Sunday, July 27, 2014

Schneider 38mm XL - First Outing

I can't help myself. I like wide-angle lenses. Sometimes a little too much. The worst part is they are of course hard to use and I shoot a lot of bad images with them (and it doesn't help that "foreground interest" is hard to come by sometimes).

Anyway, this interesting little lens came to me somewhat by accident this week. I got it for quite a good price as it included the center filter to go with it. It's a lot smaller than I expected. Looking towards the future though I really don't know how long 4x5 film will be available, and so a good 2x3 "technical" camera may be in my future so this will also be a good investment for that.

The other interesting thing is, rumor has it this little fella can just about cover 4x5, with maybe a few millimeters at the edge missing. However I couldn't find more than 1 or 2 images on the internet from a 4x5, just claims that it kinda-sorta-maybe covered close enough. More importantly though, it definitely covers 6x12 just fine which is pretty awesome. I like the 6x12 aspect ratio sometimes but even better, I can pop 35mm in the back with some adapter things and shoot super panoramas.

Anyway, I got some fresh air today and went to Reed Bingham in the late afternoon. I shot a half-dozen sheets of film and a couple rolls of 35mm. It wasn't the greatest outing but I took a couple photos showing the boardwalk. Here's the "super-panorama" of the boardwalk, taken on Plus-X and developed in Microdol-X:

That's pretty wide! Of course you get the sprockets here but you can crop them out if you like. The image comes out to be about 34mm by 112mm, or a bit more than 1:3. So it's like a mini 6x17 camera except with sprockets. If you crop those out to the standard 24mm height of 35mm film, it's just shy of a whopping 1:5 ratio! It's basically a Hasselblad X-Pan on steroids (that camera shoots 24x65). The caveat here is you can't focus quickly, but I did rig up a flash bracket as well as a viewfinder and bubble level for my Chamonix, so at f/16 or so I can just hyperfocal focus and shoot the whole roll without focusing. I used a 12mm viewfinder from my Voigtlander M-Mount lens for this and guessed the slightly different width.

As for the full sheet of 4x5, yes the corners vignetted, even at f/22. I don't think stopping down more would help but I'll try that next time. The question I have is whether the slight crop from this lens is wider than a 47mm XL lens. I'll have to shoot it and find out. The other thing I discovered is that the center filter is a must!

Here is one other shot of the boardwalk with the slightly cropped 4x5:

Even if the cropped shot isn't really wider than the 47XL, it's still worthwhile to me in a kit designed for 2x3. Of course on that format I can do all kinds of camera movements with all this coverage.

Here's one more photo, this time cropped to square. I like square format occasionally and this could be a good way to eliminate the vignetted corners. For reference, if I took this with a Hasselblad or other 6x6 camera, I would have to use a 23mm lens to get the same field of view!

Anyway, I am looking forward to shooting this lens more often, especially with the super-panoramas. I have some film specifically to do this with - unperforated Portra 160NC.

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