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Thread: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

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    Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Hi,

    I would like to report my first experiences and issues when switching from a MF to a technical camera for wide angle shots.

    I personaly use an Hasselblad H3DII with the HC 50mm and the HC 28mm for architecture and landscape.
    The 28mm is a wonderfull piece of glass but I find the wide angle effect too obvious. This spectacular 'depth' effect gives an unnatural dimension in the composition. If it's more often okay with landscape shots, it bather me more and more for architecture. This is why I use the 50mm whenever I can.

    This is also why I decided to use a technical camera with the 47mm schneider digitar lens.
    The idea was to shot with the hasselblad back in portrait position and stitch 3pictures togheter. The sliding back makes it easy.
    I was hoping to get a result large enough to compete with the wideness of the 28mm - but with the 'natural' effect of the 50mm.

    Unfortunately, even with the large image circle of the 47mm, borders are useless: too dark and too blury. So my stitched pics have to be cropped...

    As a result, the pictures taken are let's say almost twice as large as without stitching with the 47mm. But the 28mm on the H3DII still gives a larger view.

    I find the 47mm digitar excellent at the center: beautiful resolution, contrast and natural/neutral colors. But results are going down very fast towards the corners.
    They are way better with the HC 28mm that, eventually, gives a more homogenous result in resolution. However there is a light yellow color shift with the HC 28mm that is quickly becoming unpleasant when comparing it with the neutral tones of the digitar.

    Moreover, color cast (or lens cast as I suppose these 2 terms means the same) is present with the technical camera. I was hoping not to have to deal with this problem as I am using a 22mpix back (I've red that the 22mpix have less or even no color cast problems compared to the 40mpix). Too bad, it's obvious enough to force me to start dealing with LCC files.
    Although phocus is ready, I'm concerned about making so much lcc profiles. Camera tilt, shift and back sliding make so much combinations...

    I found focussing very difficult on the technical camera. When focusing to a near object (6 meters) at f8, half of a milimeter on the focusing arm can make the difference between a sharp shot an a missed focus.
    And the ground glass is sooo dark... Okay it is said on every technical camera forum but reality appears even darker than I though...
    So making 2 or 3 shots at different focusing distance to get one sharp is not a bad idea.

    These are only my very first findings. But I must admit I am disappointed. The technical camera can't be replaced for the movements it brings and it's a must have in a packshot studio. But the use of it on location seems too complicated/hazardous for me at the moment.

    I better understand why there is so much Cambo WDS & RS out there. It must be a better, quicker, lighter tool for landscape and architecture shots.
    Some pictures posted here are superb. They are taken with top class gear and top technical skills. But I'm keep wondering if they would'nt have been even more realistic without the exagerated (personal opinion effect of the 23/24/35mm wide angle lens ?

    So is there a solution to shoot wide and get natural results - did I miss somethig ?

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    I wonder if there is any difference between using a wider lens vs stitching.
    Shouldnt the FOV and the effect be the same? (besides maybe the DOF)

    I am not sure if it is possible to get that "natural" effect you are looking for if distance to a subject is a given fact. I would say you have to go further away from the subject- but thats not allways possible.

    As far as I understand (not own experience but advice I got since I am interested in tech camera) is to shoot LCC with every shot, and this is true for 22MP backs as well as far as I understand.

    Which camera are you using?

  3. #3
    ddk
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    "And the ground glass is sooo dark... Okay it is said on every technical camera forum but reality appears even darker than I though..."

    You should talk to Bill Maxwell, he can get your ground glass to be 2 to 3 stops brighter, and with appropriate masks.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I wonder if there is any difference between using a wider lens vs stitching.
    Shouldnt the FOV and the effect be the same? (besides maybe the DOF)

    I am not sure if it is possible to get that "natural" effect you are looking for if distance to a subject is a given fact. I would say you have to go further away from the subject- but thats not allways possible.
    From my point of view stitching a 50mm extend FOV.
    Using a wider lens extend DOF for a given f stop but also change the relation between objects inside the image, creating an unnatural effect.
    I believe a table taken with a 28mm will appear longer than with a 50mm with more or less the same frame (with DAC activated in phocus).

    Thanks DDK, I will check the Maxwell option.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    Unfortunately, even with the large image circle of the 47mm, borders are useless: too dark and too blury. So my stitched pics have to be cropped...

    Moreover, color cast (or lens cast as I suppose these 2 terms means the same) is present with the technical camera. I was hoping not to have to deal with this problem as I am using a 22mpix back (I've red that the 22mpix have less or even no color cast problems compared to the 40mpix). Too bad, it's obvious enough to force me to start dealing with LCC files.

    Although phocus is ready, I'm concerned about making so much lcc profiles. Camera tilt, shift and back sliding make so much combinations...

    I found focussing very difficult on the technical camera. When focusing to a near object (6 meters) at f8, half of a milimeter on the focusing arm can make the difference between a sharp shot an a missed focus.

    And the ground glass is sooo dark... Okay it is said on every technical camera forum but reality appears even darker than I though...

    So making 2 or 3 shots at different focusing distance to get one sharp is not a bad idea.


    I cherry picked the items I wanted to address in your post and am doing so while having my first cup of coffee of the day so please bear with me.

    I only used a 47mm while I originally tested the RS to see if it was the system for me so my experience is very limited. That said I don't remember any problems stitching any of the test images I took while at the North Rim Grand Canyon (my testing site). I remember having movements out to 15mm without problems. I don't remember moving beyond 15mm so if your speaking of movements of beyond 15mm I can better understand your problems/concern.

    LCCs: It is my (limited) understanding that color cast is a concern of shooting with a technical camera no matter the back (okay Phase says the P40 might not need it) and is present in just about all lens whenever a movement is used. I generally shoot a library of LCCs of my most used movements and keep them on both my studio and travel laptop; I'll shoot an additional LCC whenever I shoot outside of those "normal" movements for later use. It's a PITA however is's a small price to pay for the stunning image potential these lens offer.

    Focusing can be painful and I guess as a landscape photographer I'm lucky in that aspect. I will often shoot multiple images to better achieve a balanced focused image especially when I want to shoot as close as 1 meter out any beyond 15 meters. I've found the more practice I get the better I wind up. I also use a Novoflex focusing rail on top of and in addition to my Cube.

    Groundglass: Yes very dark by themselves but by adding a hood and they are useable. I'm using the WDS-616 and like the combination very much. Yes I understand you have a slightly different setup with a sliding back however I think I understand that Cambo has a hood for your application as I did for the sliding back on a Ultima I used a couple months ago.

    No too sure if this answers any of the concerns you brought up but I do hope it helps a little (remember this was written as the first cup of coffee was hitting).

    Can you offer some sample images?

    Best of luck

    Don
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    Member Chris Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    That's a tricky one. I have found both the Schneider and Rodenstock 35's to start falling off in sharpness at just under 10mm of movement, so have given up on trying to stitch anything from such a short lens. The 45's and 47's offer a little more movement. The trouble is, as you begin to use the outer edges of the image circle, you're going to gain distortion that is at least as bad as the original wide angle shot. I mostly shoot interiors and find that if my foreground is getting too distorted with, say, a 45mm I'll actually go wider. The 35mm places the frame of my desired composition in a more central portion of the lens and therefore decreases distortion (then I just crop in).

    If you're having this issue with the 28, in my book that's a perfect excuse to get Rodenstock's new 23!

    I shoot everything with an Arca 69 and find their stock groundglass/fresnel to be fine for focusing as wide as a 35mm. I've used the Maxwell screen, and while I find it much more even and way brighter overall, it's graininess makes it harder for me to achieve critical focus. And yes, on a view camera half a millimeter on the monorail can make the difference between a tack sharp image and pudding. I've never tried to work untethered and really depend on the laptop for checking my focus... but then I bet half of the last 15 years worth of Ektachrome I've shot is a little on the soft side. The current backs have so much resolving power that focus has become way more critical than it ever was before, which is why I have 6 brand new lenses and wish I could find a higher power loupe.

    -C

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Thanks for your interesting feedback.

    To better illustrate the post, here is a shot made this evening (sorry, strong backlite) with the H3DII-22 + 28mm and then with the HC 50mm:

    28mm



    50mm



    The 28mm does not represent what my eyes really are seeing. The 50mm is way better in producing natural perspectives, spacing and dimensions.

    This is why I was hoping to get the 28mm FOV (or approach it) and the 50mm natural effect with the 47mm digitar stitched on a technical camera.

    I am using a Cambo Ultima 23 with a multistep sliding back (18mm left & 18mm right). This was supposed to give a 44 mpix shot with a 30mm like FOV.
    But after a first set of tests, it seems that the shift is too wide for the lens.
    The resulting image is very dark at the borders, and very blurry. So I have to crop to just keep the usable part of it.

    This is a comparison I made during the test:
    * the center image is made with the Cambo + 47mm, no shift of the back, landscape mode.
    * the second image is the resulting FOV with the Cambo + 47mm + 18mm shift left & right using the sliding back + crop of the unusable part (I did not keep the uncropped version)
    * the bigger image is made with the H3DII + 28mm



    As you can see, the 28mm FOV is way bigger than the stitched 47mm image of the Cambo. And still the corners are sharper and more even with the 28mm.
    Of course the poor result of the stitched image is also due to my lack of experience. Using a tool to remove the corner darkness and the color cast would help to get a better result. I'm more concerned about sharpness that is simply not there in the corners.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Another sample of the Hasselblad 22mpix back on the Cambo Ultima 23 with the 47mm digitar (f16, no camera movement, no stitching):



    A better view of the center image:



    A better view of the extreme top left corner:



    I was used to a more even resolution with the Hasselblad 28mm.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Very strange. I was in the process of writing a couple questions till you posted these. Granted I don't have the 47 and only used it in a testing period of several days over 6 months ago however I simply do not remember any fall off like this.

    How long have you had the lens? Have you checked to make certain the lensboard it seated properly? Stupid question but had to ask.

    What does the right side look like? Or is it only on the left?

    Don

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    Member Chris Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Are the pavers as soft as the tree? Wondering about leaf movement...

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Hi Don,
    Maybe you are thinking about an alignment problem.
    I checked all 4 corners. The 2 top corners are maybe just a little bit better, but the fall off is really present in every corner in fact. I don't think a lens board mounting problem or an altered standard and so on is causing it.
    I must practice again, to be sure, and make new tests on a flat surface well in front of the camera. With the tests I already made I cannot exclude a simple DOF blur.

    The Cambo really is a beautifull camera that offers so many creative possibilities I won't give up using it. Fighting lens cast, corner darkness and focussing issues will be necessary.
    But some test results are already promissing.
    Here is a comparison of my two 50mm

    This is the shot:



    100% crop of the H3DII-22 + HC 50mm (strong sharpening)



    100% crop of the Cambo + 47mm digitar (strong sharpening)



    And my face in the window as a bonus ;-)

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Barrett View Post
    Are the pavers as soft as the tree? Wondering about leaf movement...
    The pavers are even softer, but I guess because of the DOF:
    Focus was made on the tree, at the center of the image, pavers are a lot more closer. Wind causing leaf movement is possible.
    These images really have to be taken for what they are, just illustrations.

    I will have to test again in a studio with perfectly controlled conditions.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Is the first shot taken with the H3DII? Can you post the shot taken with the Cambo as well?

    My eyes are getting tired from staring at my monitors too much today let me take off for awhile and get back with you. Hopefully in the mean time someone else can offer suggestions/recommendations.

    One other question is how long have to had the Cambo?

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Is the first shot taken with the H3DII? Can you post the shot taken with the Cambo as well?

    My eyes are getting tired from staring at my monitors too much today let me take off for awhile and get back with you. Hopefully in the mean time someone else can offer suggestions/recommendations.

    One other question is how long have to had the Cambo?

    Don
    Yes this is the cambo + digitar shot. The one taken with the H3D is in landscape mode (the resolution of the center field was my only preocupation).

    These are my very first shots with the Cambo. I just have the completed system (Ultima 23 + sliding back + Hasselblad adaptor) for a month now.

    Thanks for your replies.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    A better view of the extreme top left corner:

    I was used to a more even resolution with the Hasselblad 28mm.
    With my Digitar 47XL and P45 I can't get such soft results... even when shifting 20mm.
    Sure there is noticable sharpness fall off with larger movements. But with 15mm or even 17mm shift I never had real trouble by now. Maybe there's something wrong with the alignement? Is the right corner as soft as the left one?
    Is the lens calibrated to infinity accuracte? (you have to do it by yourself... the "default" has front focus and isn't usable... at least regarding Contax mount).
    Regards, Thomas

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Is the lens calibrated to infinity accuracte? (you have to do it by yourself... the "default" has front focus and isn't usable... at least regarding Contax mount).
    Regards, Thomas
    Good thought Thomas, hadn't really thought of the calibration. My normal practice when shooting at infinity to is back off just a hair - this works on all my lens.

    There still might be wind movement here as well.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    There still might be wind movement here as well.
    My thoughts exactly. But the plant in the center isn't moving... ?
    My normal practice when shooting at infinity to is back off just a hair - this works on all my lens.
    I do that as well at f11 and f16... but very carefully as I find that you still see were the actual focal plane is in the image even at f11. f16 is quite easy as the diffraction softens the entire image and you get a homogenous look even if the focus is a little bit off.
    Well... just what I found out by now... use the WRS/47mm since August last year. But basically it's the same with the Medium Format camera: focussing is very critical with these highres Digital Backs.
    Regards, Thomas

    edit: sorry - the "default" ex factory has back focus with Contax mount (so if you set the lens to infinity everything is soft)
    Last edited by thomas; 2nd June 2009 at 16:31.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    I've been pretty happy with the Horseman and the 35mm Rodenstock Digitar.

    This image is from a full 9 image stitch (full shifts on the Horseman). The inner red rectangle is the center shot (aptus 75s vertical orientation).


    The green line shows the outside edge of excellent image quality. As you move outwards, you get the blurring that you see at the edge/corners. This image has been processed using Leaf Capture, with Gain corrections. (I have a series of vertical and horizontal gain files at different apertures that i use).

    This was shot at f16, and you get about 70mm square of excellent quality.

    You don't see any of the blurring in an 11x14 print (i haven't tried 16x20 yet)






    As far as how the image looks compared to an actual scene.. I find that sort of distortion evident in wide angle lenses from any format

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Good thought Thomas, hadn't really thought of the calibration. My normal practice when shooting at infinity to is back off just a hair - this works on all my lens.

    Don
    Not sure to follow you. Focus is performed manually and thru the lens with a technical camera. If it's sharp on the ground glass, it's okay (admitting the back is well aligned with the ground glass).
    So I don't really understand how a lens should be calibrated for a technical camera ?

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCollum View Post
    As far as how the image looks compared to an actual scene.. I find that sort of distortion evident in wide angle lenses from any format

    A friend gave me the solution I'm looking for: use a 20/25 large format camera with film. A 90mm becomes a super wide angle but without the wide angle effect I want to get rid of ! Maybe some day,

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    Focus is performed manually and thru the lens with a technical camera. If it's sharp on the ground glass, it's okay (admitting the back is well aligned with the ground glass).
    So I don't really understand how a lens should be calibrated for a technical camera ?
    True. Looking at the entire scene posted above the subject (the tree) is not at infinity it's just a few meters distance.
    But as to the calibration in general you have to see if the lens really is set to infinity. Mine was exactly calibrated to the default Contax mount - Cambo in the Netherlands is just a 2 hours drive from my home town so I visited the factory for adjustment and in their calibrator it was accurate. But it was not accurate to my back - it focussed wider than infinity. So we made a quick fix at Cambo but at home I adjusted it by myself again. As far as I know this is not uncommon... the contrary, as with the digibacks the tolerances are far smaller.
    Regards, Thomas

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    If you are using a 40mm lens, and stitch to cover an image of 51,3x68,3mm you will have an image similar to a 28mm lense... no matter the way you have produced the image, it will looks similar in therm of "wide angle effect" !
    The effect depends on the focal lenght / "film format"... not only the lens !

    A 120 mm with a 4x5 will gives you exactly the same angle of view and perspective rendering as a 240 with a 8x10 camera... as a 47 with a 37x49 sensor.

    When you are using a wide angle, if you still want to have a "natural" view you must :

    Keeping the camera levelled
    Using shift but not too much
    Avoid object in the foreground
    Using a lens that have minimal distortion

    With a 22mp back, i've found that a 45 lens is a nice compromise... but sometimes you have to go larger...

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    The way superwides handle corners is different from lens to lens, though. Some have the kind of stretching, which only looks right if you position yourself in front of the print in a similar position to where the camera was. As far as I know, this is actually realistic. Other lenses "compress" the corners more toward the centre, which, printed, looks more natural from a distance, but is actually less realistic. You can kinda get a feeling for the difference if you look at before-after shots w/ the Hasselblad 28mm:

    http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/Ha...ensCorrections

    Move your mouse over the image to see before and after. There is a lot going on in those corrections, but you will see that before, the corners are a little tighter, and after, a little more stretched.

    Maybe this stretching has something to do with what you mean?
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Rectilinear wideangles will render straight lines correctly, but they dimensionally distort regular geometric shapes like squares and circles or cubes and spheres. This is due to presenting what is in actuality a spherical, 3-D capture and rendering it in a flat, 2-D display. (Think about the views on a 'map' of the earth versus a 'globe'.) By contrast, lenses with barrel distortion will curve straight lines about the optical center, but the curvature tends to render dimensional geometric shapes more like how we see them in real life, so we tend to accept them better. Thus when using a rectilinear super-wideangle lens, it is incumbent on the photographer to position the subject carefully to avoid all obvious dimensional distortions.

    In almost all cases, a super-wide lens with a bit of barrel distortion renders a typical scene with a variety of irregular geometric shapes more pleasantly than a true rectilinear lens. The primary exception being larger subjects with a series of recognizable parallel lines, such as architecture. So it's best to choose which you use based on what your primary subject is.
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post

    Maybe this stretching has something to do with what you mean?
    Not really.
    Barrel distortion or corner stretches of the HC 28mm are well corrected in Phocus. I have not the knowledge to understand if this lens is an hybrid lens, having some equal angular slices lens - and some equal planar distances lens caracteristics. Depending on the shot I sometimes see more barrel distortion and sometimes more corner stretch as if te 28mm was a rectilinear lens. But it's certainly just my eyes getting wrong.

    Anyway this is not what I was talking about when saying that wideangle lens shots are less natural. I will try to better illustrate what I have in mind - if the pooring Belgian weather permits...
    Thanks fo your posts guys.

  26. #26
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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Rectilinear wideangles will render straight lines correctly, but they dimensionally distort regular geometric shapes like squares and circles or cubes and spheres. This is due to presenting what is in actuality a spherical, 3-D capture and rendering it in a flat, 2-D display. (Think about the views on a 'map' of the earth versus a 'globe'.) By contrast, lenses with barrel distortion will curve straight lines about the optical center, but the curvature tends to render dimensional geometric shapes more like how we see them in real life, so we tend to accept them better. Thus when using a rectilinear super-wideangle lens, it is incumbent on the photographer to position the subject carefully to avoid all obvious dimensional distortions.

    In almost all cases, a super-wide lens with a bit of barrel distortion renders a typical scene with a variety of irregular geometric shapes more pleasantly than a true rectilinear lens. The primary exception being larger subjects with a series of recognizable parallel lines, such as architecture. So it's best to choose which you use based on what your primary subject is.
    Thanks for the education Jack, now I understand why I so like and prefer my none rectilinear lenses.

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    Re: Natural shots with wide angle lenses ?

    rectilinear or not, it depends on subject... but i can't see no interest in "moustache distorsion" !

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