Wide angle lens for infinity focus, long exposures

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by adelorenzo, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    So I got this awesome new 4x5 camera and I'm thinking "Man! I've gotta get some chrome and shoot the aurora borealis with this thing!"

    Then I consider exposures... I normally shoot 20-30 seconds using Provia 400X and an F3.5 lens. Considering I can only get Provia 100 in sheet film, and most LF lenses are 5.6 at best, then I'm looking at 4.5 stops so now it's like an 7.5-10 MINUTE exposure and that's before I even look up whether there are reciprocity considerations. I guess I could push the film a couple stops... So then I am looking at a 60-90 second exposure.

    With a longer exposure like that I won't capture a lot of the aurora detail but it will still be cool, hopefully. I sure as heck won't need a shutter which means it opens up my options for different lenses. Normally you get the best results from ultra wide angles and all I have right now is a 150mm. so I'm looking at my options...

    1. Use an enlarger lens. I have 50mm and 80mm options but the internet tells me I might not get enough image circle at infinity focus, but hey, it's free to try for the cost of a sheet of film.
    2. Use a barrel lens and save money not buying a lens with a shutter. This seems like a brilliant idea until I visit eBay and see that barrel lenses seem to cost far more than lenses in shutters. Why this is I shall never understand.
    3. Just get an actual wide angle lens with shutter. I have been looking at something like a Fujinon 65mm or 75mm which can be had for a decent price (seems like $300-500 on eBay).

    Anyone have suggestions for an inexpensive lens to try this out? Or should I just bite the bullet and buy a real ultra-wide with shutter etc.?
     
  2. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Perhaps get a Nikkor 90mm f4.5 as a start? Or, perhaps look at something like an Aero Ektar or a Pentac lens (not wide angle, though).

    Second, have a look at Kodak Portra 400. Not positive film; however, today's scanners easily handle colour neg.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Remember to drop the front for the 90mm lens.
     
  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    1) enlarger lens? Ain't no wide angle enlarger lenses. And because enlarging lenses are optimized for moderate magnifications (seen as taking lenses, 1:10) they're not great at infinity.

    2) barrel lens? There are very few fast w/a lenses in barrel for 4x5 and larger formats. Slow ones, yeah, sure. Fast ones, very few. 3"/4.5 Biogons, ex-USAF, yeah, but they're not common. Make an unrefusable offer for the one in my closet. And before you do that, price 75/4.5 Biogons in shutter. They seem to be a little more common than the ex-USAF ones these days.

    3) actual w/a lens in shutter. There are f/4.5ers, at least one f/4er. But what format are you shooting? The 53/4 Super Angulon covers 2x3, no more, same is true of the 53/4.5 Biogon.

    If you're shooting 4x5 choices at f/4.5 include 65/4.5, 75/4.5 and 90/4.5 Apo Grandagons and the same focal lengths and maximum aperture from Nikon. All more expensive than f/5.6ers and slower.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Use C-41 film and push it as far as you can. Good luck, aurorae are tough with any camera.
     
  6. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Just an FYI, I have a 65mm 4.5 Grandagon that requires a center ND filter for exposure evenness that holds back 1.5 stops. That is effectively an F/8 lens on the conservative side so maybe a 90mm 4.5 Grandagon won't need one? My 90mm 6.8 does not...