but the camera has to look the part, and I'm much more interested in film these days.
    I have been thinking along the same lines. I have done a few weddings since restrictions eased in the UK and to be honest if one person had covid at any of them, they would all have caught it by the end of the day. Dancing is banned and the ceremony is masked for everyone but the couple. But notwithstanding that it is just not realistic to expect people not to hug or get close to each other on such an emotional day. I had one wedding where the mother of the bride got tearful and literally about 10 people hugged her, and most them were over 60. It's also very difficult to shoot a wedding and be masked all day, and there is a certain amount of peer pressure if you are the only one wearing a mask at the reception.

    Portraits are a much more controllable environment and you can do them outside. I think it is a good idea to be as different as possible. Historically recessions have always increased entry into professional photography as people get made redundant and decide to try photography as a way to earn extra cash. The last thing you want to do is to be competing at the bottom end of the market with some guy who has just blown his severance on a shiny new digital camera.
    Last edited by Tobias Key; 16-Sep-2020 at 07:30. Reason: punctuation

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