Sharp Landscapes on the Fuji GW690II (90mm)

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1kgcoffee

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Heading to central America in a few weeks and bringing the Texas Leica 6x9 with a tripod.

I want ultra sharp landscape images with some foreground. Besides tripod and cable release, would it be best to shoot hyperfocal at f32? Is that like f11 or f16 on 35mm. Or better to be around f16? What can I do to up my landscape game to the limits with this camera?

Also, is a polarizer worth the effort?
 

DREW WILEY

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No, starting around f/22 a tiny bit of diffraction sets in; but at f/32 the effect of reduced sharpness will probably be visible. Whenever possible, I try to shoot at f/16, unless of course, a higher shutter speed is needed, like for handheld shots. Optical performance is excellent all the way from f/4 to f/22. Then the question just becomes a matter of depth of field. I've often had to shoot mine at infinity subjects handheld because the wind was too extreme for even a heavy tripod.

It's hard to comment on filters because I don't know if you plan to use color film, black and white, or both. I personally dislike what polarizers do, so never carry one. But if you do choose one for the tropics, it needs to be the well-sealed Kasemann type like B&W offers at a premium price, so you won't get moisture between the elements.

For color film, I like Kodak Ektar 100 color neg film. But it can render a slightly bluish cast to shadows, so I always have at least a light amber-pink skylight filter along, like a KR1.5. For black and white shooting my minimalist kit consists of a 22 deep orange, 25 red, and Hoya X1 medium green, sometimes an XO light yellow green as well, all 67mm of course. But a lot of that depends on your specific film and personal taste. I normally shoot TMax 100 for sake of maximum detail and long tonal range. I also carry a Pentax 1 degree spotmeter.

Bring a spare cable release, spare lens cap, an extra meter battery, and a few extra microfiber lens cloths, plus some plastic bags to keep things dry.

I've never been to Central America, but have used my Texas Leica quite a bit on tropical Maui. It's a wonderful travel camera.
 
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Sirius Glass

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Heading to central America in a few weeks and bringing the Texas Leica 6x9 with a tripod.

I want ultra sharp landscape images with some foreground. Besides tripod and cable release, would it be best to shoot hyperfocal at f32? Is that like f11 or f16 on 35mm. Or better to be around f16? What can I do to up my landscape game to the limits with this camera?

Also, is a polarizer worth the effort?

The generally best performance for 35mm lenses is around f/5.6 - f/8, medium format is around f/8 - f/11 and 4"x5" is around f/11 - f/16. In small apertures diffraction starts to dominate. Polarizers in the right situations can bring a lot to landscape photography but are not good for the appearance of water reflections.
 

DREW WILEY

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Are you a wide angle lens addict, Sirius? I almost never shoot 4x5 as wide as f/16 - mostly f/32. And very few people print as sharp as I do. With sheet film, you also have the problem of unevenness in a typical holder - one more reason for using somewhat smaller stops. For critical 8x10 work, I use precision adhesive holders.

But this thread is about 6X9 Texas Leicas, and I've done plenty of testing, and have plenty of experience, to know the correct answer. You won't spot any difference in sharpness f/16 versus f/11, even with a 10X inspection magnifier. You can barely detect it at f/22 using their fixed 90mm lens. It's a fine optic.
 

MattKing

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If acutance, contrast and resolution in both the foreground and at distance matters a lot to you, you may prefer to maximize depth of field at the expense of some diffraction induced decrease in sharpness.
That balancing act will vary with the photographer and the lighting conditions and the subject.
An example, where I chose f/32 (I believe):
 

Sirius Glass

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Are you a wide angle lens addict, Sirius? I almost never shoot 4x5 as wide as f/16 - mostly f/32. And very few people print as sharp as I do. With sheet film, you also have the problem of unevenness in a typical holder - one more reason for using somewhat smaller stops. For critical 8x10 work, I use precision adhesive holders.

But this thread is about 6X9 Texas Leicas, and I've done plenty of testing, and have plenty of experience, to know the correct answer. You won't spot any difference in sharpness f/16 versus f/11, even with a 10X inspection magnifier. You can barely detect it at f/22 using their fixed 90mm lens. It's a fine optic.

I have seen lots of bad mouthing of f/22 and f/32 for 35mm and medium format lenses on the usual internet suspects, but I have never really seen it myself on the Hasselblad lenses.
 

DREW WILEY

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i try to avoid any extreme dilemma where the tilt feature of a view camera is the only real solution. But since I often make 16X20 prints from 6x0 b&w negs, of even 20X24 ones from Ektar color negs, I pretty fussy about the topic. But tomorrow perhaps, if the paranoia of storm power outages appears to be over, I'll make some tiny 8x10 prints instead, just for the fun of a little change (and running out of paper).
 
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Sirius Glass

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i try to avoid any extreme dilemma where the tilt feature of a view camera is the only real solution. But since I often make 16X20 prints from 6x0 b&w negs, of even 20X24 ones from Ektar color negs, I pretty fussy about the topic.

I noticed that.
 

DREW WILEY

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I'm not surprised, Sirius. Can you siriusly see anything through a Hassie lens?
 

250swb

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@1kgcoffee Unless you are only making photographs for yourself I'd forget all the fuss about diffraction because nobody else will know which small aperture you've used, except if you want to holler it from the rooftops. Yes I do stick to f/16 and f/22 most of the time, but I don't leave a photograph behind just because it needs f/32. The Fuji lenses are so sharp by default that their f/22 is more like f/11 on some other medium format cameras DOF aside. I wouldn't shoot hyperfocal at f/32 (or use f/32 as a default), decide what the photograph is about and then use the traditional method of focusing one third of the way into the scene, or use the DOF scale. Personally I wouldn't bother using a polariser with a rangefinder camera, you can't see directly what you are getting and even small changes between looking through it and then mounting it can prove to be wildly off, besides which it can deaden landscape and cause problematic skies if not careful.
 

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Have a look at the shutter and see if there is oil on the blades. If there is, you may want to avoid doing long exposures with it, this is how my GW690 died last year. Getting it repaired has proved difficult.
 

ic-racer

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Sharp Landscapes on the Fuji GW690II (90mm)

In terms of sharpness, the most important thing I did when I got my first 6x9cm camera, was to get a glass negative carrier. The flimsy 120 film, when spread across the 6x9cm opening, is extremely prone to movement with just the slightest temperature or humidity changes in the enlarger's light path.
 

DREW WILEY

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Yes, tight glass negative carrier, glass both sides, always, all formats, no exception. But it's especially important with thin roll film.
 

mrosenlof

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Diffraction is real and will degrade sharpness at very small apertures. Lens formulation can't do anything about it.

BUT sometimes you need to stop down for depth of field, so you just work the tradeoff. The tripod of course gives the OP the ability to stop down when needed and use slower shutter speeds.

I've had *many* more photos that I wished for more depth of field than photos where I've wished for less diffraction effect.

I don't typically print larger than 11x14, FWIW.
 
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1kgcoffee

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Thanks for the responses.
I print large-ish, something like panoramic 8x15". Its sounds like f16-22 is the sweet spot for what I'm looking.

No, starting around f/22 a tiny bit of diffraction sets in; but at f/32 the effect of reduced sharpness will probably be visible. Whenever possible, I try to shoot at f/16, unless of course, a higher shutter speed is needed, like for handheld shots. Optical performance is excellent all the way from f/4 to f/22. Then the question just becomes a matter of depth of field. I've often had to shoot mine at infinity subjects handheld because the wind was too extreme for even a heavy tripod.

It's hard to comment on filters because I don't know if you plan to use color film, black and white, or both. I personally dislike what polarizers do, so never carry one. But if you do choose one for the tropics, it needs to be the well-sealed Kasemann type like B&W offers at a premium price, so you won't get moisture between the elements.

For color film, I like Kodak Ektar 100 color neg film. But it can render a slightly bluish cast to shadows, so I always have at least a light amber-pink skylight filter along, like a KR1.5. For black and white shooting my minimalist kit consists of a 22 deep orange, 25 red, and Hoya X1 medium green, sometimes an XO light yellow green as well, all 67mm of course. But a lot of that depends on your specific film and personal taste. I normally shoot TMax 100 for sake of maximum detail and long tonal range. I also carry a Pentax 1 degree spotmeter.

Bring a spare cable release, spare lens cap, an extra meter battery, and a few extra microfiber lens cloths, plus some plastic bags to keep things dry.

I've never been to Central America, but have used my Texas Leica quite a bit on tropical Maui. It's a wonderful travel camera.

This will be primarily color. Great idea on the warming filter. Ektar, Gold 200 & Fuji 160/400 for the way they do blues and greens.

The generally best performance for 35mm lenses is around f/5.6 - f/8, medium format is around f/8 - f/11 and 4"x5" is around f/11 - f/16. In small apertures diffraction starts to dominate. Polarizers in the right situations can bring a lot to landscape photography but are not good for the appearance of water reflections.

In this case I want the water to be a deep color. Will probably bring it then.

If acutance, contrast and resolution in both the foreground and at distance matters a lot to you, you may prefer to maximize depth of field at the expense of some diffraction induced decrease in sharpness.
That balancing act will vary with the photographer and the lighting conditions and the subject.
An example, where I chose f/32 (I believe):

Great shot, I don't see much in the way of diffraction at f32 and keeps the foreground in decent focus.
 

DREW WILEY

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Ektar is an exquisite film for the turquoise color or tropical waters, or realistic earthtones. But it is not artificially warmed like portrait films; so have along a slight warming filter, or better, just leave one on when shooting Ektar. And Ektar will handle greens FAR BETTER and more realistically than Kodak Gold or any Fuji CN film. It's distinctly sharper too. BUT you need to meter more carefully for Ektar; there isn't a whole lot of latitude of exposure forgiveness - only about a stop more than typical chrome slide films. Use box speed of 100.

Ektar is less precise in rendering true deep blue - that tends to get inflected with a bit of cyan. A slightly magenta skylight filter like a Hoya 1B helps trim out some of the cyan contamination. But it takes some experience to know just which filters work best in any give situation. If you want to keep it simple, just bring along a B&W KR1.5, and use it for everything Ektar (not Kodak Gold, which is already red-amber biassed).
 

chuckroast

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Heading to central America in a few weeks and bringing the Texas Leica 6x9 with a tripod.

I want ultra sharp landscape images with some foreground. Besides tripod and cable release, would it be best to shoot hyperfocal at f32? Is that like f11 or f16 on 35mm. Or better to be around f16? What can I do to up my landscape game to the limits with this camera?

Also, is a polarizer worth the effort?

The rule of thumb I learned was the lenses tend to be sharpest about 2-3 stops down from wide open.

I own this camera and find it consistently very sharp, but I do avoid the smallest apertures.

"Sharpness" is a perceptual thing that depends only in part on the lens/camera/enlarging chain. It also depends on viewing distance, light, and image contrast. For example, if you were to get up close to a billboard, you see extremely low resolution in the detail. But at the distances normally viewed it appears to be very sharp.

I mention this because - unless you want to make huge wall hangings and then have people walk right up to them to carefully look at the detail - you are likely to produce very sharp images across the useful range of apertures with that camera, even if you use hyperfocusing. (If you do want to make said huge images, you need to be shooting a 16x20 or 20x24 or larger ULF camera and film. I don't think Kodak makes those sizes any more :wink: More seriously, if you want a very wide range of focus from foreground to background, you pretty much have to use a camera with front or back tilt.


Here's one I did with my GW690II last year:

 

MattKing

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Great shot, I don't see much in the way of diffraction at f32 and keeps the foreground in decent focus.

At the resolutions that the Photrio uploader permits, it would be fairly difficult to see the effects of f/32 diffraction on the screen.
 

DREW WILEY

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Chuck - I think you've exaggerated things. With todays films, high quality lenses, and appropriate technique (and of course the right kind of subject) even 4x5 film is capable of making a 30X40 inch print sharper than your eye can resolve at a very close viewing distance. I'm not in the outdoor advertising business, so that "normal viewing distance" concept is nonsense as far as I'm concerned. People do come right up to my prints, because the detail is actually there.

Ilford still offers 16X20 and 20X24 inch black and white film, and several other ULF sizes, based on a once a year pre-order policy. Kodak could probably deliver color film that big if anyone could come up with the daunting minimum order cost. They still sometimes cut 11X14 size. But in the real world, ULF shots are not likely to carry more visible detail than an 8x10 shot due to the severe depth of field issues involved. What that kind of thing is good for is contact prints.

My own issue with 6x9 is that I tend to put 16X20-ish prints from them in the same portfolios as my 4x5 and 8x10 shots enlarged to that same size. So if a 6x9 or 6x7 shot itself isn't tack sharp, something is going to look a little off, trying to keep up with the big dogs.
So far, I've been very successful at it. But tomorrow I hope to print both 35mm shots and some 6x9 shots smallish - all on 8x10 paper.
That's a whole different ballgame, even in terms of choice of subject matter.
 
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chuckroast

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Chuck - I think you've exaggerated things. With todays films, high quality lenses, and appropriate technique (and of course the right kind of subject) even 4x5 film is capable of making a 30X40 inch print sharper than your eye can resolve at a very close viewing distance. I'm not in the outdoor advertising business, so that "normal viewing distance" concept is nonsense as far as I'm concerned. People do come right up to my prints, because the detail is actually there.

Ilford still offers 16X20 and 20X24 inch black and white film, and several other ULF sizes, based on a once a year pre-order policy. Kodak could probably deliver color film that big if anyone could come up with the daunting minimum order cost. They still sometimes cut 11X14 size. But in the real world, ULF shots are not likely to carry more visible detail than an 8x10 shot due to the severe depth of field issues involved. What that kind of thing is good for is contact prints.

My own issue with 6x9 is that I tend to put 16X20-ish prints from them in the same portfolios as my 4x5 and 8x10 shots enlarged to that same size. So if a 6x9 or 6x7 shot itself isn't tack sharp, something is going to look a little off, trying to keep up with the big dogs.
So far, I've been very successful at it. But tomorrow I hope to print both 35mm shots and some 6x9 shots smallish - all on 8x10 paper.
That's a whole different ballgame, even in terms of choice of subject matter.

Yeah, I was being a little hyperbolic, of course, but I do stand by my larger premise: What looks "sharp" is in some large degree a matter of viewing distance, contrast, and how the image is lit.

Yes, there are use cases - and yours may be one of them - where we want to make large prints to be viewed one nose length away, but I'd suggest this is the exception. Ctein wrote at length about this in relation to how much resolving power a lens really has to have and made a pretty strong case as to why viewing distance absolutely is relevant in the "is it sharp?" discussion.

WRT to DOF and ULF (how's that for acronymic overload or just ... AO :wink: It is certainly true that longer lenses have inherently smaller DOF "boxes". But the beauty of a camera with movements is that we can overcome a great deal of this (perhaps not all) just by swinging and tilting camera standards ... noting that it's hard to do that when you have to run back and forth a meter to adjust the front standard (I actually watched a guy shooting with a Wisner 11x14 in Zion National park doing just that).

I do agree that modern films can produce anything anyone might need using 4x5 or even 6x9.

(There is an analogous discussion in the D*****l world about how many mexapix you need for a given print size. I thought this guy's observations were spot on: )
 

DREW WILEY

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Ctein didn't make big prints. Perhaps he sometimes does now that he's entirely switched over to inkjet printing. He'll certainly do them on demand. But his former preferred technique - dye transfer - is simply incapable of truly sharp prints (the dyes always bleed a little bit), and inkjet itself is limited in that respect. If you want to see the true potential of a film, you need a film-like printing medium with equal detail capacity, such as Cibachrome or Fuji Supergloss (which he personally hated the look of, but I specialized in). But I've discussed all this with Ctein in person; and I hold to my own opinion, that unless you're printing a book intended to be read at a comfortable minor distance, or making panels for some airport lobby wall way up high, or similar store advertising decor, the whole idea of "normal viewing distance" is basically just an excuse for whatever.

11X14 and 12X16 enlargers are very rare now; and the few that exist aren't making big wall prints, if being used at all. That's gone over almost entirely to inkjet. It's far more convenient to work with 8x10. Yes, I know there's one particular well-known individual who shoots 11X14 color neg film and turns that into big panels; but those are necessarily digitally "cleaned up" and stitched, and not optically printed. Some of his originals were a downright mess. Most of those types get tired of it and end up defaulting to MF digital backs, which are well below even 4X5 film performance capacity.

The whole point in the old 11X14 studio stand cameras was that, the bigger the negative, the easier it was to retouch. But unless it was someone like Hurrell with rich Hollywood clients, nearly all of that was contact printed. Hurrell generally wanted soft images anyway, to flatter the complexions of his clients. We have a huge Hurrell print in our family collection. Even Ansel Adam's "mural" prints (typically 40X60) are downright fuzzy by today's standards.

How many megapixels do I need? None. That simplifies that whole issue. I see big 40" or 60" lab-done high-megapixel inkjet prints all the time. It's an amazing technology; but compared to the look of decent large format film prints, it stinks. But nowadays everyone seems to want big just for the sake of big. Ctein writes his own printer software and takes extra steps; so his own inkjet prints are a lot better than the usual fare. Still, there certain things about the inherent inkjet hue gamut that just don't look right.
 
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