Sort of a noob question

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kenj8246, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    What is the ideal focal length to take advantage of movements? I have a craving to learn how to use them and, conincidentally, also have my eye on a Calumet C400. Any insight appreciated.

    Kenny
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Do you mean camera movements, or movement of the subject?
     
  3. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Sorry, camera movements. Wasn't clear, was I?
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi there

    a 150mm lens is one of the lenses people refer to as "normal" focal length
    the bellows won't be too tight or stretched out ... about 6" at infinity ..

    have fun!
    john
     
  5. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Thanks. I'm already having fun with my Crown Graphic. My wallet, on the other hand, thinks I'm daft.

    Kenny
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I don't know that there is an "ideal" FL. What's ideal really depends on the camera, and whether the lens has sufficient coverage for the movements you want to use. Not to mention what sort of image size you'd like.
    In the case of a Graflex, there is barely any movement available, and not a lot of bellows length. There are few lenses that would not be up to a Speed or Crown's limits.

    The Calumet, OTH, has enough movement to get to edge of almost any image circle.

    My favorite 4x5 view camera lens is a 210, in the case of a Symmar 210 it has enough coverage for 5x7, in 4x5 you can get pretty much as extreme as you like with movements.

    IMHO the a 210 is the ideal FL for 4x5, but it really depends on the specifics of what you'd like to do.
     
  7. ChrisK

    ChrisK Member

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    I recommend going with a 150. It is easy, expecially in the corners and edges, to see the effects. Beware a wide angle when starting out...the light drops off dramatically at the edges and makes it hard to see. Once you get the idea of the movements and what they look like, a wide angle is much easier to use (sure is easier to see something when you know what you are looking for). And for large format, the price is right for a 150mm. Learn to ignore your wallet. Mine stopped respecting me the minute I started with this business.
     
  8. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies, one and all. I find that, at the moment, I'm partial to the old county courthouses in TX. I'm trying to get around to the ones I enjoy looking at and make images of them. My Crown does a creditable job; at least, I think it does. This is what I call a standoff shot.

    [​IMG]
    Gonzales County TX courthouse by kenj8246, on Flickr

    I'm just looking to explore a little more. I know only what I've read about movements but would like to be able to go further.

    Kenny
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Howz 'bout a 150/265 convertible Symmar?
     
  10. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Anything's ideal, as long as:
    a) the lens has enough of an image circle to cover the format with a decent amount of movements (I'd say at least 30mm is nice) and
    b) the lens isn't so short that movement is severely restricted by the bellow (unless you've got a bag bellows).

    To satisfy these (on 4x5), I'd be looking at least at a 100-degree wide (Super Angulon/XL, Fuji SW/D, Grandagon N) at 90mm+, or a 70-degree normal (Symmar, Fuji W, Sironar) of about 150-180mm+.
    In short, just look here for something that has at least 210-230mm Image Circle (more is better, of course), and 100mm Film-Flange (more is better, up to a point, depends on your bellows)
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I don't know much about the Calumet C400 except for that it's old and cheap. Maybe someone else with more knowledge than me can chime in.

    The later model Cambos and Calumets are also cheap and it's easy to find lens boards, bag bellows, compendium shades, etc. for them.
     
  12. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Thanks again, especially to Dr Croubie for the nice link. I've already thrown that into a spreadsheet. :smile: Had no idea there were so many choices. It'll be interesting to see how many of these can be located.
     
  13. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I have a CC404 I've been trying to sell. It's a beast of a camera, but it sure is well made.
     
  14. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Good news! Just spoke with a friend who has two Graphic View camreas. He's willing to let me use one to get a feel for a view camera and movements. Now, I suppose I need to find a second job to pay for film. :D

    Kenny
     
  15. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    The Calumet 400 is much like the Graphic View except that the rail is round in cross section as opposed to triangular. I had a student-level Ilex/Caltar 165mm on mine (good coverage) and had a lot of fun trying out all the movements. The Calumet has every single one except back rise & fall, which is not significant.
     
  16. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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  17. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    It gets worse, click on the link at the top of that page for Michael Davis' lists, then you get to see all the new lenses like the APO, XL, HM, and SWD versions that you can't afford.
    And those lists barely scratch the surface, I've got a Xenotar that is old enough but not on that list. Then you can get into all the ex-Soviet, east german, and pre-war lenses like all those here, and then there are process and enlarging lenses on top of that. (if you want cheap and good soviet stuff, try looking for Industar 11m and RF-4 process lenses, but you'll need to front-mount them to a shutter which might negate all your savings unless you're an engineer like me)

    LF is the worst way to get GAS.
    run.
    run while you still can.

    Actually, I find film the cheapest part of the whole lot, if you shoot B+W. FP4 is just over $1 per sheet new, once you've got a mod54 or Jobo 2509 all you need is a few cents worth of rodinal and fixer. Even cheaper if you buy expired from fleabay.
    Just don't get into chromes. Once you see how beautiful they are you'll never want to shoot anything else. I just got a 20 pack of Velvia50 from Japan for US$140. That's AU$9 per sheet, plus another $10 for lab developing. Makes you think more than twice before you click that shutter.
     
  18. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    Well, thanks again for all the encouraging news, Dr Croubie. :D:D
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    You did not specify LF only. Hasselblad has the ArcBody and the FlexBody for 120 film. Nikon and others have perspective correcting lenses for 35mm film.
     
  20. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Simple (though understandably not to you at this juncture). The shortest (widest angle) that has sufficient (or the greatest) coverage for your format.

    The reason is that shorter FLs will force you to use all available movements (i.e., shift, tilt, swing) for framing, focus, perrspective control, and to correct for convergence, particularly important with man-made structures, but will allow you more inherent DOF. Attaining more DOF in near/far relationships and closer to the subject is another set of movement combinations especially important as FLs increase and DOF decreases. Longer FLs will be helpful in completing your movement education and practice (aka, Movement 102), thus completing the circle and making a liar of me:laugh:.
     
  21. kenj8246

    kenj8246 Subscriber

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    I am aware of the tilt/shift PC lenses for 35mm. Given my budget, they are prohibitively expensive.
     
  22. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    The FUji GX680 can be had fairly cheaply used and has superb lenses (also not bad) movments, and a great 6X8 format...
     
  23. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Actually, for what they are, GX680s are ridiculously cheap, and Fujinon lenses are generally excellent.
    I suppose they just never sold well because anyone wanting that level of control with that bulk just went for 4x5 with a rollback adapter?
    Lenses for under $100, bodies for $100-150, just make sure there's a battery holder in there because they look to go for $150 separately.
    Full kits for $300-400. Look for a guy on fleabay called 'astrosmith22', he sells a lot of GX stuff. I've bought a lot of Toyo stuff from him, he packs well and ships fast and it's mostly near new.

    The other option for TS on 35mm, without going to the ridiculous prices of Canon's (even the RokiBowYang TS ain't exactly cheap) are Pentacon Six lenses on adapters.
    The widest you get are 50mm Zeiss (sharp, $100-150), 45mm Soviet (hit and miss, $50-100), or 30mm fisheye ($100-200) and you can get a tilt OR shift adapter for $100 (mostly arax/arsat).
    There are a few tilt AND shift adapters for $350-400 (arax/arsat, zörk, mirex). But when I started using them on my digital I only bothered for a while, then gave up and bought a P6, I can always crop the film...