How dark are the f8 wide angles?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gbenaim, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

    Messages:
    403
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Hello,

    I'm putting together a 4x5 kit, and have read about the difficulty in composing w the f8 sa's and grandagons, so wanted some user feedback. I often shoot around twilight and under bridges and jungle canopies (i.e. dark places), less so in full sun. Would you reccomend against an f8 wide angle, or not? What's a reasonable price for the faster 90 and 75mm lenses? Is the 65/8 sa impossible to compose with? Thanks a lot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2005
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I found my Nikkor 90mm F8 lens quite difficult to use; I got to the point I didn't use it very much even though I love that focal length. I just replaced it with an 80mm F4.5 lens, which is a pure pleasure to use - although the 80 I bought is an expensive lens, $1600, plus $325 for a center filter. Like you, I often shoot in low light; primarily around sunset and sunrise. I would go for something faster.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's easy to state the reason for the f8 designs, smaller, lighter, easier to manufacture ansd so much cheaper. Hence why the f4.5 /f5-6 lenses are so much more expensive.

    The 65mm f8 SA is not that bright and does take a bit of getting used to but it is a superb WA on a 5"x4" camera. Luckily while it's not so easy to focus it does have far better DOF than a 90mm and this helps immensely.

    If you buy a 90mm then the Grandagon's are slightly faster than the SA's and even the f6.8 is easy to use on a 5x4. However the Grandagons are much rarer secondhand and always go for much higher prices (here in the UK).

    Ian
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have had no problems (well - no real difficulties) when using a 90/8 to photograph details in shadow with the camera in full sun, on 5x7" film...
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have no problems with my 90mm f/8 SA in normal daylight but I suspect you may run in to difficulties in under-bridge or generally dark situations. The best you can probably do then is to get hold of a brighter ground glass (I mention no names :wink: )...

    As said above, the wider aperture lenses are both heavier and more expensive, but if you do a lot of low-light work then that may be your only way. Try to borrow or hire an f/8 lens and see how it goes.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Different people have different degrees of tolerance for this sort of thing. It will depend on your low-light vision, your groundglass/fresnel, your darkcloth, your loupe, and whether you have the patience to wait a moment or two under the cloth for your eyes to adjust.

    I'm fine with a 65/8 on 4x5" or even my 120/14 on 8x10". A groundglass with clipped corners helps for checking for vignetting when you really can't see the corners. Some experience will help in learning to tell what should be in focus when it may not be so obvious from the screen. A Silvestri tilting loupe is handy for ultrawide lenses.
     
  7. Danpv

    Danpv Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    My Fujinon 90 f/8 was too dark at the corners to check focus - even after I replaced the ground glass with the brighter Satin Snow. I have since replaced that lens with a Grandagon N 90 f/6.8 which is a compromise between the dark f/8 and the heavier but faster f/4.5 or f/5.6. The Grandagon was harder to find and commanded a higher price than the Fujinon, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find my 90mm f8 Nikkor OK even in low light - not bright but workable even in the UK weather! My 65 F8 Super Angulon was very tough. My 65 f4.5 grandagon was wonderful. A truly great lens. Personally, I would not recommend anything shorter than 90mm as an F8. I think the 65/75s really need to be f5.6 or faster. I would imagine a 75 f6.8 Grandagon would be similar to a 90mm f8...????
     
  9. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    downwind fro
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's hard to beat a 90/4.5 Grandagon for when you want to see the image on ground glass. It is also twice the size of the 90/6.8. When using the slower wide angles you have to learn to size up the image by louping the edges and looking at the actual scene, going back and forth. The 90/4.5 allows you to see the entire scene on the gg like a normal lens. It also produces a more even exposure in the sky or smooth areas - if you can afford the price and weight, go faster.
     
  10. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,450
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Composing with a 90mm f8 lens is pretty easy in the daylight. I havent used mine at night yet so I cant comment. A good dark cloth helps immensely.

    However, focusing with a 90mm f8 is a royal pain. The corners go dim very quickly and you have to tilt the loupe at odd angles to be able to see anything.
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It would seem that we all have very different opinions on brightness. I suspect that the cause is our differing ground glasses, rather than our eyes being that different. I have only used my 90f8 on my Ebony, which has a bright GG. I can imagine that using it on the coarse and dingy GGs on some cameras might be a very different experience. I certainly had not trouble focussing at all. It was very obvious when focus was attained.
     
  12. Mongo

    Mongo Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    Pittsburgh,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've had no trouble focusing the 90mm f/8 SA from dawn 'til dusk, including some shots in deep forests and at some pretty long bellows extensions. This is on a camera with a SatinSnow GG...I'd replaced the original GG with the SatinSnow before I got the f/8 lens. I use an old linen tester for a loupe, and haven't run into any trouble focusing at all. I've never tried to focus after dark with the lens, but I can see where that might be problematic.
     
  13. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    downwind fro
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Until you try a fast 90, you don't know what you're missing, regardless of the fresnel... (but currently I am using a 6.8 because of $ and size concerns).
     
  14. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

    Messages:
    403
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Is the 6.8 a marked imprvement over the 8, or do you need to go to 4.5 to see a real difference. Also, I'm planning on getting a Sinar F1, which usually come with fresnels. Will that make a difference, and can such a gg be exchanged with a satinsnow? Thanks.
     
  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That's a fair description of the original GG on a Linhof Technika III. I still had no real difficulties framing and focussing with a 90/8 Super Angulon. The 121/8 was worse, but only because the aperture on mine only opens up to f:10.
     
  16. brent8927

    brent8927 Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I used to use a 90mm Grandagon 4.5 when I shot 4x5, then I sold it and started using a f8 lens; this was with an Arca-Swiss F-line so the ground glass was a very good one, and I certainly prefered shooting with the 4.5; most of the time I didn't need the dark cloth, indoors or out. Personally I really liked that.

    I found the f8 was workable in a dark interior (but with a dark cloth), but if you have the money I think you should get the 5.6 or 4.5. (or even 6.8) Unfortunately the 4.5's are pricey, mine cost about $700, but I loved it and I knew I wouldn't need to every upgrade to a better 90mm as the only difference then would be the green stripe they added to newer grandagons. That green stripe sure make the lens look nice though... but it would seem to me it would look kind of funny on any wood camera...
     
  17. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The other thing that you need to think about is how you are going to use the lens. One thing I don't think you have considered is how big an image circle are you going to need; that depends upon what use you are planning for it.
     
  18. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

    Messages:
    403
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Image circle

    Robert, I shoot mostly landscape so don't need huge amounts of coverage.
     
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    In that case, I probably would go for the 6.8 lens, or spring for the 80mm F4.5. I have some beautifully vigenetted images I took with my 90mm F8 in New Zealand a few years ago - not an experience I would like to repeat (since I will be there again in October).
     
  20. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have and use a 90F8 SA. I have not found it problematic to focus...nor have I run out of coverage on 4X5