I did not post yesterday – my apology for this omission.
Today’s Daily Photo is one I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time – using the Df on the old Kodak 4×5 view camera I acquired a few years ago. In December 2103 I picked up a Fotodiox 4×5 view camera adaptor that allowed me to use my Nikon D300 with the Kodak 4×5. I had to adapt the 4×5 film plate holder (see the December 2103 for details) for the D300 to fit properly. This adaptation was needed as the D300 design would not allow the camera to connect to the adaptor without filing down the film plate flanges. Even with
filing the flanges, connecting the D300 to the Fotodiox 4×5 adaptor was still a tight fit as there was barely enough room between the lens docking ring and the side of the D300 handgrip (image courtesy of Wikipedia – click for a larger view).
Ironically, I strongly suspect that if I would have had the Nikon Df when I received the 4×5 adaptor, I would not have had to file the film plate flanges down due to the increased distance between the Df lens connector ring and the handgrip. I say this as I have an ancient Nikon PB-4 Bellows which would never fit the D300 due to the same distance constraints between the lens connector and the D300 handgrip. With the Df, the bellows fits easily.
For today’s Daily Photos I choose two subjects – both of which have been used before on this blog. I did so as 1) they are known subjects; 2) they be easy to compare against the 4×5 images; and 3) they both would provide a baseline once I make a lens board that would allow a Nikon lens to be used for the 4×5.
Before the images, some overall observations. If you decide to use your Nikon with a view camera, you need a very sturdy tripod as the Kodak 4×5 view camera and the Nikon Df weighed at 20 pounds. While the Df’s metering system would work, I choose to use a hand held light meter which I checked against the Df’s meter…they were pretty close so that was a good thing. You’ll need to shoot either in a timer mode or use a remote shutter release…this is primarily as there’s a lot of camera shake that takes a while to settle down. Without a trimer or alternative shutter release, you might accidentally introduce unintentional camera shake if you use your finger to press the shutter release. If your DLSR has Live View use it by all means. The better the Live View capability, the better your focus will be. Focusing with a 60 year lens is radically different than modern glass. To ensure the best possible focus, I opened the lens up to it’s widest aperture of 4.5 and, once focused, manually set the aperture to what I wanted. Also, using the original 4×5 lens requires a LOT more space between your subject and the lens, more space than you used to allowing. Even with 15 – 18 feet between my second test subject, I still could only capture a partial view of what I wanted as I literally had no more room to back up and still get the view I wanted.
At about this point you’re probably wondering why would I want to go through all this work, effort, learning curve, and the cost when I already have a perfectly functioning Df and far more modern lens. Its a very good question and I would like to give you a very good answer:..I like to experiment with a fusion of old and new technology to see what the results would be and based on the results, would I use this fusion technology in the future. Using the Df with the Fotodiox 4×5 adaptor and old glass produced stunning results in my mind. The saturation and color from the 60 year old lens (an Ilex Paragon Anastigmat) combined with the Df D4 sensor was absolutely stunning. The images have a rich look t= that I don’t see with the more modern lens I use. The closest of my newer lens would be the 24-85…but even then there’s not quite the same look.
Would I use the Df/4×5 hybrid again…ABSOLUTELY!!!
So, enough discourse…onwards to the images. For the first test (the Green man) I will use XX images (the first from the December 2103 post; the second taken with the Nikon D7000; and the third taken with the Df. Please note that the D7000 and Df images were taken from the same location (18 feet from the subject).
Green Man: (see captions for complete details: (Image 1 – D7000, 2 – Df; 3 – Df adjusted)
Lavender on Cedar (Image 1 – D300; 2 – Df uncorrected; 3 – Df corrected) – Please note that I have been trying for over two years to get a “straight” fence line – with the Nikon camera / lens combo, I have been unsuccessful; with the 4×5, I achieved the look I was looking for.)