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Thread: Medium format lenses

  1. #1
    Klickit's Avatar
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    Medium format lenses

    Hi.
    At the risk of appearing to be a complete ignoramus - and I am in this area - how do I tell if I'm looking at a medium format lens? Are there any distinguishing characteristics that would make me say "Ah - you're medium format!" Reason is that I'm thinking of a wee project and am told I need a medium format lens for it.
    Ta, in hope, K.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    Hi.
    At the risk of appearing to be a complete ignoramus - and I am in this area - how do I tell if I'm looking at a medium format lens? Are there any distinguishing characteristics that would make me say "Ah - you're medium format!" Reason is that I'm thinking of a wee project and am told I need a medium format lens for it.
    Ta, in hope, K.
    Are you sure you mean 'medium format lens' or medium format camera, i.e. with a sensor/film greater than 35mm?

    Peter

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Yep - medium format lens.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    Yep - medium format lens.
    Can you explain what the project is and why you have been told you need this lens?

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Hi, Klickit;

    It would be helpful, as Peter said, if you can post some information about your project. The reason everyone's wary of giving a simple answer is that the question is unusual.

    A medium format lens is a lens for a medium format camera. A medium format camera is something like 6x9cm frames (on film or in a digital back). This is as compared to 35mm film, which is 2.4x3.5 cm, or a DSLR sensor, which is that size or smaller.

    As far as I know, the lenses are specific to camera lines, although I've never used one. So if the project is to do something with a lens on an optical lab bench or something, then any medium format lens will do, but if it's to attach to a camera or other piece of gear, you'll probably need to know what specific line of lenses you should be looking at.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Fair enough comments.
    I'm planning on making a poor man's tilt-shift/lensbaby to go on my D80. I've hankered after one of these for a long time, but cannot justify the expense of what will essentially be a play lens. I have had a look around the web for the type of lens used for this kind of conversion and people generally recommend medium format lenses. This is apparently because if you use a lens off a digital cam such as a Nikon D80 or whatever, you get too much vignetting for it to be much use. I'm purely guessing that a medium format lens will be wider at the attaching end that my current D80 lenses. But I wouldn't know one on seeing at it, so would like advice on what to look for. I'll be mainly haunting 2nd hand shops, as I'd need to see what the quality of the glass is etc.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    That sounds very cool! If you see Hasselblad, that will always be medium format, because that's all they do, AFAIK. Unfortunately, other manufacturers who do medium format (Pentax or Rollei, for example) also do 35mm. I suspect you'll need to search online to find out what lines are medium format.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    Fair enough comments.
    I'm planning on making a poor man's tilt-shift/lensbaby to go on my D80.
    Don't get me wrong but AFAIK lensbaby are not that expensive. I don't think you will save money on buying a medium format lens + other stuff to make tilt/shift possible. From the other hand building a lens yourself can have a lot of fun.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    I think you're right Hans

    However, there is a massive difference between a lens baby and a tilt shift as might be used for architectural shots.

    So we need to know which it is Klickit wants

    Medium format lenses are quite big; for a given focal length, your unlikely to mistake one for a 35mm one!

    I sold some recently on e-Bay
    If you can from there (NZ, I mean) have a look at item #120564834837 on e-Bay.co.uk

    Cheers,

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    For what it's worth, I've yet to see a single shot where a lensbaby has been used, that had I shot it I would have bothered to keep. I'm afraid that the concept just doesn't work for me.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Thanks for all your answers.

    Rick - Thanks for the Hasselblad tip. I do need to do some more research here. Google images may help.

    Hans - they are generally way above my meagre budget. There might be some older, cheaper ones coming up for re-sale though. Worth a look. My advantage in the cost pay off is that I have a clever engineer on hand, who has offered to do all the plates and twiddly bits for me. How cool is that!

    Dave - I wasn't aware that tilt-shift and Lensbaby have separate purposes, so I'll have to have a think about that one. I was hoping to cover all bases, but... I looked at ebay UK, but think they may not sell to NZ. We do have a similar thing called TradeMe that I haunt.

    Colin - fair enough, different things work/don't work for different people, but I was particularly taken with this shot.
    http://thecharmoflight.com/category/lensbabies
    Medium format lenses
    To me, it has a very ethereal feel.

    cheers,
    K.

  12. #12
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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    For what it's worth, I've yet to see a single shot where a lensbaby has been used, that had I shot it I would have bothered to keep. I'm afraid that the concept just doesn't work for me.
    To be honest Colin, I had one for a while. Also I was very fascinated by the created images with it.
    I had the intention to use it during wedding shoots but I could not work quick enough with it to catch the right moment. These lenses are totally different in use then the common lenses. So after some months I sold it without regrets.

    Klickkit, again I wonder if you are able to buy a medium format lens much cheaper then the price of a new Lensbabies ($ 350). I think you should look for a 50 mm or 60 mm MF lens and these are normally not the cheapest ones.If you choose Hasselblad these are mostly top of the line in quality and also price. I suggest to look for Kiev or Pentacon lenses. Different in quality then Hasselblad but there you might have more luck in a bargain. I hope you succeed in it and wish you luck. Please keep us posted how things go. I'm really curious about this project.

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Hans, I hope that I might fall over a cheaper, but reasonable lens. A few years ago, my father gave away his very good quality film camera and lens to a student he met who had a passing interest in photography, so I might get lucky! I really don't expect to end up with something that has the element quality of a real Lensbaby. It will be something I'll just have to keep my eyes open for.

    But you have given me two more lens names to add to my list, thanks. That is part of the problem - not knowing what to look out for. So far, I've got Bronica, Contax, Fuji, Mamiya, Pentax, Rollei and Hasselblad on my "Search" list at TradeMe.

    I'll certainly post up progress as and when it happens, if people are interested.

  14. #14
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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    This looks useful if you friend can't deliver, lenses and mounts for 35mm, found from Google search, no idea whether they're reliable (company or their lenses).

    http://araxfoto.com/lenses/

    Cheers,

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    Re: Medium format lenses. Yet another question.

    Hmmm...ready made adapters - nice find, Dave and thanks for looking that out for me. Never would have thought these would be available.

    Now - new question - can a 35mm lens also be medium format? Reason for question is that I've asked a question on TradeMe "Is this lens 35mm or medium format" and the guy says "Yes to both"
    Here's a link so you can see what I'm saying.
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/a.aspx?id=289541894
    I'm a bit bewildered, as I thought they were different lenses entirely.

  16. #16

    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    Now - new question - can a 35mm lens also be medium format? Reason for question is that I've asked a question on TradeMe "Is this lens 35mm or medium format" and the guy says "Yes to both"
    Here's a link so you can see what I'm saying.
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/a.aspx?id=289541894
    I'm a bit bewildered, as I thought they were different lenses entirely.
    Then that must be a medium format lens. This means it has a large image circle which can cover both the 35mm sensor and medium format sensor. A better explaination can be found in the tutorial Daivd linked you to.

    A large format lens can be mounted on a smaller format sensor, but not the other way round (unless you want circular images) Eg. This and this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Klickit View Post
    I'm planning on making a poor man's tilt-shift/lensbaby to go on my D80. I've hankered after one of these for a long time, but cannot justify the expense of what will essentially be a play lens.
    A very simple option is to rent one. Since you're also from New Zealand, perhaps Colin could recommend some reputable camera rental lens shops.
    Last edited by Blazing fire; 16th May 2010 at 01:20 AM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Maybe one other link that might be interesting:
    http://www.zoerk.com/

  18. #18
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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Then that must be a medium format lens. This means it has a large image circle which can cover both the 35mm sensor and medium format sensor. A better explaination can be found in the tutorial Daivd linked you to.

    A large format lens can be mounted on a smaller format sensor, but not the other way round
    Making more sense now. Thanks.

    Hans - another interesting link. Surprising what turns up when a bit of digging is done.

  19. #19

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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Another reason to use a medium format lens for messing about with is the mounting flange to film distance is generally larger with a medium format camera to allow for the bigger camera body. This means that on a 35mm or DSLR, there is space to make the tilt/shift bit fit and still acheive focus.

  20. #20
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    Re: Medium format lenses.

    Well, I have bought a lens for this. Sight unseen, but it is the medium format/35mm Hanimex 28 f/2.8 that I posted a link to the other day. I've just read Jonathon's post re the mounting flange and hope that the one I've bought will be suitable.

    Medium format lenses

    I realise that this lens is not top of the line, or anywhere near it, but it will hopefully do as a first foray into modded/home-made jobs.

    I'll keep you posted on progress, as and when it happens.

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