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View Full Version : Best(!) focal length for 6x12 / 6x17 formats?



Loris Medici
08-01-2007, 03:24 AM
I plan to purchase a Shen-Hao TFC45-ⅡB 4x5 view camera with their 6x17 / 6x12 panoramic back.

The lens I'm interested in is a Nikon 135/5.6 Nikkor-W (200mm image circle @ infinity, stopped down to F22) - it's a relatively cheap and small/light lens which gives ~25 degrees vertical, ~54 degrees horizontal and ~58 degrees diagonal angle of view on 6x14 format (same horizontal angle of view with a 35mm lens on 35mm format).

1. Do you think 135mm is a nice choice for formats 6x12 and 6x17?

I'm afraid of lenses as wide as 90mm (as far as I can understand, for some reason this is the most preferred focal length for 6x17) since the horizontal angle of view is quite wide - read as: presumably hard do manage... I also don't want exaggerated perspective effects.

2. What can you say about Shen-Hao's 4x5 camera and panoramic film back?

3. Do you find 135mm a good choice for a single-lens 4x5 LF system?

4. What would be your recommendations for a multi-format >= 6x12 panoramic camera system?

Thanks in advance,
Loris.

David H. Bebbington
08-01-2007, 03:47 AM
Purely a matter of choice - my preference is for 6x12 and 135 mm, with 210 and 360 also used often. My personal feeling is that a combination of 6x17 and 90 mm makes it very hard to get a close-up of anything without falling over yourself or getting your shadow in the picture! I have a Nikon 135/5.6 Nikkor-W, have been very pleased with it.

As regards a recommended system, I would say any regular 4x5" camera with either a 6x12 holder or a step-up back and 6x17 - can't quite see the point of enormously expensive panoramic cameras when any other camera can do the same job!

Regards,

David

Nick Zentena
08-01-2007, 05:10 AM
The TFC45-ⅡB is the non-folder right? I bet the number of users is fairly small. The folder is much more common.

I've got a 120mm for 6x12 but like David said it's a personal choice.

I've got the 612BC roll film back. The downside of my model is the very dark ruby window. I just picked up the SPC617 back which fits the 5x7[and bigger] cameras. It's got a more reasonable ruby window. I don't know if that means newer 612BC have similar windows. The intention is to use it on my 5x7 or 8x10 with the reducing back.

tony lockerbie
08-01-2007, 05:13 AM
Just bought a 6x12 Horseman back for my Linhof so I haven't settled on a lens yet but my 135mm Symmar feels pretty right. I have taken a couple on the 90mm and there is no problem here. The good thing about the 6x12 is that the view angle is exactly the same as 5x4, so no adjustment is needed in my shooting style.
Tony

nicolai
08-02-2007, 09:06 AM
There is no "best", just "best for you for a given situation".

jamie young
08-02-2007, 10:31 AM
I'm in the midwest united states, and tend toward longer lenses here. otherwise there's a lot of sky and foreground. When I went to Yosemite a few years ago, I had to get used to the fact that it was hard to get everything I wanted to in. These are two extremes. Anyway, I think you have to look at your subject matter and the type of landscape you will be shooting in most.
Looking forward to seeing your pics

Ian Grant
08-02-2007, 10:40 AM
Remember that 6x12 and 6x17 are wide Panoramic formats, a 90mm lens is a very practical option and makes a good standard lens for 6x17.

My personal preference is a 75mm Super Angulon, neither the 90mm or the 75mm give exaggerated perspective on 120 film, either at 6x12 or 6x17. After all 75mm - 90mm lenses are standards on 645/6x6 and 6x7 cameras.

Jamie makes a good point, one of the reasons for shooting 6x17 as opposed to 5x4 is to get everything you want into the image without an excess of foreground and sky.

Ian

MikeK
08-04-2007, 11:28 PM
I have just returned from a 3 day camping/photo trip near The Avenue of the Giants. I used my new pano camera is a Speed Graphic with a 6x12 back the last day. I shot with 65mm Super Angulon and 90mm Fuji and by far my favorite was the 65mm - There are really tall trees there :)

No problems at all with exaggerated perspective.

Mike

Tom Hoskinson
08-05-2007, 02:06 AM
With 6x12 and 6x9 rollfilm backs on my 4x5 Shen Hao my 55mm Rodenstock Apo Grandagon and my 47mm Super Angulon are the lenses I use the most. I also occasionally use my 65mm Super Angulon and I rarely use my 90mm Nikkor.

David A. Goldfarb
08-05-2007, 06:32 AM
I think I tend to use the 90mm most often for 6x17, unless I want to shoot handheld with the rangefinder on my Technika, which I can only do with a 150mm lens (it could be done with a 135mm lens, but my 135/3.5 Planar doesn't cover 6x17).

My DaYi 6x17 back doesn't have a red window, but simply an open window with a foam light seal around it and a shutter to keep the window closed when not winding the film, and this hasn't caused any problems.

Loris Medici
08-06-2007, 01:56 AM
I think I'm going to settle on:

* Shen-Hao 4x5 camera (folding variant) + 6x12 back.
* Nikon 65/4 Nikkor-SW (angle of view: ~80 degrees horizontal, ~43 degrees vertical)

I plan to expand the system later with 135 and 250 lenses...

Thank you all for suggestions!

Regards,
Loris.

poutnik
08-07-2007, 03:32 AM
I'd recommend having both lenses - the 135mm and 90mm (or wider)

I have an MPP 4x5" and a DaYi 6x12 holder. When shooting full 4x5" or 9x12 cm, I use the 135mm 90% of times, only occasionally either the 90mm or 270mm that I have (and lately, the 270mm comes more often than 90mm).

On the other hand, when composing for the 6x12cm frame, I use 90mm lens most often and a lot of times I wish I had something wider (I intend on buying either 75mm or 65mm).

But you have to find your own preferred way of seeing, just my 2c... :)

Russ Young
08-11-2007, 08:33 AM
Loris-

I suspect it all depends on what you photograph; I've had a Horseman 6x12 back for about eight years and use it primarily on a Canham for landscapes in the American West where I want to compress the perspective- and therefore use a 300 Nikkor-M almost exclusively.

More recently its been on a 4x5 Graflex Super D and used for portraits and more intimate landscapes with a seven or nine inch lens.

The format is wonderful and allows a huge enlargement if that is your wish.

Good shooting,
Russ

Loris Medici
08-14-2007, 05:22 AM
Thanks Russ,

I won't enlarge past 3.5-4x (something like 8x16")... I just need sharp / detailed, grainless / tonally smooth and rich images. I plan to print the negatives using iron (pt/pd, cyanotype), iron-silver (argyrotype) or dichromate (carbon) based alternative processes - after enlarging of course -> but don't ask me how; it's an inappropiate subject for this site ;)...

Regards,
Loris.


Loris-

I suspect it all depends on what you photograph; I've had a Horseman 6x12 back for about eight years and use it primarily on a Canham for landscapes in the American West where I want to compress the perspective- and therefore use a 300 Nikkor-M almost exclusively.

More recently its been on a 4x5 Graflex Super D and used for portraits and more intimate landscapes with a seven or nine inch lens.

The format is wonderful and allows a huge enlargement if that is your wish.

Good shooting,
Russ

Logan Group
08-23-2007, 06:55 PM
I shoot with the Shen-Hao 6x17 back on my Sinar F2 (for horizontals, the back cannot be mounted vertically on the Sinar) and on my Horseman (for verticals, the back cannot be mounted horizontally on the Horseman). I’ve been shooting a lot of interiors as of late with my 90mm Sironar f4.5 and with my Schneider 72mm Super Angulon XL f5.6 with a center filter. I love these combinations with this back however be careful as if you are focusing too far away (such as infinity) with the 72mm Super Angulon XL. The rear element (which is huge on the 72mm Super Angulon XL) can make contact with the 6x17 back. I really have enjoyed this 6x17 back but will eventually step up to a 5x7 camera with a 6x17 back made for 5x7, only because movements are restricted by a 6x17 back on a 4x5 platform.

waynecrider
08-23-2007, 10:03 PM
Does the 65mm your considering need a center filter?