|Graflex XL Lens Coverage - An Informal Survey
|I found an expired box of Polapan 667 in the back of the refrigerator a few weeks ago, so I
decided to do a little experimenting. Not the creative, artsy sort of experimentation people
sometimes do with this stuff - more like a research project. I'd been wondering which of
my Graflex XL lenses were able to cover this Polaroid format, so here was a chance to
find out without "wasting" good film. The box has "3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in" printed on it, but
actual image area I get with the Graflex XL Polaroid back is 2 7/8 x 3 3/4 inches.
The day in question was supposed to be cloudy with occasional rain, so I wasn't too
concerned about using this 3200 ISO film outdoors, even with these older lenses and their
leaf shutters. Well, Japanese meteorologists are no better than the ones back in the US, and
when I got to my local Shinto shrine/park the day turned out to be thinly overcast with
quite a bit of sun. I just went ahead and took the pics: they're all at f22 or 32 and the
fastest shutter speed available. I was focused at infinity for all the exposures.
Based on this highly informal and somewhat screwed-up test, I'd say the 58mm
Grandagon, 100mm Tessar and 180mm Rotelar are your best bets for Polaroid coverage.
The 47mm Super Angulon isn't bad - a little darkening in the corners. The 95mm Ysarex is
also close to covering, but the quality in the corners seemed somewhat poor. Please see the
"Sample Images" accessible via the links at left. It is necessary to note that most of the
vignetting seen in these photos seems to be so-called 'mechanical vignetting' caused by the
barrels in which XL lenses are mounted. If you compare the 100mm Planar and Tessar,
for example, you'll see that the Planar is mounted in a longer barrel. As far as I know,
Planar-type lenses do not have less covering power than equivalent focal length Tessars
(although please correct me if I'm wrong) and the 100mm Planar for the XL could
probably have made a better showing if it didn't require a longer barrel.
I was somewhat surprised that the vignetting wasn't even - that is, the left side of the
photos exhibited more vignetting than the right. Is the Polaroid film in the XL holder not
held centered with the optical axis?
By the way, I'm actually not much of a Polaroid fan, except for testing exposures. The
main reason I was interested in finding out about the coverage of these lenses is that I
finally found (and purchased) the rare accessory 4x5 Graflok adapter back for the XL.
Unfortunately, the whole 4x5 film area can't be used with this back on the XL; it gives
about a 3 x 3 3/4 inch image. You can see the 4x5 adapter and some images taken with it
Graflex XL lenses, including: 47mm f8 Schneider Super Angulon, 58mm f5.6 Rodenstock
80mm f2.8 Rodenstock Heligon, 80mm f2.8 Zeiss Planar, 95mm f3.5 Rodenstock Ysarex
100mm f2.8 Zeiss Planar, 100mm f3.5 Zeiss Tessar
150mm f4.5 Rodenstock Ysarex, 180mm f4.8 Zeiss Sonnar, 180mm f4.5 Rodenstock Rotelar
270mm f6.6 Rodenstock Rotelar
Please note: The 95mm f2.8 Rodenstock Heligon is not pictured as I don't yet own one!
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