Bellows length versus lens size

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Robert, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I've read the piece on the viewcamera website and it mentions that using lens with focal lengths longer then the bellows you won't be able to focus at less then infinity. At least that's my feeble understanding. Do you lose anything else? Assuming the camera doesn't fall over from the weight of the lens-)) For a camera that is going to be used in the outdoors mostly focussing on far away things does this matter? I know I should be looking at shorter focal lengths but the budget looks better with barrel lens and a lens cap shutter. They mostly seem to be close to the max bellows of the low cost cameras.
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If the lens is longer than the bellows, you wont be able to focus at all!
    So for example if you have a 210 lens you need 21 cm of bellows extension to focus at infinity, anything less and it is like being nearsighted without glasses.....you only see blurr..
    Now if you wish to focus on objects closer than infinity then you need to extend the bellows even more.
    I have not read the View Camera article but Simmons is a very acomplished LF photographer so I think you misunderstood the article.

    If you post what kind of camera and bellows lenght you have maybe some of the members or I can give some suggestions for inexpensive lenses.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As a general rule of thumb, you want at least 25% more bellows extension than the focal length of your longest conventional lens; however, you should be able to focus a lens of focal length equal to the maximum bellows extension at infinity. Telephoto designs will let you go longer, because the optical node of the lens is actually out in front of the glass. True telephoto lenses usually involve a compromise in optical quality over conventional lenses, but by requiring less bellows length, they may avoid problems of camera stability and wind vibration that come from extending the bellows to the maximum length.

    If you're just starting out, I would get something closer to the normal lens for the format, so you can experiment with camera movements and use the camera for what it does best. If the bellows is at full extension, you will usually have no movements available. There are lots of good classic lenses out there in shutters, especially around the focal length for a "normal" lens for each format. What format are you shooting? If you're starting with 4x5", there are many fine lenses, usually Tessar types, in the 135-150mm range, like the Ektars, that are usually quite reasonable priced.
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I think I've found a Graphic View I. Well I think it's the early model. I get a bit of a headache reading the descriptions of the differences between the I and the II. I should have measured it but I checked the www.graflex.org website and they claim 12" of bellows max. 3 1/2 min.

    The article mentioned the 25% rule. Actually it stated 50% would be better.

    You'd think the normal lens would be reasonable but what I've seen on Ebay lately I'm better off getting a new one -( At least if I want one with a working shutter and no problems.

    So I get the impression I should stop looking at those 600ml process lens on Ebay-)
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I would say anything from 150 to 210 would do you fine with this camera. Yes 600 would be way beyond what you could focus with your camera. David's suggestions are very good for your camera.
     
  6. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Okay I guess the limits make it easier to figure out what to buy.
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Member

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    With the talk about the Toyo 45CF I went and relooked at the specs. The info from badger graphics claims

    "Maximum bellows extension 14.04” (356.7mm)
    Longest Lens with maximum bellows draw 400mm"

    That doesn't make sense does it? Also how useful are extension boards? All I'd really like to use would be 300mm at the long end and 100mm at the short end.
     
  8. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    well in addition to the bellows you have the thicknes of the standars which help a little, 4 cm is not that big of a distance. But I would be very uncomfortable using a lens at the limit of the bellows draw. WHat if you dont want to focus at infinity but at a closer subject and you are lacking 1 cm. It would be kind of a bummer to loose the shot because of this..no?
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Member

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    So basically that 400mm number is marketing speak. A 400mm lens would turn it into a fancy fixed focus camera.
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ Oct 17 2002, 06:46 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>So basically that 400mm number is marketing speak. A 400mm lens would turn it into a fancy fixed focus camera.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    You got it!
     
  11. EUGENE

    EUGENE Member

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    Robert, the specs. for the Toyo 45CF states that a 400 tele lens is maximum for the camera, not a 400mm standard type lens. Check with the Toyo View website The Fuji 400T has a flange focal length of about 250mm , at infinity focus. Well under the 356mm maximum bellows extension that the camera is capable of handling.
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Member

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    To be honest all I did was cut and paste from the Badger site. Checking the Toyo site the text does mention the telephoto but the specs still say just 400mm. Maybe they figure I'm the only one dumb enough not to know better-))