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Thread: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

  1. #1
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    Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Hi all,
    I'm just killing time today and have been pondering the Alpa website and product brochures. I'm wondering about the SWC and STC cameras and how to best buy into the system, in particularly how best to plan lens purchases. I've been thinking about getting a SWC for a while with a 6x7 film back, but would want to make use of the shift movements. Does this mean I'd have to get the XL lenses (80mm f4.5 XL and 58mm f5.6 XL are the only two I'd want / need) because of their larger image circles? Why are the XL lenses not listed in the brochure as suitable for digital use? Are then not high enough resolution, or what?
    Thanks,
    Tim

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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Does this mean I'd have to get the XL lenses (80mm f4.5 XL and 58mm f5.6 XL are the only two I'd want / need) because of their larger image circles? Why are the XL lenses not listed in the brochure as suitable for digital use? Are then not high enough resolution, or what?
    Thanks,
    Tim
    I use a SCHNEIDER SUPER ANGULON XL 5,6/72mm , which was adapted by ALPA for use on my ALPA12SWA . That lens is out of my LF lens stock .
    The results with my existing digital back (CFV-39) are very good , although this lens was never designed to be used with digital backs .
    Now , the issue is , that all lenses which ever could be used with an ALPA have different focal flange lenght measurements .
    The production of the squared lens barrel , which ALPA uses , is rather expensive and the cost would be even higher , when only two or three barrels would be produced . Therefore , understandable , ALPA only makes adaptions for very common lenses or the newest digital lenses from SCHNEIDER and RODENSTOCK .
    If you want to shoot with ALPA and film , you should check with ALPA , if your desired lens can (still) be adapted .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Why are the XL lenses not listed in the brochure as suitable for digital use? Are then not high enough resolution, or what?

    the 58 XL isn't good at all for digital... the 80 not so bad, but a 90 digaron is far better.
    If you intend to shoot digital in the future, you should buy digital lenses that have an adequate image circle for roll film as well...

    The apo sironar 55 digital is probably the way to go... but it's a lense that shine at F8 F11

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    When you say they are not good, do you mean they don't resolve enough detail? The image circle issue really does limit ones lens choices if you want to shoot both film and digital. What should the image circle be if you want to shoot 6x7 and utilise moderate shift movements?

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Its the old story of the contractor who says to you:

    "I can do it however you like: good, quick, or cheap... choose any two"

    same with Digital MF lenses - larger image circle vs: ultimate resolution vs: price

    you can have ultimate resolution with almost no aberrations, but the image circle will be minimal (Digaron-S)
    you can have a larger image circle but you will see some aberrations, and resolution will decrease (Digaron-W)
    you can have largest image circle (and cheap price) but the resolution and aberrations will be noticeably poorer. (LF film lenses - Apo Sironar etc)

    choose your poison.
    Last edited by narikin; 1st November 2010 at 06:41.

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    How would you compare the W lenses with the likes of the Mamiya D lenses and Hasselblad offerings? Are we talking similar aberrations and resolution or less if we compare 80/90mm and 55/45 offerings?

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    you are not really comparing like with like.

    the D + Hassy lenses only cover the 645 image circle, and thats all.
    the W range covers double that.

    D are auto aperture and autofocus. obviously the Digarons are not.

    so you would use them for different things. The 90mm Digaron-W's are for stitching on a technical camera (if not stitching, get an S) the 80mm D is for AF work on an MF dSLR.

    horses for courses.

    having said that the D range on the Mamiya is very, very good, as Leica themselves conceded. and the 90mm Digaron W is also very good for its purpose - technical camera stitch panoramas.

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Thanks again for the info. I realize I wasn't asking for a like to like comparison, but I was interested to hear how good the comparable lenses are when used in the same way, i.e. when not stitching or using movements. My interest was sparked because people always talk about how great the new generation tech camera lenses are. Perhaps the people who state this are using the HR lenses or lenses specifically designed for digital sensors that don't require such large image circles. Personally, I'd just like to use moderate shift movements to help control perspective, but I now know even this may be a difficult ask if I'd like to utilise the same lenses for film and at a later date digital capture.

    On another note, does anyone out there use an Alpa 12 with RB67 back and the appropriate adaptor? The Linhof/Alpa 67 back is very expensive, and I imagine very well made, but is it worth the money if one can get hold of or has a stash of RB backs?

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Quote Originally Posted by narikin View Post
    The 90mm Digaron-W's are for stitching on a technical camera (if not stitching, get an S) the 80mm D is for AF work on an MF dSLR.
    horses for courses.
    Tell me why the DIGARON-W series is only good for stitching ? ? ?
    They are used for stitching , yes , but also for shift either horizontal or vertical and they also produce very very good images just without any shift at all .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post

    On another note, does anyone out there use an Alpa 12 with RB67 back and the appropriate adaptor? The Linhof/Alpa 67 back is very expensive, and I imagine very well made, but is it worth the money if one can get hold of or has a stash of RB backs?

    Hi TJV,

    This is a great and economical alternative and quite a few people use this solution. There is also a similar adapter which allows the use of Arca and Horseman roll backs.

    Interestingly though, most Alpa film shooters that I have worked with, end up with the Linhof/Alpa backs.

    Best,
    Paul

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    I just spent 15 mins typing a long list of questions and the computer crashed and lost it all. Typical.

    Anyway, as far as I can remember the following is the general gist of that lost post...

    1: After some thought, I've decided / realized I could live with a one lens setup if I buy into the system to initially use with film only. I just want to clarify that the Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 5.6/70 mm is a good lens for film AND digital (40mpx) and the 100mm image circle does indeed accomodate some moderate movements when shooting 6x7cm format (which I believe has a 90mm diagonal? I have no frame of reference for what 5mm of shift equates to.) I like the idea of the 70mm because it would be more useful for me when I eventually get a digital back as my favorite focal lengths are at the medium to moderate wide part of the scale.

    2: If I were to get a two lens setup for film, I'd still want to buy wisely so I didn't have to re-buy for digital later. In doing this, I'd also want to buy with an eye to my future ideal digital lens kit. In this situation I'd look at getting the Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 5.6/90 mm *SB* and Schneider ALPA Apo-Helvetar 5.6/48 mm. Both have sufficient image circle for movements with 6x7 and I'd only need to look at a 70mm option to flesh out the kit when going digital to complete my ideal kit.

    3: The eventual kit, not including lenses, could be the following:

    +SWA or STC body - Is it possible to "upgrade" to wakeup cable integrated parts if you don't buy into that model initially on the SWA?
    +Viewfinder with bubble level and matching custom mask with marks for movements.
    +Mamiya RB back adaptor and RB67 back
    +Focusing bellows with integrated loupe.
    +Ground glass set.

    Am I missing anything here?

    I'm asking these questions but feel a little bad doing so. I must confess that right now I'm "tire kicking" in that I can't afford to part with the cash until early next year. I'm asking now because there have been a few threads here recently about technical cameras that have been of a great deal of help and I've got to thinking the Alpa 12 system might be good to step into in order to further what I'm exploring with my work. The features that would benefit me most are shift movements, the option to use ground glass focusing when critical work calls for it, hand hold ability similar to my Mamiya 7 kit (all be it with zone focus,) and light weight and bulk of overall kit. Perhaps my questions are also relevant to others out there? Does anyone out there also use their Alpa with film and movements?

    Also, in 2005 I saw Luc Delahaye's History series in Amsterdam. I remember reading he used an Alpa (and Linhof) for many of the photographs on display. I had never heard to the brand back then but was really impressed with the large prints. I see he is now on the Alpa web site where some of those pictures are on display. Good advertising!

    Thanks again,

    TJV

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    "SWA or STC body - Is it possible to "upgrade" to wakeup cable integrated parts if you don't buy into that model initially on the SWA?"

    It is possible to buy a wakeup grip for the SWA, but they're quite expensive: http://www.alpa.ch/en/products/camer...2-tc-left.html (You need to log in to see prices.)

    ALPA have announced a new "one shot" shutter attachment that will wake the back and fire the shutter with one push of the button, and Kapture Group has been making a similar product for years. The Kapture Group part works great, and I think either is a better solution (and much less expensive) than the ALPA grip.

    From what I've seen, the STC seems like a better choice than the SWA. It allows movement in two opposing directions, left or right, or up or down (by switching the camera's orientation.)

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    TJV

    Attached is a PDF from Alpa showing theoretical shift movements of their lenses for the various digital and film formats. This may be of some use for you.

    Attachment 37096

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    if you entend to shoot at F11, then :

    The apo sironar 55 digital is probably the way to go... but it's a lense that shine at F8 F11

    at F11, is plenty sharp, no distortion, and the image circle is huge !


    70mm with digital is something like a 55-60 with 24x36...

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    "SWA or STC body - Is it possible to "upgrade" to wakeup cable integrated parts if you don't buy into that model initially on the SWA?"

    It is possible to buy a wakeup grip for the SWA, but they're quite expensive: http://www.alpa.ch/en/products/camer...2-tc-left.html (You need to log in to see prices.)

    ALPA have announced a new "one shot" shutter attachment that will wake the back and fire the shutter with one push of the button, and Kapture Group has been making a similar product for years. The Kapture Group part works great, and I think either is a better solution (and much less expensive) than the ALPA grip.

    From what I've seen, the STC seems like a better choice than the SWA. It allows movement in two opposing directions, left or right, or up or down (by switching the camera's orientation.)
    Thanks, Steve.

    When I first heard of the STC I thought it was the answers to my prayers. I was told it won't be for sale for about four or five months, not that that bothers me in my situation. The new one shot attachments look good. One thing though, is it true that Leaf Aptus-II backs don't need a wake up? Did I read that somewhere here?

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    if you entend to shoot at F11, then :

    The apo sironar 55 digital is probably the way to go... but it's a lense that shine at F8 F11

    at F11, is plenty sharp, no distortion, and the image circle is huge !


    70mm with digital is something like a 55-60 with 24x36...
    Yes, I looked at the specs of the 55mm digital. I forgot to mention that. 55mm would be of more use to me with film, too.

    Anyone out there want to comment on the finer points of the Alpa system if one wants to use it for hand held use? I've read about the focus accuracy compared to the RM3d system when critical focus is necessary and you can't use the ground glass, but what about general handling and adaptability - does anyone out there use their Alpa for portraits as well as landscapes? I ask this again because my limited experience with high res MF digital suggests the slightest error in focusing is visible in print. E.g. In a head to toe length portrait the tip of a nose can be sharp but the eyes soft, although all be it when using a very wide aperture. I assume everyone uses the Alpa stopped down to at least f8 when shooting within close quarters?

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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    The Leaf backs do not require a wake-up cable, which is a lot better than having to use one - not just in the use, but also when switching lenses (only having to switch one cable instead of two). I've got both the Phase P-45+ and the Leaf AP2 10 (on loan from Optics Digital - GREAT folks to do business with). No wake-up cable required with the newer Phase backs either, but when shooting for extended periods or in moderate to warm weather the noise builds up in a hurry so I would still use the wake-up cable for them most of the time. The Leaf screen is miles ahead of the Phase screen - the Phase screen feels more like a toy after using the Leaf since it is so tiny.

  18. #18
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    Re: Lenses for Alpa 12 system

    The RM3di is really easy to zone focus for quick portraits hand held with sufficient light to allow hand holding, of course.
    The 55mm Rodenstock is excellent and I shoot it on my Arca RM3d on both leaf backs and 6x7 roll backs as well. Most of these lenses you have been speaking of do operate with stop down at a maximum aperture of 11 2/3 on digital. This partially because of the appearance of diffraction past that point on digital is much higher than what is seen on film.
    You can stop down a bit more on film than digital. Remember film was thousandths of an inch thick while digital is only 1 micron(millionth) thick. A great article on Schneider's and my site, RodKlukas.com, called 'Why Choose Digitar' will clarify this difference. Also you need to use a circle of confusion of .007 for depth of field calculations with digital while film can get by on .028, 4 times larger. the comments above on leaf verses phase are well taken. The Leaf is less clean on long exposures, say over 15 seconds, but i still prefer field work here in Arizona with it over the Phase so far. Hope this helps.
    The 55mm and 70mm Rodenstocks are good. The 72mm Schneider is a little jewel with easy coverage and the new 43mm will also cover the 6x7.
    Rod

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