Large format DOF adapter

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by danha, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. danha

    danha Member

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    Good day All,

    My name is Dan and I am keen follower of these forums. I work for a newspaper in Australia, I shoot digital for work but in my spare time I enjoy working with a zeiss ikon.

    I have had this idea for a while and cannot work out how to go about it;

    My housemate has an 8x10 Deardorff camera - I want to be able to use it as a depth of field adapter on my D3 for pictures in the newspaper, now I understand that I can just shoot film, but the newspaper daily deadlines do not allow for film processing.

    Is there a way to build a depth of field adapter so I can shoot with my D3 with a lens focused onto the ground glass of the deardorff, whilst resolving a clean, un-vignetted sharp image?
    I have had a play but I always get this hotspot in the middle, Is there special types of ground glass that may be better for this type of thing?

    I know there are plenty of high end dof adapters for video producing a 35mm look, so surely there is a way to upsize it all to 8x10.

    I have searched flickr, google, youtube - everywhere but I can't seem to find an example of a grid free, even light distribution, grain free ground glass?
    If I could build it, I think it would be great option for portraits, documentary and even sport if you were quick enough with it.

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

    Dan

    I have a few shots on my website produced with the zeiss ikon; danielhartleyallen.com
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd say the idea of photographing a LF groundglass with another camera (the medium isn't particularly relevant) isn't a practical option (some people are likely to propose impractical options, I'm sure), if you're concerned about having a high quality option. Generally, the finer the grain of the glass, the stronger the hotspot, and to get rid of the hotspot, you need a fresnel, and the concentric pattern on the fresnel will appear on your image.

    The way to do this with a small format camera is to use an adapter for the camera body on a 4x5" view camera (or a larger camera with a 4x5" back), but this will limit you to lenses of about 100mm or 135mm and longer, depending on all the elements of the combination, or to use TS lenses on your small format camera.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    David is right on the money. Although the success of such a thing would be pretty much subjective, I can't see it working to hardly anyones satisfaction.

    You have been pretty clear of the what, I'm curious as to the why. Most of the visuals that a LF camera produces have counterparts that can be at least partly mimicked with certain 35mm lenses, at least at newspaper resolutions.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I also agree with David.

    Short answer: no, it won't work well. I have played quite a lot with re-photographing ground glass and it just doesn't work well that way at all. What you need is a sliding / stitching back, so that you place the sensor at the film plane... no ground glass.

    There are many stitching backs out there. Honestly they are rather annoying to use but you can do it, especially if it's a one-off setup that you won't need to use in the field. But stitching 35mm frames to fill 8x10... nah forget it, too annoying! Just use a smaller camera like a 4x5 and you'll make progress quickly. I have a 4x5-to-35mm stitch adapter that works quite well. Annoying, but it works.

    The best solution, of course, is simply to take the shot on film and scan it :smile:

    P.S. Vignetting can be corrected in the final image, that's very easy.
     
  5. danha

    danha Member

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    thanks

    Thanks for the responses,

    Seems like it might not be possible, I'm surprised because people seemed to have refined this for 35mm adapters for use with video. But maybe it's not feasible at this scale?

    As to the why? Yes you can shoot with primes, and tilt shift lenses - but you still won't get the depth of field and the movements of large format, I'm sure you will agree with that. I also thought it would be a really fun project that may surprise readers with something a bit different. I mean when was the last time large format was used in a newspaper?

    I am in Darwin in Australia, and I'm quite certain there is no lab that processes anything larger than 35mm in house, so may have to wait for another longer project to pull out the beast.

    A stitching back wouldn't work as the subject is nearly always a person, but will keep researching - thanks for the replies.

    Dan.
     
  6. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    If money is no object then why not get a Mamiya or Hasselblad digital back with an adapter for the large format? You would then have the sensor on the FP plus you would have the larger format size to play with.

    How much DOF are trying to achieve anyways in portraiture? About the only thing you will achieve using LF as opposed to 135 is better resolution with less grain (noise in digispeak) and larger enlargement possibilities all of that would be lost when it came time to print in a newspaper unless it is for a high grade magazine like the last photo of Steve Jobs. Am I wrong?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2011
  7. danha

    danha Member

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    money

    Money is most deffinately an object.

    A digi back doesn't even give the field of view of a proper 6x6 or 6x7 image. I'm interested in the dof and the movements of the 8x10, not the resolution. We print quite small.

    The fresnal can fix the hotspot, is that correct? are there fresnals that don't have this concentric pattern that was mentioned?

    Dan.
     
  8. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I don't see why you care about the hotspot. It's easy to correct in the final image. I'd worry about much larger issues... the image simply won't look that good cast on the ground glass. Anyway if you want to see what it looks like, look no further than Scott Davis' APUG profile page:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/members/theflyingcamera/

    Scott posed behind his ULF camera and I snapped the shot. After a bit of fumbling with lighting we got it about right.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A fresnel by nature has a concentric pattern. I suppose you could concoct some sort of large optical condenser system to even out the light, but then you're getting into impractical options.

    As far as a smooth groundglass goes, the smoothest is probably the Bosscreen, which instead of ground or etched glass is two sheets of glass with paraffin in between as the focusing surface, but installing one will likely require recalibration, so that the focus plane is where it should be.

    But as Keith says, the image just doesn't look that good when photographed. It's nice to be under the darkcloth looking directly at the groundglass image, moving your head around, checking it with a loupe, and assembling it in your brain, but it doesn't photograph well.
     
  10. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    I think the best idea would be to put film in a filmholder and use it that way. You Darwinian's have funny ideas.. :smile:
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Or use a paper negative and scan the results.
     
  12. NEDM64

    NEDM64 Member

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    If you can't just shoot a picture and scan it, you can buy one of these:

    Fotodiox 4x5 nikon sliding adapter

    And then, you can make the collage in PTGUI, photoshop, etc… :wink:
     
  13. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    or shoot with the fuji instant and shoot the instant pic....
     
  14. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    WAIT---you're using digital, right? well...just shoot a pic WITH the hot spot of a neutral white/grey wall..THEN use THAT to make like a "digital center filter" for the other shots---you take like the intensity levels and invert them according to the white/grey picture intensity levels---this IS a computer, right? I'm sure you can apply the neutral image with hot spot as some kind of multiplication to the original one...or even just a straight SUM or difference...THAT should effectivley neutralize any hot spot no matter how fine the ground glass is....RIGHT?
     
  15. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I have a ton of examples of shooting the ground glass images on my site linked below. It is not what you are asking for. You may want to get a Lensbaby or tilt/shift lens to manipulate the DOF on a camera of that type and size.