What's best landscape lens - 40mm or 50mm?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by ron_hughes, May 27, 1998.

  1. I have an ETRS with std 75mm lens. What's the best focal length for landscape? Specifically which lens (eg 40mm E). Would appreciate your advice. Thanks.
     
  2. Ron,

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    I got my PE40mm for a bargin @$700.00 . I originally wanted the 50mm because of the faster apeture and I figured I would have to worry less about distortion. I have been completely satisfied with the 40mm. I have found it to have minimal distortion and the extra wide view is awesome.

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    JM
     
  3. Thanks for the feedback. Is that what I should get then (ie PE40mm) for my ETRS?

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    NB - My camera is not an ETRSi and I don't know what the PE signifies!

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    Does anyone use 50mm for landscape? If not, then what is 50mm best suited for? I gather that the 150mm is the best lens for portraiture and the 75mm is a general purpose lens (ie equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera - though I've never found a standard 50mm much use and prefer to use a zoom lens on my 35mm camera).

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    Any comments?
     
  4. Ron,

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    Bronica offers a wide angle zoom for the ETRS camera. The lens is a 45-90mm F 4-5.6 and B&H lists it for $1439. The 40mm lens lists for $1315. This zoom lens focuses to 3.3feet at 45mm and 19 inches at 90mm.
     
  5. The conventional thinking is that wide-angle lenses are best for landscapes, but I've usually found that moderate telephotos give much better perspective. With a wide-angle, prominent features in the background look tiny and far away. You get more in, but in so doing you reduce the value of what is included. I find landscapes much more appealing when photographed with a telephoto in the focal lengths in the format you use which are equivalent to 100--135mm on 35mm. A moderate telephoto compresses the scene and gives distant objects their proper value in the photograph.
     
  6. I use the 50mm MC lens on my Bronica ETRSi for landscape shooting. It is not my most frequently used lens however. As mentioned earlier in this column, a wide angle lens takes in more, but reduces the prominence of elements of a scene. I can only think of one instance in three years of shooting where I wich I had the 40mm lens. Most of my scenic photography is done with the 200mm lens, both for scenics, intimate landscapes and macro work. Try renting both lenses and see which one suits you best. The zooms are a good choice. I have been eyeing them lately myself.
     
  7. Once again, many thanks for the valuable feedback.

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    The 40mm sounds impressive, but now I'm in a quandary:

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    My experience with a 35mm camera, and knowledge gained from reading, has led me to the belief that the best lens for landscape is wide angle, but I'm new to medium format. Is it really so different?

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    I realize that telephoto lenses produce a foreshortening effect and have see that technique used to good effect in some landscape shots.

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    Whilst the 45-90mm f4-5.6 zoom sounds appealing, I haven't seen it being offered in the UK. If I imported one from the US I believe I'd end up paying pretty much the same as the standard UK price, by the time I've paid Value Added Tax and import duty!

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    Are zooms available 2nd-hand yet, or are they relatively new for Bronicas?

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    Would the zoom be compatible with my ETRS (rather than the ETRSi)?

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    I suppose if funds allowed, ideally it would be nice have a couple of zooms and to dispense with the standard lens (that's what I've done with my 35mm camera). Or, would you advise hanging on to the 75mm?

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    Your comments would be valued ...
     
  8. My experience with 40 v. 50 is 50 all the way. I rented both lenses (I own a 500 C/M Hasselblad) and found the ebst photos for what I like to see in the 50 MM. I don't know if Bronica lenses have the retro-focus feature, but I found this aspect of the 50 a joy! Talk about sharp photos!

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    My specific gripe about the 40 was image distortion. The 50 is a wide-angle lense, BUT image distortion was reduced. As previous post mentioned, however, telephoto lenses do give a more true-to-image look...but I like the 50 wide angle....ok, no real advice here....just my thoughts.

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    TGF
     
  9. Well, I've finally made a decision!

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    I think the 40mm would be a little extreme for general landscape work.

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    I'd be interested in a 2nd-hand zoom, but am not willing to pay 1170 pounds, which is what the 45-90/4-5.6 PE would cost me in the UK.

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    I've just ordered a 2nd-hand 50 f2.8E via mail order from MXV in the UK for 380 pounds, plus a Hoya polariser filter and 120 Ei filmback.

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    I'll see how I get on, and might buy a 150 (or possibly a 200) later.

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    Many thanks for all the advice.

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    The next problem is how to break the news to my wife!

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    Any advice?

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    :)
     
  10. PS - If the zoom lens mentioned earlier in this thread can be bought for $1,439 in the US (ie approx 899 pounds), it's worth noting that it would cost 1170 pounds in the UK (ie approx $1,872)!

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    Amateur Photographer's 13 June issue contains an excellent article on the pros and cons of grey importing.

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    Apparently, if I grey imported the lens from the US to the UK, I would have to pay at least 4.8% (possibly 6% or even 8%) duty plus 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on the price, the postage and the duty itself added together (ie something around the cost in the UK). I doubt that it would be worth the hassle.
     
  11. Hello Ron

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    Your best bet for the 45-90mm Zoom isn't across the pond but right here in S-E Asia where you may purchase the lens brand-new from an authorised dealer for about US$900-950. The only reliable shop I deal with is John 3:16 Photo Supplies (Tel: 65 337 1897, 65 337 2877). Ask for Sam or Richard. You can probably grab a brand-new ETRSi for about US$500-650 . E-mail me if you want me to find out more for you; I'm going back to California in about three weeks so make haste. Cheers...Rene.

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    P.S. They accept credit cards but have to levy a 2% premium on the selling price. You don't pay sales tax at this shop as they don't turn over Sin$1 million in sales in a fiscal year.
     
  12. All Bronica MC EII and PE lenses will work for the ETRS as well as the ETRSi. In reply to a much earlier question about wide vs tele lenses for landscape, refer to Ansel Adams' Basic Photo One Camera and Lens; basically, the bigger the mountain you want to photogrph, the longer the lens you'll need. This seems contrary to what you'd think, but it's true.
     
  13. I have to agree with the comments that a medium tetphoto is the primary landscape len. I usually am tring to simplfy the shot rather than tring to include more detail. About the only place I use a wide angle is to do a hyperfocal shot on a beach of along the length of a fallen tree where you are tring to say" this go on forever" in your picture. A 40 works well for that type of shot.
     

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