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Thread: SK 120 TS first impressions

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    SK 120 TS first impressions

    I picked one of these up yesterday at a very good price from my dealer - brand new and still fully packaged.

    Been playing with it this morning with IQ180 and Phase DF body, using a Gitzo CF three series with a cube and cable/MUP.

    It feels to me well made, less intuitive and less easy to use than the Hartblei 45 TS, lighter than it looks but with the shift ring incredibly stiff and hard to turn.

    It is quite hard to focus (OK, impossible to focus accurately with the viewfinder) but you can get close enough for a file to look good at 50% if not 100% on screen.

    The tripod collar is on the lens so as to minimise the iterations of tilt/refocus/reframe needed to get what you want - which is an advantage. The disadvantage is that there is less stability this way and even with MUP there is clear evidence of motion blur at all speeds less than 1/80th or sometimes 1/60th if you are lucky. This is problematic because you really need the extra DOF of F16 in order to compensate for the difficulty in iterating focus when tilting. I tried Live View but without the correct sized ND filter to hand, that didn't help much.

    I can't find any graphs of the lens's performance on the Phase or SK website but I would say that diffraction is just visible at F16 but is not enough to nullify the DOF advantage. However diffraction is more of a problem at smaller apertures, which I would not therefore use.

    I am absolutely no expert at these sorts of lenses though I have of course used movements before. I will try to get the right sized ND filter so I can improve my Scheimpflug via live view and then report back but for now, I have no verdict other than that I knew it wouldn't be easy and it isn't!

    Has anyone else tried one?

    T

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    Workshop Member lance_schad's Avatar
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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    We have had a few people take delivery of the Schneider 120 T/S and from our initial conversations with them they have been quite satisfied with the results. They have been fine art, commercial and portrait type shooters.

    I am waiting to get some additional feedback of which I will post and hopefully some images they would like to share.

    One thing that most have agreed upon is that the VF is a little dark with this lens.

    If anyone is in the near our offices in NY or Texas please feel free to get in touch to come test it out. People that cannot stop by one of our locations contact via PM/EMAIL and we can see what arrangements we can make (on other lenses and gear as well including the new 120mm Macro AF & 150mm LS).

    Lance
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com email:[email protected]

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    Just an update: I mentioned above that motion blur is a problem due to camera shake if you use the lens collar mounted tripod point, at shutter speeds below about 1/80th on a Gitzo 3 series CF with a cube. Today I ran comparative tests using the camera L bracket I normally use instead, and this gives good results through a range of slower exposures down to 1/15th (the lowest I tested but the one that normally gives the worst result on this rig).

    This makes the lens much more useful IMHO: it is very hard to focus accurately on the viewfinder so you do need some DOF and that means stopping down to the point where slow shutter speeds are inevitable.

    HOWEVER the disadvantage is that every time you iterate tilt in your Scheimpflug, you change the framing significantly, since the lens is moving relative to the sensor by more when the tripod mount is on the body rather than the lens.

    Swings and roundabouts!

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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    The tripod collar is on the lens so as to minimise the iterations of tilt/refocus/reframe needed to get what you want - which is an advantage. The disadvantage is that there is less stability this way and even with MUP there is clear evidence of motion blur at all speeds less than 1/80th or sometimes 1/60th if you are lucky.
    Mind you the primary market this lens was designed for (studio work) would be using flash so the stability/design of the mount was likely approached from that point of view.

    That doesn't mean it won't make a very fine lens in the field, just that I'm not surprised the tripod mount (which I had not tested for ambient-light slow shutter speed exposure - Thanks Tim!) is not suited to that use.


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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    Point taken Doug - it really is mainly a studio lens but I've bought it to use for landscape and architecture, plus whatever creative possibilities suggest themselves to me as I learn it.. Interestingly the first iteration of the lens had no tripod collar and that's the way I now intend mostly to use it, though finding the correct combinations of movements and focus takes even longer that way. Nonetheless, things become possible that would otherwise not be.. Which is great!

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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    I have been looking at this lens as an alternative to getting into a tech setup, especially with the hope that there will be a 45-60mm TS lens introduced down the road.

    Question re focusing difficulties - how is this different from the challenges of manual focusing on a tech camera. Don't the same issues - small max aperture, ND filters for LV, 100% review etc. still hold true on tech cameras?

    I also understood that with manual focus lenses, the DF had focus confirmation when using the centre point only. Is this not the case here?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    The trouble with using tilts and swings is that in general you are trying to focus on points that are at the top and bottom or left and right of the screen whilst not losing composition -see my notes ref: locus of tripod point, above. The lens' max aperture of f5.6 makes the screen dark, therefore hard to focus on. Outside, live view is a no-no unless it's dusk or dawn, even then hard to use. I don't have an ND filter yet. It's an odd, bayonet fit. They should offer one as an option.

    Iterating focus on two points with tilts changing and refocusing in the normal Scheimpflug manner is not for the faint hearted. You are unlikely to nail it easily without tethering IMHO and even then it took me half an hour today to get it exact.

    The results are worth it but this really is for studio guys, or for people with time and patience!
    Last edited by tashley; 14th November 2011 at 15:36.

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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    Sounds hard to use and the iteration due to moving camera relative to pivot point sounds more akin to base than axis tilt on a view camera. That is a fiddle and a long way off the luxury of asymmetric tilt which I enjoyed so much on the Ebony 45SU. A 120mm will be demanding to get the movements correct, should they introduce a shorter focal length T/S, the extra dof will render it less critical and pivot length will be foreshortened helping matters further.

    With the relatively poor screen of my P45+, this 120mm sounds like a non-starter for me.

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    Re: SK 120 TS first impressions

    i'm pretty shure that the standard screen must be change to use this screen !
    it reminds me when i was using a F line with a MFDB with the original arca swiss 6X9 screen... i had a hasselblad screen adapted, it was perfect unless i was using mvts !
    the current arca swiss GG is grainy but pretty good and perfectly sharp... the mamiya screen wasn't design for tilt and shift lens in mind... maybe maxwell have an option...

    if this lens doesn't work in the field, then i must prefer to stick with an arca and a 120 macro digital lens... with almost unlimited mvts !

    still, i'd like to test it ( maybe it's much quicker... )

    i've bought a mamiya 645 manual bellows and just adapt my 120 digital on it... i will try it next week !

    But to be honest, i have more than 2000 pics for museum to shoot this year, and i'm pretty shure that i will use my rodenstock 90 and RM3D for it !

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