crappy lens reccomendation:

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Nutter, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    I am using a field camera with a 6x7 roll film back. I'm looking for a low-quality lens that will fit on a lens board, but with an image circle that just barely covers the format, and a circle of sharpness that falls off greatly at the corners.....maybe an old barrel lens of some sort? Any suggestions? I realize could accomplish this with Tilts and swings, but I'm looking for something different. If I have to make a special lens board, or even the lens itself for that matter, I would not be afraid to.

    I'm not trying to get somebody to sell me a lens here, I'm just looking for some suggestions.
     
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  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Early 20th century 35mm Petzval projector lenses are a good bet, but you'd need a short one--maybe 3 or 3.5 inch, if you want to see a lot of craziness in the edges. These lenses are small enough to rig in a medium size shutter, like an Alphax, Betax, or Ilex 4. Short projector Petzvals aren't always easy to find, so you could also look for a simple meniscus lens in a shutter--or buy a positive meniscus lens and rig it in a shutter.
     
  3. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I've played around quite a bit with dollar-store magnifying glasses set in a lensboard. Sharpness definitely falls off on the corners, while giving a nice "sweet spot" in the center. The lenses are very low in contrast, however, so are best suited to contrasty scenes or paper negatives, which inherently have more contrast. This image was taken with just such a lens, using a 5x7 paper negative.
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  4. brian d

    brian d Member

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    +1 on the magnifying glass idea
     
  5. rrankin

    rrankin Member

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    I think you're going to have trouble finding a petzval for that size film that also offers falloff and aberrations. You're talking about a total image circle of less then 10.8cm, right? So, the lens would need to cover less than that at infinity, then you'd need to do closer shots and push the lens beyond design limits to get what you want. Even the cheapo projection petzvals will probably cover more than that. I've been messing with petzvals for years and years and have never had one with that small of a coverage except one that barely covered anything at all...

    For an interesting look, probably skip the petzval and go for a meniscus type lens. You can buy some random meniscus lens at Surplus shed or you could get something like a Scovill if you want 'old stuff' and use the lens without the barrel. They generally go to f6 like that and offer soft scenes and glowing highlights. I can loan you one if you can't find one to buy.

    Cheers,
    Richard
     
  6. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    Magnifying glass idea is definitely in the budget....anybody ever try dismantling a Holga and trying that lens? ....guessing I would need a recessed board for that or some other complication.
     
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  7. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Maybe an old cine lens from a home movie camera.
     
  8. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    Okay...so this is what I have come up with so far....I dug out my holga...which incidentally seems to be worth about 250% more than it was when I bought it 10 years ago......but I digress...what I have done so far is this: I'm not sure how many of you know how the "focus" on a holga works, but basically, the lens is screwed to the front of the camera with a little stop inside that keeps it from unscrewing off the body...you force it a little and it snaps right past the stop and comes right off.....so.....

    you now have a 60mm F/8 lens with no shutter and a fixed aperture....a pretty wide lens even for 6X7CM. I had a spare flat board for my Toyo, but no recessed board and so to get the lens close-enough, I had to tape it to the BACK of my lens board. I will have to use the darkslide or my hand as the shutter and some slow film, I guess. At this point, I am not willing to put a bunch of sticky tape all over one of my copals, so this will suffice for now.

    I predict this will NOT produce the look I am hoping for, but I will shoot something and post an image to my blog in a few days if anybody is interested.
     
  9. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    A transplanted Holga lens was exactly what I had in mind. Sticky tape doesn't bother Copal shutters. Just keep it on the outside. You should see what I sometimes do to mine!


    Kent in SD
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I use an 80(I think)mm lens from an Ansco Speedex Jr. on my 4x5, might do just as well on yours, definite vignetting, full circle image on my negs. Maybe a lens from a thrift shop 35mm p&s, or a disposable, and some duct tape.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Just so you know, I never put tape on any of my gear. I use hot melt glue so that when I am finished playing around I can peel the glue off and there isn't any residue left behind.
     
  13. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    Magnifying glass lens

    I've used a magnifying glass lens on my 4x5 with good results. My wife and I used it last year for our annual Christmas card photo.

    It has a focal length of about 3.75-inches/95mm, so it is a wide field lens. It's maximum aperture is, as closely as I can calculate it, f/2.9, and I have made a series of Waterhouse stops out of opaque plastic, with the appropriate apertures made with standard drill bits.

    Sharpness increases as the aperture decreases; really blurry wide open, moderately blurry at about f/8, and surprisingly sharp at f/34 or f/48. It is very low in contrast, being an uncoated lens, so I find a #16 or #25 filter to be very useful when shooting outdoors, as well as the use of a cardboard lens hood.

    As my shutter is simple piece of black cardboard, I use neutral density filters in conjunction with the #16 or #25, and I aim for an uncorrected exposure time of about two seconds, which will be about five seconds when reciprocity failure is calculated.

    For development I use my main developer, which I have named 17M4. It is Ansco 17M, with 2x the amount of sodium metaborate. I find I get adequate contrast with normal or 1.5x normal development times. If higher contrast is desired, you could always try something like Kodak D-19, or even your standard paper developer, diluted with 50% more water than that which is normal for paper processing.
     
  14. terrywoodenpic

    terrywoodenpic Member

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    As you are using 6x9 film you want a lens designed for a far smaller format. ordinary magnifying glass has a surprisingly wide field but falls off rapidly. but do not give you a useful vignette effect. I think you want a very bad 35mm type lens.

    Of course many old 6x9 folders and box cameras had meniscus lenses that did just what you are looking for.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Close-up lenses make good meniscus lenses for LF. For portraits a +1 (1,000mm) handles 11x14, a +2 (500mm) for 8x10 and a +3 (333mm) for 4x5. Place the convex side to the subject with the stop about 1/5 the FL in front of the lens. You can experiment with Imagon 'sink strainer' and starburst stops cut from cardboard. A set of arc-punches or craft punches are handy for making stops.

    For better image quality and much less distortion and coma use two lenses, convex sides in, around a central stop; focal length will halve - two +1 lenses result in a 500mm focal length. Using achromatic close-up lenses gives really sharp results at f22 or so.
     
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  16. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Tom, have you considered shooting normally and then using a crappy enlarger lens instead? You can produce all manner of effects at the enlarger...
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I haven't used it yet, but I have an old 80 and shutter from a Ciroflex that is mounted on a board just for the purpose described in the OP. It cost about $10 and took 15 minutes to clean up the shutter.
     
  18. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    JUST my kind of question! I shoot crappy shots with crappy lenses all the time. Try a lens from a film strip projector or a slide projector. Try cheap binocular objective lenses. These have been fruitful for me, though the focal length is often so short as to make fitting them to a large format camera with a roll back problematic. For 4x5 film, I found that the lenses from 116 cameras give the kind of fall-off and vignetting you seek. Also, projector petzvals in the 3.5" to 4" range aren't hard to come by because most people who want petzvals want to cover the 4x5 image circle, and a 90-100mm petzval lens seldom does. I have about 6 of them that nobody wanted. As for the magnifying glass option, try a rather small glass. For a truly wacked-out lens, try the viewing (upper) lens from a cheap old 620 TLR.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  20. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    Crappy enlarging lens?

    It is a possibility, but the thought of having prints with grain out of focus would just keep me up at night.
    That's just me....
    :smile:
     
  21. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    Ok folks, I shot just a couple of things with the Holga lens/Toiyo combo...we'll see how fast I can get it processed and something posted somewhere.


    I'm gonna figure out some of these other suggestions too...great stuff folks.
     
  22. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    OK, I posted the one-and only Image I have shot so far with this contraption on my blog:

    http://tomnutter.blogspot.com

    I have done no photoshop to the image at all, except a minor adjustment to contrast.....since I copy the negs with a camera and not a scanner, I sometimes have to do this.

    Again...Thanks for the suggestions...a friend has come up with a Petzval, and we plan to mess with that too...not sure when I will get to that.
     
  23. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Nice picture. I think you will find that the Holga lens is best for your requirements.

    Jon
     
  24. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Your shot is beautiful. I was going to recommend a lousy enlarger lens too but you don't need it.

    Lousy enlarger lens adds a flavor/dimension that is better than it sounds. My examples framed on my desk are 4x5 prints from Ricohflex negs (sharper than print) printed with an American Basic Science Club enlarger lens. I wouldn't trade them for a sharp print from the original Ricohflex neg any day. But much value in these prints is the fact they are the first darkroom prints I made with my first enlarger...