In my normal photography, I shoot color but when testing 4×5 cameras I prefer black and white because the colors can get in the way of what I’m looking for.
While I love my Schneider Xenar 135mm f/4.7, it doesn’t allow for extreme camera movements as the image circle is small (although stopped down past f/11, it is better). This has only been an issue with rise movements and, not swing and tilt, plus as long as you check your corners you’re good – I even check my corners when I’m using the Fujinon W 135mm f/5.6 with its 200mm image circle.
For these frames, I used a Cameradactyl 4×5 (thanks Ethan!) and that very same Fujinon W 135mm f/5.6. The camera works great in its normal configuration for landscape/portraiture but can be adjusted for close-up/macro work. The focus via the geared knobs on the focusing bed seems to click into place as you turn the knob, but when I was trying to get fine focus it even stops midway between clicks / geared stopping points.
I took my Cameradactyl to the park (where I conduct all my camera tests) and regardless of the distance to the subject or the composition in question the Cameradactyl did a very good job. The only thing missing was a portraiture frame, so I tried that the following day and I’m super pleased there as well.
For something that looks like a toy, these buddies can definitely get some serious work done.
I used Kodak Portra for these frames, which was converted to black and white in post.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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