Fast LF lenses? Which ones at about 150mm?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
It seems most new LF lenses are optimized at apertures of f16, f22 and sometimes even f32 (their MTF curves support this). Rather slow lenses. In the past, when 4x5 press cameras were the standard for photography with motion, i.e. boxing matches, news conferences etc..... was the lenses used on these cameras optimized for shooting at very wide apertures like 5.6 or 8? Or were these lenses also optimized at the smaller apertures but used at the wider apetures due to the necessity for speed?
Assuming their MTF's were optimized for wider apetures, which of these lenses in the 150mm focal lenght range represents the most modern and high resolution optics for 4x5? I want to shoot some fast moving landscapes like waves crashing on rocks. (I realize DOF will suffer) I have little knowledge of these type lenses, and would appreciate any input? Also, if there is any new LF lens that I have overlooked that also meets this criteria, please advise. Thank you all in advance for your help.
-- Bill Glickman (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 2000
In the days before computer lens design, designers generally did not try to optimize MTF's :-) Many of the classic lens designs work best stopped down about three stops (I have crudely checked this for some of the ones I own against a USAF lens test chart). For Typical press Tessar designs, this means between f/8 and f/11. A 150mm Kodakf/4.5 Ektar is a good example.
Two non-Tessar designs which perform well at larger aperatures are the 203 Kodak f/7.7 Ektar, which performs best wide open, and of course the f/2.5 Aero Ektar (about 180mm if I remember correctly -- I have one, but it is in my closet in Alaska and I am in Asia at the moment and so can't check).
-- John Lehman (email@example.com), April 26, 2000.
Bill, Back in those days we didn't worry about things like MTF curves and the like. Mostly we just used the Kodak and Optar lenses the Graphics came with and didn't worry about it. As for aperature, nearly all the inside shots were made with flashbulbs. Those bulbs put out a hell of a lot of light, and f16 or f11 was the standard aperature for things like boxing matches. We weren't much into the "available darkness" shooting...that mainly came about with 35mm cameras. If you were shooting inside or outside in low light, you plugged in a flash bulb. The old lenses were not necessarily optimized for f16 or f22, that's just the way most it worked out. The larger aperatures for LF have always been usable, but were primarily for focusing. The modern lenses can run rings around the older ones at f5.6, but as you stated, depth of field is very shallow. For fast moving stuff, you are still better off with a fast film and fast shutter speed to freeze the action.
-- Doug Paramore (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 2000.
At Chris Perez lens testing site (http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html), the press lenses listed seem to follow the typical pattern of improving with stopping down.
-- Ron Shaw (email@example.com), April 26, 2000.
The other issue you haven't mentioned in considering using large format lenses at relatively wide apertures is flatness of the film and precision in film plane distance and ground glass alignment. I had a very in-depth discussion with Bill Maxwell at Maxwell Precision Optics on this issue about a year ago. I trust his knowledge and judgment. His belief is that the limit in resolution in using modern large format lenses at wider apertures comes from limits in film flatness and precision in ground glass and film plane alignment, not from optical limits.
-- Howard Slavitt (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 2000.
I agree with Howard about alignment problems between the film plane and ground glass plane. Fast lenses and long lens both have very shallow depth of focus and are very sensitive to any missalignment (sp) between the two planes.
-- Stephen Willard (email@example.com), April 27, 2000.
Zeiss 135mm f3.5 planar (MC models are available) or kodak aero ektar 178mm F2.5 with Schneider Hi End international back. You will have to spend so money to get the Ektar mounted in an approperiate shutter since it almost always comes in a barrel.
Second choice. Hi speed film ( + a developer like Xtol to maintain or increase you real film speed). The film grain can always be incorperated into your artistic style.
-- Pat Raymore (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 29, 2000.
I've been thinking about taking the plunge too--maybe a Toyo CX with a Nikon 150mm f/5.6. My little niche has come to be quilt photography(my wife is a serious quilter). With the lighting I have now, I can get f/ 11 over a queen size quilt. Will a lens such as the Nikon do all right only stopped down to f/11, or will I need more light?
-- Ron Goodman (email@example.com), April 30, 2000.
> I've been thinking about taking the plunge too--maybe a Toyo CX with a > Nikon 150mm f/5.6. My little niche has come to be quilt photography (my > wife is a serious quilter). With the lighting I have now, I can get f/ > 11 over a queen size quilt. Will a lens such as the Nikon do all right > only stopped down to f/11, or will I need more light? >
A bit more DOF would probably help, but rather than going to the expense of a whole new lighting setup, as long as you are photographing something that doesn't move (ie a quilt) you can always just go for multiple flashes. Just make sure the camera is on a solid tripod/stand and make sure you don't knock it when re-cocking the shutter.
-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), April 30, 2000.
You don't need to recock the shutter, actually. Just leave it open and flash away.
-- Erik Ryberg (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 30, 2000.