210 focal length on arca-swiss discovery

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Hi, I have a chance to purchase a used mint Schneider APO Symar lens thats is 210mm. Q1) In B&H catalogue it states that this lens is optimal from 1:10 to infinity. I will be shooting 1:1, tabletop shots, lanscape, close up. This is a really good lens, but might I do better with the Rodenstock Siranon-N, or the Rodenstock Siranon-S???? Q2) I've shot with a 150mm lens only. Two large format, ( 4x5 ), people told me they use 210mm over anything else. I was always comfortable with 150mm, and since I can't test the lens without a lensboard, I don't know if I would like 210mm better.( I don't know these people well enough to check out their equipment). I wonder if when I do tabletop shooting in my house how far I will need to get from subject with 210mm. Q3) After much deliberation, I will be purchasing an Arca Swiss Discovery. That is, if its right for me when I go to B&H and check it out in person. Yes, I have a feeling it will be very right. But I have checked out a few that I thought would be the one for me and they weren't. The Discovery has a monorail of 11.9". I can't afford a longer monorail or extention at this time since the price of Arca Swiss componants are so hefty. When doing 1:1 with a 150mm, I know that the bellows need to be extended 12", and lens to subject 12".I can't remember bellows extention factor, so with a 210mm, what would be the factor, more or less than 12"? This might sound easy, but I'm dislexic, ( I don't know how to spell it, can't find the dictionary ), with numbers, which makes it challanging to be in this field. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Raven P.S., I know that 11.9" monorail will not get me 1:1, but this is fine. I'm not doing this for a job, but for myself, so just getting close up is what I need.

-- Raven (mtand13@netreach.com), June 13, 1999


Response to focal length

Glad to read you have settled on the Discovery, I think you will enjoy using it for the purposes you mention Occaisionally you can find used accessories at either The F-Stops Here (Santa Barbara, CA) or at Photomark (Phoenix, AZ) I have a couple of extra mint condition lens boards if you are interested.

To get 1:1 with a 210mm lens you need 420mm. The standard Arca bellows is 380mm so even if you had the extra rail you would also need the long bellows for it.

Both the Rodenstock and Schnieder 210mm lenses are very fine, as is the Nikkor for that matter. (I own the W-Nikkor 210mm). A longer than normal lens tends to be a better choice if you are shooting "product" (commercial still life) for a variety of reasons, but you certainly can do excellent work with a 150mm lens. When i was first starting in large format I was working with a limited budget too and I went a slightly different route and chose a 180mm lens over either the "standard" 150mm or 210mm focal lengths. Because the 180mm tends to get overlooked, you can find good deals on both new, demo & used in this focal length. Obviously you'll need need less shooting distance than you would using the 210mm, but you'll also be able to do more closeup work with a standard bellows & rail than. in your case these would seem to be advantages. Good luck!

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), June 13, 1999.

Response to focal length

The Apo Sironar S is optimized for 1:5 to infinity. The Apo Sironar N is optimized for 1:10 to infinity The Apo Macro Sironar 180 is optimized for 3:1 to 1:5 it would do the best table top shots of all if the focal length is OK

The discontinued and n longer available Macro Sironar 210 would be the 2nd choice it is optimized for 3:1 to 1

-- bob salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), June 14, 1999.

Response to focal length

The Arca-Swiss Discovery is an excellent choice for what you are planing to do, since it is very light and versatile, yet strong and sturdy. Its quite intuitive in use and everything locks down tight. It is one of the few that is at home both in the field and in the studio, and is good for tabletop, BUT, you will not be happy with the standard rail for tabletop work. Too short. You can make it work with a 150mm but even thats pushing it. No way, with a 210mm. What you might do, is try to get what Arca calls an Extension Bracket, I believe. This is a lower rail that the actual rails slide on top of. With one of these, a short (15cm) rail and the 30cm rail the Discovery comes with, you can successfully use a 210 for most tabletop. As Ellis says, you wont get 1 to 1 with the standard bellows, but for most product shots you dont really need 1 to 1. If you plan to do jewelry, or something small like that, thats another matter.

I use a 210 Sinaron, both for tabletop and landscapes and it works just fine. Its better at the landscapes though. If your emphasis is small product you might be happier with a lens designed for that. Remember, though, the differences we are talking about here are sight and subtle.

Get in touch with Rod Klukas at Photomark, http://www.photomark.com/. He can advise you and probably sell you what you need. Another good source is, http://www.badgergraphic.com/. Their Web Site has picture of the Discovery. Badgergraphic and/or Photomark might be able to supply you more quickly than B&H. Last time I inquired with them, there was a 10 week waiting period for Arca-Swiss.

-- Steve Pfaff (spfaff@hrl.com), June 14, 1999.

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