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Large format lens, help.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 4:41 am    Post subject: Large format lens, help. Reply with quote

I've just purchased my 1st large format. It was dirt cheap on ebay. It's a Omega View 45D 4x5 monorail view camera. It does not have a lens. And I have no idea what to look for. I really don't want to spend too much on one. What should I be looking for?


PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheap large format lens in shutter on ebay - one the face of it, no problem, there are always lots about.

Problem 1 -

Your lens needs to have sufficient coverage for the format. I would say any LF lens of 135mm/13.5cm would suffice. Longer lenses would give more movements. There are lots of large format lenses about, many have been taken from larger folders, plate cameras, etc. The lenses are generally in reasonably good shape or are easy to clean; these are quite simple lenses. Good ones would be Zeiss, Voigtlander, Schneider, Meyer, Steinheil. American ones would be Kodak, Wollensak, Ilex, Bausch&Lomb. There are different lens formulas that go by various names per manufacturer, but they fall into certain types - triplets, Tessars, Doppel Anastigmats and Rapid Rectilinears - that for your purposes are probably interchangeable.

Problem 2 -

The shutter. The shutters though are a real problem. Most cheap shutters on ebay are not working properly and at least require a clean and lube to function. Many have worse problems that the vendor may not have mentioned, like bad blades or aperture leaves, broken springs, etc.

A clean and lube is sometimes dead simple, sometimes requires an expert. The simpler shutters are best if you want to give them a try yourself. Ibsor, Prontor and the Wollensak Rapax plus the Kodak Supermatics are generally easy to get working with just a spritz of lighter fluid. Usually.

Compurs, Compounds, and any and all oddball types have a learning curve to clean and lube. Whatever you do, don't try fix a dial set Compur unless you have skills and experience.

Some likely current listings -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/162MM-162-4-5-WOLLENSAK-RAPTAR-IN-RAPAX-SHUTTER-159499-/380630553356?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item589f59530c

$50 - This is a 162mm Tessar-type, the longer focal length should give you some movements. Comes with lock ring for the lens board, a nice point, sometimes its troublesome to find a ring that fits. The dealer is Pacific Rim and they say the shutter works. They are a reliable source. Cheap really.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wollensak-RAPTAR-Wide-Angle-B59750-108-mm-/130864165258?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e781cb18a

$100 - this is a 108mm Wide Angle - a short focal length but this will cover 4x5 and more. Dealer is low-experience and says nothing specific about whether the shutter works. If I wanted this I'd probably just buy it as I can easily fix Rapax shutters. You may want to ask him about trying the speeds. For what it is the price is pretty good.


PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You asked anshort question that needs a long answer. Go here http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ and read the FAQs. You'll learn that the normal focal length for 4x5 is 150 mm. In polls of photographers on the US LF forum, 150 mm is always the most used focal length. If you can have only one lens, a 150 mm is probably it.

As Luis pointed out, there are many many LF lenses that can be used on your camera. eBay is one place to look for lenses. If you're in the US, look at www.keh.com. KEH's prices are usually in line with the prices for which the lenses actually sell on eBay (not the opening bids) and KEH has an outstanding returns policy.

Since you're an LF beginner, you'll want to read a book or two about using an LF camera. Steve Simmons' Using the View Camera and Leslie Strobel's View Camera Technique are both good, can be bought through on-line book sellers (accessible through, in alphabetical order, abebooks.com, alibris.com, and amazon.com) for very little.

If you use your Omega very much you'll probably discover that you like 4x5 and that you have the wrong camera for your preferences. This is the usual LF beginner experience.

Good luck, have fun, and whatever you do will be wrong,

Dan


PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One lens that is easy to find, dirt cheap and good and sharp is the Kodak Anastigmat 6.3/170 as to be found on some Kodak 3A folders, usually in either an Ilex Universal or Wollensak Optimo shutter.


PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! THANKS guys. That was a lot of very useful information. At least now I know where to start looking.


PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

make sure you get a post ww2 COATED lens, uncoated lenses have too much flare.


PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For BW, uncoated lenses are fine, just have to be aware of the angle of the sun.

Uncoated Skopar on Voigtlander Bessa:



PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cool pictures


PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hifisapi wrote:
make sure you get a post ww2 COATED lens, uncoated lenses have too much flare.


Stuff and nonsense. Old wives' tale.

I shoot a couple of pre-WW I f/6.3 Zeiss and B&L Tessars, also a pre-WW II f/7.7 Aldis Uno, all uncoated. The Tessars have 6 air-glass interfaces, the Uno has 4. No flare problems with them.

I used to use a pre-WW II Retina II with a 50/2 Xenon. 8 air-glass interfaces. Fine cycling camera, compact ... Cheap, too, in those days they cost around $20-25. Again, no flare problems with it.

Flare is real. I've had flare problems -- not the traditional zoom lens zillions of bright images of the diaphragm, rather lowered contrast and unsaturated colors -- with 150/9 (8 air-glass interfaces) and 210/9 (12 air-glass interfaces) Konica Hexanon GR IIs. The 150 and 210 GR II have different designs, are both very sharp single-coated process lenses. Because of its flare, I've more-or-less retired the 210 GR II, use a 210/7.7 Beryl S (dagor type, 4 air-glass interfaces, coated) instead.


PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danfromm wrote:
hifisapi wrote:
make sure you get a post ww2 COATED lens, uncoated lenses have too much flare.


Stuff and nonsense. Old wives' tale.

I shoot a couple of pre-WW I f/6.3 Zeiss and B&L Tessars, also a pre-WW II f/7.7 Aldis Uno, all uncoated. The Tessars have 6 air-glass interfaces, the Uno has 4. No flare problems with them.

I used to use a pre-WW II Retina II with a 50/2 Xenon. 8 air-glass interfaces. Fine cycling camera, compact ... Cheap, too, in those days they cost around $20-25. Again, no flare problems with it.

Flare is real. I've had flare problems -- not the traditional zoom lens zillions of bright images of the diaphragm, rather lowered contrast and unsaturated colors -- with 150/9 (8 air-glass interfaces) and 210/9 (12 air-glass interfaces) Konica Hexanon GR IIs. The 150 and 210 GR II have different designs, are both very sharp single-coated process lenses. Because of its flare, I've more-or-less retired the 210 GR II, use a 210/7.7 Beryl S (dagor type, 4 air-glass interfaces, coated) instead.

I stand by what I said, you are much better off using coated lenses. It cuts down veiling fiare in the image, and if bright objects are in the frame, outright flare spots in the image. If you are going to bother with large format to get superior image quality, it makes no sense to skimp on an uncoated lens in a good shutter. Get a coated lens, and even better, multicoated.


PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used lots of uncoated lenses on all sorts of cameras.
There is no great magic in lens coating.
All photography pre-1945 was with uncoated lenses, and there was no shortage of good work done.

Most LF lenses of the period were very simple and had few internal surfaces.
Coating for these is nice to have, but not an absolute requirement. I can show you plenty of shots from uncoated lenses that absolutely do not differ from the results from coated lenses.

And photographers back in the day knew the limitations of their equipment and allowed for them, good advice for today also.

For one thing, lens hoods help, a lot. Through choice of location and subject veiling flare is easily avoided. Portrait photography in the studio with controlled lighting makes flare a non-issue. Etc.

LF is for a lot of things, "image quality" being a complex concept.


PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had coated lenses that exhibited loads of veiling flare too.

Uncoated lenses are fine, as I said before and Luis expanded on, you just have to be mindful of a few factors.

Simple designs like uncoated LF lenses are, benefit much less from coating than advanced many element designs do.

Another one with an uncoated lens, this time a different Bessa, again with a Skopar 3.5/105:



This one was with a Franka Rolfix that has an uncoated Rodenstock Trinar:



PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hifisapi wrote:
I stand by what I said, you are much better off using coated lenses. It cuts down veiling fiare in the image, and if bright objects are in the frame, outright flare spots in the image. If you are going to bother with large format to get superior image quality, it makes no sense to skimp on an uncoated lens in a good shutter. Get a coated lens, and even better, multicoated.


It really depends on the lens. I've had some uncoated lenses that were horribly flary, others that weren't.

In fact, by a couple of odd coincidences that won't bear close examination, I have coated and uncoated examples of the 101/4.5 Ektar and the 158/6.3 B&L Tessar IIb and I've shot the lenses against each other. I prefer the uncoated 101 Ektar -- no flare problems, a bit sharper than the coated -- and the coated 158 IIb -- the 158 IIbs are equally flare resistant, the coated one is prettier. Other things equal, the prettier lens wins.

My point isn't that your statement is wrong all the time, rather that your generalization is too broad.