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View Full Version : Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens



formanproject
4-Oct-2017, 18:41
Hello!

So I recently purchased a 4x5 camera, and I have to say, I'm hooked. Photography has never been so fun!


I am thinking about purchasing an 8x10 camera soon as well, although mainly for a very specific purpose. I am looking for that "large format portrait look" (basically shooting a 300mm at f5.6 for environmental portraits) and then contact printing, and was wondering if anyone had any advice for the best bang for your buck 300mm.

Ideally i'm looking to spend 300 or less, since this camera will have a very niche use for me. I've seen a few on eBay but am not sure where to really start!

For reference - my go to lens in medium format is the carl zeiss 80mm f2.0 for contax for portraits as well as the pentax 67 105mm f2.4 SMC lens, to give an idea of the quality I like in the bokeh I shoot.

Thank you!

mdarnton
4-Oct-2017, 18:55
Bang for buck: Fujinon W is usually the most lens for the least money, in all focal lengths. My personal favorite in that length is the 300/6.3 Paragon (or same branded as a Caltar).

David Lobato
4-Oct-2017, 18:56
A 12 inch (305mm) Kodak Commercial Ektar suits me fine and is in your price range. There are also Kodak Portrait lenses with more out of focus character but I'm not familiar with them. The down side is the Acme shutters have gotten old and may need servicing.

renditiont
5-Oct-2017, 01:34
Aero Ektar 12 inches f2.5 . Pretty legit lens; mounting can be an issue for smaller board . I have two of these; the second one I got for less than $40 total I think on ebay about two weeks ago...170535

ottluuk
5-Oct-2017, 04:21
Make sure you understand what shutter features you will need. Many of the 'bargain' options may come in barrel (shutterless) or in old shutters that might not work as expected.

You will probably see some nice modern lenses offered mounted on Sinar DB lens boards, often for much less than a comparable lens in a Copal/Compur shutter. These were meant to be used with Sinar's behind-the-lens leaf shutters on their monorail cameras. While some people have adapted the Sinar shutters for other cameras and most of the DB lenses can be easily remounted on normal Copal shutters... proceed with caution unless the Sinar system is what you actually want.

formanproject
5-Oct-2017, 05:22
Make sure you understand what shutter features you will need. Many of the 'bargain' options may come in barrel (shutterless) or in old shutters that might not work as expected.

You will probably see some nice modern lenses offered mounted on Sinar DB lens boards, often for much less than a comparable lens in a Copal/Compur shutter. These were meant to be used with Sinar's behind-the-lens leaf shutters on their monorail cameras. While some people have adapted the Sinar shutters for other cameras and most of the DB lenses can be easily remounted on normal Copal shutters... proceed with caution unless the Sinar system is what you actually want.

Thank you! Yes I'm looking to stick with a copal system, so thanks for the advice.

The Fujinon 300mm 5.6 looks enticing... how would that compare to say the nikkor 300mm 5.6? Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far!

BennehBoy
5-Oct-2017, 06:49
This was shot on a Schneider 300/5.6 Symmar wide open on 8x10:

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3594/3555623689_b0ab988182_b.jpg

It's a big heavy lens however so may not be the best choice for 4x5. Also probably at the upper end of the price scale but can be had economically if you are not concerned with cosmetics.

You're going to have to be quite far from the subject for environmental portraits, I usually shoot those with a 165SA.

Ted R
5-Oct-2017, 10:12
The Symmar 300 is an interesting lens, it doubles as a 500mm f12 with a narrower field of view, the front element unscrews leaving the shutter and the rear element. I sold one on ebay a year ago for a few hundred dollars in very good condition, the shutter was a Compound type.

170543

Ari
5-Oct-2017, 11:11
If you want a little more wiggle room (environmental portraits, etc), you could do worse than get a Fujinon 250 f6.7.
Well within your budget, sharp, and comes in either a Seiko or Copal 1 shutter, so not as big & heavy as a 300mm f5.6 lens.
170545

Mark Sawyer
5-Oct-2017, 11:48
I'd say a Wollensak Velostigmat Series II, which is an f/4.5 Tessar. And go for one with a diffusion ring at the front; it's a nice option to have, one that the other lenses don't have. Note that these often come in older Betax shutters that don't have flash synch, but you can add a synched Packard Shutter for studio strobe work.

tgtaylor
5-Oct-2017, 11:56
For 8x10 I'd recommend a 360 over a 300. On the P67, the 165 (or 120 soft) is a better choice than the 105.

Thomas

Jim Noel
5-Oct-2017, 12:23
Hello!

So I recently purchased a 4x5 camera, and I have to say, I'm hooked. Photography has never been so fun!


I am thinking about purchasing an 8x10 camera soon as well, although mainly for a very specific purpose. I am looking for that "large format portrait look" (basically shooting a 300mm at f5.6 for environmental portraits) and then contact printing, and was wondering if anyone had any advice for the best bang for your buck 300mm.

Ideally i'm looking to spend 300 or less, since this camera will have a very niche use for me. I've seen a few on eBay but am not sure where to really start!

For reference - my go to lens in medium format is the carl zeiss 80mm f2.0 for contax for portraits as well as the pentax 67 105mm f2.4 SMC lens, to give an idea of the quality I like in the bokeh I shoot.

Thank you!

If you want the same angle of view you don't wanta 300 mm,.you want a 480 mm lens.

mdarnton
5-Oct-2017, 14:31
I'd say a Wollensak Velostigmat Series II, which is an f/4.5 Tessar. And go for one with a diffusion ring at the front; it's a nice option to have, one that the other lenses don't have. Note that these often come in older Betax shutters that don't have flash synch, but you can add a synched Packard Shutter for studio strobe work.

Wow, thanks Mark! I got one of these a couple of months ago and haven't put it on my 8x10 yet because of the sync issue. When you said this, I realized how stupid I've been: I already have a Packard on the 8x10 in a reducing board that takes my 5x7 boards, which is what I mount all the bbl lenses on. The Wolly is living on the 5x7 camera waiting for me to solve the synch problem, but I never made the connection to mount it on the shutter board instead of the reducing board I also use. Dumb, dumb, dumb me!

Mark Sawyer
5-Oct-2017, 15:38
Trust me, Michael, you're going to love it! One of the great classic lenses of the early twentieth century.

xkaes
5-Oct-2017, 15:47
Boy, did you walk into a hornet's nest!!!

Will Whitaker
5-Oct-2017, 16:50
I suggest you go through the many posts on the monthly portraits thread. See which images appeal to you and note which lens was used. I would also make a note of the lighting used as that will have a great effect your results, too.

formanproject
5-Oct-2017, 17:21
I suggest you go through the many posts on the monthly portraits thread. See which images appeal to you and note which lens was used. I would also make a note of the lighting used as that will have a great effect your results, too.

Ok that's a good idea! Can't you point me in the direction of the monthly portrait thread? I'm new to the forums so not sure where it's located. Thanks!

EDIT: Found it!

Peter De Smidt
5-Oct-2017, 20:35
The depth of field with an 8x10 shooting wide open is razor thin. The subject has to stay still while you close the lens, load the film holder, pull the slide.... It's challenging.

David Karp
5-Oct-2017, 21:24
For portraits, some in the past have recommended the 300mm Fujinon L.

Luis-F-S
6-Oct-2017, 05:30
The Fujinon 300mm 5.6 looks enticing... how would that compare to say the nikkor 300mm 5.6? Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far!


One says Fujinon one says Nikkor on the lens other than that I doubt you'll see much difference in the image.

chassis
6-Oct-2017, 18:39
formanproject, strictly speaking I would say a 300mm lens with f/5.6 max opening for less than $300 will be very hard to find. In very good condition with a modern shutter, that is. I recently picked up a Nikkor W 300/5.6 in very good/excellent condition for more than your target price, and I had to be patient and persistent to find it.

Peter De Smidt
6-Oct-2017, 20:08
Maybe a 300 or 420 Fuji L? They’re f/8, but the depth of field wide open will still be very shallow. They are single coated tessars, and often affordable.

David Karp
6-Oct-2017, 20:21
Maybe a 300 or 420 Fuji L? They’re f/8, but the depth of field wide open will still be very shallow. They are single coated tessars, and often affordable.

I have the 300mm Fuji L. Its max aperture is f/5.6.

Peter De Smidt
6-Oct-2017, 21:03
Good to know, David! I have the 420 and it's f/8.