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Thread: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

  1. #1
    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    I've been considering a view or technical camera for my p65+ back for some time, and am about ready to plunge in. I do exclusively landscape/nature work for personal pleasure, and very large prints is my passion.

    At this point I've narrowed the camera down to the Alpa 12max, with the stitching adaptor ... seems to have the right mix of size, flexibility etc.

    I have shot medium format since the 70's, and of course now have a lot of experience with dSLR's, but this is all new to me.

    I would love any input as to the stitching adaptor ... I've seen the video and it looks like a nice solution, but wondering if it's stable and practical.

    I am uncertain as to what lenses might be my best starting point. I've done a little research but just looking for a little more insight for those using this type of equipment. Considering that I want to do some stitching, I'm trying to understand how to calculate image circles and what lenses will perform the best with this particular back.

    Any tips and advice appreciated, or if anyone can point me to some information already out there, that would be great.

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    I've been considering a view or technical camera for my p65+ back for some time, and am about ready to plunge in. I do exclusively landscape/nature work for personal pleasure, and very large prints is my passion.

    At this point I've narrowed the camera down to the Alpa 12max, with the stitching adaptor ... seems to have the right mix of size, flexibility etc.

    I have shot medium format since the 70's, and of course now have a lot of experience with dSLR's, but this is all new to me.

    I would love any input as to the stitching adaptor ... I've seen the video and it looks like a nice solution, but wondering if it's stable and practical.

    I am uncertain as to what lenses might be my best starting point. I've done a little research but just looking for a little more insight for those using this type of equipment. Considering that I want to do some stitching, I'm trying to understand how to calculate image circles and what lenses will perform the best with this particular back.

    Any tips and advice appreciated, or if anyone can point me to some information already out there, that would be great.
    Wayne,

    Here is a link for a spreadsheet that shows sensor size and image circle....it gives range of movements for sensor and max image circle for each of the Alpa lenses.

    http://www.alpa.ch/dms/articles/2009...verview_v2.pdf

    Decisions as to whether you prefer Rodenstock large lens with smaller image circle but very sharp or Schneider lens which is somewhat smaller in physical size and has many times a larger image circle for movements. Also some suggest that the Rodenstock lenses tend to cause less lens cast due to design...not sure if this will be a major issue with the P65+.

    Welcome to Alpa...there are few ways to drop money faster! Horse racing, yachts and older airplanes are a few that can be mentioned on a family friendly site.

    When you have specific focal lengths and questions I think most here will be able to give specifics on lens characteristics.

    Optech Digital has a video of the stitching adapter in use that you should see if you have not done so.

    Bob
    Last edited by docmoore; 30th March 2010 at 14:57.

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    from my experience (Horseman, 35mm , CV16 back) seeing what you are going to get is an exercise in patience. what worked for me was to pull off the db, and box it up. then using the ground glass adapter, set focus, and then compose for each stitch, noting the amount of shift. then replace gg with db and repeat those shifts, this time taking the shot. lots of room for error, inadvertent focus movements and lots of open time for the db. i found the external viewer to be un-satisfying. Shifting works great, but you do get typical wa corner distortion and the above mentioned color cast. Now, having sold the horseman, i use a pano head and slightly longer lens

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Wayne,

    first I would evaluate which focal lenght's you are using mostly.
    For me 45mm (645 format) resp. 28mm (135 format) is by far the most used field of view over years.
    Followed by 80mm and 35mm (645 format).
    Consequently I started with the Schneider Digitar 47XL that also covers easily the respective field of view of a 35mm when stitching.

    As to the image plane and lens factor just add the amount of movements to your sensor plane and devide the diagonals of the resulting image planes to find the lens factor.
    So your P65+ sensor is 53.9 x 40.4 mm. The diagonal is 67.4 mm.
    If you add movements of, say, 10mm rise/fall and 10mm left/right you are working with an image plane of 73.9 x 60.4 mm. The diagonal = 95.4 mm.
    So with 4 way movements of 10mm the lens factor is 1.4.
    Therefore a 40mm lens translates to the field of view of a 28 mm lens.
    If you take the image format into account (i.e. 4:3, 5:4, 3:2 …) the lens factor will vary.

    Now, it's not always possible to stitch… This is why I would suggest to buy first the actual focal lengths you are using mostly.

    An additional side note on stitching: basically it sounds great that you can multiply the sensor size of your P65+ with large format lenses.
    But that's just half the truth. With large movements there is always a very noticable sharpness falloff.
    You have to evaluate this for yourself… i.e. find out what you personally consider as a gain in resolution.
    Referring to the above mentioned example: if the the 40mm lens shifted 10mm in each direction delivers only half the resolution of a 28mm lens at the edges, but the resulting image would be twice the size you didn't really gain anything.
    Or did you? … you have to do your own tests and prints to find it out.
    Then again: of course - whithin limitations - stitching results in much more (useable!) resolution. I only mentioned this issue as initially you may find the lens performance of a certain lens at, say, 15mm shift disappointing.

    As to the lenses:
    - the Schneider Digitar basically provide larger image circles. Supposedly they also show less distortion (due to their symetrical design).
    - the Rodenstock HR (aka "Digaron-W" and "Digaron-S") provide smaller image circles but are mostly faster and they are sharp wide open.
    - depending on the lens the real usable image circle of the Rodenstock lenses is larger than stated in the specs.
    - the Rodentsock HR show less vignetting. With some Digitars a centerfilter might be helpful.
    - both manufacturer's lenses are top notch.

    My very personal impression is that the Rodenstock lenses look somehow technical and clean whilst the Digitars do have a "look".
    Maybe that's nonsense… it's simply what I see.

    edit: there are 2 very intersting lenses coming this spring/summer: a Digitar 43XL (113mm image circle, so slightly larger than the IC of the 47XL) and a Digitar 28mm (90mm image circle... which is huge for a 28mm!)
    Last edited by thomas; 30th March 2010 at 15:52.
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  5. #5
    DerekJ
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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post

    I would love any input as to the stitching adaptor ... I've seen the video and it looks like a nice solution, but wondering if it's stable and practical.
    Hi Wayne,
    The Stitching Adapter is very stable, most photographers I know purchase it with the Max and leave it mounted at all times. I actually think the Max feels more stable with the adapter than without.

    Cheers,
    Derek

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    I've been considering a view or technical camera for my p65+ back for some time, and am about ready to plunge in. I do exclusively landscape/nature work for personal pleasure, and very large prints is my passion.

    At this point I've narrowed the camera down to the Alpa 12max, with the stitching adaptor ... seems to have the right mix of size, flexibility etc.

    ...

    I would love any input as to the stitching adaptor ... I've seen the video and it looks like a nice solution, but wondering if it's stable and practical.

    ...
    From the sounds of things, you have concluded your research on the Alpa 12max. Have you thought about Sinar arTec? I don't work for them nor "cash for comments" either.

    I was in your position when both were released but settled with Cambo WRS because I invested into two generations of dud DBs (no not P1) and no cash left.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    I can tell you the 40 HR is a gem -- simply awesome on the full P65+ frame...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    As to the lenses:
    - the Schneider Digitar basically provide larger image circles. Supposedly they also show less distortion (due to their symetrical design).
    - the Rodenstock HR (aka "Digaron-W" and "Digaron-S") provide smaller image circles but are mostly faster and they are sharp wide open.
    Agreed but I would amend this to say the Rodenstock HR Digaron-S provide relatively small image circles but the Rodenstock HR Digaron-W provide LARGE image circles. The Rodenstock HR Digaron-W were optimized for the newer larger sensors (up to 60 megapixels) and smaller pixel pitch. The HR Digaron-W 40mm & HR Digaron-W 50mm have 90mm image circles, the HR Digaron-W 70mm has a 100mm image circle, and the HR Digaron-W 90mm has a 125mm image circle.

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Here is some more info on the Rodenstock HR Digaron-S and HR Digiron-W lenses. I've uploaded a PDF which hopefully you can download.

    Attachment 29402

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Wayne, I currently have a 12 Max (stitching adapter on back) and a TC - so welcome to the club. My lens set is: Alpa Helvetar 48mm (mostly attached to the TC as my walk around), but I do attach it to the 12 max as needed. I also have the Rodenstock HR 70mm and HR 90mm lens. I am using a P45+ back, but would love to move up to the 65+ (maybe later). I mostly shooting Landscape. The experience of going to a Technical Camera (TC) can not be understated - its slow, can be complicated (focus GG, remove, put on MFDB, shoot, replace with GG and move on, oh that is unless LCC requirements raise their ugly head (then repeat with LCC shots), However, The Bottom Line: There is no better results that I know of and every-time I think I have found a better solution - I am always disappointed and return to the slow, but sure Technical Camera process. As for lens: no matter what U start off with, you'll always find excuses to get another one. I think that Thomas said it best "first I would evaluate which focal lenght's you are using mostly" and get the one that is the closest match. Once again, welcome to the club.

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Wayne,

    Welcome to Alpa...there are few ways to drop money faster! Horse racing, yachts and older airplanes are a few that can be mentioned on a family friendly site.

    Bob
    I'm doomed. I take pictures of older airplanes with my Max.

    With the Rodenstock 40HRW, a 3 image stitch will just cover about a 50' wingspan with about 15mm of shift each side. LCC necessary on the Hasselblad 50. At the distance I like to use, geometry looks good from the front (love those protruding noses), less so from the back of the aircraft. I find distortion quite bothersome by the time I get to the wingtips so the shift is probably a bit excessive.

    The 90HRW is my favorite for radial engine shots and the Max will do a 3x3 from a few feet away, rendering very natural perspective (and glorious tones) on a Pratt R985.

    Mantra: Don't get oil on the camera...Don't get oil on the camera....

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Quote Originally Posted by cunim View Post
    The 90HRW is my favorite for radial engine shots and the Max will do a 3x3 from a few feet away, rendering very natural perspective (and glorious tones) on a Pratt R985.

    .
    SHOW US!!!!!!

    Love older radials....

    Bob

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    OK, 3x3 of R985 in a Lockheed 12A. 11.5 x 11.5 kpixels. F9, 2 sec. Just photodoc but I think the nude model is very pretty

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/attach...1&d=1270052045
    Last edited by cunim; 9th November 2011 at 05:30.

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    Re: lens recommendations for Alpa 12max

    Beautiful.

    Not a drop of oil seen!

    Bob

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