Old Buildings at full aperture

Discussion in 'Architecture' started by pentaxpete, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    Using up a 2002 Fuji RMS Film in my 2002 Hasselblad 501 CM + 80mm f2.8 CFE Planar T* + 16-on back I used full aperture as sometimes I have been disappointed with the full aperture results on this lens but this time I could see all the fine detail under a x6 magnifier on these old buildings in Hart Street, Brentwood, Essex, England.
    [​IMG]Old Bwd Buildings by Peter Elgar, on Flickr
     
  2. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Member

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    Nicely done!

    The 80/2.8 may be underappreciated since it's so common, but Zeiss made a great lens.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Since you are disappointed with the 80mm f/2.8 lens you need to rush out and buy the 100mm f/3.5 CF lens. You will not be disappointed at full aperture.
     
  4. darinwc

    darinwc Member

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    I think the plasmat is too sharp even wide open. Perhaps a soft focus filter or lens would help reduce the signs of aging on these old houses.
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Subscriber

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    Isn't the point of these photos of old buildings to show their character. Would you hire a carpenter and painter to spiffy them up before taking pictures.
     
  6. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    What do you attribute your previous disappointments to, if you are satisfied with this result now? Missed focus, I presume?
     
  7. ozmoose

    ozmoose Member

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    No-one has asked this question, so I will. Why do you have to shoot at full aperture?

    Depth of field at f/2.8 with an 80mm Planar isn't particularly great. Very very very careful focusing is essential. Also the use of a tripod. Your best images will be head on. Sidelong shots as you posted, will often result in the actual area you focus on being sharp, and most of the rest slightly to very unsharp with consequent loss of fine detail due to blur. This latter point is a definite and cannot be avoided. If you intend to shoot with an 80 f/2.8 at f/2.8, you will have to learn to live with out-of-focus areas. End of story, basically.

    Like you I used a Hasselblad (500C, then 500C/M) with the 80 and a 16 back to shoot interior designs. I had all the problems listed above. For interiors (which I designed and consequently had to photograph in detail for visual records), I found f/5.6-f/8 was the sweet spot with the 80. Eventually I bought a 50 which gave me much better sharpness wide open at f/4.5, but selective focusing issues as well. Not exactly a win-win, but a make do. I used mostly the 80 in my work for ten years. I found the two lenses gave VG+ definition and fine detail, so for me lack of sharpness due to focusing was the problem.

    For reasons other than the 80's sharpness and ability to shoot fully open, I sold the Hasselblad and initially did my work with a 2.8E2 Rolleiflex with the 80 Xenotar, which gave much sharper results. After experimenting I discovered the sweet spots was f/4-f/5.6.

    I changed over to another medium in the mid 2000s and found this largely eliminated the focusing/sharpness problem, mostly because I could shoot as many images as I wanted without breaking the budget buying 120 film. The 2.8E2 now mostly sits on the shelf at home but gets taken out a few times a year for my cheesy landscape shoots.The 500C/M went to a Melbourne pro who still uses it for B&W advertising work.

    Unless you are a purist and absolutely must use your Planar 80 fully open, I would suggest you buy EI 400 film and shoot it at f/4 or ideally at f/5.6. A tripod is a must. Use a ruled viewing screen (I forget what these are called but they are easily found even secondhand on Ebay) and watch your verticals as these are the first thing you will notice if they converge.

    Also check to make sure your focussing on the camera and the alignment of the A12-A16 backs are correctly set. Hasselblads work beautifully but are fiddly cameras and mine (also the film backs) seemed to required regular CLAs and minor adjustments to keep them functioning. I gave up on the 'blad when I found I didn't relate to the ergonomics of the camera and also disliked having to poke the thing into my stomach every time I shot off the tripod. As well it is an unfortunate "truism" that these cameras are pro gear and need a lot of maintenance to keep them working at their best. My Rolleiflex 2.8E2 on the other hand, was manufactured in 1961 and has had two CLAs in its 55 year life. It is now a beater but is still working as new.

    A last point. On the few occasions I shot wide open, those viewing my images (mostly clients who were paying me for the shoots and thus felt they could be more candidly critical) always remarked on how distracting the out-of-focus areas were...

    I hope these comments will be useful to you. My two hundred rupiahs' worth as a (retired) interior design architect.
     
  8. oldtimermetoo

    oldtimermetoo Subscriber

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    This reminded me of a member of our camera club (before anyone ever heard of ------- cameras which is all the club uses now). This member bought a new Hasselblad 500cm with two lenses, also new and a few months later, he told us that he had sold the outfit. Reason? The lenses were too sharp! Those of us who are still alive still can't get over that. I have never seen or used a lens that I thought was too sharp. As for those old buildings and their signs of aging. When I look into a mirror, I see a similar problem. However, I do have a couple of softar lenses that will do away with that ugly sharpness..........Regards!
     
  9. ozmoose

    ozmoose Member

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    Good one, oldtimermetoo (#8). I had intended to mention the Zeiss Softars for the Hasselblad, but forgot. When I used a 'blad I had the three Softars, and used them now and then, for exteriors when a certain amount of "fuzz" was called for. I also have them for the Rolleiflex. They are life savers and do wonders if you shoot portraits of sitters "of a certain age".

    during my 20+ year career in interior design, THE camera I most wanted to own was the Hasselblad SWC, but alas! it was an unaffordable luxury and none came my way at a price I could afford. Then, not long after I retired in 2012, out of the blue at a camera club outing I was offered a 1970 SWC in VG+ user condition, the seller initially wanted A$1,800 for it but I told him I couldn't justify the price and made a lower offer which he turned down. Two months later he called and left a recorded message on my home phone, offering me the SWC for my offer of A$1,000. I was overseas and only got the message when we came home, by which time he was overseas. Years later we met again and he told me he sold it in New Mexico - for US$700! That really hurt. I have bad dreams about all this even now.

    Sad stories aside, over the years I had many discussions with older architects who, as I did, shot all their own images, largely because we are more idealists than business types and for most of us architecture wasn't the best paying profession around. In the 1990s a (now deceased) leading Australian architectural photographer summed it up for me in an apt comment. "It's all about f/8, shoot on sunny days, and watch the verticals. Let the horizontals take care of themselves."

    True words indeed. When shooting with a 28mm (in '35) or MF equivalent, even with a tripod, a certain degree of "sag" in many of the straight lines is visible, and as I've found, if the vertical lines are properly, well, vertical, my clients mostly ignored a slight amount of lean in the horizontals. When out shooting, a small spirit level can be your best friend. I carried a small carpenter's level in my camera kit for many years and put it on top of the Rollei WLF (waist level finder) before every new shoot. This worked well for me. My 35mm cameras all have a small spirit level, these are available on Ebay at little cost and they do the job well. Of course a solid tripod is a must.

    As well, unless you specifically want this effect, I suggest you should avoid the "falling over backwards" effect so often seen when using the wider angle lenses. This is regarded by the profession as amateur work and architects (and clients) greatly dislike it.

    If one works with care and not in a rush and uses the right tools (even inexpensive ones) to shoot architecture, usually the results will be OK (= publishable) and everyone will tend to like them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017 at 9:06 AM
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The Hasselblad f/3.5 100mm is very sharp. It was designed for NASA. If you want a pleasing portrait of a woman, use another lens because that lens will show everything a woman does not want seen.