Lens for Linhof Technika III

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by colin_d., Dec 11, 2011.

  1. I'm waiting for a Linhof Technika II which has a Schneider Xenar 150mm lens to arrive and looking for advice on what further, if any, lenses I would need.
    I will use the camera mostly for portraits and some scenic field work. If I have a budget of around $600 for one lens what is my best choice.
    Will the Xenar meet one of my needs at all?
  2. Hi Colin. I have an early Technika III which is very similar to yours. Mine came with the Xenar 150mm and an Angulon 90. These being the lenses of the day, they do not have multi coating and smaller image circles than later versions. That said, they are still very good.
    For portrait I am looking out for something in the 210, 240, 270mm range. For $600 you could get both a wide, such as an Angulon, and something longer for portrait.
    The Super Angulons, with larger image circles will cost a lot more, but I have found with mine that very little shift, less than I first imagined, is needed for most work.
    Others may come along to blow my advice away and tell you all about their "better" lenses, but I am thinking of what is suitable for the Technika II.
    On this recent thread I posted a couple of images from a 1964 Linhof Publication. When back at my own place in a few weeks, I will be copying it for safe keeping and produce a PDF for sharing.
    As for purchasing an additional lens now, there is no need to rush into it. I suggest exploration with the 150 Xenar first.
    Good luck, and keep in touch.
    Cheers, Kevin
  3. I too have the technika III (version 5) with 150mm Xenar and that on it's own is a surprisingly useful combination, I use mine a lot for portraits and urban architecture. I also had a 90mm angulon, but after twenty years traded it for a 90mm f/8 super angulon and was amazed how useful it was having the extra shift ability and it being sharp in the corners without having to stop down to f/32 with the angulon. The only problem being the super angulon needs to be taken off to fold the camera. Don't think of wider aperture wide-angles, they work ok with the later technika's but not the III. Y ou should be able to get a 210 or 240mm for very little, that's an undemanding focal length for 4x5.
  4. Thanks Kevin & Mark for you useful advice.
    I'm a bit at a loss to know if there is much benefit in buying a newer lens or an older lens. Because I am new at LF the whole thing about shift is foreign but I will learn soon enough once I get into it. But Kevin I guess what you are saying about the Super Angulon is that it requires less shift along the rails/tracks to focus properly, is that correct?
    Cheers, Colin
  5. No Colin. By less "shift", I am refering to rise and fall of the lens, the 90mm, to maintain image geometry when photographing architecture, or stands of trees in landscape ie keeping vertical lines parallel, as opposed to converging. The 90mm, being a moderate wide on 4x5, I have found on most of the architectural subjects I've used it for, needs only a little of vertical shift to comfortably include the top of the buildings, and fur trees in the Scandinavian woods. As Mark points out, the Super Angulons are superior to the Angulons, and I will eventually buy one, or maybe a Rodenstock Grandagon. But the Angulon came with the camera, so as I was also a beginner, I decided I should stay with it as a good learner lens.
    The buildings I have been photographing are only 3 and 4 story buildings from the late 1800s, and I have been able to stand far enough away to comfortably frame the image with the 90mm and about 10mm of vertical shift. Were they taller, and space tighter, I'd certainly be wishing for the larger image circle of the Super Angulan as Mark has experienced, and possibly even a wider lens again, maybe a 65mm. Here you see my Technika again, this time with the 90mm Angulon. The bed has been "dropped" to get it out of the way of the image, and the lens board risen to frame the facade of a building.
    It will all make more sense to you when it arrives, you can put it on the table in front of you, and start playing with all the adjustments. I'm keen for you to have an instruction book.
  6. 150 will be a fine starter lens, certainly for landscape and for half-length portraits. If portraits are important for you, I would get a 210 lens next. Plenty of Schneider Symmar and Symmar-S lenses around in this length. the 210 f6.8 Xenar is also good, not quite as much coverage as a Symmar but still plenty for 4x5 and very lightweight. Another possibility might be a 240 Tele-Arton - many modern 240 lenses come in #3 shutters which I am pretty certain are too big for your Linhof.
  7. Kevin, ok now I'm with it. I've had a look at the links you provided, some nice shots there of your Tecknika, mine is an earlier model I believe, 1950-51.
    David, if I wanted to do full length portraits I take it I would move to something shorter in focal length, say 90mm?
    Also what is the significance of Copal shutters?
  8. if I wanted to do full length portraits I take it I would move to something shorter in focal length, say 90mm?​
    Not necessarily - only if in a confined space. It's best just to move further away from the subject, and use the 150, for two reasons: 1 the 150 will provide better isolation from the back ground (shallower depth of field), making the subject stand out. and 2. Getting too close to portraits with even a moderate wide angle lens, one has to be careful to avoid unnatural distortion. Think of the 150 as being similar to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, or an 80mm on medium format. And the 90mm on 4x5 being similar to a 35mm lens on 35mm format
    Really Colin, the 150mm Xenar, as David says, is a very good starter lens, and more.
    For later, Dave also suggests a 240 Tele Arton. The Schneider Tele Arton 5.5 lenses have tighter image circles than most others, but are beautiful portrait lenses. They don't lack sharpness, but spread the light in a more pleasing way, being desirable for subtle shading and skin tones. For general work, they are less popular because of this apparent lower contrast, and restricted 'movements' (margin for shift) .. and getting deeper into technical stuff, being of the tele design, managing lens tilt is tricky. But portrait? .. my first choice, and excellent on the Technika, because they require less extension of the rails. This becomes important with heavier, bulkier lenses such as Tele Artons. The weight is another reason to leave them at home, or carry specifically for a portrait assignment. ;-)
  9. If yours is a II it is a pre 1946 model, not a 1950s model.
  10. If yours is a II it is a pre 1946 model, not a 1950s model. Good pick up Bob, that's a typo, it is a III.
    Well your informative advice has helped plenty, thanks for taking the time.
    I have a better idea now where to head. I'll give the 150mm Xenar a try while I'm still a learner, then look around for something you recommend.
  11. When it arrives, take a few photos from front, side and back. There are many little variations that will help pinpoint the model and version. (There were a number of Tech III versions ) Needless to say the serial number will help. At least we know more closely what it is now. It probably looks very similar to mine, which I am gathering is 1953/54 ish. Later when considering additional lenses, you will also be needing to get hold of additional, matching lens boards, and matching cams for the range finder, if it has one. But that's another story.
  12. Just a word on the “right” lens for portraits. Portrait painters tend to work quite a long way away from their subjects, and there was a feeling in photography at the beginning that photographers should also use this “flat” perspective – which you get basically by using a lens 3 or more times the standard focal length. I have a book written by a well-known pictorial photographer around 1900 who advocates using a lens of twice standard focal length for everything and is adamant that anything shorter will give distorted perspective. As time went on, it became customary to use a lens of about 1.7 to 2x standard focal length for portraits (85 to 105 mm with 35 mm), which gave a more rounded perspective. From the David Bailey era (1960s) onwards, it became fashionable to use a standard or even slightly wide lens (e.g. 80mm on a Hasselblad) to give more punch to images, even though they were a little distorted.
    Translating this to 4x5, a 150 mm lens will be great for classic full-length and half-length portraits – there is nothing to stop you closing in with this lens, depending on the effect you want, but as I said, the classic focal length for a portrait head on 4x5 would be 210 to 240mm.
    Aside from that, I fully agree with Kevin’s comments. Note a typo in a previous posting of mine – I wrote 210mm f6.8 Xenar, I meant f6.1.
    One last tip - the longer the lens you use, the easier it is to avoid getting the edges of a studio background such as a roll of paper in the picture. Some people deliberately include edges in the picture - ultimately it's a matter of taste!
    Enjoy your Linhof!
  13. Thanks for the tips you guys, you've been hugely generous. As soon as it arrives I'll post some shots of it. In the mean time I will continue looking through your links to learn more. I'm sure when I get to the point of making my first image, I will have more questions, until then, Merry Xmas.
  14. You're very welcome Colin, and yes - enjoy the Linhof.
    That's an interesting discussion David on portrait painters. My most important assignments coming up in the next year are two portrait paintings. They are very different. One is a monumental personality known world wide, and at best will only have an hour or so with me .. if that. Scale, perspective dynamics, together with other aspects are drivers of the visualisation, even before meeting the subject. Then be open to change, the unexpected when we meet. Which lens I reach for will make all the difference.
    Christmas cheers to all.
    No turkey for me. In Norway now, I'm heading back to Thailand as soon as possible.
  15. I have another question.
    I've read that not all lenses will fit the Technika III. If this is the case, what do I look for to be sure I am getting the right one?
  16. All lenses will fit if they are not too big! Common shutter sizes today are #0, #1 and #3 - the hole sizes they require are as follows:
    There is also an intermediate size #2 found with older lenses - this size was not strictly standardized but requires about a 50mm hole. #2 shutters are not common, but you might find a 240 Tele-Arton in one.
    I don't have a Linhof lens panel to hand, but #0 and #1 shutters will definitely fit, I am sure #2 will as well, #3 I am almost certain will be too large.
  17. David's answer leaves out a very important detail. All Technika lensboard type cameras, including the III, from all manufacturers have a hole in the front standard that the rear elements of the lens have to fit through. If the rear diameter of the lens is larger then the hole in the front standard the lens will not fit on the camera. In some cases, like the 90mm SA XL Schneider modified the rear of the lens so the rear trim ring can be removed and then the lens will pass through the current hole used on the IV and later. But once this ring is removed from the lens you can't place the rear of the lens on a table as the element can be easily scratched that way.
    Some lenses may fit through the hole but the rear barrel is shaped so the edge of the barrel will hit the side of that hole in the body and prevent the lensboard from seating and locking properly. These lenses require a board with the hole in a different location. Linhof calls these board a z board with a z after the catalog number. I am not aware of any for a III. Only for a IV and later.
    Modern Linhof Technika 45 cameras, IV and later, all can handle a 3 shutter.
  18. Ok folks, the Technika has arrived. It appears to be in good to v.g. condition. Serial number: 31518. The leather looks so good for a camera 60 years old I would say it has been replaced. There are a few spots where the paint has worn off, the rails have wear marks, the lens looks clean and in excellent condition. The only concern is this, when I pick it up and tilt it something is rolling around inside the bellows I think, any ideas what it could be?
    I need some instruction manual on how to use it, that is my next task.
  19. Ok folks, the Technika has arrived. It appears to be in good to v.g. condition. Serial number: 31518. The leather looks so good for a camera 60 years old I would say it has been replaced. There are a few spots where the paint has worn off, the rails have wear marks, the lens looks clean and in excellent condition. The only concern is this, when I pick it up and tilt it something is rolling around inside the bellows I think, any ideas what it could be?
    I need some instruction manual on how to use it, that is my next task.
  20. Ok folks, the Technika has arrived. It appears to be in good to v.g. condition. Serial number: 31518. The leather looks so good for a camera 60 years old I would say it has been replaced. There are a few spots where the paint has worn off, the rails have wear marks, the lens looks clean and in excellent condition. The only concern is this, when I pick it up and tilt it something is rolling around inside the bellows I think, any ideas what it could be?
    I need some instruction manual on how to use it, that is my next task.

  21. and again
  22. Check out the loose thing inside without delay, otherwise it might damage the back of the lens. If you remove the lens panel (lift the big chrome catch at the top), rack out the bellows a bit and point the camera down, the object should fall out. Do this over the sofa or other soft surface, the loose bit might be fragile and important in some way (like the rear part of the lens!).
  23. You really want to make sure to get whatever is loose out ASAP. If you were to have it break, scratch, chip the GG and/or Fresnel you have to realize that Linhof has not supplied replacement ones for a III for about 30 years! So try not to damage them.
  24. rack out the bellows a bit...to rack out the bellows do I just use the silver handle under the lense to gently slide it out?
  25. Phew, it was the rear lens cap :), it must have come loose in the post, no damage done.
    How do I get an image on the ground glass to check out if it is ok?
  26. How to get an image on the screen: I refer to your picture on the previous page and my own memory – I owned a Technika III but a long time ago. You have obviously managed to pull the front standard out along the track. You will IIRC find that this detents into small semi-circular recesses at points along the track corresponding to various focal lengths such as 90, 135, 150, 180 mm.
    Once it has detented, you will need to press the button at bottom right of the standard to release it. You should find with the 150 mm lens that with the standard detented in the right place and the distance scale set to infinity, you should get infinity focus on the screen. The camera bed is racked forward by the large thumbwheel at front left – make sure you have disengaged the locking lever next to the wheel first.
    You will next need to open the shutter – this needs to be wound with the lever at the 11 o’clock position and then fired with the flat lever at 8 o’clock (or a cable release) to give a timed speed. It will IIRC open and close without winding at the T and B settings. To make the shutter stay open all the time, you can either use the T setting or set and wind any timed speed and then push down the preview button at 1 o’clock – it can pulled up again via the small lug protruding to the right. You should now have an image on the screen, having of course opened the hood and racked the camera bed out to the correct distance. There is a catch at front right of the camera bed, this holds the first and second racks together – to get a large extension, push down the catch and pull the second rack out relative to the first.
    Having gotten an image on the screen, you can apply movements if necessary – again IIRC rising front is at bottom left of the front standard, I think you have to pull the wheel outwards to unlock it, cross front is controlled by the wheel at bottom right, tilt by a locking lever at bottom left, back movements by the four clamp screws at the rear. I have forgotten whether the camera has front swing, if it does this will be locked by a detent in the center of the bottom of the standard, press this down and you can swivel the front standard a few degrees about a vertical axis. For further details, you’ll need a book on view cameras, such as the Kodak View Camera Guide, the book by Leslie Stroebel, or another.
    PS: All the controls I have described should operate smoothly. Don't force anything - some controls may be stiff due to dried grease, a light and precise-targeted application of a LITTLE WD-40 will not hurt - make sure it goes only where you want it to go!
  27. Thanks David, I can get an image, the ground glass is nice and clear.
    Next, with the rack I have the standard locked at infinity which is the first setting then the scale goes 30, 15, 10 and so on to 2 feet. At infinity the image looks sharp. I assume I extend the second rack out for different size lenses?
    My real lack of knowlege is loading the film, I have no idea how this works, any tips would be greatly appreciated. The online instruction I've got says nothing about loading film.
  28. Feet or meters?
  29. So I've done a bit of research on the web and understand the process for getting film ready and for placing in against the ground glass. I'm still a bit vague on how to use the rack properly.
  30. What to do with the second rack? Nothing - unless you need the extra bellows extension for some reason. Cameras like the Linhof Technika are referred to as having triple-extension bellows, i.e. bellows that extend to three times the focal length of a standard lens, in other words 450mm. Without the second rack you will be able to focus to 10 or eleven inches with the lens standard close to the front of the rack, and all technical cameras are a little more stable with the second rack closed, but if you had a 300mm lens you would need to use this, and also if you wanted to photograph something at bigger than life size (1:1) with the 150mm lens. For ultra-close-ups, you need to find a way of focusing by moving either the whole camera or the subject, if you try to focus with the front of the camera you will go crazy.
  31. You absolutely sure that the focusing scale is in feet? If it goes to 2 that sounds more like a metric calibration. View camera lenses except for macro ones, are not corrected for use at 2' and the cams for a Linhof camera will not track that close. But they will track, for some focal lengths, to 2 meters.
  32. Bob, I think his focus scale must be the same as my technika III no 53674 which runs to 2 feet on both the 150mm and 90mm scale, it clearly says 'feet'.
    The cam falls off the follower at about the 3 1/2 foot mark with both the 150mm and 90mm cams.
  33. That's correct, it definitely says feet, starting with infiinity and running down to 2. The word feet is above the number 2.
    I also found out that it has a rangefinder on the side in a weird set up which is working, everything seems to be in working order except the lens which is off for a service. Apparently this camera was used by the surrealist photographer Vilem Kriz who emigrated to California from Czechoslovakia in the 50s.
  34. Bob, for your information, this is from the technika mentioned above
  35. Hello Colin and welcome to the wonderful world of upside down (ground glass viewing). I have a T III with a camera box full of lens. If you like doing head and shoulder portraits, I highly recommend the Linhof 360mm. Big lens/shutter, not multi coated (never had any flaring or color problems but always use a lens shade with the older lens). You would be amazed what kind of glare comes off of grass and dirt.
    One GREAT thing with the older shutters... they are very easy to open up to clean and lube and keep in tip top working order. I do agree, get used to your 150 and you might be surprised with it's usefullness!
  36. Mark,
    Thanks for the info.
  37. The previous owner of the camera has very kindly sent me some gear he used including a lens board. I'm looking for a super angulon on the net, how do I know if a lens will fit the board?
  38. Ok, dumb question, the new old lens board has a hole 32mm, will a 90mm f5.6 or f8 super angulon fit? On the back it has a groove around the hole that is about 80mm.

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