The type of photographs that appeal to me are the ones which of what I call lower contrast and often softer in appearence. From what I have read, the way to achieve this look is by using an older uncoated lens.
I have borrowed a Zeiss Convertible Anastigmat Ross London Brass lens which I am using on my Chamonix 045N 5×4 camera.
The lens from what I can gather is dated around 1890 and can be used either as a 220mm or 350mm. To move f rom one focal length to the other, you simply unscrew the rear cell. Just using the front cell gives you 350mm whilst using both cells give you 220mm. The only drawback with selecting the 350mm focal length is that you do require enough bellows extension to focus at infinity. The Chamonix 045N does come with a generous 395mm bellow draw so I am just ok with this lens.
As with many of the older brass lens, they do not incorporate any shutter mechanisms. The easiest way I have found, is to place the palm of my had over the lens and remove the dark slide and then gently remove my hand to expose the film.
The only drawback to this type of operation is the actual so called shutter speed. In bright light you could be at 1/8th so what I do here is judge it and then let the films latitude work its magic.
When using th3 350mm option, the lens is wide open at f/12 and when using the 220mm option, the lens is wide open at f/6.3. The smallest aperture value is f/64.
Examples images from the Zeiss Anastigmat Ross London lens
So far, I have only had the lens a few days, and I have exposed 2 sheet of film. The film I chose was FomaPan 200 which I rated at ISO 100 and then developed in KODAK XTOL replenished.
The photograph of the Dahlia Flower was taken using both the front and rear element giving a focal length of 220mm. For the metering, I used an incident light meter. The flower was red in colour so I used a red filter infant of the lens to lighten the red.
The photograph above is the main entrance to Cusworth Hall Museum close to where I live in Doncaster. For this image, I chose to use the 350mm focal length. The exposure was more or less a guess on this one because the light meter indicated an exposure of 1/8th of a second which required me to uncover and then cover up the lens very quickly.