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Thread: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

  1. #21
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by aduncanson View Post
    Lately, I have observed that shorter focal lengths may need to be closer together, and longer lengths can be spaced further than a common ratio provides. I am trying to see if the experience of working photographers supports this observation and if it can be modeled mathematically to any purpose.
    Lets see if I am following along with your train of thought. If we say we are talking about 4x5 and arbitrarily use 180mm as a dividing line for 'shorter' and 'longer' the hypothesis would be that a more useful progression would be either 90, 127, 180, >252, >>360, etc. or >>>64,>>90, >127, 180, 252, 360. May be difficult to know because of the limitation on what is available from the lens companies.

    Not many LF manufacturers made a system of lenses, however, Horseman did. This was the progression for the 6x9 view camera system. Normal = 105 in this progression : 65, 75, 90, 105, 120, 150, 180. A graph of that may provide some insight on what that manufacturer was thinking.

    Personally, well, I do have all those Horseman lenses for 6x9, but only 150 for 4x5 and 210 for 8x10.

  2. #22

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    A set is an unordered collection of elements. Elements might be people, days of the week, colors, numbers, etc. We may indicate the elements of a set by listing them between brackets. The set of prime numbers less than 10 is expressed {2, 3, 5, 7}. Alternatively, we may use the notation {x: property} to indicate the set of all elements x satisfying the indicated property. In this manner, the same set of prime numbers less than 10 is expressed as {x: x < 10 and x is prime}.

    Get one lens and use it until you have mastered it. Unless you are the type that takes up golf and buys every club in the shack after asking every golfer what they have.

  3. #23
    Dave Herman
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    For 4x5, I use 75, 90, 150, 210, and 300.

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Indianapolis, Ind.

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    Thank you all for your contributions to my little project. I truly appreciate the wit and wisdom and the indulgence you all have shown. There were some great bits of advice offered that shed light on some important insights. As usually seems to be the case in these survey exercises, the real lessons are how difficult it is to communicate what you are asking for, and how nearly impossible it is to ask a question without influencing the answer.

    That said, this is what I have been able to draw from an initial analysis of the responses I received:

    1) There seems to be no evidence for my hypothesis that the ratio between focal lengths lens should be larger as lenses become longer relative to the negative diagonal. In fact the spacings on average seem a little wider at the shorter end. (However, this may be an artifact created by the non-Gaussian distribution of recommended spacings and the smaller number of recommendations for longer lenses. When I learn more statistics - a very low priority of mine - I might be able to explore this further.)

    2) The most frequently occurring ratio in a recommended set is about 1.4:1. Half of all spacings were 1.45:1 or lower. Fewer than 10&#37; were lower than 1.33:1 or higher than 1.6:1. This may be conventional wisdom, but it also would have been strongly influenced by my request for sets of 3 or 4 lenses. It also would have been influenced by what is available to buy. (There are a lot of 210s and 150s. 210 / 150 =1.4.)

    3) More than 94% of all recommended focal lengths fell between 65mm & 305mm (when normalized to the 4x5 format.) This also would have been influenced by my request for sets of 3 or 4 lenses.

    Again, thanks to you all, I think this has been worthwhile - Alan

  5. #25
    Nigels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    All I can add here is that I wanted a standard, a wide and a short telephoto for my landscape work. I have a Ebony RSW which has a limited bellows extension so the short tele was a challenge. I have now settled on 80, 150 and 270 lenses (equivlent to 25,46 and 83 in 35mm format). For fullness I could happily add a 110 and a 180 but I want to keep the weight of my pack down. So compromise is always going to be a factor. If I were to add just one lens I would probably extend my range by going for a 65 (or the 58XL) wide end of the range.

  6. #26
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chillicothe Missouri USA

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    When every bit of a 35mm negative was often used, Leica sold a neat battery of lenses for their rangefinders. I found that 21, 35, 50, 90, and 135 suited me well. With better film, a Nikon series of 20, 50, 105, 200, 300, and 400 sufficed. However, these are my choices based on availability. Others, with different goals in photography, may prefer much different coverage. From a mathematical viewpoint, the big jump from 21 to 50mm seems wide. I didn't find it so in practice.

  7. #27
    Still Developing
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Leeds, UK

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    I don't know if this is too geeky but I've made a spreadsheet with various calculations on..

    The first few sheets show the different ways to calculate the conversion from 35mm to large format using the long side, short side or diagonal (and using the 120x95mm actual film size for 4x5 rather than the commonly used 102x127). The first page shows the leica range mentioned in the previous post. The next page shows the nikon series.

    Worksheet three and four then show what happens if we use a 40&#37; ratio of focal lengths but start with 80mm or 150mm

    Worksheet five shows what happens if we start with the ratio between 90 and 150 and extrapolate.

    Worksheets siz and seven show what happens if we work in 40% increments of angle of view starting with 80mm or 150mm.

    Feel free to copy this spreadsheet and play around with it yourself..

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Indianapolis, Ind.

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    timparkin - That is pretty geeky, but I would never want to betray on this forum just how much time I have wasted with spreadsheets.

    I don't see the rationale for using a common ratio between angles of view. I think the reason for a common ratio between focal lengths is pretty clear. You simply put the camera where you where ever need to to get the perspective you want, and the common ratio you have chosen determines the worst case of how much negative you will have to crop away in making the print.

    My reason behind suggesting that long lenses did not need to be so close together is based on an observation that I like to have wide lenses fairly close together as necessary to allow me to get the image, but that beyond a normal or short normal length, I am content to jump to something almost twice as long to give a distinctive "long perspective." I think the problem with that theory is that achieving a distinctively long perspective depends on what is normal for a given subject and that depends on the perspective from which we normally see that subject. For example, while it is possible to fill a frame with photo of an airplane with a 150mm lens (on 4x5), we usually see them from much further away and our normal perspective on an airplane is pretty flat. So to get a distinctively long perspective on an airplane you may need a much longer than 300mm lens and have to get much further away. (Of course at some point you just say "Forget large format for this picture. It is easier to get what I want with medium or small format." You are still walking as far, but the camera is smaller and the swings & tilts are not coming into play anyway.)

    I looked again at the ratios between lens recommended by contributors to this thread, and it is pretty much all over the map. To say that any trend is observable would probably be indefensible. There is a little evidence though, for spacing lenses with a slightly wider ratio at both the long and short sides of normal, keeping the ratios near normal a little closer. That would be consistent with the idea that most photos are taken with a lens around the normal length so cluster your lenses there. That might have been Mr. Mark Sawyer's impetus (#19).

    Now I really must apologize for all of your time I have wasted on things other that making pictures. - Alan

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Germany, Aalen

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    I started in LF with having the landscape in mind as the primary subject, now I tend to go to architecture too. I started with 125 and 210, followed later by 400 (tele) and very recently 75mm. So the spacing in my lenskit is rather large, but it seems to work for me fine (the 210 - 400 gap is a bit too large and I consider 270 or 300 for the future)

    You've mentioned you want to do architecture - well - than you need to choose your wide angle lenses carefully. You may go witht he XL Schneider lenses but they cost a lot. a Good starting point could be 90 & 150 lenses and then you will see what you need next. You may decide on 75 or 210 or whatever else - our you will sacrifice one lens to get the Schneider 72/5.6 XL - if you need it.

    My most used lens in the landscape photography is the 125 followed by 210.

    Math is a good point to make some judgements, but will not replace your experience. Just take a large piece of cardboard, cut out 4x5 hole and atach a cord to it - and have a walk. You will look a bit strange but may get an idea what you need.

    Whatever lenses you get make sure that they work well on the camera you will use (true especially for wide angle lenses). The 75mm is a limit on my Tachi and requires a recessed lensboard to get some reasonable movements. Shuold I be photoghaphing architecture more often - a monorail with bag bellows would be better option probably.

  10. #30

    Re: Looking for Recommendations for Sets of Lenses

    hi,you doing a gud job,even this model will be an invention
    in the world of photography.I could suggest u some links ,from where u can get much info about the same,
    I found some articles for landscape & architectural photography,that'll be useful for u.
    gud luk.

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