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Author Topic: Wide Angle lens advice  (Read 8281 times)
AlanG
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2009, 08:24:00 PM »
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Quote from: LightMiner
Cambo Wide DS and 6X9.  Schneider 47 lense.  That gets you around 102 degrees (width!  diagonal degrees would be even more) angle of view.  (How do you get 102 degrees of view on digital SLR?  Unless you do fisheye/alter in computer or stitch, I don't think you can)

There is a lot in the post. And it is all over the place - sort of a big list of many of the cameras and lenses available. Unfortunately I spotted a few inaccuracies and want to give a better idea of some of the drawbacks of using 6x9 and really wide lenses.

A 47mm lens on 6x9 produces about the same image as a 20mm lens on full frame 35mm. (I've owned three 47mm Super Angulons.)  The 47 XL will cover 4x5 so it has a fair amount of movement on 6x9. You could use it on a 6x12 format also. A 35mm Rodenstock Grandagon is probably the shortest (widest) lens that will cover 6x9.  That is the equivalent of a 15mm on FF 35mm and has virtually no movements on 6x9.  

So that sounds simple? Wrong.  Even though their maximum aperture is f 4.5 or 5.6, due to the fact that the light is presented to the groundglass at an extreme angle, it can be very difficult to frame an image with these lenses even wide open. Especially in low light.  These wide angle lenses have a lot of vignetting and require using a graduated center filter to help eliminate it.  And unlike lenses for 35mm, they are used stopped down. Generally f11-16. The maximum covering power for most view camera lenses is stated for an aperture of f22.  The circle of illumination is smaller the more you open up. Add on the center filter and you are often at the equivalent of f22-32 or worse.  If you also need to use a color correction or polarizing filter it gets way worse. And how many filters do you want on your lens? I often had one on the front and one on the back of the lens.  Don't forget to re-focus after putting on the filter. And now this is really really dark.

14mm rectilinear lenses are common on 35mm and Sigma makes a 12-24 rectilinear lens for full frame. So you don't have to shoot a fisheye and de-fish. Canon is coming out with a 17mm tilt shift lens next month. For 35mm digital photos, all of the distortion and vignetting can be eliminated via software. I use DXO and it corrects for this automatically with many lenses and camera bodies. You can easily frame your view with a DSLR or shoot tethered to a laptop for ultra precision and accuracy.  Live view is also great for precise framing and focusing.  Shooting interiors on 6x9 film, I often had to try to squeeze myself into a tight spot to try to see a very dark image on the groundglass. Sometimes it took forever just to frame the image accurately.

So that's my opinion - go with the 5DII and the 16-35.

If this isn't enough for you, I find that shooting multiple shots and stitching can produce much more perfect results than I got from 6x9 and allows a lot of freedom in terms of how wide or tight you can shoot.  Good software such as Autopano can stitch together shots from almost any lens.  Lens distortion is not an issue. I frequently stitch together shots that were made with a 15mm fisheye. The lens is small light and sharp.

I probably shouldn't have said any of this because I will be selling all of my view camera gear as soon as I can get around to listing it.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 09:19:02 PM by AlanG » Logged

Alan Goldstein
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LightMiner
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2009, 09:16:55 PM »
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"A 47mm lens on 6x9 produces about the same image as a 20mm lens on full frame 35mm. (I've owned three 47mm Super Angulons.)"

Drat!  I had divided 2 cells in my excel spreadsheet backwards (I had A/B*C and it should have been A/C*B ).  You are correct - and that is a big difference.

And agreed on ground glass focusing/composing - its a challenge!  However, many of the tech cameras utilize sighting devices (accessory viewfinder) above the camera, which are great when things are far away and more inaccurate as things get very very close to the camera.  But overall, for me, I find them easy to use.  And actually, I found myself walking around with just the viewfinder to compose, then take the camera out when ready.  Unexpected bonus of detatcheable viewfinder!

Here is someone who uses LF lenses, digital and stitching

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/...tal-ebony.shtml
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 09:19:17 PM by LightMiner » Logged
AlanG
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2009, 10:21:35 PM »
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Quote from: LightMiner
And actually, I found myself walking around with just the viewfinder to compose, then take the camera out when ready.  Unexpected bonus of detatcheable viewfinder!

The calculation is  x/36=47/85.  Depending on the specific 6x9 back, the image is about 55mm x 85mm

I have a Linhof multi focus finder that I use that way when I shoot film. (OK its been a while.) I also had a wide angle one for my Cambo Wide. My Cambo Wide had a 47 and a 65. But I still used the ground glass once I got setup - especially to work the shift and get precise framing. It's a solid body camera and has a focus scale.  It's one thing to shoot 6x9 with wide angle lenses outside for landscapes, quite another to do precise color accurate interiors on chrome film with one.  I switched to the Linhof Technikardan 45S which is small and can utilize all of the lenses that used to require me to bring along my 4x5 Linhof Kardan Bi plus the Cambo.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 10:34:33 PM by AlanG » Logged

Alan Goldstein
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LightMiner
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2009, 08:37:57 PM »
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Per some of my above comments, if you go with 5d, consider Zeiss rather than the Canon lenses mentioned above.  


http://www.pbase.com/nickdemarco/25mm_lens_test

Among other things, here is one comment:

"At f2.8 even uncropped the Zeiss is MUCH sharper than the Canon 16-35. If you look at the crops the Zeiss blows the Canon away, both for centre and corner sharpness."
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brivard
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2009, 03:46:28 AM »
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Thanks for all the replys. I also am curious about the new 17mm t&s from canon. What are the benefits of t&s in landscape?btw I'm an ultra-wide junkie not just 20 and 18 mm lenses. And what about the 14mm from canon? I have settled on a 5d II but there is still the issue of lenses. I am not made of money, and can't afford buying something that is not convenient for my shooting. Thanks
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spotmeter
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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2009, 06:20:21 AM »
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Quote from: brivard
Thanks for all the replys. I also am curious about the new 17mm t&s from canon. What are the benefits of t&s in landscape?btw I'm an ultra-wide junkie not just 20 and 18 mm lenses. And what about the 14mm from canon? I have settled on a 5d II but there is still the issue of lenses. I am not made of money, and can't afford buying something that is not convenient for my shooting. Thanks

With a shift lens, you can correct for keystoning (verticals converging).  Instead of pointing the camera up and distorting the landscape, you can shift the lens up and shoot a photo that has less distortion.

With a tilt lens, you can keep the foreground and background in focus, especially useful for wide-angle shots that include very near and far subjects.

Canon's old 24mm tilt-shift had production problems, with some of the copies being soft. Hopefully, the new version will be better, but we won't know until they are released for sale.

You might do a search for reviews of the 14mm. I am not familiar with it.

I am currently testing all my lenses on my new 5D2.  I am surprised to see that my Canon 45mm T-S, which appeared excellent on my 5D, is now a little soft compared to my Zeiss 50mm macro ZF, which now looks better than on the 5D.

This tells me that you want to get the best possible lens to get the most out of this new camera.
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AlanG
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2009, 11:21:43 AM »
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Quote from: brivard
Thanks for all the replys. I also am curious about the new 17mm t&s from canon. What are the benefits of t&s in landscape?btw I'm an ultra-wide junkie not just 20 and 18 mm lenses. And what about the 14mm from canon? I have settled on a 5d II but there is still the issue of lenses. I am not made of money, and can't afford buying something that is not convenient for my shooting. Thanks


If you are shooting landscapes, you'll get the best results by stitching several images. And you can get wider results than one shot with a 14mm will produce.
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Alan Goldstein
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carstenw
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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2009, 09:33:01 AM »
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If you are shooting landscapes, you'll get the best results by stitching several images. And you can get wider results than one shot with a 14mm will produce.

Alan, I am using the Leica M8 and 16-18-21mm f4 at 16mm and stitch with Autopano Pro to get very wide panos, sometimes over 180 degrees. However, I found that the stitches sometimes don't match up right. For example, I did a shot of the central station here in Berlin, which has curved metal arches carrying the glass shell. However, these curved arches don't stitch properly together, and end up with kinks along the way. Do you know what causes this? I am trying now again while paying a lot more attention to how APP sets up the focal length and the lens before stitching, but the software only calculates the effective focal length, and doesn't know the characteristics of the particular lens. Do you use DxO or PTLens to correct images before stitching? I do single-row panoramas and use an RRS pano rail for this.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 09:59:24 AM by carstenw » Logged

AlanG
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2009, 11:53:06 AM »
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Alan, I am using the Leica M8 and 16-18-21mm f4 at 16mm and stitch with Autopano Pro to get very wide panos, sometimes over 180 degrees. However, I found that the stitches sometimes don't match up right. For example, I did a shot of the central station here in Berlin, which has curved metal arches carrying the glass shell. However, these curved arches don't stitch properly together, and end up with kinks along the way. Do you know what causes this? I am trying now again while paying a lot more attention to how APP sets up the focal length and the lens before stitching, but the software only calculates the effective focal length, and doesn't know the characteristics of the particular lens. Do you use DxO or PTLens to correct images before stitching? I do single-row panoramas and use an RRS pano rail for this.


Is your pano head adjusted correctly?  I think it would be hard to adjust one using a Leica as it would take a lot of trial and error. That is one reason why the M8 needs live view!  I use a Nodal Ninja head and they provide the information for setting it with various lenses and bodies.  This makes it very easy to get right.  

I shoot and stitch 360 degree virtual tours with perfect results using a pano head, a Canon 15mm fisheye and Autopano. I convert the raw images in DXO but do not correct for the fisheye distortion - Autopano handles it.  I don't have to set anything about the focal length in Autopano Pro.  Are you using smartblend?  Experiment with different amounts of overlap. You may need fewer shots than you think.

Here are some examples - these very wide shots are not always great images but they often help tell the story of a space.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 12:06:30 PM by AlanG » Logged

Alan Goldstein
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carstenw
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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2009, 03:57:50 PM »
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Quote from: AlanG
Is your pano head adjusted correctly?  I think it would be hard to adjust one using a Leica as it would take a lot of trial and error. That is one reason why the M8 needs live view!  I use a Nodal Ninja head and they provide the information for setting it with various lenses and bodies.  This makes it very easy to get right.  

I shoot and stitch 360 degree virtual tours with perfect results using a pano head, a Canon 15mm fisheye and Autopano. I convert the raw images in DXO but do not correct for the fisheye distortion - Autopano handles it.  I don't have to set anything about the focal length in Autopano Pro.  Are you using smartblend?  Experiment with different amounts of overlap. You may need fewer shots than you think.

Here are some examples - these very wide shots are not always great images but they often help tell the story of a space.

I believe that my pano head is adjusted correctly, although I am not certain. When I got it, I placed the M8 and 16-18-21 on the head, on a table, and took two photos side by side with perhaps 30% overlap. I found two features which were directly above each other in the one photo, and then adjusted the rail until they were above each other in the other photo too. Everything from 30cm to 3m was then correct.

Is a different rail setting necessary for different focusing distances?

However, I noticed later that I had a minor flaw in another panorama, up close, and then I had trouble with the mentioned panoramas. I think I might go back and test the pano rail setting again. I had only set it to 1mm accuracy, but perhaps I need to be more accurate than that.

The other possibility is that I am not overlapping enough. The 16mm is a 21mm on the M8, and I use it in portrait mode, shooting horizontal panoramas. I was turning the ballhead in 45 degree steps, but perhaps I need to back off a little there. I will try 40 degrees the next time.

Another possibility is that there just aren't a lot of unique features on a train platform. Repeating patterns are the rule here. The ceiling also has repeating patterns, so in some places, I could understand it is APP was unable to find unique features and got confused about the positions. Increasing the overlap here might help again.

I will try these changes, hopefully tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for your help.

By the way, setting up the lens in APP before stitching helped a lot, but not completely.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 03:59:23 PM by carstenw » Logged

carstenw
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2009, 05:13:32 PM »
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I have checked the rail position, and 9.8cm seems to give really accurate results, at least on an object at very close distance. I then tried 45 and 40 degree turns, with and without setting up the focal length properly (for some reason, the 16mm focal length is correctly determined, but the camera not, so I had to manually enter the camera, to get the 21mm focal length; I am guessing that your Canon does not have this problem, and that both lens and camera are properly determined from EXIF). Setting up the focal length resulted in visible improvements in both 45 and 40 degree panos, and the 40 degree pano had less artifacts, although it was not artifact-free, and this is in my living room, where most of the detail is unique, unlike the central station. I might try 35 degrees too.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 05:16:53 PM by carstenw » Logged

carstenw
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« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2009, 03:04:18 PM »
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I re-tested the rail setting both at the near and the far limit, and it is identical, for all practical purposes, at 9,8cm with the RRS pano rail and the Leica 16-18-21.

I went back and reshot in the Hauptbahnhof again, and this time, using 40 degrees and the proper lens/camera settings in APP, I was able to get rid of the artifacts I saw last time. I still need to check over the image carefully for minor artifacts, but so far I have found no problems other than people moving around during the 3 exposures required for the HDR workflow I am experimenting with.

Thanks for your help, Alan.
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