A question for Zone VI (4x5) users

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Sanjay Sen, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In your experience, what is the shortest focal length lens that you can focus (at infinity) on your Zone VI 4x5 camera?

    I had a Graflex Optar 90/6.8 that I couldn't focus at infinity on my Zone VI, not even with the bag bellows. Does that seem right, or was I doing something wrong? I sold that lens, and the shortest focal length I have now is a 115mm, which focuses just fine.

    Any insight into this will be much appreciated. TIA.


    Best wishes,
    Sanjay
     
  2. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

    Messages:
    1,798
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    Ventura, Ca
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I had no problem focusing my 75 mm lens on my Zone VI with the bag bellows. I did sell both due to a change in my vision with my 4x5 system. My 210 just became my go to lens.

    Jim
     
  3. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Jim,

    Were you using a standard lens board, or a recessed one (is there one for a Zone VI?)?


    Regards,
    Sanjay
     
  4. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Location:
    Simi Valley,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I do not own a Zone VI (well I own one of the tripods). I've watched an friend use his, no problem using a 90 or 75mm with a flat lensboard and bag bellows. the lensboard is quite small on the Zone VI (it is intended for field use), so I don't think a recessed board would be practical.

    Two thoughts:

    You can simply measure and see what lenses will work in "MOST" LF situations. A 90mm lens needs very close to 90mm between the lensboard and the groundglass (at infinity). 90mm for us metric phobic Americans is about 3.5 inches. If you can put your lensboard about 3.5 inches from the groundglass, you are probably "good to go".

    There were a few variation in the "Zone VI" 4x5 camera. Originally it was a custom Wista, then Zone VI built them (or had Ritter do it for them) and finally they had Wisner make them. My second hand experience is with the middle (in house / Ritter) version.

    Is it possible your 90mm lens was bad? Did you ever see it focus on any camera? Just wondering out loud, perhaps someone put it into a shutter with really incorrect spacing.

    Hope that helps.
    Tom
     
  5. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use a 90mm Schneider on a Zone VI and it seems to just focus at infinity with the bag bellows. Never tried anything shorter.

    Bob H
     
  6. jmcd

    jmcd Member

    Messages:
    715
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    I worked with a fellow who regularly used a 65mm lens on his Zone VI. He had to raise the lens in the front standard, and then tilt the lens back towards the film plane. He did use the bag bellows for this. I used the set-up with good results, but on a couple of shots was not sufficiently careful so caught the bottom of the camera rails in the photo.
     
  7. pgomena

    pgomena Member

    Messages:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    I use my 90mm on my Zone VI, and I seem to remember the literature at the time saying you could use shorter lenses. As JMCD said above, you have to raise the front standard, tilt it back using the base tilt, and then level the lensboard with the axis tilt. It is not the easiest or most graceful of operations, but it works. I use the bag bellows for my shorter lenses, often including my 150mm.

    Peter Gomena
     
  8. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, that thought crossed my mind, but I couldn't test that particular lens on any other camera. I've since sold the lens. I have been thinking about this because I believe 90mm is not too short to focus at infinity with the bag bellows on the Zone VI. Maybe one of these days I will rent a 90mm lens and see if I can get it to work on my camera.


    Thanks to all for your comments.


    Best wishes,
    Sanjay
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2009
  9. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

    Messages:
    1,798
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    Ventura, Ca
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Standard board but it was tight but doable.

    Jim