Are you Wide Angle? Normal? Tele?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Reinhold, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    What's your style?

    What proportion of your LF or ULF photographs are Wide Angle?
    How many are "normal" (focal length same as film diagonal)?
    What about "long" and/or telephoto photo's?

    I suppose it somewhat depends on what kind of subjects you "focus" on...

    If it's landscapes do you prefer wide? normal? Tele?
    If it's portraits, do you reach for the long lens first?
    If you crawl around on your hands and knees, is it the wide or "normal" lens?

    Are you a bit of a magpie, and carry five or six focal lengths "just in case"?

    (I fell victim to the siren call of ULF 8x20, and carried everything from super wide 210 mm, to a long tele 1200 mm before my bones stared to complain).

    I'm not looking for advise, just interested in what others prefer...

    Reinhold (a magpie).

    www.classicBWphoto.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2011
  2. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I generally use whatever frames the subject correctly.

    However, I have a terrible time making ultra-wide shots that are interesting.
     
  3. mjs

    mjs Member

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    I carry three lenses for 4x5: 125mm, 210mm and 300mm. I haven't used the 300mm for quite a while but it's a Nikkor M and weighs very little, so I continue to carry it knowing that as soon as I leave it home I'll see nothing but scenes which demand that lens and no other. Last year I used the 125mm probably twice as often as the 210mm; the year before, probably the other way around.

    For 8x10 I carry 420mm and 210mm. Again, last year I probably used the 210mm twice as often as the 420mm; the year before I probably used the 420mm twice as often as the 210mm. However, over the years I have been using shorter focal lengths much more often than I used to, so the wide angle usage is growing.

    I photograph mostly landscapes and townscapes, in one way or another. All B&W.

    Mike
     
  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    I shoot 2x3, have more lenses than I can carry. I probably use lenses shorter than normal most often, but that's in part because I do much of my shooting in areas with no broad vistas. Using a long lens makes little sense when edge of the world is perhaps 40' away.

    I couldn't make myself use any lens but my 38/4.5 Biogon for several months after it came back from Steve Grimes remounted in a Copal #0. Used it on a Century Graphic, and it doesn't cover 2x3. 84 mm is it. Now I have a 35/4.5 Apo Grandagon for the Century and the Biogon languishes in the closet. The Apo Grandy covers 2x3 and then some.

    This isn't to say that I'm opposed to long lenses, in fact I have a "baby Bertha" made of a 2x3 RB Series B Graflex and a 2x3 Cambo. Baby is a long lens camera, can't focus anything shorter than 210 mm to infinity. She's still teething; when she gets through that I hope to find situations in which I can use my 900/10 Apo Saphir on her.
     
  5. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I don't even think about it. Use the lens that is appropriate for the image.

    My lens bag contains focal lengths from 120mm to 1200mm (8x10 format). They all get used.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Most of time I go out with my 4x5 I find myself wondering why I bring any lenses except for the 210.
    That said, I'm starting to really like the WA I recently got for the MF camera.
     
  7. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I carry too many lenses but when I look at the keepers they are usually taken with moderate wide angle to normal.
     
  8. Maris

    Maris Member

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    For the 8x10: 121mm f8 Super Angulon, 300mm f5.6 Fujinon-w, 740mm Achromat in Copal#3.
    For the Mamiya RB67: 37mm Fisheye, 50mm f4.5, 127mm F3.8, 360mm f6.3.

    The bias is always toward the wide-angle end because of the way the Australian landscape unfolds. It's broad, flat, ancient and even. You can drive 1000 kilometres and the place you arrive at looks just like the place you left. There are few stunning and eloquent forms like grand mountain peaks or canyons. What gems there are may be brilliant but widely spaced. By working in really close with a wide-angle lens I try to make the "good" bits look big. The rest is just necessary context.
     
  9. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    If I take two lenses it will be the 19" and the 240mm. If I can only take one lens it will usually be
    the 14" unless I think the 159mm is more suitable(but that is rare) For aerials I'll use 12"/300mm. This is for 8x10 format.
     
  10. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    My vision is shockingly normal. My 150 and 210mm lenses are my most-used on 4x5. Oddly, on my Hasselblad, my 120 is the lens I use most, followed by the 80. So I guess I'm normal to normal-plus. When I was a photojournalist, my wide-angle lenses were used most because I often photographed people indoors and space is always tight there.

    Peter Gomena
     
  11. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

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    I own two lenses for 4x5, a 75mm wide angle, and a 150mm normal. The 75mm is used around 70% of the time.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It's very interesting. With small format, I find the normal lens to be by far my most-used lens. However, I rarely use a normal lens with large format. I either go longer or wider most of the time. With medium format, I tend to use telephotos very often.
     
  13. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    I seem to gravitate towards normal lenses no matter the format. But on a trip to the Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park this summer I used the wide angle for about 3/4s of the shots - Fuji GSW 690 III.

    Back in my early photo days I had a 35 - 70mm f2.8 zoom on my ME Super and I found myself setting it around the 50mm position for the vast majority of shots. So I stopped using the zoom and put the 50mm f1.7 back on the camera. That's when I realized that I favor normal lenses.
     
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  15. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    I tend to shoot with the longer focal lengths from 4x5 through 11x14. I have a hard time making the wide angle view work for me. It may look good on the ground glass in wide view, but when I make a print in my normal size (11x14 contact or enlarged 11x14 from 4x5) all the little details are so small in the background of the print that I always wish I had used a longer lens to capitalize on detail potential of large piece of film. If I were making very large prints often, than those details would show up with a wide view and I might have a different opinion.
    regards
    Erik
     
  16. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Majority of work done with normal lenses. The 300mm for 8x10 is the only lens I own that has a decent shutter, so it sees a lot of use as it can be easier to use if I happen to be out in the sun. 4x5 -- 150mm, 5x7 -- 210mm, 8x10 -- 300mm. The 19" is nice on the 7x17.

    Will the very wide angle of cell phone cameras change the way people expect photos to look like?
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    With 5"x4" 75% roughly a normal lens (135-150mm), 24.9% wide angle (90mm & occasional 65mm) and less than 0.1% longer lenses (210mm and extremely rarely 300mm).

    Much the same with my 10x8, mostly my 12" Dagor, some with my 165mm Super Angulon.

    Ian
     
  18. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    never thought about it

    but calculating film diagonal like you mentioned - I'm tele for ULF

    Wide in MF

    Normal in 35mm
     
  19. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Mostly within "normal", for 4x5 I use both 150mm and 210mm a lot. 300mm and 450mm sometimes. Occasionally 90mm and 75mm.
    The newcomers are 65mm and 135mm which I am learning. Don't know where it ends. Perhaps 135mm will see a lot of use.

    8x10, 300mm and 450.
     
  20. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Wide and wider if I feel a change is needed :smile:
     
  21. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Definitely lean toward wide-angle for landscape (mostly 45mm and 65mm lens' for 2x3). For people it's more evenly balanced wide/normal/tele.
     
  22. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    35mm 105mm
    6x6 150mm
    4x5 210mm or 300mm
     
  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    5inch (127mm) or 210mm for 4x5
    210mm for 5x7

    Good focal length for portraiture, I thought.
     
  24. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    Normal to wide. I very rarely use a lens that's longer than normal.
     
  25. Pavel+

    Pavel+ Member

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    Me

    Well, I'm wide; especially around the middle, my eyesight is normal (for my advanced years) and they see in telephoto and so that is what is at the end of my RZ most of the time. I like to take statue pictures as portraits. Film is fabulous with texture and the look I am going for and the RZ is slow enough to be enjoyable and relaxing to use and the subjects are mostly mute and never complain.

    Yup, I've found my niche! :wink:
     
  26. Marizu

    Marizu Subscriber

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    That's an interesting thought!
    I suspect it will just make a further generation of people that think that they look rubbish in photos. All of the crappy zoom compacts seem to open on max wide and make people look like their ears have been pulled round the back of their heads :D
    Maybe the youngsters will just get with it and we will see another visual revolution.

    210mm on 5x4 (75mm on 35mm?) would be my main lens.
    For portraiture, I prefer longer lenses (210 and 360 on 5x4) unless I am trying for a 'dynamic' wide angle effect in which case, I'll generally reach for the widest glass that I can get my hands on.