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.?