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Thread: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

  1. #1

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    APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Hello, I'm getting ready to take the plunge to 4x5. I've read much on this and other sights and Steve Simmon's, "Using the View Camera". I still have not yet decided on a field or monorail camera as I want to do landscapes but also studio work, including close ups, occasionally 1:1.
    A) From my (limited) understanding no matter what lens I use - except a MACRO$$-to get very close the bellows must be twice as long as the focal length of the lens. Most field cameras i.e. Tachihara and Shen-Hao are usable up to +- 320mm which would allow for a 150mm lens .(Both Tachihara and Shen-Hao offer the " 150mm Rodenstock APO-Sironar-N/5.6" with their "kit".) So if I wanted to use a 210mm lens I would have to get monorail. Is this correct?
    B) In Steve Simmons" book he mentions "APOCHROMATIC" lens in relation to close up work but it is unclear to me if an "APO" is neccessary and they seem not to be as pleniful on the used market as others.
    C) I know eventually that I might end up with a field and monorail but would rather keep it simple if I can.
    D) Back to the basics of close ups. Is APO needed? Are there other reasonably priced lens that do a good job with landscape and close up and extreme close up or am I asking too much.
    Thanks to everybody on this sight for their time and sharing their experience, any advice will be very appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Buy a book on technique before you buy a lens. Lester Lefkowitz' The Manual Of Closeup Photography might do for you. If you don't know much about photography -- hard to tell from your post -- A. A. Blaker's Field Photography is a good introduction to thinking like a photographer.

    Learn to use your camera before trying something harder than shooting landscapes. "Which view camera should I buy?" is asked here very often. Most of the people who move from asking to buying seem to replace their first camera within a year of purchase. I have the very strong impression that the only way to learn which features/limitations/ergonomics matter is by using a camera. Accept that you'll buy the wrong camera.

    You wrote "From my (limited) understanding no matter what lens I use - except a MACRO$$-to get very close the bellows must be twice as long as the focal length of the lens." Close, but not quite right. For all lenses, the relationship between magnification and the distance from the film plane to the lens' rear nodal plane is e = f*(1 +m) where f is the lens focal length and m is the magnification.

    How well a lens is corrected for color has nothing to do with the distance at which it gives best image quality. Nothing. A lens can be optimized for only one pair of conjugates (distance from film plane to lens' rear node, distance from lens' front node to subject). Lenses intended for general use are usually corrected for a distant subject. "macro" lenses are corrected for a near subject. How near varies from lens to lens, I have some that are optimized for magnifications > 10:1, others that are optimized for 1:1, ...

    This means that no lens that's very good at distance can be very good closeup too. Some process lenses, especially dialyte types, e.g., Apo Ronars, hold their corrections well at all distances but real macro lenses are better closeup and modern teles are better at distance.

    The general rule is that the higher the magnification desired, the shorter the lens used. This because getting and managing a lot of extension can be difficult, not because a short lens is inherently better than a long one.

    Two widely-used ways of getting a relatively inexpensive lens for use "closeup:" An enlarging lens, put in a shutter or mounted in front of one. A Tominon lens (the set includes 17, 35, 50, 75, 105, and 135 mm lenses) made for the Polaroid MP-4 camera and an ex-MP-4 Copal #1 Press shutter. The lenses are inexpensive; the 17, 35, and 50 are fairly good, the longer ones, at least in my experience, so-so. The shutters are quite inexpensive because they don't have a diaphragm so aren't very useful.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan

  3. #3

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    A great contribution by Dan and I agree hole heartedly. I would add only one thing. I don’t know what you mean by MACRO$$ in that all of our perceptions are different, not only with photography, but what is or is not a lot of money to spend on a lens. I will spend quite a bit on a good piece of glass, whereas some people’s budget may top out at a couple hundred dollars.

    Again I agree with Dan, learn some basics before you complicate your life with 1:1. But when and if you do get a short (120mm range) macro lens and have some fun. Nikkor makes great 120mm macro lens that usually goes for a “reasonable” price.

  4. #4

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    For learning, and particularly if you think that close-ups and 1:1 work will be important to you, I would suggest you strongly consider a monorail camera. It is difficult for a field camera to achieve the stability of a even an inexpensive monorail, and there are a lot of inexpensive monorails out there. Consider Cambos, Calumets, Horsemans, Toyos or even a Linhof or Sinars if you see one attractively priced.

    Consider mounting your lenses on Linhof Technika compatible lens boards and adapting your camera to take that board. Technika type boards are inexpensive and many field cameras are designed to use them natively (should you later decide that you desire a field camera.) A smaller number of larger field cameras use Sinar/Horseman boards. Technika board adapters are available either off-the-shelf or cobbled-together-in-someone's-garage for many cameras.

    An enlarging lens makes a great close-up lens. You often find Schneider Componons for sale mounted in a shutter. I would look for a 135mm enlarging lens so that it will cover the 4x5 format if you get close to a normal reproduction ratio, and so that it will not necessarily require more bellows than you have, to get to 1:1 or larger.

    Do not worry about finding an Apochromatic lens. Mr. Simon may have been referring to a process lens like an Apo-Artar (or a Red Dot Artar) or a Apo-Ronar or comparable lenses from the likes of Schneider, Nikon and others. These were made in great numbers for the graphic arts industry before that work was transitioned to computerized processes. As such there are a lot of them now on the market, but not so many are mounted in a shutter. Some are easy and inexpensive to mount in a shutter, some are absolutely not. These process lenses are typically optimized for 1:1, but can be used from there to infinity if stopped down. Many provide coverage for only smaller formats compared to normal lenses of the same focal length, so care must be taken when using them at infinity. If you find one 20 - 25% longer than your negative diagonal, for a good price, in a usable shutter, It should give great performance at infinity. Of course if it is that long, you may not be able to get it to 1:1 on your field, or your monorail camera.

    The word "Apo" is now used a little differently by Schneider and Rodenstock to describe the very high level of color correction achieved by their latest and most expensive lenses designed for normal distances such as the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar N or Schneider Apo Symmar. When I see Apo used in this way I read it as literally "latest and most expensive" and move on to search for something that promises to be "affordable and offering great performance" like a multicoated Schneider Symmar-S instead.

    Great luck to you.

  5. #5

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Field camera or monorail, the basics of using a view camera is pretty similar, the controls and feel of the camera would be different, but not in the way a view camera is used. IMO, it is better to focus on getting to know how to use any view camera well enough to where little thought is required to create the image desired. Be patient, it takes years and a lot of film before using a view camera can become "second nature", it all takes practice. So, get something not too expensive, not too glitzy and use the camera, make mistakes, it's all part of the learning process. And, a field camera works fine in a studio and same for a monorail camera except lugging around a heavy monorail camera on a hike might not be fun.

    APO, apochromatic lenses (Process lens) historically referred to lenses that were used to make color separation (RGB) negatives used in the color printing process. It was critical that the image size of the individual Red, Green, Blue negatives are of near identical size or the color registration will not render printed colors properly in the finished printing. Since then the APO designation has been used as a marketing term as few companies who claim APO actually specify how much lateral color shift is allowed for the various wavelengths of red, green and blue. Honestly, for the majority of LF images, it's not worth worrying about. Kodak Commercial Ektars were used on color separation cameras, but the lenses were never marked as APO.

    Typically symmetrical lenses (ie, Sironar, Symmar, Dagor, Artar, Ronar & etc)tend to work just fine at 1:1 or "life size" magnification. Going beyond that level of magnification, a reversed mounted enlarging lens would work better than one might suspect and a shorter focal length could be used. Think of this as an enlarger working in reverse. Magnifications beyond say, 10x is not so easy to do. There are numerous problems such as depth of focus, set-up stability, lighting and etc.. as always, there are ways to solve a good number of these problems depending on the subject at hand.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I still have not yet decided on a field or monorail camera as I want to do landscapes but also studio work, including close ups, occasionally 1:1.

    Back to the basics of close ups. Is APO needed? Are there other reasonably priced lens that do a good job with landscape and close up and extreme close up or am I asking too much

  6. #6
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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    In practice, you don't often need to get thing bigger on film than in real life. You may not even want to, because of focus and bellows-factor. However, you do need to be at a reasonable distance from the subject because it has to be lit somehow without the camera getting in the way. So my own choice on 4x5 has always been the reversible Macro-Sironar-N 210mm. (though I never need to reverse it). My normal Ebony stretches enough for macro (the Ebony SW doesn't). The lens also doubles for head-shots.

  7. #7
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    ... Typically symmetrical lenses (ie, Sironar, Symmar, Dagor, Artar, Ronar & etc)tend to work just fine at 1:1 or "life size" magnification. ...
    "Typically symmetrical" lenses are typically not symmetrical - they have front and rear cells of the same construction but different strength.

    Most of them are optimised for around 1:10. The exception is the Symmar, which is optimised for 1:3 and works well up to 1:1. If you go beyond 1:1, a reversed Symmar is among the best lenses, far better than enlarger lenses. Symmar 105mm and 130mm come in #0 shutters with the same thread on both sides, making these two perfect for beyond-lifesize macro.

  8. #8

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Ole, as usual y'r post is interesting and thought-provoking.

    Which Symmar were you referring to? The original "dagor type," the later convertible plasmat, or one (which) the the plasmats with suffix, e.g., -S?

    And why do you think any Symmar was optimized for 1:3? I ask because enlarging Symmars (Componons) are supposed to be optimized for 1:10 and it seems odd that the taking version would be optimized for closer subjects than the enlarging version.

    Could you have meant Comparon? 105/4.5 and 150/5.6 both go in #0, are optimized for 1:4 or so IIRC.

    Could you have meant the G-Claron? I ask because 1:3 seems about right for their optimization and because the three 240/9 dagor type G-Claron's I tried out before selling all shot very well from 1:1 to far, far away. But AFAIK the shortest G-Claron was 150 mm.

    Also, did you mean 135 mm, not 130? I ask because I've seen 135 Symmars cataloged, even have one, but haven't seen 130 mm in the lists.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  9. #9
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Dan, I meant all Symmars without suffix - both the first Dagor-types and the later convertible Plasmats. I don't know about the later "suffixed" ones, though.

    The optimisation for 1:3 of the (plasmat) Symmars is from Schneiders literature i think, but I can't find it now. The reasoning was that the plasmat construction allowed a lens optimised for 1:3 to give acceptable quality all the way to 1:1 without the infinity quality suffering noticeably, while an optimisation for 1:10 would give much poorer performance at 1:1 without really gaining anything measurable at infinity.

    The 130mm was a typo for 135mm, and the 105mm was a typo for 100mm. Just a case of jumping fives. I ought to know - I have both.

  10. #10

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    Re: APOCHROMATIC ? Close-up work

    Ole, thanks for the answer. It deserves two questions in reply.

    If Symmars are so good, why are there Componons too?

    Componons are optimized for 1:10, per Schneider. Why is my 105/5.6 Componon lousy at infinity? It isn't bad at all at 1:10.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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