Need 4x5 rental camera and ultra sharp ultra wide lens recommendation.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kurt765, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    There's a photo I am planning to take late this summer. It is a trail that involves star trails. I have never shot anything larger than medium format before, but I've got some time to learn.

    I'm probably going to need to rent a camera and a lens.

    Is there a 21mm (35mm equivalent POV) lens that works for 4x5?
    Are such lenses generally sharp wide open? I'm guessing such a lens will be perhaps f5.6 wide open, which I will have to shoot at probably. I need everything from about 1500 feet away to infinity in focus which hopefully won't be any kind of a problem.

    I'm just trying to figure things out. I've got several months to do so. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

    Thanks.
    -K
     
  2. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Rodenstock Grandagon in models 90mm and 65mm are tack sharp....but might have some vignetting on the 65mm without the center grad filter. I think they made a series that opened to 4.5 but I never have actually seen/used that particular lens. The 6.8 could be shot wide open or at f/8 focused near infinity and give you some solid results.
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You might take a look at a Rodenstock 75mm f/4.5 Grandagon. It will give you an extra half stop over most large format lenses. A 21mm lens on 35mm gives you about 80x60 degrees. The 75mm will give you 80x70 degrees. If you want to match vertical angles of view, go with a 90mm, which is about 70x60 degrees.

    For this project, with infinity focusing in a very dark situation, shot wide open, you might find a camera with infinity stops helpful. You can probably rent a Linhof and that lens no problem in any big city.
     
  4. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    A vote for the Nikkor 65mm f/4 too - very sharp, close to 21mm equivalent and a nice big maximum aperture for clear focusing...

    Marc!
     
  5. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. A local camera store actually has a couple of LF cameras and a bunch of lenses available. Schneider lenses and Nikkor lenses including the 65mm.

    The three cameras they have are the Toyo A-II and the Toyo G-II and the Sinar P2.

    I'm guessing the A-II will be the lightest and simplest of the offerings. Since whatever camera I get will be coming with me to 12,500 feet, I want a light camera! I don't think the shot I have in mind has any particular technical challenges with tilt and shift movements, etc. I just want the mega resolution that only LF film can provide.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Certainly sounds like a fine adventure! Obvious suggestion is to try it out before you go -- photograph with different f/stops. I would be surprised if you would get the results you are looking for at wide open with any lens -- those stars do tend to flare a little at anything besides the optimum f/stops.

    If you find a lens in your testing that works perfectly for you, I would suggest noting the serial number and getting the exact lens again for the real thing. There can be some variation between lenses of the same make/model, so why take chances on a unique opportunity like you are planning?!

    Vaughn
     
  7. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    With ISO 100 film It's really going to need to be 5.6 at the smallest in my experience. I've never seen starlight cause a flare in my Canon and Mamiya glass. Would this be a problem in a LF lens?
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Sounds good. It's really too bad they don't rent Technikas, though. For what you are doing, it would be ideal. You don't need any of the extra bulk of a monorail camera, and being able to lock right into infinity focus mechanically instead of visually would simplify your life and make user error less likely.

    Just remember that a 75mm lens is the widest you can go on 4x5 without going wider than your 21mm lens on 35mm film. Even the 75mm will "seem" a bit wider because 4x5 format gives you a fatter frame.
     
  9. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    Wider isn't really a problem. I won't know for sure what focal length I will need until I can get up there and scout (after the snow melts). I've got some experimenting to do.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    What I have seen is perhaps not so much flare, but the ability to render the stars as the smallest point possible. At both extremes of f/stop, the stars might just look a little larger, and star-trails a little wider. Might be perfectly acceptable for what you want.

    Vaughn
     
  11. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    Hrm. Interesting. Though the tradeoff is also that some dimmer stars won't even show up if you shoot at a smaller aperture, no? I've seen considerably less stars in tests with wider apertures vs. smaller.

    F5.6:
    [​IMG]

    F11:
    [​IMG]

    -K
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yes, wider apertures = a more dense-looking field of stars. The higher you go, the more the ones that are lesser in intensity are filtered out of the exposure.

    You can see by your pictures that f/5.6, and even f/11, can work just fine.

    Your aperture for these type of shots should depend on exactly this, as well as some other considerations, such as what kind of exposure you will get on Earth-bound objects in the frame in that amount of time. If you want the most possible light on the Eart-bound objects, then the lower the f stop the better. As a result, you also get a very dense field of stars for these shots.
     
  13. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Vignetting in most f/5.6 LF lenses stops at f/11--this is true for my Rodenstock 55mm, 90mm, and 135mm. However, that is just mechanical vignetting. The wide lenses will have a certain amount of natural vignetting.

    You will also have to take care that your film does not shift with humidity during exposure. Many LF astrophotographers convert a 4x5 film holder to a vacuum back. I have heard of folks putting a small piece of double sided tape in the center of the holder to hold the film--but that always seemed a pain to me for various reasons. You may want a cloth to cover the camera so to reduce dewing. There is also the possibility of the lens getting dew on it.

    But good luck. More folks should take their cameras out at night--including me.
     
  14. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    I'm thinking of getting something like this - Dew-Not

    I hadn't really thought of protecting the film plane. Perhaps if I used the dew not on the film area and the lens.

    -K
     
  15. kurt765

    kurt765 Member

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    Also, I am not sure I can rent a vacuum film back anywhere. I'm lucky I think that a place has LF gear to rent here in Los Angeles.

    -K
     
  16. kauffman v36

    kauffman v36 Member

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    my Schneidr Super Angulon 75/5.6 is tack sharp at f11, never shot it more open than that.