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  1. #1

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    Need 4x5 rental camera and ultra sharp ultra wide lens recommendation.

    There's a photo I am planning to take late this summer. It is a trail that involves star trails. I have never shot anything larger than medium format before, but I've got some time to learn.

    I'm probably going to need to rent a camera and a lens.

    Is there a 21mm (35mm equivalent POV) lens that works for 4x5?
    Are such lenses generally sharp wide open? I'm guessing such a lens will be perhaps f5.6 wide open, which I will have to shoot at probably. I need everything from about 1500 feet away to infinity in focus which hopefully won't be any kind of a problem.

    I'm just trying to figure things out. I've got several months to do so. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

    Thanks.
    -K

  2. #2
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Rodenstock Grandagon in models 90mm and 65mm are tack sharp....but might have some vignetting on the 65mm without the center grad filter. I think they made a series that opened to 4.5 but I never have actually seen/used that particular lens. The 6.8 could be shot wide open or at f/8 focused near infinity and give you some solid results.

  3. #3
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    You might take a look at a Rodenstock 75mm f/4.5 Grandagon. It will give you an extra half stop over most large format lenses. A 21mm lens on 35mm gives you about 80x60 degrees. The 75mm will give you 80x70 degrees. If you want to match vertical angles of view, go with a 90mm, which is about 70x60 degrees.

    For this project, with infinity focusing in a very dark situation, shot wide open, you might find a camera with infinity stops helpful. You can probably rent a Linhof and that lens no problem in any big city.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  4. #4
    munz6869's Avatar
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    A vote for the Nikkor 65mm f/4 too - very sharp, close to 21mm equivalent and a nice big maximum aperture for clear focusing...

    Marc!
    Marc Morel
    photographie argentique!
    ------------
    http://mrmarcmorel.wordpress.com/

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the replies. A local camera store actually has a couple of LF cameras and a bunch of lenses available. Schneider lenses and Nikkor lenses including the 65mm.

    The three cameras they have are the Toyo A-II and the Toyo G-II and the Sinar P2.

    I'm guessing the A-II will be the lightest and simplest of the offerings. Since whatever camera I get will be coming with me to 12,500 feet, I want a light camera! I don't think the shot I have in mind has any particular technical challenges with tilt and shift movements, etc. I just want the mega resolution that only LF film can provide.

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Certainly sounds like a fine adventure! Obvious suggestion is to try it out before you go -- photograph with different f/stops. I would be surprised if you would get the results you are looking for at wide open with any lens -- those stars do tend to flare a little at anything besides the optimum f/stops.

    If you find a lens in your testing that works perfectly for you, I would suggest noting the serial number and getting the exact lens again for the real thing. There can be some variation between lenses of the same make/model, so why take chances on a unique opportunity like you are planning?!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  7. #7

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    With ISO 100 film It's really going to need to be 5.6 at the smallest in my experience. I've never seen starlight cause a flare in my Canon and Mamiya glass. Would this be a problem in a LF lens?

  8. #8
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Sounds good. It's really too bad they don't rent Technikas, though. For what you are doing, it would be ideal. You don't need any of the extra bulk of a monorail camera, and being able to lock right into infinity focus mechanically instead of visually would simplify your life and make user error less likely.

    Just remember that a 75mm lens is the widest you can go on 4x5 without going wider than your 21mm lens on 35mm film. Even the 75mm will "seem" a bit wider because 4x5 format gives you a fatter frame.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9

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    Wider isn't really a problem. I won't know for sure what focal length I will need until I can get up there and scout (after the snow melts). I've got some experimenting to do.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurt765 View Post
    With ISO 100 film It's really going to need to be 5.6 at the smallest in my experience. I've never seen starlight cause a flare in my Canon and Mamiya glass. Would this be a problem in a LF lens?
    What I have seen is perhaps not so much flare, but the ability to render the stars as the smallest point possible. At both extremes of f/stop, the stars might just look a little larger, and star-trails a little wider. Might be perfectly acceptable for what you want.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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