903 SWC or Xpan

macmx

Member
I'm window shopping for a wide angle cam for landscape, and wondering whether I should get a 903 to go with my V kit or an Xpan with 30mm lens.

I like the 903 the most, and it's actually cheaper than the rangefinder + lens. Given the fact that I can also use the CFV on it, it seems the most reasonable choice.
I am unsure which 35mm (horizontal view) lens equivalent the SWC has, because the diagonal view is square.

- Does anyone have experience using a polarizer filter on the SWC?
- Can I use a proshade on it?
- Does anyone have an example image of SWC + CVF?
- Are there any specific SWC's that I should be aware of/avoid?
- Are there any large advantages to the 905?

Should I rather just buy a 40mm CFE?

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!
 

polypal

New Member
Considering the Xpan with 30 mm or the SWC I think you answered most questions yourself.

The 40mm FLE or the SWC choice is for a large part depending on the kind of use.
For landscape you have the opportunity to plan a shot and take as long as lighting conditions allow in most cases.
That would mean an SWC in my opinion.

All SWC cameras are created equal meaning they are all excellent, starting with the Supreme Wide Angle in 1954 till the last 905.
Given the correct adapter ring all professional shades from the first model released in the sixties till the last 6093T will accept a CF type lens.
This means the SWC/M with CF lens, the 903 and the 905 are all suitable for pro shades irrespective of the model pro shade.
How is that for compatibility!
To be able to use a polarizer you will also need a focussing screen adapter with a viewer.

For prices look what is offered by traders like ffordes, KEH, Tony Rose, Robert White etc. And evilbay of course.
Later models, especially the 903, seem to be going up in price.
 

macmx

Member
I checked Harry's Proshop or whatever it's called, and that's got a 905 for 10,000 USD! I think it's brand new, but still. Seems like the 903's are going for about 4000 USD upwards at the moment. I don't imagine this price is going to drop...
 

vandevantersh

New Member
I am going through the same mental "calculations". If I buy a 903 will I really start using film again? A 903 + CVF = a 57-60mm lens for >$4000. A 40mm CFE the same result for ~ $3000. My "heart" tells me to get an SWC, my wallet says spend the money on new 35mm stuff. My 50mm probably spends the most time on my 503CW + CVF followed by the 180. I don't think a 40mm would add that much. Hmmm..I wonder about the 30mm.
 

bladdered

Member
I recently sold my XPan to fund a CFV back for use with my V cameras including the SWC. I now have a more continuous set of kit that I'm hoping will more suit my future needs.

Take a look here for my first impressions:

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I underestimated the ease with which three/four .... square frames can be strung together into a panorama which has offset my earlier concerns.

I thoroughly enjoy using the SWC as a handheld street camera, which also came as a bit of a surprise.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Gary
 

polypal

New Member
Any SWC is great to use as a street or handheld camera.
This particular capacity is often overlooked.
 

macmx

Member
I'm not quite satisfied with the current sharpness. Shot 1/125 and f/22 at iso 400. It might just be my focusing, but at f/22 all should be sharp. I can't imagine 1/125 is too slow?...
 

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It does look like two of the edges are soft, but I don't think it's camera shake at all. If it were, the entire image would be blurry.
I think "f22" is the culprit. Even great lenses such as this have diffraction issues stopped down that far, and particularly at the edges. On a wide lens like the 38 Biogon, you didn't need f22 for this shot. I believe you would have been much better off with something in the neighborhood of f5.6 - f11.
Michael H. Cothran
 

macmx

Member
Yes you are probably right. I think the image below was at f/16. I really just wanted to play with the DOF when first trying it out. I will try to constrain myself in future.
As I understand the Biogon's "working aperture" is around f/8-11. Can anyone confirm?

Camera shake seems so extremely unlikely. The feel of the cameras shutter is so absent, it's almost a bit unsatisfying. Just a mechanical little "ding".

I had some trouble with the communication to the CFV though. Looks a lot like when the back is not set to the correct camera, but I quadruple checked that it was set to SWC. See images below. I'm sure you can tell which is messed up.
 

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polypal

New Member
With the SWC I have never used a smaller aperture than F11.
Smaller hardly brings more DOF.
Try using the SWC hyperfocal: at F5.6 anything from 2m till infinity is ok.

Under circumstances with low light levels I used 800ASA Portra and 1/15
shutter speed at full aperture. No problems at all.
 

macmx

Member
1/15 really?...
I wouldn't happen to have an example image? I wasn't aware that I could use such a slow shutter.
 

polypal

New Member
I do not have the picture and negative anymore.
I used this 1/15 only once in a secondhand bookshop that belongs to a friend.
Despite low light levels the negative was correctly exposed.
Amazing comment from the store owner: I can read the titles of the books!
He used this image on his website so I gave him a couple of 13x18 prints and the negative.
Slow shutter speeds require a strong hand and good body control to be succesfull.

I understand you like to use the CFV back.
May be shoot a testfilm at slow speeds to check what is possible.
This also gives you a chance to compare the results with the CFV back.
 

bladdered

Member
Try using the SWC hyperfocal: at F5.6 anything from 2m till infinity is ok.

Under circumstances with low light levels I used 800ASA Portra and 1/15
shutter speed at full aperture. No problems at all.
That's well worth trying out. At 1/15 and with the future revision of the CFV to 800 iso this little machine will become very practical.

I often shoot with a camera on a Leica table top tripod pulled into my chest, which also provides the opportunity to place it against a wall or bench for any speed you need.

Gary
 
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