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Lenses for the Crown Graphic
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jan normandale



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:10 pm    Post subject: Lenses for the Crown Graphic Reply with quote

Hi, I've just tried to read the Phd level math on the FAQ section of the site regarding lenses.. not much comprehension for a "numbers challenged" person like me. Can I cut to the chase. I've a Crown Graphic 4x5 and I'd like to get some additional lenses. I'm thinking of a wide and a long lens. Could someone tell me a few things..

First: suggest some lenses that are compatible with this camera perhaps one or two wides you like as well as a couple of longs. If there are lenses that are exemplary let me know

Second; could someone explain in lay terms what/how to determine if a lens will provide adequate coverage on a 4x5 for most shooting situations. I've looked at the tables and can't interpret them in order to see a link between the film format size, ie 4x5 and image circle coverage in Michael Gudzinowicz's piece on lenses here at the graflex site

thanks for your links, help, clarifications and advice
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C. Henry



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 358
Location: North East Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 4" x 5" film has a diagonal of about 6 1/2" or about 165mm. you need an image circle of at least this diameter to cover a 4" x 5" film. With this minimum image circle you will NOT be able to use any of the movements on the camera.
You should be able to see some discussion of image circles for many of the lenses commonly used by using the search function of this forum.

C. Henry
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1887
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jan, go here http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ and read ad lib. The more you read, the better.

In fact the diagonal of 4x5 film as shot is around 150 mm. The 165 that C. Henry quoted in good faith is a canard that's been around forever; the internet is infested with it.

But even a 165 mm circle allows only minimal movements on 4x5. To see this, play a little with a physical model. Use a set of compasses to mark a 165 mm circle on a piece of paper. Graph paper is best for this exercise. Then cut another piece of paper 95 mm x 120 mm (these are the actual, as opposed to nominal, dimensions of the 4x5 gate) and move it around in the circle.

There are two limits you should be aware of. Your camera's minimum flange-to-film distance can't be longer than the lens' f-to-f distance at infinity. The 4x5 Crown's minimum f-to-f distance is 2.0625" (52.4 mm). Your camera's maximum f-to-f, also called extension, can't be shorter than the lens' f-to-f distance at infinity. Your camera's maximum extension is 12.5". If the lens' f-to-f at infinity is 12.5" exactly, you'll be able to focus it to infinity but no closer.

The relationship between a lens focal length and its f-to-f distance at infinity depends on the lens' design. Telephoto (this is a design type, not another way of saying lens with long focal length) lenses' f-to-f at infinity is always shorter than focal length; when in doubt assume 0.8 * focal length but some are shorter. Wide angle lenses' f-to-f at infinity can be longer than focal length. For example, my 58/5.6 Grandagon makes infinity with millimeters to spare on my 2x3 Pacemaker Speed, whose min f-to-f is 2.4375" (61.9 mm).
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C. Henry



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 358
Location: North East Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about that, I used the nominal dimensions of the film rather than the size of the image to calculate the diagonal. I do not have any 4x5 cameras but shoot a 2 1/4" x 3 1/4" Pacemaker Speed Graphic.
If you click on the Large Format Lenses link on the FAQ page you will find an extensive list of lenses grouped by focal length with image circle diameter among other specs. of each lens.

C. Henry
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jan normandale



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:42 am    Post subject: Thanks... I can't say what I want/mean Reply with quote

C. and Dan.. thanks for your responses. I've already read a great deal about this however my problem wasn't too well stated.

What I'm trying to figure out is how to determine if the circle/lens footprint of lenses relate to the width/length of the lenses I can purchase in the secondary market. Little seems to be available on this. Some wides at 90 mm seem to have different 'diameter circles' as do some of the 180mm or 200+ mm lenses. This puts the brakes on me because I don't feel like making a decison only to find out the circle is too narrow a diameter for the coverage I want.

I plan on doing a substantial amount of architectural style photography, building interiors, exteriors etc I know the shift issue/rise/ tilts etc impact the usable lens coverage on the 4x5 film plane. Most of the comments on coverage seem to be targeted towards landscape so the image circle issue is pretty straight forward.

I"m hoping someone here has experience using the limited amount of movements in a Crown but still has architectural experience. I won't get into the logistics of why I've chosen a field camera except to say I can't haul a view camera on rails around where I go. So I've had to compromise a substantial amount to get to where I am now.

thanks for the feed back, any additional specific lens suggestions would be really appreciated or even a link or another person who is known to do what I'm suggesting and is on this board.

cheers Jan
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jan,

I've been an industrial/architectural photographer for 20 years, it took me a good 2-3 years to be comfortable looking at lenses at camera shows and ebay to know by name what they cover.

What format a lens can cover depends on it's design, and I could go on for another 4 paragraphs about Tessars, Dialytes, & Dagors, but most of the lenses you want to use won't go by that name anyway, so that won't help. If you were a few hundred miles closer to Detroit we could get together, but it's not something I can put in a paragraph on how I know this lens is made from this formula and therefore covers that format. The best I can do is recommend some lenses. And I'm going to name older lenses as they are the best value.

90mm lenses. for many years 90mm was as wide as thiings got for most 4x5 work. Wollensak made at least 4 different 90mm lenses all with different apertures, f12.5, f9, f6.3 and f4.5 As a rule of thumb the slower the lens the more in covers. The 6.3 is the most common, and Graflex actually made a lensboard for this lens that allowed for more movement than just the little rise you could get since the lensboard will be in the body. Don't get the f4.5 it barely covers the format.

Schneider made 3 versions of a 90mm lens. The Angulon, the Super Angulon and IIRC the Super Angulon XL The original Angulon is a 6.8 lens, is relatively flat in shape (the glass doesn't protrude from the shutter) and despite what the Schneider website says, covers 4x5 with some movements. I used this lens all the time.

There were two versions of the Super Angulon, f8 and f5.6 and here's why I say it's a rule of thumb about the slower lens having a greater coverage. The 5.6 actually does a bit better, but the lens design is much different than the f8 and these lenses look like hour glasses, Their front and rear lens cells are huge compared to the earlier Angulon and will be very difficult to get to fit a Crown, and the coverage these lenses have are wasted on the Crown with its limited movements.

The XL is the modern tweak on the SA, will probably have better flare correction and color correction, covers 5x7 with movements, be sharper at the edges and set you back $2200. The 90mm f6.8 Angulon I first mentioned rarely sells for more than $200 on ebay.

Another lens I like is the 88mm Bausch & lomb It can be found in either a Supermatic shutter or a Graphex shutter. ( I prefer the latter) It covers 4x5 with movement and was often in the Graflex catalog for the Crown and Speed.

There isn't a lot in the Graflex line at the 180mm mark. I use a 180mm Symmar S with both my View camera and have used it on my Crown as well, but it has more coverage than the Crown has movements. Wollensak made a 190mm f4.5 lens that would have decent coverage and would be nice and bright on the ground glass. The other lens that's a bit longer than the 180mm you stated is the 203mm f7.7 Kodak Ektar. Every once in a while the physics of glass and coatings come together easily and it happened with the 203 Ektar. It's not fast but it will cover 5x7 is dead sharp even wide open and is an amazingly good value. Wolley made a similar lens in f7.5. I think the Ektar edges out the Wolley but both are good.
_________________
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1887
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jan, why are you so averse to risk? If you buy a used lens that won't do what you want, you can sell it.

If you want to use a lens shorter than 125 mm that will cover 4x5 comfortably, you're limited to modern lenses. Shorter than around 90 mm you're limited to very modern lenses. For Schneider's coverage claims, go to www.schneideroptics.com and www.schneiderkreuznach.com . The two sites complement each other. For Rodenstock, http://www.butzi.net/rodenstock/rodenstock.htm , also use Google. For Nikon, good luck, try Google. For Fuji, Kerry Thalmann's site (Google), Badger Graphics (ditto), and Google.

Coverages claimed for ancient lenses are almost always exaggerated.

A number of sellers on eBay lie consistently about what the lenses they offer are and can do. For example, pak_harry194, lensn2shutter, cameraeccentric
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jan normandale



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Lenses for the Crown Graphic in the resale market Reply with quote

Dan, thanks I've visited several of those sites, specifically http://www.butzi.net/rodenstock/rodenstock.htm , Kerry Thalmann's site , Badger Graphics and Google. They are a great resource.
"..why are you so averse to risk?" .. I'm more 'time and energy resourceful' ;- ) I don't sell on ebay and I'm not interested in spending time to set up an account there and monitor it. I'd rather do my homework, an old fashioned concept for some I'm sure. When I've got time after using these lenses I might branch out and explore as you suggest. First I have a job to do and I'm not devoting time to experimentation.

Les.. thanks for the the insights and suggested glass it's really appreciated. I'll check your suggestions out further. Your comments seem to make sense to me, especially after reading about "arc tangents and radii" elsewhere. If I get to Detroit and I probably will, I'll buy you a coffee and a danish or something like that.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jan, I work around the movement limitations on my Century (2x3) by scanning negs into Photoshop and using its PC function. You don't need the full ver$ion of P'shop either; I'm still on Elements v.2, and it has everything I need for the kind of photography I do (not being interested in doing any fancy graphics/publishing/manipulations, etc., just straightforward architectural/industrial stuff).

I'll echo what Les implied about the Wolley Optar 203; mine is a darn fine piece--maybe I just lucked out with a good sample--and it's in Graphex shutter, which I also prefer to any Supermatic or Compur I've tried. Never having used the Kodak Ektar 203 I can't compare it to the Optar, but I'll believe Les when he says that both are good.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll adda little to what Less and Henry say about the 203's.
I have a couple of both. I'd like to get more info onthe Wolly 203 design, because I think I read somewhere that they are not actually the same design as the Kodak Ektar even though folks selling them claim they are the same thing. And while I know the coverage of the Ektar 203, I don't know the Wollensak coverage, but expect it to be reasonably close.
As Henry suggests, the Wollensak 203, which mine have the Optar name, are nice lenses, and are mounted in nice serviceable #2 Rapax or Graphex shutters.
On the other hand, the Kodak 203mm Ektar has something of a cult following for good reason. I tested mine against a number of lenses including straight tessar 210mm and the 203 Optars and nothing came close to the resolution of the Ektar for distant objects miles away. And from what I understand, they are corrected very well for close work.
Also, the 203 Ektars and Optars work well on the Graphic cameras because they are compact and light. When you mount bigger faster lenses like tessars on the front of a Graphic they start to get unstable and camera shake becomes an issue. I made an aluminum base to mount my camera further back and thereby support the front of the camera better for use with my big 15" Tele and fast Tessars, but you can then not use the drop bed.
I also make the same observation about the 90mm Schneider Angulon f6.8 It is generally a very good lens, and similarly better than its Wollensak counterpart. Light and compact, and offers a little movement if you can manage it where it lives on the Crown Graphic rails.
I would think both the Ektar 203 and the 90mm angulon lenses discussedhere offer the most bang for the buck and then some.
As an inbetween semi wide lens I think the 135mm Schneider Xenar is about the best I have seen unless you go up the price scale into modern lenses.
That said, my favorite lenses that I use the most are the Wollensak 135mm Optars. The reason being I like the look I get with a couple of these, and is why I believe lens choice is relavent to what you're after.

I'm thinking you would be better off to buy a nice little wood field camera with a couple modern lenses along with it instead of dilly dallying around. You'll have all the movements and coverage without trying to piece together something that may not do what you want, and the camera will be lighter than a Crown.
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jan normandale



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Glass: old and modern for the Crown Reply with quote

Thanks Henry, I'm currently using a Fuji BL G690 with 65mm, 100mm and 180mm lenses which shoots 6x9 in 120 format. I can do 'adjustments' for perspective in PS E2, I don't have the full Photo Shop CS3.

As you would expect I'm able to do most of what you do in a 2x3 (6 x 9) format Century. I'm moving to a larger 4x5 sheet. Making perspective adjustments in 6x9 images nearly uses all capacity of my computer's memory. I'm certain you can imagine what will happen trying that with a 4x5 camera. LaL.. scanning into PSE2, I'll be out of luck or waiting for half an hour for each movement.

Since you're in Allentown you can check my flickr images they may be of interest and give you an understanding why I'm on this particular road.

http://flickr.com/photos/jann/sets/72157594563002722/

Troublemaker (lol) my shooting partner sometimes calls me that (trubblmakr!).. thanks for the further information on these lenses.

It's always good to get a second opinon on things. Understandably I will be using a tripod so speed isn't an issue. I regularly take 1 to 30 second exposures. Resolution, and definition/crispness are some of the things I'd like to see in a lens and if the trade off is a light lens that is slow, that is acceptable and prefered. I'd like to achieve some of the look I get using (35mm Contax and 120 mm Rollei TLR) Zeiss glass. Crisp but with some smoothness in the edges when shooting wide open. The latter is not a necessity but a wish.

Buying a 'little wood field camera and a couple of modern lenses' might be a thought however I've looked at quite a few and I'm uncertain which are good, since all owners are proud owners. It's difficult to tell what to expect from a LF camera when people only talk the "good points" about their choice of camera.

Can you elaborate a bit more on the topic of wood field cameras and modern lenses? Thanks for the in depth response on the "older" glass for the Crown.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1887
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread.

Jan, if you know so much why are you asking questions? You already know enough to make your decisions. If you must get input, ask your questions on the LF forum. People here are experienced and know a lot, but our focus is Graflex products. People on the LF forum have collectively used more different view cameras and lenses than we have.

The more so since if you buy a 4x5 view camera with the movements you need -- field or monorail, it makes no difference -- you'll have a hard time making a bad mistake. Same goes for lenses from, in alpabetical order, Fuji, Nikon, Rodenstock, and Schneider.

What is likely to happen is that after you buy whatever you settle on and have used it for a while you'll discover what you really do and don't need. And then you'll replace some or all of the 4x5 kit you started with. This is the usual pattern. A beginner -- and since you shoot a GX 680 you shouldn't be one -- fusses and reasons and wrestles with specifications and bugs people about what's good and what isn't, eventually buys, then replaces some or all of the initial kit within a year. So just spend your money and don't look back.

BTW, eBay isn't the only place where equipment can be sold. The LF forum is another. Besides, if you paid full price for your GX you can afford a buy a cheap view camera and, if it comes to that, eat it.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yum!
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jan normandale



Joined: 13 Nov 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan, how would you respond if I opened with comments addressed to you like ...
"Dan, why are you so averse to risk? "
"Dan, if you know so much why are you asking questions?"

Your openers frankly surprise me. I've been civil, I've responded to your posts and thanked you for your input as I have the others here. Everyone's been helpful and I've acknowledged that.

I came to the Graflex forum because I have a Graflex Crown Graphic. Re read my original post if you need confirmation. I expect to discuss that camera at a forum specifically for Graflex. As you noted "our focus is Graflex products" that's why I'm here. Why are you suggesting I leave this forum and go to LF?

Finally I don't know what you read that suggested I own a GX 680. Where did you get that idea?

What's on your mind Dan?
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to me that if you like the look you get with the Contax or Rollei then you should use those cameras and lenses to get that particular look. I have a Rollei TLR myself, and when I want what that camera does so well I use it. It makes absolutely beautiful images.
From your comments it sounds like you want a subtle vintage appearance look to your images. Sharp with a slight vintage soft edge. IF that's so, Dann is right on the money so to speak. We can only recommend what we like and you'll have to get a couple lenses to try out and see how you like the finished results. I tend to fall back on an early black ring Optar 135 when I want that vintage glow. All vintage lenses were not created equal however. The one lens I mention gives me a lot of control over the edge softness, or aura, and gets nice and sharp stopped down. Another one I have doesn't do this and just goes from pretty sharp wide open to about as good as it gets from f~11 down. I think I have six others going on various refurbished cameras.
Maybe try a Holga. Nice and light, easy to use, and alleviates the necessity for movements.

P.S. if you want to compare some modern and vintage 4x5 lens performances check this out.
http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html
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