greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I now have a choice between a 400mm Fuji T f8 and a Nikkor T 500mm f11 ED. I have heard one comment that the Fuji was not all that sharp. Anyone have experience with either of these lenses? They are both in excelent condition with the Nikkor being slightly more $$. The convertable rear element of the Nikkor is interesting, but not essen

-- Anthony Sanna (asanna@sacofoods.com), December 06, 1999


For those who will read this message: Is there a web site on Fuji lenses ?

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 06, 1999.

The US retailer The F Stops Here directly imports Fujinon large format lenses. They have a table with their specs: http://www.thefstop.com/equipment/new/fuji.html

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), December 06, 1999.

Del's Camera also lists new Fuji lenses on their website (www.dels- cam.com), although I've never purchased any or asked them if its a special-order-only situation. The F-Stop lists the 400 f8, when converted from yen to dollars, at around $1,500, and Del's lists it for a little over $1,200. Worth checking into, I suppose.

-- Todd Caudle (tcphoto@rmi.net), December 07, 1999.

I think that Anthony was asking about the comparative performance of the Fuji 400T Vs the Nikkor 360T.

-- Pat Raymore (patrick.f.raymore@kp.org), December 09, 1999.

I use the Nikkor 360/500/720 set, and this makes sense to me because it is more versatile than a single focal length. I haven't used Fuji T lenses, but someone I know who has used both said he found the Nikkor slightly better.

-- Harold Clark (ashwood@eagle.ca), December 17, 1999.

I would like to find a telephoto lens in the 300 to 400mm range for use strictly in the portrait range. The lens will be used on my Crown Graphic, hand-held.

My Crown provides a maximum 240mm flange focus and still allow for calibrating the range finder. I am considering a reversed wide-angle lens board for up to 300mm total flange focus at infinity.

I'd like a lens that is sharp like the Nikkor 105/2.5 portrait lens on the Nikon 35mm format.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), May 14, 2000.

I use a Nikkor 300 mm f9 M. This would give you the focal length you want in a small, very sharp lens. I'm not sure if you have enough bellows on the Graflex to use this lens at a portrait distance but you could check it out. Hey, I'm doubtfull about the telephotos as well. Don't be concerned about the f9 part of the 300 M. Because the lens "funnels" the light directly to your eye, the image is amazingly bright on the groundglass. My f9 "seems" to be brighter than my 210 f5.6 for example.

Now to be a pain in the butt: I see some problems with what you are trying to do. I don't think sharpness of the lens means a thing if you are going to hand hold this camera. The Graflex with this lens must weigh seven or eight pounds and you can add a couple of pounds to that if you get a true telephoto. So there you are using a 300 mm lens with a MINIMUM of 1/300 second shutterspeed (the old "1/focal length" rule for handholding a camera) and working with the lens wide open. And I'm pretty sure that 1/300 isn't enough since that rule gives a minimum shutterspeed, not necessarily the optimum speed, for sharpness.

My suggestion would be to plan on using a tripod. It'll allow you to focus on the groundglass and avoid any parallex framing errors from the rangefinder. You'll be able to use slower shutterspeeds and get at least a little depth of field. With the lens stopped down to the middle apertures, you also make the lens sharper.

Here's one trick I've learned. It's low glamour but it works. Tie a string to the camera; focus on the subject and then stretch the string to the subject's face. Have a clip or something to mark this point on the string, and lock down the camera focus. Then the subject can move a bit and relax. Now you can close the lens, stop the lens down, set the shutterspeed,load film, and pull the darkslide. Reposition the subject with the string to the face and you can shoot.

I know that you didn't ask for these comments and if I'm minding your business too much I apologise. But for speed and freedom of shooting, "this ain't a 35 mm camera" and it won't ever be one.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@accesscable.net), May 15, 2000.

All comments appreciated, thanks for taking the time to make them.

I have owned the 300/9 Nikkor for more than 10 years now, and fully appreciate the wonderful optical quality. The part I don't like is dragging out the Sinar, the tripod, then the inevitable loss of focus when the subject moves between focus time and film holder time.

I got into Crown Graphics because I got a couple deals on two very tasty ones. One is calibrated to my Nikkor-W 135, and the other with Kalart RF will be calibrated for the long focus lens.

The 300/9 Nikkor is not usable on the Crown with a standard lensboard. The 323mm total bellows draw won't focus to portrait distances, plus I cannot calibrate the RF. If I fabricate a reversed wide angle lensboard with a 70mm extension, I can use the 300/9 and still calibrate my RF. The Crown will allow a 225mm maximum flange focus and still be able to calibrate the RF.

Hand-held shaking is not one of my problems, as it will be used in the studio with strobes. I believe strict adherence to the 1/focal_length formula applies only to 35mm formats; and this formula has to be transposed for LF. The 300/9 provides the same horizontal coverage angle as would a 90mm lens in the 35mm format, also less enlargement is required to realize an 8x10" print. I would think 1/100th shutter speed or faster should suffice.

I do entire weddings with Pentax 6x7 and C330f TLRs w/prisms, and know all about 8 pound cameras. The focus string is an excellent idea; low tech and reliable. Perfect for a tripod mounted rig.

I'd like to do hand-held 4x5 portraiture with studio strobes. If it turns out to be impossible, I will fall back to the 6x7 and 200mm portrait lens. I'd just really like the 4x5 neg size and tonality.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), May 21, 2000.

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