90mm wide enough for interiors?

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I currently have a Rodenstock Sironar S 210mm lens. I am looking to purchase a wide angle lens, and am considering the Rodenstock Grandagon 90mm f4.5 - I intend to take both landscapes and interior room shots.

For the latter, I think I need quite a lot of movement, (my 210 has loads of coverage), and the 90mm has around 50mm on 5x4".

If I go down to 75mm, the movements are restricted to around 20mm, which I suspect may not be enough.

I suppose the trade off is between coverage and angle of view. As I've never used a wide angle on 35mm, comparisons with 20mm, 24mm etc don't mean much to me.

My second question concerns the use of centre spot filters. Rodenstock do one for the 90mm which has an 82mm lens thread, and a 112mm filter thread. If I wanted to use additional filters such as a polariser, would I have to buy a 112mm filter, or could I safely fit other filters between the lense and the centre filter (i.e. use an 82mm thread?)

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated

-- David Nash (nashcom@btinternet.com), August 05, 1998


Compared to your 210, a 90 will certainly give you a lot more options for interiors. But Schneider makes that 47mm Super Angulon XL, and I would guess it was designed primarily for interior/architectural photographers.

You will always find situations where what you've got is not wide enough, or doesn't have enough coverage for the movements you want.

90mm is kind of the 'standard' wide angle lens in 4x5 photography. I have a 125 and a 210 and they make a nice pair for the kind of work I do.

-- mike rosenlof (mrosenlof@qualcomm.com), August 05, 1998.

20mm of extra coverage may be ok, at least for many interior shots. Often, you cant use tilts for interior shots, because you need all 4 planes sharp. If you do use tilts, try to keep your lens axis centered on the film. Also, coverage circles increase as you rack out your bellows, so for most interior shots, you will be focused closer than infinity. I think most photographers who do interiors for a living shoot much wider than 90mm, but going wider does get expensive for good corrections.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), August 05, 1998.

I have the 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon and a "centre spot filter" (mine is by Heliopan, not the Rodenstock flavor, No optical difference that I can detect.) You only need if if you using extreme shifts, in my experience. Whwn doing architecture there are times when I wish a 75mm lens was handy, but instead I opted to purchase a 65mm lens as I felt the difference in coverage between a 90 and a 75, or between a 75mm and a 65mm were not enough to justify the cost of all three. When using the center filter I do either of three things: either I mount by tape a rigid resin filter to the rear of the lens (advantages: I don't stack filters in front of the lens and risk vignetting, also no problem with flare as filter is inside the camera bellows;) I have mounted an 82mm filter between the lens and the CWF (advantages: 82mm filters are cheaper and easier to find (thought not much) than 122mm filters. disadvantage: risk of vignetting at larger shifts) or I use a round filter I have cut out of a gelatine filter and carefully place it in the front of the lens where it is held in place by the center weighted filter.( advantages, well it's cheap,it can work in a pinch. Ideally, you could use the 125mm resin filters and holder from Sinar but that is very expensive, large and once again risks vignetting.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), August 06, 1998.

To finish answering your question, The 90mm is a good standard wide angle focal length. Wider than that and your near/far spatial relationships can start to appear unnatural and the apparent space gets very deep. Sometimes this is a nice visual sleight of hand and sometimes it appears gimmicky, and some times you have no choice. Unless you have very strong experience with wide angles I would stay away from lenses shorter than 65mm, especially the extreme-ultra wides like the 47mm Super Angulon XL or the 45mm APO-Grandagon, unless you have no choice in terms of subject matter and how far back you can set up

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), August 06, 1998.

A 90mm W/A lens is probably the best first lens to purchase for W/A work. I've used both Rodenstock and Schneider, they're both good lenses. If you can affort to, get the f4.5 or f5.6 rather than the f8. You'll be surprised how much brighter they are. I've made a living for many years doing home and recreational vehicle interiors and I've never used a center spot filter. I'm sure there are some situations where one should be used, but before you buy one do a few shots without one and see how you like the results. Also, try to keep the filters behind the lens whenever possible. Filters in front of a W/A lens can be a pain if you've using any movements. If you do decide to go with a wider lens remember, the wider the angle of the lens the more the distortion in nearby objects is apparent.(i.e. lopsided chairs or counter tops running downhill.) Good luck.

-- Larry Gard (lgard@gte.net), August 07, 1998.


Yes, most interiors photographers will agree that a 90 is the best place to start. If you start taking assignments you may find you'll also need at least a 65. I personally use a 58, 75, and 90.

Stacking screw type filters on a wide angle lens can quickly lead to the corners being cut off. I do not use the center spots on any of my lenses. Try the lens with out the filter first, you may decide you don't really need it.

-- Dave King (kingphoto@mindspring.com), August 16, 1998.

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