Nice Fast Lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by David Hall, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I did the coolest thing this weekend...

    I fashioned a little hood for the 4x5 and photographed my daughter's birthday party entirely with the 4x5 on a tripod by guessing at the focus on the screen (no loupe) and shooting some 79 and 54 polaroid. It was GREAT!

    The only problem was shooting 80 speed film in shade with a 5.6 max lens. I had shutter speeds down to 1/8th.

    SO...any recommendations for a cheap, fast lens that covers 4x5? Maybe something from the Speedgraphic era?

    dgh
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Seems there ought to have been a 135/3.5 Optar or some such with not much room for movements, but for available light, press camera use. Check www.graflex.org.
     
  3. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Old Xenars (f/4.5) and Ektars (127mm, f/4.7) come to mind, for the Speed Graphic era. Most press lenses seem to be about f/4.5 or f/4.7. You can also get new f/4.5 lenses, if you've got the money.

    Here's a few Speed Graphic era lenses that aren't too bad:

    127mm Kodak Ektar f/4.7
    127mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
    135mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
    135mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
    150mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
    152mm Kodak Ektar f/4.5
    162mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
    180mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
    190mm Wollensak Raptar f/4.5
    210mm Schneider Xenar f/4.5
    (lots of other old f/4.5 Xenars..., or Graflex Optar versions of the Wollensak Raptars)
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Member

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    How about the Aero lens? Aren't they 2.8?
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a Zeiss 135/3.5 Planar, but it doesn't meet the "cheap" requirement. A Heliar in that focal length range would probably be f:4.5, and not too expensive, but maybe not quite fast enough.
     
  6. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ Mar 31 2003, 01:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>How about the Aero lens? Aren't they 2.8?</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    The 178mm Aero Ektar is f/2.5. I seem to remember reading somewhere that you have to make some modifications on the lens board (like add an extension or something) because the lens barrel is so big. Or maybe it's just that the lens is so big and heavy, you need a better way to support it. You might want to check into that first.

    BTW, this lens covers 5x5, some of those lenses I listed previously might just barely cover it, or you might have to step down some to avoid soft corners (or don't use movements). But most of the press style lenses can be used wide open with good results (whereas some modern f/4.5's are only good for focusing wide open, and you may even have to stop down some for critical focusing).

    Also, add a 150mm Schneider Xenotar (f/2.8), 160mm image circle to the list.
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Member

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    A 7" Kodak Aero F/2.5 is selling on Ebay right now. I can't tell if it's got a shutter or not. The price of mounting it in a shutter likely removes it from the cheap area. If you have a graphic with a rear shutter it would be perfect. Well if it doesn't weigh a ton.
     
  8. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    There should be tons of Schneider 135 f3.5s around. It was the standard lens for Technicas when they were used as press cameras. Schneider also made a cool, big hunk of glass, 150 f2.8 through the mid 70's. These are probably pretty rare and expensive, but don't know.
     
  9. fingel

    fingel Member

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    Hey David,
    I have an old Aero Ektar. The thing is HEAVY. Weighs more than the camera. There is no shutter but you can probably rig up something. The rear element is about 3" wide. I use it on an old speed graphic with the focal plane shutter. It is razor sharp with no fall off wide open.......BUT you also get about 6mm DOF. I think it was designed for use at infinity focus, at night with IR film. DOF would not be real a problem from 20000 ft up. If you stop down to f16 which is as low as it goes you get better DOF.
    My suggestion would be buy an old speed/crown graphic with a calibrated rangfinder and use whatever lens its calibrated to. I have shot some photos using only the rangfinder for focusing and it works great and is surprisingly fast for large format. The optar is a nice sharp lens. I even like using it with chroms, it kind of gives that vintage look.
     
  10. Super Graphic Guy

    Super Graphic Guy Member

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    I have the Wollensak 162mm f/4.5 Raptar. A very bright GG, and a sharp lens when stoped down. I have never used it below f/16 so I can't comment on it's performance wide open.
     
  11. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    That's what I need...a good Raptar. So if I get hungry when I'm out with the lens, the Raptar can go kill something and bring it back...

    Seriously, I was looking at Ektars and others at Samy's in Hollyweird today, and noticed that most are in Graphic or Acme shutters, and look pretty old. Are these shutters good? Are the lenses easily put in newer shutters, or is that even really an issue with a standard used Raptar or Ektar?

    dgh
     
  12. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I've got a typical press lens--a 127mm f4.7 Ektar in a supermatic shutter. No room for movements, but its a nice lens when hooked up to a Crown or Speed Graphic. If you set the infinity stops correctly you can get great results with the sports finder ( which is what I need when shooting my 3 & 4 year olds) Cruise through the boards at www.graflex.org and you'll get a lot of info on these lenses.
     
  13. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Some additional info: Check out Mike's Place which is linked to www.equinoxphotographic.com for press lenses. I got mine in a supermatic last year for I think 70-80 bucks. As for shutters, SK Grimes & Fred Lustig (who is THE Graflex Guru) can probably handle anything that needs doing. FWIW on SK Grimes website, he speaks rather highly of the Kodak Supermatics and Ilex Acmes and Universals. Check out www.skgrimes.com/classshut/index.htm for more info. Fred Lustig, I understand, has parts for fixing the more esoteric press shutters out there. Have fun!
     
  14. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Old shutters are well old. I wouldn't count them to be 100% perfect but then some people claim brand new shutters aren't 100% either. If you're able to test the thing out then that will give you an idea. Likely the speeds will be off but if they are constant then that's okay. How hard a new shutter will be depends on which shutter you need. Those real big ones aren't made anymore. Neither are the #2. Best person to ask about new shutters and old ones is somebody like Skgrimes.

    www.skgrimes.com
     
  15. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I have a 1960's compur. It needs to be warmed up some or the slow speeds are real slow. Fire it a few times and they get closer. They are still slower then they should be but reasonable.
     
  16. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Let me make sure I understand...

    Olde shutters' speeds will probably be off, but will be consistently off for each lens. So if a shutter's one second speed is really two seconds, it will usually be two seconds?

    dgh
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Maybe-)) You really need to check the shutter. My old compur starts out the day at about 3seconds when set for 1second. Fire it about 5 or so times and the shutter is at about 1.5 seconds and constant. I bought an old 35mm last fall. When I got it 1 second was closer to 5 seconds. Spent some time watching TV firing the shutter and now the speeds are alot closer to proper. Not perfect but steady. Obviously the best thing would be a CLA but it does work.
     
  18. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    David,
    In regard to your question about shutter timing inconsistencies being consistent, (whoa!!! that even twisted my brain into a pretzel for a bit!!!), I have heard others post that even with a CLA that when the shutter timing was adjusted it soon returned to it's predisposed timing. (Sounds like a female trait to me). I don't know that to be true, just what I have heard. So a number of photographers simply test their shutter speeds and then note the actual timing for consideration when exposing film.
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A full CLA will help the shutter operate at consistent times; you won't have to click the shutter a few times to make the lubricant fluid again...

    The "A" in "CLA" should stand for "Adjust". It quite often means "Assemble". I just got hold of a repair manual for Compur shutters through eBay, so I'll now try to CLA the worst one of mine. It starts off at about 15s on the 1s setting, then speeds up depending on use, temperature and (probably) mood. After a few clicks the 1s is about 2, the 1/10s is around 1/2s, and the 1/200s is spot on!

    On the other hand, I have a 300mm f:4.5 Xenar in a Compound #5 shutter which is within 10% at all times (I had it measured). At around 1kg the lens is a bit heavy, so I don't bring it unless I also bring the 5x7" Technika (7kg). That combination really precludes walking, so I bring a 121mm S.Angulon as well...

    For travelling light, I have a Voigtländer Bergheil 9x13cm plate camera, with three film inserts. Total weight (including 150mm Heliar) - less than the 300mm lens alone [​IMG]
     
  20. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    David, Speaking of press type lenses, there is a 133 mm Goerz Dogmar F4.5 lens listed on E*** . Item number is 2921009422. Supposedly an apo lens and very sharp even wide open. Will cover 4X5.
     
  21. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Donald,

    Thanks!

    dgh
     
  22. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    David, FWIW, a press type lens & lensboard for mounting is going to set you back somewhere between $100 and $200. For less than $200 you can probably find an old Crown Graphic with a lens if you're into 'the chase.' Just a thought!
     
  23. Super Graphic Guy

    Super Graphic Guy Member

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    David,

    I am fortunate in that all my old Rapax shutters are consistently off. For instance, the 1/25th sec on the 162mm Raptar is realy 1/30th sec. Some speeds like 1/50th are dead on, but all old shutters are not alike. Some are flaky, and not consistent in any way. I would advise a test to find what speeds any old shutter is firing at. A CLA would not hurt, but will run about $80.