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goamules
14-Dec-2014, 06:51
The title is a little bit of a challenge, because I've been looking for small classic era soft focus lenses for years, and they are very, very hard to find. Something like a Verito, or one of the many meniscus soft focus lenses like a Struss, Portrait Plastigmat, Cooke Semi-achromat in 1 to 3 inch focal length, for around a 35mm film size, is almost non-existent. I say almost, because I know Hollywood used a few soft focus lenses, during the silent through the classic eras. You see them often when you watch old movies, when the scene flashes to a closeup of the beautiful girl. How do they do that, it looks great! It's been discussed a little on other threads.

Isn't the paradox interesting, that small format people (35mm Leica, Digital mirrorless, and now Black Magic Pocket Cine Camera users) all want extreme sharpness, edge to edge, with no vignetting, field curve, or aberrations at all? I mean, they're shooting lenses the size of your thumb to the size of a juice can. Tiny glass, has to be worked VERY intensively to get those results on a postage stamp sized format. Meanwhile, a lot of Large Format people WANT aberrations, swirl, soft focus. Yet their format is 5, 10, or more inches across! Trying to get sharp on a thumbnail sized frame, and soft on a frame the size of a window. Just seems funny.

Anyway, through a lucky purchase, I finally got one of the lenses reputed to be soft. I've been looking for one for years, but didn't want to pay the high prices from some of the Buy It Now venders that seem to have everything. So I waited. Months became years. The children grew up, and went to college....that type of time frame. Is this a Holy Grail lens? Not really, they are pretty much unknown or forgotten by 99.9% of the small format photographers. But that's the things I like! If anything, the C-mount lens craze is tapering off. But I think it will continue in spurts, as people continue shooting micro 4/3 cameras and movie cameras.

This is a rebranded Kino Plasmat 1" F1.5 by Hugo Meyer. Dr. Paul Rudolph invented the first Anastigmats, the Protars in the 1890s. He came out of retirement after WWI to build a fast cinema camera lens at Hugo Meyer. The F1.5 version came out in 1922, and many are engraved with his name around the front glass. Studying the design, basically a Dagor derivative, you wouldn't think they would be soft. And looking at a lot of people's shots who owned them, I couldn't be sure if they were soft either. But it was on my list of "small format, possibly soft" lenses to try. I got the lens last night, very worn, very stiff focus, but it has potential. Shot was taken of another rare lens I got at the same time (early Christmas!), a Cooke Ivotal, and another innocuous lens.


https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8672/16014380982_6c4fd0d4ce_b.jpg

Paul Ewins
14-Dec-2014, 19:44
I think that for the early years of 35mm photography they were still struggling to make lenses sharp enough for decent enlargements, so intentionally soft focus wasn't much of an issue. In any case, soft focus was (and is?) a portrait thing and studios stuck with LF for a very long time. Here's a list of 35mm and MF soft focus lenses from the post war era (mostly from the seventies onward).

35mm
Canon (new) FD: 85mm f/2.8 Soft Focus
Canon EOS: EF 135 f2.8 Soft Focus
Fuji M42: EBC Fujinon SF 85/4
Leica: 9cm F2.2 Thambar
Minolta MD: Minolta 85mm f/2.8 Varisoft
Minolta AF: Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Soft
Nikon F: nothing that I could find
Nikon AF: AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2, AF DC-Nikkor135 f/2
Olympus: nothing that I could find
Pentax K: SMC Pentax Soft 85/2.2,
Pentax K (AF): SMC Pentax-F 85/2.8 Soft, SMC Pentax-FA 28/2.8 Soft, SMC Pentax-FA 85/2.8 Soft
Sony AF: Sony AF 100 F2.8 Soft
Tamron Adpatall: Tamron SP 70-150mm f2.8 Soft

Medium Format
Fuji GX: EBC Fujinon GX SF190/8, EBC Fujinon GXM SF190/8
Mamiya 645: Mamiya-Sekor SF C 145/4
Mamiya RB67: Mamiya 150 mm f/4.0 C Variable Soft Focus
Mamiya RZ67: Mamiya 180 mm f/4.0 D/L Variable Soft Focus
Pentax 6x7: SMC Pentax 67 120/3.5

jp
15-Dec-2014, 07:04
In "New York to Hollywood" book, the author describes Struss as having made some small Struss Pictorials for films he worked in.

The Nikon AF-DC nikkor isn't soft. It can unbalance the spherical aberration sweet spot as soft focus lenses often were, but I still wouldn't call the lens soft. The feature helps with smoothness of OOF areas. It is a very nice lens.

Popular current options are Brownies with reversed meniscus and Holgas. I think the Holgas suffer in contrast, but can do nice results often enough to be viable and worth messing with.

There have also been imagon adaptors/bellows for MF system cameras. I haven't used them, but have seen some really nice work other photographers have done.

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 11:37
I know Karl Struss used soft focus lenses, but I'm trying to figure out any others in the classic period of Hollywood. I think William Russell Young's thesis talks a little about this, I need to go back and read it. I also know the studios often just veiled a conventional lens with gauze, etc. But some cinema soft shots are so beautiful, and I can see the affect I see with a Verito.

SergeiR
15-Dec-2014, 11:50
I know Karl Struss used soft focus lenses, but I'm trying to figure out any others in the classic period of Hollywood. I think William Russell Young's thesis talks a little about this, I need to go back and read it. I also know the studios often just veiled a conventional lens with gauze, etc. But some cinema soft shots are so beautiful, and I can see the affect I see with a Verito.

pre code hollywood cinematic books seem to have quite a number of references. Albeit i am not patient enough

Mark Sawyer
15-Dec-2014, 12:06
That Kino Plasmat has a wonderful soft look to it, Garret! I wouldn't have even suspected it was a soft lens, never having heardf of a soft plasmat for any format. (Can anyone think of another?)

A quick reminder of this old article on soft cine lenses:

http://books.google.com/books?id=S08_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA32-IA3&lpg=PA32-IA3&dq=%22Modern+lenses%22+american+cinematographer+karl+brown&source=bl&ots=tbveDrc8qn&sig=jfQX1XiZVn2xbTMmWcixvc53FaQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LPO2U5bhDoWHogS_-4HQDg&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Modern%20lenses%22%20american%20cinematographer%20karl%20brown&f=false

Bob Salomon
15-Dec-2014, 12:36
Schmactenburg and Rodenstock teamed up to bring back the 120mm and 150mm 4.5 Imagon lenses in T-2 mounts for any 35mm interchangeable lens camera as well as in mounts for Rollei SL66, 6XXX, Hasselblad 500 and 2000, Pentax 645 and 67 and Mamiya 645 and RB and RZ cameras.

Zörkendorfer and Rodenstock teamed up to bring the 200mm 5.8 Imagon in mounts for the same cameras above.

These were available into the 90's new.

And, today, the new Petzval is now availble in both Nikon and Canon mount. It is an 85mm.

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 13:15
This book has a lot about the early Soft Focus techniques: The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 - By David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, Kristin Thompson. There are about 8-10 pages discussing the techniques from 1919 onward, with a lot of discussion of the 1920s. Lenses are mentioned, but not many names (Struss, Verito, Kalostat I believe only) as well as gauze, and Kodak diffusion filters and other techniques. Struss and others are quoted. Mark, I think the authors quote your journal article.

I need to buy this book.

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 13:31
Here is the Kino Plasmat. Note the inner "free" elements are facing the opposite way of a conventional Plasmat. Kingslake says this better corrected the spherical aberration (implying softness is inherent in the design). It seems both Plasmats and Dagors had some difficulty with SA, wide open. People have talked about Dagor "glow" when shot wide.

I need to find where or why I originally thought Dr. Paul Rudolph F1.5 Kino Plasmats were soft. Somewhere....I read that, so started searching. But I see some of them are not soft, on photo sharing sites. This one is.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8614/15843252920_564333486f_o.jpg

Mark Sawyer
15-Dec-2014, 13:36
I'm getting an "Invalid Attachment" on that one, Garrett.

Jim Galli
15-Dec-2014, 13:38
Lucky enough to have a Plastigmat Portrait 75mm f4.5 with a cobbled Nikon mount. Don't use it often enough.

I'm a big fan of Bruce Hemingway's work (http://thenewpictorialism.blogspot.com/). He has a Pinkham 75mm. Probably the only one on earth.

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 13:41
Here's another with the lens, a little larger so you can see it.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8567/16028549981_a46587d969_b.jpg

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 13:45
Lucky enough to have a Plastigmat Portrait 75mm f4.5 with a cobbled Nikon mount. Don't use it often enough.

I'm a big fan of Bruce Hemingway's work (http://thenewpictorialism.blogspot.com/). He has a Pinkham 75mm. Probably the only one on earth.

Is it a B&L and is it soft? Wow, I forgot about his 75mm Pinkham, fantastically small. I see he's using it on the APS-C size sensor, I've got an adapter being shipped to try this Plasmat on my Fuji XE-1 too.

Emil Schildt
15-Dec-2014, 14:19
don't know whether these counts?

Small Lancaster landscape uncorced on my Rolleiflex SL66...

City of Prague..

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 14:55
Wonderful! They're soft, it's small format, works for me!

Nodda Duma
15-Dec-2014, 15:27
If there is a need for a small format soft lens then I could probably design it.

Jim Galli
15-Dec-2014, 15:33
http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/MisclMenisci/BluOrngLillies012ss.jpg
blue, orange, and green of summer

Yes, the Plastigmat is B&L and yes it's soft. The above was done with Nikon D200, my digi workhorse.

Jim Galli
15-Dec-2014, 15:54
If there is a need for a small format soft lens then I could probably design it.

What would be fun would be to take a common Nikkor, like the 50mm f1.8 and study the current design to see if you could take one of the elements and purposely introduce some aberration. They'd sell like hot cakes.

goamules
15-Dec-2014, 16:14
Nice shot, I like color with soft focus. I keep wanting to try my struss with some Fuji transparency film, but I'm afraid I'll blow the exposure with a barrel lens! I think "hot cakes" is too strong a metaphor. I'd say they'd sell like anchovy ice cream.

jp
15-Dec-2014, 18:36
Garret; you could use a ND filter to get to a comfortable manual shutter speed.

My m39 Helios 44 (58mm f2) is a bit softish wide open. It doesn't focus past 5' on my nikon either since it was made for a different flange distance.

Nodda Duma
15-Dec-2014, 21:14
What would be fun would be to take a common Nikkor, like the 50mm f1.8 and study the current design to see if you could take one of the elements and purposely introduce some aberration. They'd sell like hot cakes.

Don't have to study it. It's a double gauss design. Just pull the front element away from the rest of the lenses. That'll really screw up the spheri--..er um, well I mean.. give you nice soft focus.

Jim Galli
15-Dec-2014, 22:37
Don't have to study it. It's a double gauss design. Just pull the front element away from the rest of the lenses. That'll really screw up the spheri--..er um, well I mean.. give you nice soft focus.

I'll get my set of hammers out and start on one tomorrow. ;~'))

Armin Seeholzer
16-Dec-2014, 15:03
I have the 90mm Dreamagon from Seibold and the 120 mm Imagon from Rodenstock with a T2 Adapter for my Nikon including my digital Nikons! I'm a lucky guy;--)))

Cheers Armin

dsphotog
17-Dec-2014, 11:31
Then there's the Sima 100mm f2 soft focus/macro. Very inexpensive (cheap) single element plastic, sliding tube focusing, kinda like a Lensbaby, uses a T mount, so it can be made to fit most 35mm or dslr's.
Wide open it's too soft for most subjects, f5.6 or f8 (they use aperture discs) is more to my liking.
Keh currently has one listed for $35... with a Nikon T mount.

djdister
17-Dec-2014, 11:54
I have the Canon 135mm telephoto lens with softfocus settings, and I will try to post some examples later. But one thing to think about - I also have the Canon 135mm f/2L lens, which of course is not a soft focus lens. But when used wide open, it gives a beautifully short depth of field and out of focus bokeh, which is sometimes a better effect than an overall softfocus lens.

In the image sharing forum there is a thread (called "Wide f***ing open" or something like that) which demostrates how that can work effectively for LF work as well.

Jody_S
17-Dec-2014, 12:08
Don't have to study it. It's a double gauss design. Just pull the front element away from the rest of the lenses. That'll really screw up the spheri--..er um, well I mean.. give you nice soft focus.
Some lenses should be really easy to modify, like the late canon fd 50/1.8, where the front element is simply held on with 3 screws. Easy to experiment with spacers and longer screws as needed. How much of a spacer would you suggest?

Jim Galli
17-Dec-2014, 12:16
From the OP; I've been looking for small classic era soft focus lenses

Old Cine soft focus lenses are like hens teeth. The modern non-achromatic simple meniscii don't get the job done (imesho)

alanbutler57
18-Dec-2014, 16:44
I probably posted these somewhere here already. Not a classic, but easy to find is the Mamiya 150SF for the RB67 platform:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7296/8725337084_1bf97e488c_c.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2939/14007847878_d7798dce1c_c.jpg

And the same lens mounted onto a modified 4x5 camera

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7414/8731078057_e568597d8f_c.jpg

Randy Moe
18-Dec-2014, 17:05
Alan, I like 2 and 3. I have a 'hard' time with mine. Never happy.

Great images.

alanbutler57
18-Dec-2014, 18:57
Thanks Randy,
I don't shoot this lens enough to get really consistent. All too often I tend to backfocus just slightly, especially using it on the 4x5. I think I've exposed 3 or 4 negatives and got the one keeper above. As most people have written, I like it better wide open with no disc (center image) than w. disk.

Here's a digital capture with a Lensbaby. I've had it for many years but just haven't played much with it.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7562/16052962062_d66665351d_c.jpg

goamules
19-Dec-2014, 09:09
Great shots! That's what I like about small format - I can shoot a lot, and get instant feedback. Sometimes I try a shot on SF or digital (with adapted lenses that replicate what I have in LF). Then if I like what I'm doing, I'll set up a studio camera with the big lenses and film sheets. This shot is none of that, just a view from my desk where I sit each day. I put the Hugo Meyer Plasmat on a different camera (Fuji X) because I just got the adapter. Still looks soft to me, wide open. (Click for larger)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7481/16056647562_b2a21b187e_c.jpg (https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7481/16056647562_01dceb8ce8_h.jpg)

Jim Galli
19-Dec-2014, 10:04
I probably posted these somewhere here already. Not a classic, but easy to find is the Mamiya 150SF for the RB67 platform:



And the same lens mounted onto a modified 4x5 camera

Alan, I've got zero tolerance for color fringing. The lens baby shot is actually more pleasing than the Mamiya ones, but it's a subject that would naturally block a lot of it. Most of the cheap modern soft lenses for small cameras have color fringing that boogers the effect for me. And my other dumb rule is that small is for color and big is for black and white ~ brute force. So I'm limited to achromatic lenses that get their soft effect from something besides color planes.

Bernice Loui
19-Dec-2014, 11:37
Soft focus or selective focus lenses work by exploiting residual aberration of a given lens. As the format size shrinks, the negative effects of these residual lens aberrations tends to be magnified. This is why soft focus or selective focus lenses were not made in small formats historically as the soft focus image tradition stayed with photographers using large sheet film of 5x7 or larger. It was some time later that the soft focus style appeared with wedding photographers and related portrait photographers that favored medium format roll film cameras. This results in lenses like the 200 Imagon and such.

With all this digital and small format stuff, the fashion of having a lens produce effects has become a trendy thing, much like Instagram.

To really appreciate what soft focus or selective focus lenses can do for images, one needs to use a few of the classic soft focus lenses with a 8x10 camera and 8x10 sheet film then make a contact print from the resulting negative. Only then could the beauty of soft focus lenses be honestly appreciated.


Bernice

goamules
19-Dec-2014, 13:21
I guess I'm a dishonest appreciator then! Or sometimes honest?

djdister
19-Dec-2014, 13:37
To really appreciate what soft focus or selective focus lenses can do for images, one needs to use a few of the classic soft focus lenses with a 8x10 camera and 8x10 sheet film then make a contact print from the resulting negative. Only then could the beauty of soft focus lenses be honestly appreciated.
Bernice

I think this is a key observation. That is why enlarged (digitally or opticallly) soft focus shots often just don't look as good as contact or minimally enlarged prints. Just my opinion. There may be some scientific reason to explain it, but I don't have that...

Jim Galli
19-Dec-2014, 13:44
To really appreciate what soft focus or selective focus lenses can do for images, one needs to use a few of the classic soft focus lenses with a 8x10 camera and 8x10 sheet film then make a contact print from the resulting negative. Only then could the beauty of soft focus lenses be honestly appreciated.


Bernice


I think this is a key observation. That is why enlarged (digitally or opticallly) soft focus shots often just don't look as good as contact or minimally enlarged prints. Just my opinion. There may be some scientific reason to explain it, but I don't have that...

Soft focus was conceived when 8X10 and full plate were the normative size in a studio. The reason they work best in that size and contact printed is because of what I like to call "brute force". You can't afford to lose any tonality with the subtleties of soft focus.

Bernice Loui
20-Dec-2014, 10:55
This is often not appreciated until classic soft focus lens are used on 8x10 and contact print made.

Many of these classic soft focus lenses were "voice or tuned" to make contact prints on 8x10 format. Once this original design requirement is violated, the overall effect and real beauty of these soft focus images is lost or significantly discounted.



Bernice


Soft focus was conceived when 8X10 and full plate were the normative size in a studio. The reason they work best in that size and contact printed is because of what I like to call "brute force". You can't afford to lose any tonality with the subtleties of soft focus.

Bernice Loui
20-Dec-2014, 11:09
Not at all, more like looking for the easy, lower cost or least effort way to achieve the desired results.

Often this is good enough until one gains an deep appreciation of what the original expression and beauty of contact prints made using classic soft focus lenses on 8x10 format.

Kinda like hearing a Stradivarius or Guarneri violin played by a world class violinist live for the first time. Before that it was listening to poor recordings on poor play back systems daily.


Bernice


I guess I'm a dishonest appreciator then! Or sometimes honest?

Emil Schildt
20-Dec-2014, 11:28
Not at all, more like looking for the easy, lower cost or least effort way to achieve the desired results.

Often this is good enough until one gains an deep appreciation of what the original expression and beauty of contact prints made using classic soft focus lenses on 8x10 format.

Kinda like hearing a Stradivarius or Guarneri violin played by a world class violinist live for the first time. Before that it was listening to poor recordings on poor play back systems daily.


Bernice

I honestly like my enlarged SF images better then the same as contact prints...

Randy Moe
20-Dec-2014, 11:33
I honestly like my enlarged SF images better then the same as contact prints...

Why would viewing distance NOT be applicable to enlarged SF negs?

Meaning, at a greater distance the effect would be the same.

I agree.

Mark Sawyer
20-Dec-2014, 12:25
Why would viewing distance NOT be applicable to enlarged SF negs?

Meaning, at a greater distance the effect would be the same.

I agree.

I'd respectfully disagree. Part of it is that we do walk up to a print, especially a fine print, to really appreciate the finer points. That's where you might notice the halation spreads a subtle 1/8 of an inch. Blow it up to mural size and it's a garish inch wide, with it's grain hanging out like underwear from saggy jeans. (Simile of the day! :rolleyes: )

Jim and Bernice are right, the 8x10 contact print (especially on gelatin silver) is special; it has a richness of tone and detail even slight enlargements can't quite match. You can't just stand back and look at a bigger print from a distance, anymore than you could run live acoustic music through amplifiers, turn it up, and back up to a distance where the decibels match. It's been through an imperfect intermediate system, and it doesn't come out the same...

Emil Schildt
20-Dec-2014, 12:39
I'd respectfully disagree. Part of it is that we do walk up to a print, especially a fine print, to really appreciate the finer points. That's where you might notice the halation spreads a subtle 1/8 of an inch. Blow it up to mural size and it's a garish inch wide, with it's grain hanging out like underwear from saggy jeans. (Simile of the day! :rolleyes: )

Jim and Bernice are right, the 8x10 contact print (especially on gelatin silver) is special; it has a richness of tone and detail even slight enlargements can't quite match. You can't just stand back and look at a bigger print from a distance, anymore than you could run live acoustic music through amplifiers, turn it up, and back up to a distance where the decibels match. It's been through an imperfect intermediate system, and it doesn't come out the same...

gotta sell all my SF lenses then... ah well...

Randy Moe
20-Dec-2014, 12:48
gotta sell all my SF lenses then... ah well...

Or put your masterpieces behind Mona Lisa protection and viewing distance. :)

I do run up and peer closely at most prints, but just as I judge a large screen TV, I move back and look far more at the 'correct' viewing distance.

ymmv

Mark Sawyer
20-Dec-2014, 13:16
gotta sell all my SF lenses then... ah well...

Yes, there's nothing you can do, sell them all...

Seriously, I think any of your lenses work well for you because you so often use alternative processes with rougher hand-coated papers that have a very different voice. I think the very strong signature of these printing processes usually overwhelms the signature of any lens. I feel the same way about using soft lenses on wet plate.

To me, the air-dried glossy surface of a gelatin silver contact print is the perfect carrier for showing what a lens can do, be it sharp or soft. Of course, the funny thing is, in the golden days of Pictorialism, photographers preferred the rougher papers, and glossy gelatin silver prints were the signature look for the f/64 photographers who were denigrating the soft look...

So yeah, it's just my own strange logic, but at least I can rationalize it! :)

Randy Moe
20-Dec-2014, 13:23
:)^

goamules
21-Dec-2014, 05:54
Good simile Mark!

Bernice, you do realize I also shoot Large Format soft focus don't you? I mean, I said in my post I like doing a little SF to test ideas for shots, to play around with little lenses, to have fun. I didn't mean for this thread to become a debate on which is better. You may not know it, but I shoot a lot of LF Soft Focus lenses, including a Karl Stuss Pictorial (https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7168/6584427861_9a5320ef22_b.jpg), B&L Portrait Plastigmat, Taylor Hobson RVP, Kodak 305 and 405 Portrait....shall I go on?!

I like the idea of little soft focus lenses for the learning. Not to put something in a gallery or even on the wall.

Bernice Loui
21-Dec-2014, 12:01
??

Does not alter the fact traditional/classic soft focus lenses were designed/tweaked/tuned for 8x10 or similar contact prints.
Tinkering is great, but does not alter the realities and facts of the design origins and intent of traditional soft focus lenses.
This should not be a debate, this is a point of fact.

Having fun and tinkering with small format soft focus lenses is great, do know and understand the limitations and realities of small format soft focus lenses.

I'm pretty much a purist and tries to keep in mind how these lenses were to be used along with their intended results.



Bernice


Good simile Mark!

Bernice, you do realize I also shoot Large Format soft focus don't you? I mean, I said in my post I like doing a little SF to test ideas for shots, to play around with little lenses, to have fun. I didn't mean for this thread to become a debate on which is better. You may not know it, but I shoot a lot of LF Soft Focus lenses, including a Karl Stuss Pictorial (https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7168/6584427861_9a5320ef22_b.jpg), B&L Portrait Plastigmat, Taylor Hobson RVP, Kodak 305 and 405 Portrait....shall I go on?!

I like the idea of little soft focus lenses for the learning. Not to put something in a gallery or even on the wall.

goamules
21-Dec-2014, 17:03
??

Does not alter the fact traditional/classic soft focus lenses were designed/tweaked/tuned for 8x10 or similar contact prints.
Tinkering is great, but does not alter the realities and facts of the design origins and intent of traditional soft focus lenses.
This should not be a debate, this is a point of fact.

Having fun and tinkering with small format soft focus lenses is great, do know and understand the limitations and realities of small format soft focus lenses.

I'm pretty much a purist and tries to keep in mind how these lenses were to be used along with their intended results.



Bernice

Hollywood movies are small format. Hollywood movies shot soft focus. Chew on those realities.

Thank you for authorizing my photographic decisions, and explaining the limitations to me. You may now go off and be a purist somewhere else.

To everyone else, let's get back to the intent of this thread.

cowanw
6-Jan-2015, 12:53
Back to the thread. I was thinking the Nicca 50mm 1.4 would get a mention here. there's a lens we share and like
Regards
Bill

AtlantaTerry
7-Jan-2015, 03:19
Then there's the Sima 100mm f2 soft focus/macro. Very inexpensive (cheap) single element plastic, sliding tube focusing, kinda like a Lensbaby, uses a T mount, so it can be made to fit most 35mm or DSLRs.
Wide open it's too soft for most subjects, f5.6 or f8 (they use aperture discs) is more to my liking.
KEH currently has one listed for $35... with a Nikon T mount.

Having been a soft focus nut for a long time, I own two of the Sima SF lenses! Yes, with no Waterhouse disc installed, they are quite soft. My favorite portrait was created with one on a Nikon SLR body and Kodacolor film at a wedding reception that I was covering. My portrait of the four year old flower girl looks amazing as a framed 16x20 print.

I have a couple other no-name soft focus lenses that I've picked up over the years along with a Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC and a Lens Baby as well. I also have a bunch of screw-in soft focus filters in my kit. One day, I will get a Mamiya 150 mm f/4.0 C Variable Soft Focus lens to round out my RB-67 system.

I make my own SF filters by having my local glass shop cut 4x4" glass squares that are thin enough to fit in my Lindahl double adjustable lens shade. It has both a 4" filter slot and 3". I apply clear fingernail polish that when dries breaks up the light. Small dots of fingernail polish will create tiny lenses. By varying the size and arrangement of dots one can create various effects.

Like old time Hollywood cinematographers, I use black mesh and nylon stocking material stretched over blank Lindahl frames.

The nice thing about the Lindahl compendium is that I can use adapters to attach it to any lens fitting cameras from 35mm to RB-67 to 4x5" to video and movie.

Back in the '70s and '80s I used to put black mesh or nylon stocking fabric under my enlarging lens when making my own color prints. One technique I remember was to establish the time to make an enlargement. Then I would divide that in half. I would make half of the enlargement without any diffusion then I would use a diffusion fabric for the second exposure of the paper. But since the fabric absorbed some of the light I had to double the duration back to the original time. The final images were quite interesting and my clients loved them.

At a recent New Year's Eve party, the host showed me his camera collection. It included many cameras including a very early Leica and a huge brass knuckler that was attached to a large box. He told me his father had removed the knuckler from a lantern slide projector and installed it on the box to make a post card projector. Evidently back in the '50s Popular Mechanics Magazine had a DIY project to do this. I would love to look closer at the knuckler to see who made it, the focal length, etc. Maybe even take some test photos with it! If I do, I will be sure to post them on this website.

goamules
8-Jan-2015, 05:46
Back to the thread. I was thinking the Nicca 50mm 1.4 would get a mention here. there's a lens we share and like
Regards
Bill

That's a good point, I also consider the Nikkor 50/1.4 soft wide open. Like many lenses, the faster you try to make them, the softer they are wide open. The Nikkor works like a Verito (or any other "soft" lens), it's very soft wide open, then sharpens up considerably as you stop down.

It's funny how the different equipment user groups use different terms for the same affect. In Large Format, the look of a Verito is described as Soft Focus, Glow, etc. In 35mm and now digital, people complain about "Veiling Flare" if a lens does that. Notice how the connotation changes? The web is full of criticism of the Nikkor 50/1.4 and Canon 1.2 because it happens to have a little glow until you stop it down one stop. I actually had to quit a forum (C-mount on micro 4/3) because all the 20 something overseas photographers would slam any lens that had any signature whatsoever. They poo-poo'd Cooke and Kern classic cinema lenses as "junk" because they didn't give the high contrast, perfect image that their cell phones did. Very closed minded, I gave up on them. The lenses some people avoid, I call versatile. And I like different, classic signatures and looks in lenses.

The paradox between 35mm/digital shooters and LF always astounds: Most photographers expect a tiny thumbnail sized format to exhibit supreme sharpness, no edge aberrations, total flat field, and certainly no "ugly veiling flare." Other photographers take an 8x10 inch negative, capable of all that and more, with uncanny resolution, and shoot a soft, glowing lens.

1950s Nikkor Kogaku Japan 50/1.4 wide open (stopped down to F2, it becomes totally sharp):

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8110/8652529174_5fd5eacbfb_c.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2928/13949886165_fc4379343f_c.jpg

Jim Galli
8-Jan-2015, 07:09
Garrett, I like the effect in the trees, but the flower shot has troubling bokeh for me. Lots of room for opinions on that I suppose.

goamules
9-Jan-2015, 05:38
Bokeh is as bokeh does. I prefer the classic, Japanese opinions on it, and these early Nikkor's implementation of it. I have extensively tested both the earlier Tokyo (occupation period) and the Japan types. The earlier one is less soft. Of course, the very earliest, used by David D. Duncan in Korea was the F1.5 version. Here are some more, probably stopped down to F2 to lose the softness:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3723/11471364843_6d7bdf1b37_o.jpg

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5540/11871443873_5ef21493c4_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7330/13807430613_42eb9fb15d_c.jpg

alanbutler57
10-Jan-2015, 07:26
That's a good point, I also consider the Nikkor 50/1.4 soft wide open. Like many lenses, the faster you try to make them, the softer they are wide open. The Nikkor works like a Verito (or any other "soft" lens), it's very soft wide open, then sharpens up considerably as you stop down.

It's funny how the different equipment user groups use different terms for the same affect. In Large Format, the look of a Verito is described as Soft Focus, Glow, etc. In 35mm and now digital, people complain about "Veiling Flare" if a lens does that. Notice how the connotation changes? The web is full of criticism of the Nikkor 50/1.4 and Canon 1.2 because it happens to have a little glow until you stop it down one stop. I actually had to quit a forum (C-mount on micro 4/3) because all the 20 something overseas photographers would slam any lens that had any signature whatsoever. They poo-poo'd Cooke and Kern classic cinema lenses as "junk" because they didn't give the high contrast, perfect image that their cell phones did. Very closed minded, I gave up on them. The lenses some people avoid, I call versatile. And I like different, classic signatures and looks in lenses.

The paradox between 35mm/digital shooters and LF always astounds: Most photographers expect a tiny thumbnail sized format to exhibit supreme sharpness, no edge aberrations, total flat field, and certainly no "ugly veiling flare." Other photographers take an 8x10 inch negative, capable of all that and more, with uncanny resolution, and shoot a soft, glowing lens.

1950s Nikkor Kogaku Japan 50/1.4 wide open (stopped down to F2, it becomes totally sharp):

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8110/8652529174_5fd5eacbfb_c.jpg[/IMG

[IMG]https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2928/13949886165_fc4379343f_c.jpg

]

I really like the second shot, very nice!

russyoung
7-Feb-2015, 08:51
128993

Canon 135 SF at maximum soft setting = 2. Shot on Canon 5DII this morning.

russyoung
8-Feb-2015, 14:37
129042
Dogwood & Black Cat
120mm Imagon at H=7.7

jp
8-Feb-2015, 17:05
I like that composition Russ. The strength and color is very heavy duty impressionist stuff.

russyoung
10-Feb-2015, 13:33
129103
Pentax 6x7, Pentax 120SF

goamules
10-Feb-2015, 14:36
Nice hay bales Russ!

russyoung
10-Feb-2015, 17:15
Thank you, Garrett. They're a little more common around here than there-

Here's more bales, this time the 180SF Mamiya with H=5 disc, X11 filter. I can't get this lens to be soft no matter what. Even wide open, its isn't soft. On the other hand, the bokeh is exemplary, at least to my standards.

Have shot at studio portrait distances, at infinity and in between. Anyone have useful advice based on experience (not speculation)?

129110

renes
10-Feb-2015, 17:22
Gundlach menisci 7" f8, Bergheil 6x9, Adox CHS 25. I regred I sold this lens.

129111

Dan Quan
10-Feb-2015, 19:21
No doubt! Very nice!

renes
11-Feb-2015, 04:45
Thank you. This one taken with Lancaster menisci 6" f7 mounted on Bergheil 6x9.

129135

russyoung
11-Feb-2015, 06:08
Those are gorgeous, Renes, especially the Gundlach. Thank you.

Barry Kirsten
11-Feb-2015, 13:12
Likewise. Both lovely, Piotr.

renes
11-Feb-2015, 14:31
Thank you very much.
Most soft focus shots I have taken in last two years were with Lancaster menisci, and most are still not edited (only scaned). I found f7 to be a sweet spot for Lancaster achromat in strong light - at least on 6x9. Here same 6" Lancaster on my almost 100 years old Bergheil 6x9:

129170

scheinfluger_77
11-Feb-2015, 15:38
renes the lighting and tones in your images are elegant. They remind me of effects possible with a Zone plate pinhole.

Barry Kirsten
12-Feb-2015, 00:01
Breathtaking!



129170

renes
12-Feb-2015, 04:27
Steve, Barry, thanks for so king words.

renes
15-Feb-2015, 12:55
They remind me of effects possible with a Zone plate pinhole.

At the begining with Lancaster menisci shooting, I was struggling with strong halo it renders in strong light, I have learned to control it a little though it's not easy on 6x9 focusing screen, but Lancaster definitely has own signature and under some light conditions it can make very pictorial effect.

same lens, film and camera:

129233

jp
15-Feb-2015, 13:09
Not sure how it works on the smaller formats (probably more difficult visually), but I can not reliably judge halo/glow visually on the GG with LF soft lenses. I go by experience, knowing which F stops provide which results in different lighting situations.

Daniel Unkefer
15-Feb-2015, 14:16
Schmactenburg and Rodenstock teamed up to bring back the 120mm and 150mm 4.5 Imagon lenses in T-2 mounts for any 35mm interchangeable lens camera as well as in mounts for Rollei SL66, 6XXX, Hasselblad 500 and 2000, Pentax 645 and 67 and Mamiya 645 and RB and RZ cameras.

Zörkendorfer and Rodenstock teamed up to bring the 200mm 5.8 Imagon in mounts for the same cameras above.

These were available into the 90's new.

And, today, the new Petzval is now availble in both Nikon and Canon mount. It is an 85mm.

Amedeus
15-Feb-2015, 15:12
From the OP; I've been looking for small classic era soft focus lenses

Old Cine soft focus lenses are like hens teeth. The modern non-achromatic simple meniscii don't get the job done (imesho)

Totally agree with Jim on the Cine soft focus (and Petzvals for the proponents of the look) when it comes to adopting for 35mm or MF. I've converted quite a few short focal SF lenses for use on my digital and film MF/35mm cameras.

http://amedeusphoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/vintage_lenses for an overview and the way I solve the adaptation problems, there are quite a few follow up posts with images from a few lenses (Struss, Kalosat, Eidoscope ... )

I also have a few "modern" SF implementations. Love the Pentax 120mm SF lens but cannot push myself to use anything Mamiya SF any longer, just doesn't cut it for my esthetics. The Minolta 85mm SF lenses work well on 35mm cameras.

YMMV,

Cheers,
Rudi.

Iga
19-Feb-2015, 23:21
http://i074.radikal.ru/1502/f6/0d9bb53fcd1d.jpg

Hand made 85mm f4 meniscus, 35mm Minolta SLR.
Igor.

Jody_S
20-Feb-2015, 08:19
http://i074.radikal.ru/1502/f6/0d9bb53fcd1d.jpg

Hand made 85mm f4 meniscus, 35mm Minolta SLR.
Igor.

Love it!

renes
24-Feb-2015, 15:52
Another Lancaster 6" menisci shot:

129814

goamules
4-Mar-2015, 08:42
Good one Renes.

Armin Seeholzer
5-Mar-2015, 08:48
35mm
Canon (new) FD: 85mm f/2.8 Soft Focus
Canon EOS: EF 135 f2.8 Soft Focus
Fuji M42: EBC Fujinon SF 85/4
Leica: 9cm F2.2 Thambar
Minolta MD: Minolta 85mm f/2.8 Varisoft
Minolta AF: Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Soft
Nikon F: nothing that I could find
Nikon AF: AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2, AF DC-Nikkor135 f/2
Olympus: nothing that I could find
Pentax K: SMC Pentax Soft 85/2.2,
Pentax K (AF): SMC Pentax-F 85/2.8 Soft, SMC Pentax-FA 28/2.8 Soft, SMC Pentax-FA 85/2.8 Soft
Sony AF: Sony AF 100 F2.8 Soft
Tamron Adpatall: Tamron SP 70-150mm f2.8 Soft

Medium Format
Fuji GX: EBC Fujinon GX SF190/8, EBC Fujinon GXM SF190/8
Mamiya 645: Mamiya-Sekor SF C 145/4
Mamiya RB67: Mamiya 150 mm f/4.0 C Variable Soft Focus
Mamiya RZ67: Mamiya 180 mm f/4.0 D/L Variable Soft Focus
Pentax 6x7: SMC Pentax 67 120/3.5

You missed the Imagon 120mm, the Sima 100mm and the Seibold Dreamagon which I all have but only this 3 in 35mm and yes the Nikkor DC is also a usefull SF lens if you use it right! Cheers Armin

renes
8-Mar-2015, 03:32
Good one Renes.

Thank you Garret.

All these photos I took in Warsaw parks, they are great places for soft focus.
Here there is another example, Gundlach 7 1/2" menisci f/8, Adox CHS25, Voigtlander Bergheil 6x9.

130394

Barry Kirsten
8-Mar-2015, 13:37
Oh, nice!

Steve M Hostetter
10-Mar-2015, 06:49
Fuji x mount 56mm 1.2

renes
11-Mar-2015, 12:46
Oh, nice!

Thanks.

Paul Ewins
11-Mar-2015, 16:49
You missed the Imagon 120mm, the Sima 100mm and the Seibold Dreamagon which I all have but only this 3 in 35mm and yes the Nikkor DC is also a usefull SF lens if you use it right! Cheers Armin

I was a bit unsure where the 120mm Imagon fits in terms of format, a little like the 6" Verito. Since both have bigger brothers which presumably will give the same look (for the same angle of view and enlargement) I ignored them. I have wondered about the Sima and will probably pick one up just to be complete even although it looks like a piece of plastic rubbish.

Amedeus
11-Mar-2015, 17:52
I have two 120mm Imagon, one with integrated helicoid and 39mm thread which I use on my 35mm Nikons with proper adapter and spacers. The other one is a version with lens retaining ring (no helicoid) I'm using on Mamiya/Phase One 645 AFDII and my Sinar 4x5 with Polaroid 405 back. Doesn't cover 4x5 but does OK with the standard instant film formats. I have a Sima in my bag for 35mm work. It's plastic alright ;-) ... YMMV


I was a bit unsure where the 120mm Imagon fits in terms of format, a little like the 6" Verito. Since both have bigger brothers which presumably will give the same look (for the same angle of view and enlargement) I ignored them. I have wondered about the Sima and will probably pick one up just to be complete even although it looks like a piece of plastic rubbish.

Iga
12-Mar-2015, 02:53
130657

Handmade 85mm meniscus, 35mm Minolta SLR.
Lith print at Forte paper.
Igor.

goamules
19-Mar-2015, 07:32
Classic. The printing is where a lot of Pictorialists got their look.

renes
19-Apr-2015, 07:39
6" Lancaster on Bergheil 6x9

132639

Daniel Unkefer
19-Apr-2015, 08:00
Rodenstock 120mm H5.8 barrel-mount Imagon, mounted on a Plaubel Peco Jr lens board, inside a Durst recessed cup.

Then onto one of my Plaubel Makiflexes.

I also have 150mm, 200mm, 250mm, and 300mm Imagons (in barrel) that I intend to use with these cameras.

renes
25-May-2015, 06:55
From "Lancaster 6" set.

134278

Paul Ewins
25-May-2015, 17:21
A few more to add to the list:
Spiratone Portragon 100/4 (T-mount)
Kiyohara VK50R f4.5 (M42)
Kiyohara VK70R f5.0 (M42, Nikon, EOS)
Kiyohara VK105R f4 (P67, maybe other MF too?)
Kenko MC Soft 85/2.5 (T-mount)

The Kiyoharas are apparently clones of the Kodak Vest Pocket meniscus lens.

tgtaylor
28-May-2015, 22:12
I'm interested in using a Pentax 85mm f2.2 soft focus lens on my Nikon F-6 - scroll down on the link for the details on the lens:http://www.earthseapublishing.com/magazines/photographic/pdf/1987%201%20Pentax%20Soft%20Focus%20Lens.pdf

What Pentax to Nikon adapters are available to do this?

Thomas

Randy Moe
28-May-2015, 22:51
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1132029-REG/lomography_z230n_petzval_85mm_f_2_2_lens.html

tgtaylor
29-May-2015, 08:44
I saw that but I'm not very fond of the swirls - reminds me of the one bout that I had with Vertigo a few years back. (Jesus, I hope that never happens again!) I prefer the soft halo that the Pentax is noted for. I have the 120mm soft 67 lens and I think that the 35mm version will give the same results and in a similar FL for 35mm.

CAn anyone advise on the adapters? My mailbox is now clear.

Thomas

Peter De Smidt
29-May-2015, 10:00
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/995090-REG/fotodiox_pk_nk_g_pro_nikon_f_mount_lens.html

tgtaylor
29-May-2015, 11:16
I've been looking at that adapter Peter. The only question I have about it is if the correction glass is needed in a SF lens: "The adapter has a built-in 1.4x multi-coated focus-correction lens to adjust for infinity focus and the glass element can be removed for macro photography." Most of my SF photography is of ordinary things - buildings, street scenes, etc. Would the glass element be needed for that or not and if so would it in some manner degrade the quality of the lens?

Thomas

Peter De Smidt
29-May-2015, 11:51
The glass element is to allow infinity focus. The f-mount has a flange to focal plane distance of 46.5 mm. The K-mount has flange to focal plane distance of 45.4 mm, and you have to add the thickness of the adapter. As such, k-mount lenses can't get to the minimum extension needed for infinity focus on an f-mount without an optical element. But with a portrait lens, you'll be focusing much closer than infinity, which means that the lens will have more extension when focused. As a result, you'll probably be able to get by with removing the correction lens. But it's nice to have the option, if needed. Yes, there will be a slight loss in quality with the element.

tgtaylor
29-May-2015, 12:26
Thanks Peter. I ordered the lens and its on its way from Japan.

Thomas

renes
2-Nov-2015, 13:09
To enliven this "small soft focus" thread... 6 1/2" Verito mounted on Bergheil 6x9. I think it was my first shot with Verito, I waited a bit for the duck reaching the frame.

141753

DoK
2-Jan-2016, 07:16
Hand made meniscus lens 40mm + APS-C digital camera Ricoh GXR (M-module)

https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/4903/175863513.6/0_bfcdc_6701c85_XL.jpg (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/view/785628/)

[more]
https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/9150/175863513.6/0_bf187_5f02332a_XL.jpg (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/view/782727/)

https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/9317/175863513.6/0_c1666_5288e8ae_XL.jpg (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/view/792166/)

https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/9494/175863513.6/0_c23bc_14750d56_XL.jpg (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/view/795580/)

Фотографии в альбоме «Монокль 40мм (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/album/371051/)», автор serkol64 (https://fotki.yandex.ru/users/serkol64/) на Яндекс.Фотках

e
16-Jan-2016, 16:57
Leica Noctilux f1.0 and pre asph summilux 35 1.4 are good..as well as trashed out Summars and old cine lenses..wide open..

Marko Trebusak
14-May-2016, 01:27
Here is my experiment. I took an Cooke 10,5" Anastigmat series II with soft focus adjustment and mount it to Canon digital camera via "paper tube and tape" method. This is an old version with only slight soft focus effect, but since locking pin is broken, I unscrew the front two lenses all the way. What do you think about soft focus effect in this test photos?
150859
wide open
150860
f16
150861
f8

mdarnton
14-May-2016, 04:35
Marko, it's interesting how it maintains the effect even at f16. I'd like to see it on some other subjects, too.

No one has mentioned the low end Lens Baby lenses. Mostly they're junky, but one is pretty good. My wife needed a head shot recently and after trying a few with my normal Nikon D7200/50mm combo, I brought out the Lensbaby Soft Focus. This is not their kit lens, which is just a single element, but a real lens with a flat field and good to the edges. I got it because I had been looking at their new $500 fancy metal soft focus macro lens and noticed that this one does almost the same thing for a lot less money (probably why they discontinued it when they brought out the fancy one).

I was happy with the results, which remind me of my Verito.

I think part of the problem with short lenses is that they are faster, not the magnification relative to LF. It's tempting to think in terms of how many stops you stop down from full and use them open wider than with LF, but it works better to think in absolute stops. I use my Verito just short of f8 for more normal portraits, and the Baby at f5.6 was still too glowy. The same f6.8 or so that I use on 8x10 would have been better and I think it would compete with the Verito.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7692/26719593582_f9d885b7b1_z.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnton/26719593582

Maris Rusis
7-Jun-2016, 20:21
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5248/5269923201_bf3e6a54c9_z.jpg

Herbs and Ferns, Soft Focus
Gelatin-silver photograph on Freestyle Private Reserve VC FB photographic paper from a Kodak 120 format Tmax 100 negative exposed in a Mamiya RB67 camera fitted with a custom modified 65mm lens with standard optics removed and replaced by a single meniscus lens. A #25 red filter was used to curb chromatic aberration.

Randy Moe
7-Jun-2016, 20:38
Really works for me.

Thanks for your complete description of process. Very helpfull!

Peter De Smidt
7-Jun-2016, 20:46
Terrific photo, Maris!

alanbutler57
8-Jun-2016, 05:43
RB67, 150SF, Ektar, wide open, no disc

https://c6.staticflickr.com/8/7406/27416844341_5f32f88f16_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HLJuCM)Refreshments (https://flic.kr/p/HLJuCM) by Alan Butler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/43210263@N04/), on Flickr

https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7366/27453513826_532180964a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HPYrch)Tak'in a Breat At the Troll Bridge (https://flic.kr/p/HPYrch) by Alan Butler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/43210263@N04/), on Flickr

https://c6.staticflickr.com/8/7195/27416004141_9fffe4c09f_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HLEbSz)Two Ladies in Matching Dresses (https://flic.kr/p/HLEbSz) by Alan Butler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/43210263@N04/), on Flickr

Randy Moe
8-Jun-2016, 05:50
More nice!

jp
8-Jun-2016, 05:58
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5248/5269923201_bf3e6a54c9_z.jpg

Herbs and Ferns, Soft Focus
Gelatin-silver photograph on Freestyle Private Reserve VC FB photographic paper from a Kodak 120 format Tmax 100 negative exposed in a Mamiya RB67 camera fitted with a custom modified 65mm lens with standard optics removed and replaced by a single meniscus lens. A #25 red filter was used to curb chromatic aberration.

The softness looks good; seems like a lens to play with more often.

The composition looks good too, which soft focus shows off more than a straight photo. The dark trunk in the upper center stands out nicely, and the others areas of light and dark are harmonious.

Maris Rusis
8-Jun-2016, 15:30
Thanks to Randy Moe, Peter De Smidt, and jp for your encouraging words. Here's another effort:


https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8093/8472885084_e2d8664579_b.jpg
Macaranga Leaf, Soft focus
Gelatin-silver photograph on Fotospeed Rembrandt bromo-iodide textured photographic paper, image size 21.3cm X 16.4cm, from a Tmax 100 negative exposed in a Mamiya RB67 single lens reflex camera fitted with a modified 65mm lens with standard optics substituted by a Wollaston Meniscus lens. Titled and signed recto, stamped verso.

scheinfluger_77
8-Jun-2016, 15:38
I really like this one

f2bthere
14-Jun-2016, 19:32
I have enjoyed reading this thread. Thank you one and all!




No one has mentioned the low end Lens Baby lenses. Mostly they're junky, but one is pretty good. My wife needed a head shot recently and after trying a few with my normal Nikon D7200/50mm combo, I brought out the Lensbaby Soft Focus. This is not their kit lens, which is just a single element, but a real lens with a flat field and good to the edges. I got it because I had been looking at their new $500 fancy metal soft focus macro lens and noticed that this one does almost the same thing for a lot less money (probably why they discontinued it when they brought out the fancy one).



I'm glad you brought up the Lensbaby. I have gotten interested in the Velvet 56, the fancy $500 metal lens you mentioned. This lens apparently uses Uncorrected spherical aberrations. From the images I have seen, it seems somewhat like the Imagon in effect, although the method is different and the effect is controlled by means of the aperture rather than disks.

Perhaps I will take one for the team and order up a copy :)

Maris Rusis
15-Jun-2016, 16:16
https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1590/25301611671_8c1073da48_c.jpg
Egg Slicer, Second Drawer, Soft Focus

Gelatin-silver photograph on Freestyle Private Reserve VC FB photographic paper from a Kodak Tmax 100 negative exposed in a Mamiya RB67 camera fitted with a custom modified 65mm lens with standard optics removed and replaced by a single meniscus lens.

goamules
15-Jun-2016, 17:19
Nice egg cutter photo.

russyoung
21-Jul-2016, 12:56
153105
Pentax 120mm soft focus lens, K2 filter, Acros developed in FX-39, Plustek scanner.

Daniel Unkefer
23-Jul-2016, 07:01
My collection of small Rodenstock Imagons.
Use these on my Plaubel Makiflexes.

120mm, 150mm, 200mm, 250mm, and 300mm.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/2/1475/24905205950_cd2eefc428_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/DWMG3A)2016-02-22 16.49.40 (https://flic.kr/p/DWMG3A) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

Reinhold Schable
23-Dec-2016, 12:40
A quick lash-up attaching a 120mm f:2.1 Wollason Meniscus to an RB67...
159048
Three examples: wide open, f:5.6, and f:11 ...
159049 159050 159053

I've got to design some sort of adapter for easy set-up…
Reinhold

More on the lens here...
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?135609-120mm-Wollaston-Meniscus-lenses

Reinhold Schable
2-Jan-2017, 14:57
Designing an RB adapter is not simple, I'm still working on it…

In the meantime, here's an easy way to mount a lens to your RB with black vinyl electrical tape
In this example, the lens is on a hardboard clone of the common 96x99mm Technika board.
Thus it'll work on lots of 4x5's as well as any RB67.

159352159353

Reinhold

More about these lenses here:
http://re-inventedphotoequip.com/Lenses.html

Maris Rusis
2-Jan-2017, 17:09
https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1571/25276485182_844ca1f4fb_c.jpg
Matched Cutlery, Soft Focus
Gelatin-silver photograph on Ultrafine Silver Eagle VC FB photographic paper. image size 21.4cm X 16.2cm, from a Tmax 100 negative exposed in a Mamiya RB67 single lens reflex camera fitted with a 200mm f8 meniscus lens.

goamules
11-May-2017, 06:05
I got a lens I've always wanted to try at a yard sale. A Voigtlander Prominent Nokton 50/1.5. It is slightly soft at some angles, wide open. I got it on this camera, and kludged an adapter for the non-focusing mount with an old Leica goggle closeup adapter.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4174/34551273316_2552441668_c.jpg

xkaes
11-May-2017, 07:12
Soft-focus lenses have been popular with smaller formats for quite a while -- and they are making a comeback -- not that they ever left. Here is a seven page (they RARELY did that!) article from the 1970's by David Brooks in Peteren's Photography:

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/softfocuscompressed.pdf

It mainly covers lenses designed for 35mm to medium format cameras -- and as mentioned above, there were many.

Nowadays, there are new, and popular, ways to get softer images in the smaller formats, from pin-holes, SWINKS, Loreo "Lens-in-a-Cap", Lens-Babys, soft-focus/diffusion filters, close-up filters (WITHOUT A LENS), DIY soft-focus lenses removed from old, dead, cheap simple cameras and adapted, etc. More details on some of these at:

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/close-up.htm

goamules
12-May-2017, 09:54
Thanks, I'll read that. I don't consider a filter or add on to a lens a "soft focus lens". Like we know, in Large Format soft focus came about very early, even in the wetplate era, then in the 1900s Pictorialism era, then the Hollywood glamour era. Then kind of died except some portrait studio work. The soft of the 1970s was often done with a filter, on 35mm. And you can tell by looking at the shots. There are levels of SF quality....