Large Format Macro Lenses

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Kevin Kehler, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I am looking for a wider lens for my 5x7, with the Nikkor 120 F/8 currently in the lead. However, Rodenstock's 180 F5.6 Macro (I like to get close to some objects) seems to be interesting as well; I realize there is a significant difference in viewing angle between the two. The spec's on the Rodenstock indicate that the closer to the object being photographed the camera is, the larger the imaging circle - 1:5 has 302mm, 1:1 has 415mm, 2:1 has 565mm which leads to my question - can this lens cover 5x7 at infinity? As in, if I wanted to use this lens (or any other large-format macro lens) for some landscape work, is there enough coverage? Also, is the lens designed for a more "flat" photographic subject than such a "deep" subject as landscape?

    I use my Nikon 60mm Micro on 35mm as the regular walk-around lens as it gives great colours and it allows me to switch into macro mode instantly - can a large format lens do the same?

    Thanks.
     
  2. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    hello

    wide angles and macro lenses are a different business. choose what suits you best. macro-symmar (180mm) from schneider covers 5x7 at infinity, i don´t know about the rodenstock. macro lenses in large format seem to follow more the simetrical design and do not have the floating elements as the micro 60mm from nikkor to make some corrections when focusing to infinity or close up so they will perform a bit worse when focused to infinity, specially in the corners, probably not very important. another thing, macro lenses tend to have a high mcro contrast that may not be very appealing to some subjects.

    your choice...

    rui lourosa
     
  3. Thingy

    Thingy Member

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    According to the Schneider website, you can use the 180mm Macro-Symmar with any format up to and including 10x8.

    https://www.schneideroptics.com/ecommerce/CatalogItemDetail.aspx?CID=167&IID=1846

    I use their 120mm Macro-Symmar with 5x4 and it provides excellent results for both macro work, and in an emergency also provides superb images at infinity (no movements possible though with 5x4). It reminds me of my excellent 55mm Micro-Nikkor.
     
  4. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    According to the Schneider data in the link given in post #3, the maximum view angle is 55° at f/22. The true focal length is 179.9mm of the 180/5.6 Macro-Symar. The data for a Rodenstock 180mm macro lens should be similar.

    At infinity that gives an image circle of 187.3mm diameter. I don’t think that’s sufficient to cover the diagonal of the image rectangle of a 5” x 7” film. It’s close, but not quite sufficient.
     
  5. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Thanks everyone, I think I will look at 2 separate lenses as opposed to one as the lack of movements at infinity would bother me.
     
  6. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    G-Clarons are a classic example of good close-up, infinity and coverage. You do have to stop down for best coverage. And I'm not sure how they would work in extreme close conditions. I use a 150 for 5x7 and it works fine with small movements at f32 or greater.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Image circle at infinity is not really the question with a dedicated macro lens for large format. The question is whether it covers the format at the magnification range for which the lens is optimized, and at which it will be used. I've used a lens made for 35mm on 4x5" at high magnification--

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=7389&catid=member&imageuser=60

    You wouldn't even want all that excess coverage in any case, because it would only reduce contrast and should be reduced with a compendium shade.

    A dedicated 120mm or 180mm macro lens that doesn't come close to covering 8x10" at infinity may be considered to cover 8x10" for its intended purpose.
     
  8. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    The image circle (IC) gets larger as the subject gets closer because the lens moves away from the film.

    This is true of any lens on any camera.

    The IC at infinity will be half the value shown at 1:1, abour 207mm for this lens.

    The diagonal of 5x7 film (not the image) is ~218mm, so I would expect vignetting at the corners if using the referenced lens, and no movements at all.

    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2011
  9. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Some folks don't have the luxury of buying multiple lenses of the same focal length, so they end up using macro lenses for general photography. Macro lenses will work find in that application.

    Since the lens may well "be used" at infinity, the IC diameter at that distance is significant.

    - Leigh
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Of course, but a lens that covers the format at infinity as would be typical of a conventional lens of the same focal length is likely not to be a true macro lens. In that case, better just to by a normal lens for infinity coverage and make it do double duty for macro (like most people do), rather than to buy a macro lens and be surprised that it doesn't cover the expected format at infinity. Most modern plasmat types are pretty sharp in the macro range. A dedicated macro lens will be sharper, but lacking a side by side comparison it's a bit like using a glass negative carrier vs. an open negative carrier in the enlarger--if you don't make the comparison, it still looks pretty sharp.
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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  12. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I think my question has been answered: I am trying not to buy duplicate lenses and have limited funds, so a lens that can work as a "normal" lens and as a macro lens would be preferred, as my Nikon 60mm or Mamiya 140mm can be used. My question came from looking at specs online and seeing amazing coverage at macro ranges but nothing indicating infinity coverage. Normally the specs tell you that lens XYZ has 284mm coverage at f/22, whereas macro lens are quoted as 284mm coverage at 2:1. I think David also has it right in that if you don't have anything to compare it to, most lenses look sharp until shown otherwise. Leigh is also right in that I am trying to make the most of the funds I have (or rather, hope to have).
     
  13. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Hi Kevin,

    To answer your question directly...

    The image circle diameter at infinity will be half the value given for 1:1. This is just a trigonometry thing.

    - Leigh