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What make or breaks a lens for a Mini Speed?

 
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voodoobill



Joined: 23 Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:13 pm    Post subject: What make or breaks a lens for a Mini Speed? Reply with quote

Hi all. Managed to pick up a Mini Speed Graphic in beautiful condition recently and, as a noob to the folding press cameras I am, understandably, baffled and bewildered by the sheer variety of lens and shutter combinations available.
I guess what I'm looking for isn't a list as long as my arm as to what lenses I can use but more a clear explanation of generally what makes a lens useable or unusable for 6x9 and specifically for the Mini (which I understand gives me a little more freedom having the focal plane shutter). I'm not about to rush out and strap an Aero Ektar to my camera but there is a camera swap next month and I'd like to have the confidence (stop laughing) to be able to walk in and spot something that might work for a reasonable price (still laughing?). Also, in terms of brands, are there any that can be counted on as being relatively affordable with good performance? Any feedback is appreciated.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess what I'm looking for isn't a list as long as my arm as to what lenses I can use but more a clear explanation of generally what makes a lens usable or unusable for 6x9 and specifically for the Mini (which I understand gives me a little more freedom having the focal plane shutter).

There are three limiting factors that determine if a lens can be used on the camera:
1.) Will the mount ring/flange fit on the lens board without interfering with the board mounting onto the camera?
A Miniature Speed's bellows opening is 3 inch/76mm X 2 7/8 inch/73mm and the lens board just fits inside the opening so a retainer ring whose outside diameter is 73mm or less will work. The lens board locks will take up about 1/4 inch of the front surface of the lens board leaving 3 inches open so a mount flange whose outer diameter is 3 inches or less will work.
A retainer ring is used on shuttered lens and screws onto the rear of the shutter holding it onto the lens board.
A mount flange mounts to the lens board and the and the lens barrel or shutter screws into it. Flanges are usually associated with barrel (non shuttered) lens but can be used on shuttered lens.

2). Does the usable image circle of the lens equal or exceed the format in use?

Any lens from a simple single element to complex lens will project a circle of illumination behind them and within that circle will be an equal or smaller circle where the image will be sharp appropriately called the image circle. This is stated by the lens manufacturer, usually at f22, with the lens focused at infinity. The largest square or rectangle that can be inside the image circle is the largest format that that lens can cover.

The diagonal of the format (diagonal of the largest square/rectangle that will fit in the image circle) must equal or be smaller than the diameter of the image circle. When the image circle is larger than the format in use the extra coverage allows for standard movement and in the case of the Miniature Speed front standard movements .

The diagonal for 6cm X 9cm format is the square root of 6+9 =36+81=117=10.82cm= 108.2mm

3.) The film to flange distance which is how far the the mount flange, usually close to the aperture in large format lens, has to be from the film plane for the lens to focus infinity. The lens needs to fit onto the camera and focus infinity between the closest distance the front standard can be to the film plane to the furthest distance the front standard can be from the film plane.

Looking at the table: http://graflex.org/lenses/lens-spec.html
any lens whose image circle is at least 108mm, will fit onto the lens board, and focus infinity within the physical limits of the rail travel is usable.

There are a lot of catalogs available at http://cameraeccentric.com/info.html that cover a lot of vintage lens.
When dealing with vintage lens the lens condition is more important than the brand. Cleaning marks on the front will have little affect on image quality while cleaning marks on the rear will adversely affect image quality.
Haze that you can see through is usually OK and can be cleaned off by disassembling the cells from the barrel or shutter. Mold and or fungus on or in the lens should be avoided.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1883
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Original poster, if you have a Miniature Speed Graphic with wooden lens boards you have a little more freedom than if you have a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic with metal boards and a 48 mm square lens throat.

On 45PSS' first point, please read my lens diary (here: http://www.galerie-photo.com/telechargement/dan-fromm-6x9-lenses-v2-2011-03-29.pdf) to learn some of the many ways of attaching lenses to a Speed Graphic.

On his second point, the 2.25" x 3.25" frame's diagonal is 100 mm. 6 x 9 cm is a lousy metric approximation. As a practical matter, there's no way to estimate a lens' coverage by looking at it. The rules of thumb I use when looking a lens I know little about at a camera show are simple. f/4.5 or faster, shorter than 100 mm/4", not an obvious wide angle lens, don't buy. f/9 or slower, shorter than 150 mm/6", not an obvious wide angle lens, don't buy. In an EKCo ball bearing shutter (they're so-marked), don't buy.

On his third point, shorter than 80 mm and not a modern wide angle lens (big front and rear elements, wasp waist), don't buy.

Re condition, badly scarred lenses are sometimes OK, sometimes not. Internal haze won't always come off.

Finally, the iron law of flea markets: if you don't know prices and aren't willing to live with a bad mistake, don't buy. There will be other opportunities. Educate yourself before you spend more money, unless you can afford to lose it.

The brass law of flea markets, sorry, camera shows/swap meets, at least in my area: they're terrible places to buy lenses for formats larger than 35 mm. Selection is usually poor, prices are usually silly.
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78ltd



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 55
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Here's Some Names Reply with quote

Here's some to buy. 101mm Ektar in Supermatic for normal, 65mm Angulon in Synchro-Compur for wide angle (28mm equilvalent in 35mm film), and 180mm Xenar in barrel or Synchro-Compur for slight tele effect (aprox. 75-80mm equilvalent in 35mm). I also think a 240mm Tele-Xenar will fit, that's a 100mm equilvalent in 35mm film. Try not to pay more than $75 for the 101mm, not more than $150-175 for Angulon, and not more than $200-225 for Tele-Xenar's. Don't know if that's possible at camera show's where everybody has a inflated sense of value, but you can find 'em on Ebay for that is your willing to be patient. Oh yes, in the 180mm catagory, you can use either a plain 180mm lens or the Tele-Xenar version, however in the 240 catagory you will have to have the Tele one.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1439
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had good luck with Optar lenses, and own five: 65, 101, 135, 162, and 203mm, all in Graphex M-F-X synched shutters (except the 162), and also a Graftar 103mm in Century (Wollensak) shutter that came with my Century 2x3. YRMV!
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voodoobill



Joined: 23 Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy Crow guys! Thank you so much.
45PSS, you pretty much hit the nail on the head for fairly easy to understand basics I was looking for. As an addition, how much do I really need to worry about traverse when calculating exposure? With a 101 on my camera and a K2 to top it off it doesn't seem to be much more than a stop or two, which is well within playable B+W latitudes, I'm assuming that this becomes more critical with longer/slower lenses? I'm sure its an 'experience thing' that becomes second nature eventually, a la Sunny 16, but any rules of thumb regarding bellows extension and lens combinations would be invaluable. Alternatively, is the extension on a Mini simply fairly negligible vs. a 'real' view camera?
Dan, wow, just wow. The Metro trip home wasn't long enough and won't be for the next month, great PDF and allot to chew on, I think I've been salivating over some of your pictures since I 'slipped the light fantastic' and discovered that I could mount from the front on the rails. Just waiting for a sunny day.
Can you elaborate your comments about point two though? I understand about the EKco bearings being something to avoid (as in I've never seen such a united opinion on how unreliable something is when Googleing it) but when you're talking about what qualifies a "not an obvious wide angle" you lose me a little. And why wouldn't a wide angle lens that fits the criteria and built around a similar time as my camera not be suitable over a modern (wasp waist) wide? Or is it just a question of clarity over the older lenses? This is something I actually don't mind in older glass and I a have a few older cameras and lenses around that I use specifically for the 'character' of the glass.
Your last iron and brass rules made me laugh, you're right, I can't afford to lose money, by anybody's standard, but I've been pretty lucky so far and own some great older cameras that I love shooting with (I ALMOST feel guilty about the fact that I only shoot digital for studio these days....almost). The deal I got at the flea market for the Mini and all the filters, flash units, unused bulbs, chords, accessories and original case that came with it was a joke that would make you laugh, cry and take a step back, all at the same time. Couldn't be happier.
I think we're pretty lucky here in Vancouver and the swap meets are generally pretty handy for more obscure gear and prices are more realistic with what I've seen on eBay because we have a smaller more amiable community that verges on the incestuous but dedicated.
As per Henry and 78ltd's comments about wides I'm interested in a good wide angle at a decent price with x synch that I can shoot in a relatively small studio space and still cover full length. 65 seems a little too wide and, at first glance, seems to carry a bit of distortion with it (but I may be way off base). I tend to shoot a little close (just my style of engagement with my models); usually working with short primes in 35mm or digital anywhere from 24, to 90. Any suggestions for equivalent lenses to watch out for guys?
Once again, thank you all for the input. Work was very hard to concentrate on today.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As an addition, how much do I really need to worry about traverse when calculating exposure?

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/bellows-factor.html
is the a good description of bellows extension on the web.
In wet printing a negative a 1/3 stop exposure difference is just noticeable in the print.
Take a 101mm focused at infinity and lets say the aperture blades are 101mm from the film plane. When the lens is then focused on an object that requires the aperture blades to be an additional 33.7mm from the film plane (1/3 of the lens focal lenght) then an additional 1/3 exposure would be needed. Wide angle or short focal lengths can focus down to 4 feet and not require additional exposure while long focal lengths can focus to around 10 feet without extra exposure.
The crude rule is focal length from the film plane no additional exposure; 1/3 the lens focal length or more add extra exposure according to the additional length of the lens from the film plane. 2 times the lens focal length from the film plane add 1 stop more exposure.

Point 2 additional:
1 inch = 25.4 mm =2.54 cm
2 1/4 X 3 1/4 = 2.25 X 3.25
2.25*25.4=57.15 mm=5.715 cm; 3.25*25.4=82.55 mm=8.255 cm
round up to get 6x9.
Calculate the diagonal:
57.15 + 82.55 =
3266.1225 + 6814.5025=
10080.625
take the square root=
100.40231571034604379096487003574
round to 100 mm.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1439
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voodoobill wrote:

As per Henry and 78ltd's comments about wides I'm interested in a good wide angle at a decent price with x synch that I can shoot in a relatively small studio space and still cover full length. 65 seems a little too wide and, at first glance, seems to carry a bit of distortion with it (but I may be way off base). I tend to shoot a little close (just my style of engagement with my models); usually working with short primes in 35mm or digital anywhere from 24, to 90. Any suggestions for equivalent lenses to watch out for guys?


I think it's true of all 65s that they are tricky to focus; this is certainly the case with the Optar, which takes a bit of fiddling to focus on the groundglass (always using a loupe, of course). I usually resort to the tried-and-true "least worst" method. But I shoot mostly landscapes and architectural stuff, so my "models" aren't moving and I don't need to engage them! Of course there are other "wide angles" out there: Graflex offered a 90mm Optar, and there's an 80mm Ektar. I have no experience with either of those.

Taking the opposite approach, you might back off from the subject and try the 135. It's one of my favorite lenses for architectural work, often enabling a shot from across the street, out of the traffic.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1883
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voodoobill wrote:

Can you elaborate your comments about point two though? I understand about the EKco bearings being something to avoid (as in I've never seen such a united opinion on how unreliable something is when Googleing it) but when you're talking about what qualifies a "not an obvious wide angle" you lose me a little.

And why wouldn't a wide angle lens that fits the criteria and built around a similar time as my camera not be suitable over a modern (wasp waist) wide? Or is it just a question of clarity over the older lenses? This is something I actually don't mind in older glass and I a have a few older cameras and lenses around that I use specifically for the 'character' of the glass.


Fair questions, Bill.

Re the first, there are many 80 +/- lenses stripped from 6x6 folders floating around. None is a wide angle lens, none can be counted on to cover 2x3.

The Bible, 10th edition, says that standard issue w/a lens for the Miniature Speed Graphic is 3"/9. That would be a w/a Aristostigmat (rare) or perhaps a w/a Zeiss Dagor (rarer, costly), probably in barrel. The standard w/a for the 2x3 Pacemaker Speed is the 80/6.3 Wide Field Ektar.

The two cameras' minimum flange-to-film distances are 58.7 and 61.9 mm respectively. Shorter old design w/a lenses (65/6.8 Angulon and 4/4 double Gauss types such as the 65/6.8 Raptar) have shorter flange-to-film distances at infinity, so can't be used on 2x3 Speeds.

Read what I wrote about 58/5.6 Grandagon and 65/8 Ilex (very similar to the 65/8 Super Angulon). There's not much around shorter than 58 mm that will cover 2x3 and will work on a 2x3 Speed. If I were you, I'd accumulate a heap of Loonies and eventually get a 65/8 SA. The f/5.6 is nicer, costs more, and the f/8er will do.

If you want to stick with Graphics and really want to use wide angle lenses shorter than 80 mm, get a Century or a 2x3 Crown.

Good luck, have fun,

Dan
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voodoobill



Joined: 23 Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, thank you and thank you once again. I think I'm beginning to get my head around this although, 45PSS, I'm not going to jump the gun and get into wet plate anytime soon -much to my own chagrin.
Just a useful point to make for any others reading this regarding bellows extension in the future, "there's an app for that", as they say, called Reciprocity Timer. Not sure how well it works but time will tell, although 45PSS' link to bellows extension on largeformatphotography takes the mysticism out of the issue entirely and I'm not sure I'll need the app now lol.
Just a quick two questions to all:
1)Sizes of shutters? As in #1, #12 etc. I assume there is some standardized sizeing of shutter mount? How is it relevant in the bigger picture?
2) Barrel lenses? Older =more expensive? Worth a look or for a later time? Like I said, I like quirky glass and I'm capable of making a lens board for something that might be worth exploring. The focal plane shutter seems to be pretty spot on and I don't really see a reason to limit myself to a mounted shutter if creative avenues can be explored in the future. And yes, I will be looking into enlarger lenses at some point.
Dan, I take your invaluable point on the 65s vs. 80s and I'm still wading through the PDF and enjoying it very much but if I can pick your brains once more; you talk about some of the older units stripped off of 6x6s here and mention a few in the PDF when you touch on your B&L Anastigmat and I'm just wondering if more of these lenses would be viable when using a 22 film back from your experience? I have a couple of pre-war folders (or should that be "pre-wars"?) that deliver simply beautiful tack sharp images. The idea of rescuing the lens assembly from a crumbling Kodak for a dime is tempting and worthy of a folly or two surely? And, going back a few steps, if I stick an 85 or a 130 for a 6x6 (presuming that I can) on a 2x3, what is the equivalency in your experience
Cheers guys, I really appreciate you indulging me like this.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
45PSS, I'm not going to jump the gun and get into wet plate anytime soon -much to my own chagrin.

I was referring to standard B&W printing where a piece of photographic paper is exposed to a light source then processed in wet chemicals and washed in running water.

Quote:
1)Sizes of shutters? As in #1, #12 etc. I assume there is some standardized sizeing of shutter mount?

Yes they were eventually standardized but not until the 1960's or later. Perhaps another member knows the time frame they were standardized.
Size 00 through 5 have been in use for a long time. Take a look at the metric and U.S.A. stock mount ring listing at http://www.skgrimes.com/products/mounting-flanges

Quote:
2) Barrel lenses? Older =more expensive?

Lens were mounted in barrels long before shutters were invented. Barrel lens are generally less expensive than shuttered lens. A barrel lens may have a provision for Waterhouse stops only, aperture blades only, both, or a filter slot depending on the vintage. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterhouse_stop
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1883
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voodoobill wrote:

1)Sizes of shutters? As in #1, #12 etc. I assume there is some standardized sizeing of shutter mount? How is it relevant in the bigger picture?.


There are a number of shutter size standards. They all specify tube length (this sets the distance between the lens' cells), ID and threading of front and rear tubes (they don't have to be the same, see Compur/Copal #1) and OD and threading of rear tube (sets the ID of the mounting hole in the lens board).

The one most people talk about was used by Deckel and Gauthier in Germany (their brands include Compound, Compur, Ibso, Ibsor, and Prontor) and Copal and Seiko/Seikosha in Japan. The best-standardized shutters in that scheme are #00, #0, and #1. #2, #3, #4 and #5 are slightly variable and so, now that I think of it is #00. I think that some Epsilon. This standard has been around in various forms since the late 1930s.

Each Rochester maker (Ilex, Kodak, Wollensak) had its own standard. No two are the same and none match the Compur/Copal.

Quote:
2) Barrel lenses? Older =more expensive? Worth a look or for a later time? ... And yes, I will be looking into enlarger lenses at some point.

Dan, ... you talk about some of the older units stripped off of 6x6s here and mention a few in the PDF when you touch on your B&L Anastigmat and I'm just wondering if more of these lenses would be viable when using a 22 film back from your experience? I have a couple of pre-war folders (or should that be "pre-wars"?) that deliver simply beautiful tack sharp images. The idea of rescuing the lens assembly from a crumbling Kodak for a dime is tempting and worthy of a folly or two surely? And, going back a few steps, if I stick an 85 or a 130 for a 6x6 (presuming that I can) on a 2x3, what is the equivalency in your experience


Prices? Depends on the lens. Age alone doesn't create value. There's a Petzval cult. Cult lenses cost more. I have some, but I bought them before their cults started.

My B&L lenses came from cameras that shot 2x3 or larger, sorry. I opened a lot of Folding Pocket Kodaks (smallest format, 2x3) to find them.

You shouldn't have a back focus problem with normal lenses (75 or 80 mm) from old folders. If you want to play, play. Its your time and resources.

Focal length is focal length. Comparison between formats is usually based on the formats' diagonals. 24x36's diagonal is 43 mm, nominal 6x6 is 80 mm, 6x7 is 90 mm and 2x3 is 100 mm.

Go here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ and read the FAQs. Read www.graflex.org's FAQs first.
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1banjo



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 478
Location: kansas

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shutter size standards
for the minys "23" cameras #00 , #0, #1 & in any brand a #2 is two big!!
you will find most lens that work good for this "23" & 4x5 will be in a #0
shutter

good lens would be Angulon & Super Angulon 65mm & up
Ektar 80mm & 100mm wide filds
most any 105mm
tele optar // rapter-tele 203mm [8"] or the 250mm [10"]
180mm or 240mm Tele-Xenar


Barrel lenses!! you need a good back shutter {speed graphic}
a lens with shutter will work on most any LF camera
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