Thanks to all. Great info to consider.
I have been working with my LF 100-240 lenses for quite some time, with long breaks to do 8x10 wet plate portraits. As I'm now getting ready to add a LF lens to my bag, I'm leaning towards going longer for additional options with portrait work. I make all my wet plate equipment, so I tend to be very conservative on purchases. My work is all creative so I really like to maximize movement and DoF options even though there is a price to pay in sharpness. A trade off I can deal with do to required acceptance of the nature of wet place process artifacts (mistakes in other forms of photography) that regular occur due to emulsion and other anomalies that can occur. When you get faster than f8 at 90mm and below these days things can get pricey as can a good longer lens. So I'll keep my eyes open for a longer lens deal.
For or those working with over 300mm at 4x5, is there a length or speed you would not want to go to for portrait work?
Thanks again for the thoughtful insight.
I've never even owned a "normal" for either my 4x5 or 8x10. Generally I go either longer or much longer, and only once in awhile, shorter. It
all depends on the individual. But I probably will never own a "normal" view camera lens.
Compensating for something?
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
probably -- for being in mountains instead of molehills...
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
Back when I shot a 35mm Contax I owned 5 lenses (25, 35, 50, 100, 180). Probably 90% of my shots or more were shot with either the 25 or 100.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
When digital arrived and film camera prices dropped, I started shooting medium format and eventually large format. For some reason I now lean more towards the normal perspective. I don't know why and I don't know if it's going to stay that way or change. I don't worry about it and just shoot what works for me.
It's just like you said, Drew. It all depends on the individual.
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Unless I'm in a confined space, I almost always take to a narrow perspective. I have a friend who often backpacks with me, who consistently gravitates toward either wide or very wide lenses, while I never even carry a wide-angle or normal lens in the mtns. This past Sept, I happened to stumble out of a willow thicket onto an old abandoned trail in the upper Kings Can country, and pretty soon arrived at exactly the same point where AA took a famous landscape shot across a lake back in his relative youth. I looked at that scene, which was indeed lovely, but saw nothing in it for myself, but set up my tripod at the same spot, aimed it a completely different direction with a long lens, and picked out some absolutely delicious intricate details on a distant peak face. Oddly, even though this spot once had a popular trail, I've never seen a picture by anyone of what seemed to me to be a ridiculously obvious
subject. That just goes to show how different we all are, and why we have somewhat different equipment needs. ... I don't know about Stone, but I guess
if he lugged his gear down to the bottom of the Grand Can and back, there's hope even for him... Of course, he could always come out here and see some
REAL canyons twice as deep, and we'll see how he holds up.
I started in LF landscape with a 150mm lens. Over a couple of years I began to favour the perspective of the 210mm and pretty much use it as my "standard" lens. A 90mm Grandagon and 400mm Apo tele Xenar fulfil my needs for both wider and longer
"normal" is whatever you are shooting at the time it means nothing
when it comes to focal length
favored focal length all depends on what the point of your photography is.
there are plenty of reasons to shoot head + shoulders
as there are to shoot wide and environmental as there is to
shoot as the eye sees
and the same can be said for landscapes ...
over the years i have migrated back to the center
after wasting my time at both ends ...
but at the same time there are always exceptions ..
sometimes you want something far away to seem near
as you do with a portrait that might be different.
I use most of my lenses on my 5x7(formerly both 4x5 and 8x10, now just 5x7) kit about the same amount of the time.
I kept most of my lenses, traded a few(and have done a good bit of buying/selling whilst figuring out what I like(they're all about the same really, mfg's that is, if of the same vintage)
However, the lens that has given me the most "winners" has been my 180A Fujinon, which is a wide(ish) lens for 5x7. I use it for close-up shooting, and it's been the #1 lens I've used while traveling here in Australia the past month or so. About 75% of my shots have been with this single lens. Great for close-ups and "macro" work(usually in the 1:3-1:1 ratio). But TBH, my 450C Fujinon also gives me that bit of extra reach I so much adore.
Own the tools that allow you to work unhindered, and will not leave you feeling like "what should I use". Be able to determine what you NEED(not just what you want) before you even set up the camera. Let your brain determine the FL you'll need. I would love to have a lens longer than my 450C for use with 5x7, however only having ~23" of bellows won't allow me to use a 600mm lens(and I don't want a tophat board). So I just crop in post(or shoot 4x5). Not hard, and the quality is still there(just not as good as a well shot 5x7 !)
Dan, I completely agree. For myself I like to own just a few lenses with enough spacing between the focal lengths that I always know immediately which lens to grab for the subject. For 8x10 I have 3 main lenses: 250mm, 14" (360mm), 19" (480mm). I also own a 121mm that I bought for dirt cheap. I like the focal length for 4x5 but have yet to expose an 8x10 negative with it. It is super wide on 8x10!
Originally Posted by DanielStone
Some photographers use only one lens and others own 20 lenses and claim that they always know which one to use. I can't argue with them because looking at their photographs they obviously know what they are doing!
We are all different but your point does ring true.