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Author Topic: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?  (Read 4680 times)

AndrewMcD

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Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« on: May 19, 2022, 02:28:06 pm »

Yeah. I've shot most of my landscape work using 4x5 film for the past 35 years due to the fact that I like the process, and I like the way the film->lenses->prints look.. As I no longer have access to a color darkroom, I'm reconsidering moving to all digital. I've experimented with various scanning techniques, and briefly owned a Howtek 4000 drum scanner until it died, but I've found scanning to be entirely unsatisfying.

So, I've thought about view or technical cameras that can use either a digital camera body or digital back. I'm probably just going to use a digital body initially, I have an A7rIV, and I'm looking at something like the Arca Universalis. Lightweight matters to me, otherwise I'd look at an M2.

Here's the question - lenses. I really don't know anything about what lenses I'd need. Obviously, something with a decent size image circle. Currently I rely on a 120mm Super Symmar HM and 180mm Sironar S. I mainly use front rise/fall and front/rear tilts. Have no idea what I'm looking for with lenses and digital camera bodies. Help me obi wan. :)
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TechTalk

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2022, 05:04:44 pm »

Here's a calculator which you can use to compare lens focal length, angle of view, and required image circle for various film and sensor sizes. When you know what sensor size you're using and the lens focal length(s) you want to use, then you can start to narrow the field to specific lenses or lens types.

https://www.scantips.com/Field of View Calculator for Camera and Lens

You might then want to rent, borrow, or demo some lenses that have the focal length and image circle (angle of coverage) that you need.
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Ken Schuster

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2022, 06:19:31 pm »

The Hasselblad ArcBody (https://www.luminous-landscape.com/arcbody/) body can be carried all day with your little finger. It uses three exceptional Rodenstock view camera lenses, with more than ample image circles for swings and tilts over the film plane. I had been using it with the standard Hasselblad 120 and 220 film backs, but when the Hasselblad/Imacon digital back became available, I switched to that. Subsequently, I moved to the PhaseOne IQ-160. Images are superb. I have often put the ArcBody, 45mm Rodenstock Apo-Grandagon lens, IQ-160 back, sync cord, cable release and a pack of gum in a fanny pack, slung a tripod over my shoulder, and taken off into the woods. 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 06:26:22 pm by Ken Schuster »
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Chris_Brown

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2022, 06:48:59 pm »

I used 4x5 & 8x10 cameras for a couple decades and when film (and processing) began to die c.2003, I made the decision to try the Canon 1Ds with their TS-E lenses. The level of image control wasn't the same, and it felt like a toy working on a tiny camera. However, the feedback loop was a no-brainer. Everything came together much faster than when working with film. No waiting for Polaroids, no waiting for the lab (and no more drum scanning, w00t!). Just click and look at the monitor. Back then it took about 10 seconds for an image to load. Nowadays the image is up before I get over to the monitor. When working in the field without a computer, the histogram readout is the guide.

That said, everything has improved in the digital realm. And Canon has upgraded all their TS-E lenses (and will eventually migrate their designs to their mirrorless models). The new designs allow for the rotation of the lens tilt such that it's left-right or up-down. Same with the shift direction.

The 17mm TS-E is shockingly sharp, and all current models use circular aperture blades.

I recommend renting a body and a couple lenses from any rental house that has the items and try things out for a week.

May the force be with you, padawan!  ;)

The front elements of my 17mm TS-E ⬇️
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AndrewMcD

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2022, 01:16:17 am »

Thanks! I really appreciate the responses. I hadn’t even thought about the ArcBody, or any of the modern tilt-shift lenses. Good points!
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maddogmurph

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2022, 02:01:33 am »

I started with a tachihara, and a calumet. Too heavy and slow... images awesome, dynamic range terrible...

Today the most important thing to me as a landscaper is dynamic range. The second is probably speed of execution in focus stacking. Which the R5 is currently the winner adapted to the 11-24mm F4 lens. I can hand hold images, focus stack, and come home with more "keepers" from a single event than ever before. This is particularly important during extremely rare weather events.

Tilt shit is less of a consideration for me, because I have photoshop. However, the best tool is the phase one currently. However, you'd need to carry two cameras to cover the 70mm-400mm range - so I've stayed away from Phase one. Unfortunately as of now, camera manufacturers haven't come out with the system I need. My perfect system as follows: Medium format 100MP sensor, f12-24 (35mm equivalent) T/S lens with F2.8 (probably physically impossible), & F4 70-200mm w/ 2x teleconverter. (35mm equivalent)

-Md
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 02:09:12 am by maddogmurph »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2022, 03:45:44 am »

In parallel with 8x10, I am using 3 digital systems at the moment, all using Sony sensors since there are the best in terms of dynamic range (the R5 appears to have a higher DR but that's because the camera applies NR to the shadows in camera, it's not real raw anymore).

1. 35mm: Nikon Z7II (and Z9) with FTZII + 19mm T/S (the best T/S lens at the moment) or do automated DoF stacking with amazing lenses such as the 14-24mm f2.8 S. A sample with the Z9 and 70-200mm f2.8 S. 35mm is clearly best for tele since offers great reach and relatively compact super high quality tele lenses.



2. Small MF: GFX100s, I can adapt the Nikon 19mm or do automated DoF stacking with native G lenses such as the remarkable 23mm f4. A sample from last week with the G 120mm f4 (400 megapixels, way better than 8x10):



3. Large MF: IQ4-150 either on XF which enables automated DoF stacking with some lenses (I use the 35mm Blue Ring and 120mm Blue Ring a lot) or on an Arcaswiss Rm3Di (which forces manual DoF stacking) with Rodenstock HR lenses. One stitched samplewith the 240mm Blue ring, 350 megapixels.



I use one of the other depending on the weight/bulk I am able to carry. I also tend to stitch with these 3 systems for additional resolution.

The most universal solution is clearly the Fuji GFX100s.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 03:55:30 am by BernardLanguillier »
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DanielStone

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2022, 11:35:40 pm »

Hi Andrew,

I still like working with a view camera, mostly 4x5 and 8x10. However, in a similar vein, I too am searching for a potential supplement to shooting film, not a full replacement.
Lens movements like tilt, swing, rise and shift ARE important for me, notably rise/fall and tilt. However, the cost is the prohibitive factor in my case.

For me, the most direct camera comparison would be a camera like a Linhof Techno or Cambo Actus.
While I'm not against the sliding back, some of these newer backs with CMOS sensors are better for live-view focusing on-screen. However, that tiny (compared to 4x5 or 8x10) ground glass just makes it more impractical. In a studio environment, where you're in a covered area free of wind and rain, then a traditional view camera works well.

Eward Burtynsky had some interesting points in this video linked below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkzMqAUpE3s

The DOF requirements for a MF sensor(or 35mm) allows for much more images to be created, since you don't need to stop down as far like you do with 4x5 or 8x10.
But movements might not even be necessary, depending on the images you like to make.


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BobShaw

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2022, 12:34:10 am »

I had a 4x5 view camera a few years ago and thought of adding a digital back.
It is immediately apparent what the difference is going from a film 170mm wide to a sensor which is maybe 55mm wide.
I haven't read TechTalk's link but you probably should.
The end result was that I considered it a waste of time and sold all of my large format equipment.
Its only purpose with digital is specialised work in a studio IMO.

Hasselblad make a Tilt Shift unit for the H series that can also be used on the X series.
You can also use the Canon TSE24 or TSE17 lenses on the X1D on a tripod for landscapes on a windless day.
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AndrewMcD

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2022, 02:41:38 pm »

I appreciate everyone sharing their experience and thoughts on the subject. A couple of things that I hadn’t thought about, focus stacking and that dof with smaller sensors may obviate the need for front tilt. I still like that I can square my film level, and use front rise and fall to achieve what I’m seeing, it’s something that is just built into the way I see after so long. Lots of great suggestions. Thanks!
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Ken Schuster

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2022, 07:05:39 pm »

"...focus stacking and that dof with smaller sensors may obviate the need for front tilt."

Focus stacking can "stretch" your DOF, but it doesn't produce the same effect as front tilt.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2022, 07:01:01 pm by Ken Schuster »
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deanwork

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2022, 08:23:57 pm »

Fuji GFX100, perspective corrected in photoshop.





quote author=Ken Schuster link=topic=140826.msg1241483#msg1241483 date=1655939139]
"...focus stacking and that dof with smaller sensors may obviate the need for front tilt."

Focus stacking can "stretch" you DOF, but it doesn't produce the same effect as front tilt.
[/quote]
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Balafre

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2022, 08:43:11 pm »

The Hasselblad ArcBody (https://www.luminous-landscape.com/arcbody/) body can be carried all day with your little finger. It uses three exceptional Rodenstock view camera lenses, with more than ample image circles for swings and tilts over the film plane. I had been using it with the standard Hasselblad 120 and 220 film backs, but when the Hasselblad/Imacon digital back became available, I switched to that. Subsequently, I moved to the PhaseOne IQ-160. Images are superb. I have often put the ArcBody, 45mm Rodenstock Apo-Grandagon lens, IQ-160 back, sync cord, cable release and a pack of gum in a fanny pack, slung a tripod over my shoulder, and taken off into the woods.

Oh Well Spoken ! - yes this was a masterpiece of engineering and design, but my large Slavic fingers made it very slow to operate. The centre filters were crucial. The sheer power and potential of this system was limitless. Classic Hasselblad's last epic statement - their Requiem Mass in D Minor ...

As for now, the Schneider Blue Ring 35 f3.5 mm is the one ring to rule them all if you need limitless DOF without movements but it's heavy, and it requires a dedicated P1 XF. But having cherished the light elegant SWC905 previously, the BR 35 optically surpasses it in every way.

Attached shot was at 1/5 (!) f12 ISO 50 IQ3-100 via Schneider BR 35 mm f3.5
« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 09:06:03 pm by Balafre »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2022, 06:42:24 pm »

True, the 35mm BR is outstanding!

Cheers,
Bernard

TechTalk

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2022, 08:04:14 pm »

Focus stacking can "stretch" your DOF, but it doesn't produce the same effect as front tilt.

I agree. Focus stacking is just one of many techniques for making images and doesn't produce the same effect as front tilt.

When used to excess, focus stacking no longer gives the appearance of depth of field control, but more like out of control depth in some cases.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2022, 03:27:31 pm by TechTalk »
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TechTalk

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2022, 08:06:29 pm »

In parallel with 8x10, I am using 3 digital systems at the moment, all using Sony sensors since there are the best in terms of dynamic range (the R5 appears to have a higher DR but that's because the camera applies NR to the shadows in camera, it's not real raw anymore)...

One of the things that I like about the images which you posted is that the foreground stands out from the background.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2022, 10:21:01 pm »

One of the things that I like about the images which you posted is that the foreground stands out from the background.

Thank you.

Some images call for an infinite look, others for more separation I believe.

Cheers,
Bernard

Dan Wells

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2022, 08:52:58 pm »

Fujifilm is about to release (within the next year - I bet we see one of the two in the spring) two native T/S lenses for GFX... Those seem like very likely options. GFX 100S image quality blows 4x5 out of the water, is similar to 8x10 (8x10 has higher theoretical quaiity, but any slight misalignment in lens, lens board. film holder, etc. advantages the GFX). Realistically, the only way 8x10 has a real advantage is with very slow film in a monorail camera...

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mcbroomf

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2022, 04:34:13 am »

Fujifilm is about to release (within the next year - I bet we see one of the two in the spring) two native T/S lenses for GFX... Those seem like very likely options. GFX 100S image quality blows 4x5 out of the water, is similar to 8x10 (8x10 has higher theoretical quaiity, but any slight misalignment in lens, lens board. film holder, etc. advantages the GFX). Realistically, the only way 8x10 has a real advantage is with very slow film in a monorail camera...

https://www.thephoblographer.com/2022/09/21/a-closer-look-at-the-new-fujifilm-tilt-shift-lenses/
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Ditching my 4x5 view camera - to what?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2022, 01:38:22 pm »

I've used an M2 and it is a great camera.  I have never used the Universalis, but have been told by people who have used both that the M2 is much better, especially with keeping both standards in plane. 
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