That time again where I make terrible choices and acquire more camera junk. I finally managed to sell the Zeiss 500mm f/8 Tele-Tessar I literally forgot I had that I found sitting in the ba
ck of a cupboard. The lens was a nifty long lens on the Hasselblad system but I never really got a great deal of use out of it as I sold the Hassy only a few months after I got this lens. Running film and wet plate was an inferno on my wallet so I gave up 4×5, 120 and film altogether.It came with the original leather carry-case for it and was in really great condition. It is a well designed lens and the focusing mechanism was pleasant to use even with the camera hand-held. The only downside to the lens was that there is a vignetting that happens on the bottom third of the image when you look through the viewfinder. This vignetting does not appear on the final image on the film and has something to do with the mirror and the length of the lens barrel.
I managed to shoot off a few shots down in Antarctica a couple of years ago and the sharpness I got on these two photos taken at the Mertz Glacier with the camera and lens handheld was quite surprising. The photos were taken on Kodak Portra 400 film, shutter speed was 1/250 @ f/8.
Admittedly the lens is a bit of a bazooka in terms of size but it isn’t that heavy. I tried to get some wildlife shots but the fixed focal length makes it a little tricky, and 500mm really isn’t super long on 120 film (I think it works out to around the equivalent of 300mm on a 35mm camera.
Despite the Zeiss lens not being in very high demand (I tried to sell it a couple of times on eBay about a year ago with no luck, and was relisted 3 times this year) I still managed to sell it and get enough money to purchase the RealitySoSubtle 6×17 pinhole camera (mentioned in my last post) as well as this really nice budget-friendly wide-angle lens for my 11×14 camera.
The Schneider G-Claron WA 240mm f/11 has a pretty solid reputation as a very sharp and excellent performing wide angle lens for 11×14, with a rough equivalent of around 24mm focal length on a 35mm (standard Full-Frame DSLR) camera. Whilst looking for a wider lens for Ultra Large Format I was careful not to seek out anything too wide. I was going to draw the line at 210mm, but I don’t think it would have mattered too much as lenses with that much coverage really start chewing into big dollars.
I think it is possible to corner yourself with a ultra-wide angle lens that will really only be useful in very specific applications. When I used to shoot digital I was obsessed with Fisheye and ultra-wide angle lenses like wider than 20mm. Kind of silly and in a way limits you to a certain style of photography. I’m leaning a bit more these days towards more correct perspective. 240mm on 11×14 will suit excellent for some landscapes. The other lenses I have for 11×14 are my Nikkor-W 360mm f/6.5 and the Fujinon-L 420mm f/8. Both fantastic lenses and I’ve always been massively impressed with the results. On wet plate the detail these lenses portray is absolutely mindblowing. I’m pretty excited to get home and get back into nailing the 11×14 format and doing some impactful vistas with this cool piece of glass. Unfortunately it seems as if it doesn’t come with a flange or caps or anything so wrangling it into a lens board might be a bit of a challenge but thankfully not costly. The other thing I’m concerned about is the lens has a minimum aperture of f/45, which is still OK and being a wider lens I doubt I will need much smaller aperture for depth of field control but the price is hard to beat compared to other lenses of similar focal length running into the thousands of dollars.
Anyway, looking forward to getting home and playing with these… especially the pinhole camera!