Lens and Filters for Architecture and Interiors

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What are YOUR favourite lenses (mainly 4x5) for shooting interiors and architecture. I am interested in what lenses do you use and the percentage of usage. For example Norm McGrath says he uses the 90mm in 4x5, 70% of the time closely followed by the 75mm and 120mm lens. When shooting on slide film (tungsten and daylight) what (correction) filters and filter system do you use to do correction under mixed light sources (i.e. fluorescent mixed with daylight or tungsten)?

-- David Payumo (dpayumo@home.com), March 30, 2001


I second McGrath's use of the 90mm as the primary lens for architecture, although I'd say I use it about 80%, and then a 65mm about 10%, and the rest split between the 150, the 210 and the 300mm. I use the 100mm width Sinar optical resin filters. These are no longer made but the Hitech and lee Optical resin filters are virtual clones. I meter with a Minolta Color IIIF and test with Polaroid, which for exposures of less than 4 seconds can be close enough for me to do the mental ju-jitsu to translate it to how the film will interpret the scene. I will also filter my lights with Rosco or Lee gels when needed to make my life easier. You have to do this not because the Polaroid is inaccurate, but but because it is a completely different film with a different palette from Kodak or Fuji's offerings. My primary films are Fuji ASTIA and Fuji 64TII, both in Quickload. I am looking forward to the imminent release of the Fuji NPS color negative emulsion in Quickload packets.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), March 30, 2001.

Hi David

I`m use in 4x5 almost 75 mm f4,5 nikkor 80%, 90mm f8 Schneider about 10%, 135 mm 5%, 210mm 2%, 300mm 3% I almost use no filter I only change between tungsten and daylight and the rest I prever to change in photoshop or with the enlarger. Outside I only use sometimes Polarizer but very expensive B+W Filters. With others like Lee or Cokin I luse to much sharpness on my 75mm in the corners. Good light!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), March 31, 2001.

David, we pretty much operate the same way Ellis describing. A 90mm is the widest lens we have, and even though it has a miserable image circle, we still use this the most for shooting interiors. Our other lenses are a 120 Nikkor (great lens), 150, 210, and a 300. We use these if appropriate. If we use cc filters, we just use good old wrattens behind the lens. But mostly we'll do as Ellis is describing, and gel the light sources so they all match with sheets of Rosco gels. We very seldom shoot interiors without some form of artifical light, we ususally use strobes, so we'd be gelling Fluorescents, or if we had to, gelling the strobes. If we have a little bit of tungsten leaking in, mostly we'd let this go warm, but sometimes we'll use hotlights & strobes, then we'd gel the hotlights to match the strobes. We test all exposures on Type 55 (based on experience). We shoot transp. 99% of the time, but if we can get away with it on a shot with alot of funky lighting, we'll shoot Fuji NPS, sometimes this film (like Reala) will give you a break. If I had to come up with a percentage, I'd say 75% of the interiors with the 90, the rest with the 120. In truth though, probably most with the 90.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), April 02, 2001.

You need to think about interiors and exteriors differently. Ezra Stoller suggests that generally you should lean in the direction of longer lenses for a more natural perspective- I agree.

For exteriors the 90mm is my most frequently used lens- probably 75% of the time. I use the 120mm next most- it's a good choice for shaped roofs like houses. I also use 65,75,150,180,210 and 240mm lenses. The 180mm is a really nice lens for a longer perspective. I often leave the 210mm at home because of the 240mm and 180mm.

For interiors I find the 75mm the most used for larger spaces, the 65mm for tighter spaces. I got by without the 65mm for a long time, but I am glad I have it now.

With regard to filtration, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by working with Fuji NPL and NPS, which are very adaptable to different light sources. With those films I generally don't use filtration. If you have to use transparency film there are several published filtration charts that work fairly well. I use Lee 4" gel type filters.

If you are just starting out at this, buy a 90mm first. If you can ad a 75 and a 120/150 you will have a good basic kit.

-- David Rose (DERose1@msn.com), April 02, 2001.

If I had only 1 lens for architechture and interiors it would be a 90mm Super Angulon. I also use a 65mm Nikkor, but not very often. For outdoor use I find a polariser essential for many shots. If you shoot interiors with strip lighting you will need a Magenta cc filter, for 'daylight' tubes I use a 25. If the lighting is daylight and tungsten mixed, the best answer is usually to shoot on NPS and to have chromes made from the negative

-- Garry Edwards (bestsnapper@aol.com), April 03, 2001.

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