Lens recommendations?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Robb Scharetg, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Robb Scharetg

    Robb Scharetg Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Arlington, V
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi,

    So I'm looking for ideas & suggestions concerning lenses for my 8x10 and 11x14 cameras. Jim Galli I'm hoping you weigh in on this, as well as anyone else who can guide me in the right direction.

    I have a Kodak Master View 8x10 and a Empire 11x14 and I'm looking for some old glass to give the finished images a certain look. I already have plenty of fast glass to use as portrait lenses (although I'm looking for more) but what I really want is to find some wide angle lenses that will give the resulting photographs a soft, almost "pointillistic" feel to them. Not soft focus ( I have a Verito and a Pinhkam & Smith for that) but a final look like a Manet/Degas or Remington/Wyeth painting. Where things are in focus but not sharp. If that makes sense? Maybe I need a wide angle Verito or something analogous. Does such a thing exist? A wide angle petzval? Anyhow any input would be appreciated. This is for a long term personal body of work I'd like to start. I'm sure there's some way to do this in post but I want to do it in camera.

    Thanks for your suggestions in advance.

    Robb Scharetg
     
  2. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Cooke VIIb

    Hi Robb. Wide angle is so difficult. Especially with old glass. Most of them are sharp in the middle and crappy out in the corners. The Series V Protar's are hard to use with the f18 wide open. I have an 8X10" 162mm Series VIIb Cooke that is just awesome. I've done some interiors with that lens that just have an etched glass look to them. But if one of those that covers 11X14 (222mm IIRC) comes along.....look out on main street because I'll gun ya down.
     
  3. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Short of getting gunned down by Galli going for the gusto of one of those Cooke's (lol), you might consider experimenting with filtration to achieve what you're looking for. While most "soft focus" filters, or glass plates with smears, just blur when mounted on the lens, you might get what you're looking for by rigging a larger version farther in front of the lens.
     
  4. laz

    laz Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Lower Hudson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So If another 8x10 comes along may I gun you down for it? :wink:
    -Bob
     
  5. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In the pre WW1 era, with 'old sensibilities' yet the excitement of being able to take the new films and plates out of the studios and into 'Homes and Gardens', many photographers turned to the new anastigmats because they were fast, but also usable at fast apertures. Tessars, Heliars, Cookes, Dagors, Collinears, the lot.

    They solved the aesthetic difficulties, according to articles written at the time, and from conversations with old timers when I was much younger, by the simple expedient of focussing sharply ( a soft, yet coherent image ) then racking the lens forward, shifting the plane of sharp focus away from the face and into the space before the camera .

    Light is always the most important thing in establishing the 'feel' of the image. Next, you can give full exposure and gentle development, to reduce the hardblacks in the shadows. Then, working at a fairly large aperture, and using focus carefully, as did Emerson, you can put the clarity where you want.

    So, for a wide field of view, with a coherent image but not striking acutance... I think you're looking at a Series VII Protar or Dagor. Even if you need to stop down a great deal, using Emerson's aesthetic of very soft shadows and mellow highlights ( roughly a scale from Zone II / III ~ Zone VII / VIII ) will reduce the biting, in your face intensity and put the attention back on the content. A good place to begin would be Tri X @ 50 or 100.

    A 9 1/2 " Dagor covers 11x14 @ f/32 ( barely, barely, barely ) and a 7" covers 8x10 in a very skinny sort of way. A Protar VII of slightly longer focal length will be needed.

    As for a Series V Protar, I don't mind working at f/18 for landscapes. The lenses are very fine, and like the Dagor and Series VII, make a lovely, round, "breathing image ", as Ansel put it. A 5 9/16" covers 8x10, and 7 3/16" covers 11x14.

    Investing part of the lens fund in some Satinsnow might be clever.

    good luck

    .
     
  7. phfitz

    phfitz Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi there,

    Not to light a fire but you could try something I stumbled on for that 'look', Bergger 200 film in dektol 1-3. It may just give you what you are looking for. Try a start time of 4 min @70* for iso50. I didn't like the Bergger film so I never chased this down.

    Just a thought.
     
  8. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

    Messages:
    1,941
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Climax, Michigan
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You might try a convertible lens and use only the front or rear group to achieve the look you are after. I think you'll find the old Gunlach triple convertibles useful in that regard. My understanding is they are not particularly sharp when combined and even less so when the groups are used alone. Compared to other vintage lenses they are fairly inexpensive.

    Another option might be simple diopters used as a taking lens or in combination with regular lenses to soften the definition. View Camera magazine had an article about using diopters along with normal lenses about three years ago.

    Joe
     
  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I think I probably missed the boat here. The VIIb is really much sharper than what you're asking about. How wide is wide? Wondering if the 12" de-focus Velostigmat would work. Jay Tepper just put one up on Ebay. Not really very wide but mildly so. That lens on the 11X14 and just letting the corners go dark might have a very nice look.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'll second gandolfi's suggestion of an Aplanat. Get two - one wide-angle and one "normal". The WA's are suprisingly sharp (all the way to the corners) when stopped down to f:64 or so, while at full aperture (about f:16) they have a very sharp center and soft corners. The "normal" Aplanats / Rapid Rectilinears show the same phenomenon over a narrower angle: Full open the center 30° or so is sharp and the corners (very) soft, sharpening up to cover about 70-80° at f:64.

    Another nice thing with aplanats is the price: Five aplanats gets you one Petzval - an you're less likely to be bidding against Jim Galli (but more likely to be bidding against me). :D
     
  11. ineffablething

    ineffablething Member

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Take an old wide angle lens. Maybe one that has a crack in it or is otherwise flawed. Preheat your oven to around 200 degrees. Place said lens in to the oven, bake for around 2-3 hours. Balsam will bubble, elements will separate, you will find all sorts of new and interesting things.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Even better: Take an old Angulon and bake it in the oven. The two inner elements of whichever group is up will simply drop off, ensuring that the lens will never focus anything again...
     
  13. ineffablething

    ineffablething Member

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    If you do it correctly, you don't lose the ability to focus. Although I must admit that focus can be a bit fleeting. The effects can be very interesting. And the original poster was looking for "pointilist" effects. I provided him with a tried and true method for obtaining such effects.
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Agreed, just make sure it isn't an Angulon or an Angulon clone (e.g. Leitmeyr Weitwinkel Anastigmat). AS I said the inner elements are only held in place by cementing them to the outer elements. The danger of "sag" is real, and may be part of the reason for the very variable quality of Angulons.

    I have one in my "collection" where the inner elements have dropped off the front group; but that's all right since I bought it for the shutter. It doesn't focus at all - the focal length is around -300mm (negative!).
     
  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Interesting, Ole, that your Leitmeyr Weitwinkel Anastigmat is an Angulon clone. I recently got one. By the reflections -- four strong, no weak, on each side of the diaphragm -- it has to be a 4/4 double Gauss type. Another instance of a trade name applied to more than one design.
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The Leitmeyr surprised me too - my 121mm is definitely an Angulon type. It now sits in the shutter I took from the 90mm Angulon with missing elements, a perfect fit. If I could find a straight "arrow" for the aperture scale, that would be a perfect match too!