Ultra large format lenses

One of my favorite videos we shot last year was with photographer Michael Shindler of Photobootha studio that specializes in tintype photography.

Michael taught us about the tintype process--exposing a photo on a chemically treated metal sheet--and also shot those amazing portraits you may have seen hanging in our office studio. Tintype has seen a revival of late, with photographers adopting the medium for its striking look--the large format sized plate grants very shallow depth of field, which when combined with the ultraviolet sensitivity of the coated plates produces piercing portraits that seem to reveal the souls of subjects.

It's also a somewhat precarious process, since photographers only get one exposure for each plate, and the results are so dependent on lighting the subject's ability to stay still. In the age of full-frame DSLRs that can rapid-shoot nine photos per second, the measured pace of tintype photography and the finality of its images is refreshing. But with the number of tintype photography practitioners increasing along with the awareness of the process, photographers have to find new ways to make their photos stand out and keep people interested.

For his part, Michael has tinkering with new ideas for his tintype portraits. And he just completed his latest project, building a giant camera to shoot massive studio portraits. Whereas the tintype plates on his last camera took 4"x5" photos, this new camera takes photos on a 14"x17" plate. That puts it in the ultra large format ULF category, which in film was historically used for landscape or group photography.

In fact, 14"x17" is a standard size for X-ray photography. Here's how Michael built this camera, and how much detail tintypes portraits in ultra large format reveals. Michael's giant tintype camera is built like a traditional View Camera, like the ones used to shoot daguerreotypes and tintypes over a hundred years ago.

They're composed of three basic components: a front standard, rear standard, and flexible bellows box. The front standard is a board that holds the lens and shutter at the front of the camera, while the rear standard is a board that holds the viewfinder and image plate at the back. They're connected in a light-tight seal by the accordion-pleated bellows, which can expand and contract to bring the two standards closer or farther apart from each other.

The standards can be mounted on a rail to slide to the ideal distance, and the front standard is sometimes held by a frame that can swivel and tilt to make focusing adjustments. For this camera, which Michaels says he's been building in his head for years, the components are comprised of camera parts he has collected over the course of a decade and custom parts he designed and built at TechShop.

The bellows was taken from a year-old copy camera used to make copies of prints before scanners were invented and the slider another found part he had kept in his collection for just the right project. The catalyst for this build, though, was finding the right lens. This lens plays an important part in how the giant tintype portraits look. With a mm focal length, it's actually considered slightly wide-angle for the 14"x17" size of the exposure--about the equivalent of using a 40mm lens on a 35mm camera.

But he likes the look of its portraits, which can now be taken at scale. That means the size of the portrait on the Tintype plate is the same size as the subject's head. That's a feat considering that you can't blow up tintype portraits--remember, the plates are not like film negatives where you can make develop and expose them onto as many prints as you like. Shooting with this camera also requires new lighting considerations. That means six times more light is needed to get the same exposure.

Even when shooting in bright daylight, the shutter is opened for two to four seconds to let enough light in. Developing the tintype plates for this camera is just like developing 4"x5" plates, except it's an even more unforgiving process. But the results really speak for themselves. The amount of detail on a 35mm film camera is estimated to have the equivalent digital information of a 20 megapixel image dependent on film quality, speed, and lens. Since a tintype is a direct positive process, the 4x5 tintypes Michael shot for us last year have about that much data--no consumer DSLR can capture its fidelity in its entirety.

But the 14x17 inch tintypes that Michael can now shoot are 10 times the physical size of those 4x5s, meaning these are effectively gigapixel portrait photographs. Michael shared with me one portrait he took in testing the camera, which was digitized with a Canon 5D Mark II.

I examined the tintype up close, and the amount of detail apparent was astounding.Remember Me? Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last Jump to page: Results 1 to 10 of Thread: Lens and film recommendations for 12x20 format? Lens and film recommendations for 12x20 format?

Strangely, it always seems that the perfect lens for this format is the one the dealer happens to have for sale. I woulld like to buy a moderately-wide focal length for the 12x20 format, someth ing comparable to a mm in the 8x10 format.

The area of greatest controve rsy seems to be coverage; opinions vary wildly as to the covering power of parti cular lenses. Assuming the image circle of a particular lens is sufficient to cover 12x20, wit h some movements, how about its sharpness and other characteristics?

ultra large format lenses

What sho uld I consider? Which ones should I rule out? What would be a fair price? Any good sources? Also, I've been reading numerous complaints about older wooden film holders in t he smaller formats: light leaks, poor fit, etc. I've only used new holders in b oth 4x5 and 8x Assuming I can find used 12x20 film holders, should I be wary of these? Any recommendations as to style, make, age, cost?

Also, the issue of film availability. In the past few years I've only seen ads for Ilford FP4 in 12x20 dimensions.

Now I no longer see this film advertised. Any sources? Would I have to special order, in large amounts? If any of you have thoughts on the contin uing availability of films in this size, I'd appreciate your comments? Has anyone out there used these ty pes of graphic-arts films in-camera? If so, how did it respond in comparison to "regular" films?Remember Me? Results 1 to 9 of 9. Thread: Sharpest Large Format Lenses. Sharpest Large Format Lenses Hi, I'm considering a purchase of a Fotoman camera with either a 90mm or mm focal length lens.

I have used a 90mm Nikkor before and was pleased with the results before my equipment got stolenbut is the premium on cost worth the quality one can get from Schneider or Rodenstock lenses?

Or is there really no discernal difference between the major large format carriers in terms of sharpness. Any thoughts appreciated.

Scroll down a bit to this threadand you will see a recent discussion of this issue. Re: Sharpest Large Format Lenses I beleive that if you are scanning and working up images in Photoshop and using a professional sharpening tool such as Pixel Genius' PhotoKit Sharpener, than any minor differences between manufacturers or variation within a given manufacturers product line will be equalized during post acquistion processing.

I think weight, image circle, filter size, etc should be of more concern than manufacturer. Re: Sharpest Large Format Lenses Additionally, if you are shooting in color, you may wish to settle on 1 or 2 manufacturers if you can of your lenses for color consistency. More of the color will be attributed to the film particularly transparencybut the lens manufacturers do coat their lenses a bit differently and they do reproduce colors differently.

The color differences can be minimized with certain digital programs such as Photoshop however. Richard A. Center filters are a MUST, especially on the wide angle side. I shot my Nikkor 90mm on 6x18, and the fallof was objectionable. I'd say that a mm lens would be a good focal length, roughly equivalent to a 24mm on 35mm film.

ultra large format lenses

I'd pick either of the same two lenses in the mm focal length, however you aren't coverage limited at that point. A mm lens is about like a 28mm lens for 35mmm film. All lenses tend to do worse at the edges than the do at the center. Shooting a format that goes all the way to the edges of the image circle can lead to results where the center is sharp but the edges are not quite as good.

I noticed this with my Nikkor 90mm. If I had to choose for you It will not cover at larger apertures due to not enough image circle mm at f5. The Nikkor mm f8. That is a lens for 8x10 film. You might want to check other companies for lenses for 8x10 film too. Gordon Moat A G Studio.

Maker Profile: Michael Shindler's Ultra Large Format Tintype Camera

Re: Sharpest Large Format Lenses Just a quick note on the format size - Fotoman specs the actual exposed film width of the as mm. I had a whole different set of recommendations typed out until I noticed that Fotoman also has a nice listing on their website of lenses that fit their camera and cover the format, they have one for each camera.

Replies: 21 Last Post: Mar, What do you consider large format? By Michael Ray in forum Digital Hardware. Replies: 52 Last Post: Apr, Replies: 3 Last Post: 6-Jan, Replies: 25 Last Post: Aug, Here are some recommendations based on personal experience.

This is by no means a complete survey. For general shooting conditions, the images they make are often indistinguishable. Some of the best large format lenses are diffraction-limited: at their best settings they deliver the maximum resolution allowed by the laws of optics for their focal length.

The advantages of one lens over another often boil down to secondary considerations like size, weight, filter size and price. For similar info about adapted lenses for Sony Mirrorless, click here. The "Big Four" and More Large Format lenses have been made since the beginning of photography but in recent years the big four manufacturers have been SchneiderRodenstockFuji and Nikon. In most popular focal lengths we can find lenses of similar description from each of these manufacturers.

They're all very good and in most cases only a trained eye or rigorous tester can distinguish any differences between them. Because Large Format lenses have been manufactured over a long period of time, models and brands still circulate in the used market that were made by illustrious design houses of yore: Kodak, Zeiss, Goerz, Wollensak, Cooke, Voigtlander, Bausch and Lomb, Dallmeyer, Ilex, Meyer, Pinkham and Smithetc. These "vintage" designs are still in use today.

In some cases, they perform so well that except at extreme enlargements, no difference can be discerned. However for certain applications - portraits for example - some older lenses with optical imperfections are preferred, even sought out. With regard to resolution, many modern lenses for Large Format do not offer dramatic improvements in sharpness over earlier versions: what they offer is greater coverage and reduced flare. Starting in the 's, manufacturers started coating lenses to minimize internal reflections which cause flare and loss of contrast.

Coatings made possible lenses of complex design with many internal elements. Without effective coating and special optical glass, modern designs like zoom lenses would be useless. If we use a good lens shade, avoid harsh lighting and subjects which require extreme view camera movements, images made with vintage lenses can be virtually indistinguishable from those made with new gear.

Vintage lenses have many-bladed irises, effectively round at all settings. This actually makes them superior for certain applications. Click here for further discussion. Large Format lenses illuminate a very wide circle of illumination: not only larger than a typical digital sensor, but larger than the typical digital camera! Large Format images require only modest enlargement. On the other hand, lenses designed for digital photography only need to illuminate a comparatively tiny sensor.

Significant enlargement is required and the sensor is often recessed within the camera, making view camera movements impossible. If we're shooting a modern digital camera with a high-resolution sensor, there is no advantage to using Large Format lenses - even if we can figure out how to mount the lens. Therefore the answer is For these applications we value lenses of excellent sharpness with a wide circle of coverage. When we're shooting in the field - walking or trekking with our equipment - we appreciate lenses of compact size and light weight.

Here are a few lenses which meet that description:. The Fujinon A series of lenses represents an innovative compromise in lens design. Like their plasmat cousins Sironar, Symmar, etc they provide excellent correction and wide coverage. While standard plasmats are corrected for distance-shooting at a ratio ofetc. Fujinon A lenses are corrected for slightly closer work, more like This "intermediate" correction makes them well suited for both Macro and Landscape photography.

The Fujinon A weighs only grams and takes 52mm filters, yet it has a mm circle of coverage: enough to function as a portrait lens on 4x5, a normal lens for 5x7, a wide-angle for 8x10 and an excellent close-up lens for all 3.

This lens is so small, it's a delight to carry into the field and is ideal for portraits in 4x5.

Ultra Large Format

It does nicely for 4x5 landscape too. This 4x5 photo was taken with a Fujinon lens.When it comes to optical and precision mechanical components for machine vision, we set the standard. Whether in the Studios, in the large premiere theater or in the home cinema - our products always set standards in taking and projection of films.

Schneider Optische Werke. The readers of film magazine Pro Moviemaker awarded Schneider-Kreuznach. Schneider-Kreuznach is introducing its first Full Spectrum Graduated. Date: January - 1. February Location: London Booth: The new 6.

September - June - A robust C-mount lens for 1. April - May - The length of exposure time can be determined easily using the new app. Industrial Optics When it comes to optical and precision mechanical components for machine vision, we set the standard. Cine Optics Whether in the Studios, in the large premiere theater or in the home cinema - our products always set standards in taking and projection of films. Precision Engineering Precision and quality in metal and plastics.

Latest news Dr. BSC Expo Date: IBC Date: Schneider-Kreuznach introduces the new Xenon-Opal 2. NAB Show Date: Cine Gear Expo Date: CEO Dr. Thomas Kessler to leave Schneider-Kreuznach.Post a Comment. Tuesday, August 28, Ultra Large Format - info from my original website.

Here is some potentially useful information, for shooters of ultra large format film. It's an old page that I maintained on my old web site which is now defunct.

ultra large format lenses

This page documents my experiences with 10x12, 11x14, and 7x17inch Ultra Large Format photography. I recently traded a lens for a 11x14 Century ultra large format view camera. Also with the camera came a 10x12inch Korona film back. There are film holders for both formats. The condition was fairly good. The bellows are intact and the wood is in decent condition.

The camera has obviously been used. I needed to cement wood shims onto the main mounting block to keep the rear section from flopping about. From years of use, the aluminum cleat had rubbed the guide channels wider than the original design allowed for. Once in place, the shims work very well and the back is now rigid. Additionally, I built an adapter for the 10x12 back to mount onto the 11x14 rear frame. Everything is now ready to go.

Prior to this I picked up a 7x17 Korona ultra large format view camera. Its in fabulous condition. The wood looks like its new. Over the end of year holiday season I was able to take it out and try my hand at making super large negatives. The camera was very light and useful.

ultra large format lenses

In fact, it was a pleasure to use. I more recently took the camera down to the local roundhouse for a few images of old steam locomotives. I can't wait to process the film to see what I have. The bulk of what follows regards lenses, coverage, and my observations and disappointments in using various lenses on the 10x12, 11x14, and 7x17 inch view cameras.

Optical image circle requirements Various ULF cameras require lenses that cover the following: 11X14 - mm 7X17 - mm 8X20 - mm 12X20 - mm Lenses that cover 11x14 and 7x17 Looking at photo. A full diagonal is Here is what various focal length lenses must cover to adequately shoot 7x17 with a usable image circle of mm. The atan of 1.

HF2024,ultra large format,field camera.

I use a SS-XL on 8x To accomplish this, the lens needs to cover degrees. It does this with ease. Its probably a stretch to think the SS-Xl might just reach degrees. Anyways, I will never know. I sold the SS-XL.Share This Page. Thread Tools.

ultra large format lenses

May 30, 1. Messages: I apologize up front if this has been beaten to death, I tried the search function, and could not find a thread for it. My question is; What lenses are available that are Wide Angle, and normal for the following formats please? May 30, 2. The Schneider G Claron mm lens is a popular choice for the 12x20 format along with the Nikon M. I would consider mm the normal lens for the 16x20 format.

May 30, 3. I only shoot up to 12x20 and a couple of lenses that I find work very well in addition to the G Claron are the Fuji MM and the 24",30" and 35" Red Dot. The longer focal length Dagors are very rare and exceedingly expensive. If I was shooting 16x20 and 20x24 the Schneider XXL would be a fabulous choice because I hear that they cover like a big dog right to the edge and are very contrasty.

The mm filter size of this lens would likely induce migration to an external compendium possibly affixed to the camera and large square filters. Everything operating within this unique domain is costly, but what else is new? May 31, 4. For ULF the only two true lenses currently being produced are the big buck Schneider XXLs one is mm and the other is if my memory is working correctly. I only use 12x20, like Michael.

Hope it helps. May 31, 5. Messages: 27, Jun 1, 6. Messages: 5, Jun 1, 7. Jun 1, 8. Messages: 10, I'll assume for now that the 12" combo will only cover 11x14, but the single cells may hit 14x


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