Which lens 75 or 90mm for Norwegian Fjords?

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I'm new in LF and I'm planning to visit beautiful Norwegian Fjords soon. Currently I have 150 Apo-Symmar. Which lens should I add: 75 or 90mm? Thank you.

-- Andre (5745@softhome.net), August 30, 2000


You are asking a question which no one but you can answer. If you buy a 90 you will find there are times you wish you had purchased a 75 instead. Same thing if you buy the 75, at times you will wish you had purchased the 90. With what you photograph now, how often do you find yourself in need of a lens with a wider view to express the image you visualize? How much wider? If you find you really want a lot more without having to move your position to get it then you possibly have use for a wider lens. No matter what lens you get you will find some situations where you will need wider or longer focal lengths. Reality is that you can't carry everything due to physical limitations. Unless you are frustrated with not having super wide angle photos a lot of the time, opt for the 90 or possibly get an order in for the newest of the Schneider Symmar XL series, the 80. No matter what you buy you will still need to move around a bit to take advantage of its field of view as you photograph.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 30, 2000.

Andre, I would second Dan's advice and say that a 80 XL should be a good choice for landscape if you can wait on it's availability. You may later want also a more tight lens such as a 210, and finally a medium wide angle such as a 110mm. I have not been in Norway but think a short telephoto such as a 210 could do wonders there to get some field compression and for details. It makes a different kind of images than those you will get from the 150 A-S (superb!) and from a wider angle. All these lenses are also very useful with a rollfilm back. But do not assume you need the whole set of lenses right at start. In fact, you may gain in photographying with a limited pair of lenses and learn more in image composition than if you had a bag full of lenses. Good trip!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), August 30, 2000.

Just one additional thought: If you get the 75mm, you can always crop to the angle of view of the 90mm when printing. Since you're using 4x5, even with cropping to the 90mm equivalent view, you'll still be working from a large piece of film (about 3 1/3" by 4 1/6"), so quality should remain high. (You also can get a little bit of additional shift, rise, and fall, since you don't have to crop out of the exact center of the film.) On the other hand, there is no way to get a wider angle of view with a 90mm.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), August 30, 2000.

Thank you for inputs. I used 35mm Nikon (50/1.4, 80-200/2.8) for one year and now switched to Hassy (80mm, 150mm) and Sinar F2 (150mm). My favorite scenes are seascapes at sunset. They are godlike on 4x5 chromes. 150mm is good compromise for LF: the clouds at horizon not too "small". So I try always use the longest lens possible. But fjords are different. They are "tight corners". High mountains and narrow water surface and you just can't 'step back' to capture all beauty. I think 80mm should be good wide angle 'compromise', not too wide, not too long, say 'medium' wide angle.

-- Andre (5745@softhome.net), August 30, 2000.

How about a 300 mm lens? A wide angle lens is really designed to take advantage of the foreground/background relationship. When you use a wide angle, you put something important in the foreground and it'll look bigger than it really is. The the background surrounds it, and is the lesser compositional tool since it will look smaller.

A longer lens will take out the foreground and leave only the "background".

Having said that, lens choice is a lot like golf clubs. If you need a seven iron (or 90 mm lens) then that's what you need. It's nice to have all the clubs in your bag but that's rarely the case. I just wanted to suggest that the "trip to the mountains" or fjords in this case, isn't automaticly wide angle land.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@accesscable.net), August 30, 2000.

One more item you may consider is that you may find it boring to shoot with such a wide angle lens when trying to do landscapes. Trying to get everything in by using very wide lenses often ends in failure to get a really good image. You take in the whole scene but may find it more rewarding visually to use the longer lens to pick out the finest part of the view to put on film. Look at the work of landscape masters & you will find many of them using lenses a bit 'longer' than what is considered normal. If you do go with a really wide lens, and the 80 on 4x5 will be quite wide, shoot with it as much as possible before going on your trip so you and it can get in synch for better results.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 31, 2000.

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