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QT Luong
10-Apr-2012, 15:12
A new article by Jeroen Bruggeman has just been posted:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/portrait-lenses/

Please feel free to leave comments here.

Gem Singer
10-Apr-2012, 15:50
Bruggeman says that the Fujinon f8.5 300C is a Tessar design, being that it's a four element lens.

However, when I refer to that lens as a Tessar, on this forum, I get corrected and told that it's not actually a Tessar

The Nikon/Nikkor f9 300M is a true Tessar design. I understand that the Fujinon 300C is not a true Tessar design, although it has four elements.

What is it?

Drew Wiley
10-Apr-2012, 16:00
All four elements being airspaced would classify it as a dialyte. The tessar Fujinon lens was
the L series, similar to the Nikkor Q (the single-coated predecessor to the M).

Jay DeFehr
10-Apr-2012, 16:13
The appeal of large format is the combination of high resolution and beautiful tonality.

Had me....


Moreover, 5x7” (and larger) negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to crummy digital “baryte” prints.

Lost me. How can I take the article, or author seriously after this introduction?

Eric Rose
10-Apr-2012, 16:16
Oh well I guess you take what you can. Beyond that I quite enjoyed the article.

mdm
10-Apr-2012, 17:16
Excelent well balanced article by someone who actually makes portraits, of more than one person too. Find the authors work on Flickr.

Gem Singer
10-Apr-2012, 17:40
Drew,

In other words, Bruggeman was incorrect when he stated that the four element Fujinon f8.5 300C is a Tessar.

The way I understand it, Fuji was able to eliminate the problem of internal flare from air to glass interfaces with their new improved EBC coating.

They began using air spacing between the lens elements instead of cementing them. That helped to eliminate the problem of lens separation.

The latest Fujinon lenses, the "CM-W"s', are air spaced. Obviously, the "C"s' are also air spaced.

Therefore, even though the 300C is four element lens, the air spacing changed its classification from a Tessar to a Dialite.

Correct?

Old-N-Feeble
10-Apr-2012, 17:43
^^^ Not from every single reference that I've read, no. All Fujinon-C's are modified dialytes. Modified to offer slightly wider coverage than older dialyte designs. But... I'm just a novice who's reading as much as he can....

Jay DeFehr
10-Apr-2012, 17:54
Oh well I guess you take what you can. Beyond that I quite enjoyed the article.

I agree, Eric. It's a problem with too many online article -- no editors. Any half decent editor would have handed the article back to author and asked, "Why do you want to shoot yourself in the foot like that?" and then ordered, "Fix it". Maybe the author thought he'd be endearing himself to like-minded readers (or maybe he was just venting), but LF photographers -- some quite accomplished -- are embracing digital printing in ever growing numbers. It just happens I came on this article after reading this one:

http://theagnosticprint.org/art-and-craft/#more-230

Maybe I overreacted. I didn't meant to offend the author who did write an otherwise very nice article with lots of useful information included.

jeroenbruggeman
11-Apr-2012, 04:35
As I said in the first sentence, I tested a series of lenses "towards their usefulness for portraits in the broadest sense". Disassembling them to verify if, say, a 300mm Fujinon-C is a Dialyte or a Tessar was not part of my tests, and information on lens types I collected on the Internet. However, if somebody can prove me wrong, e.g. by showing an official Fuji document rather than speculating, I will correct my text (after a month or so to give others a chance to react as well).

To Jay's comment on my comparison of baryte prints with digital prints: I do make and like digital prints a lot (anything to be printed large), but my point was that if you make a contact print and put it side by side with a same-size digital "baryte" print of the same negative, then the latter looks rather sad. This is why collectors pay so much more for contact prints of large negatives!

Jeroen Bruggeman.

Valdecus
11-Apr-2012, 04:59
Tessar: 4 elements in 3 groups
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessar

Dialyte: 4 air spaced elements
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialyte_lens

Fujinon-C 300mm: 4 elements in four groups
http://fujifilm.jp/personal/filmandcamera/lens/largeformat/compact.html
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffujifilm.jp%2Fpersonal%2Ffilmandcamera%2Flens%2Flargeformat%2Fcompact.html

In any case, I found the article very useful and an interesting read!

Cheers,
Andreas

Mark Barendt
11-Apr-2012, 05:30
Had me....

Lost me. How can I take the article, or author seriously after this introduction?

It's not a textbook.

Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.

Renato Tonelli
11-Apr-2012, 06:01
It's not a textbook.

Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.

I agree with Mark.

It has become taboo to compare a silver gelatin print to one produced with a printer. Some get very defensive about their digital output while others sound apologetic about their 'traditional' work. We're all free to choose our workflow and to express our opinions about it. No need to get defensive or apologize for our artistic choices.

Jay DeFehr
11-Apr-2012, 06:52
It's not a textbook.

Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.

It wasn't the author's opinion of his craft that bothered me, it was his slander of others' craft. Talk about defensive! You're entitled to your opinion, and the author to his, however narrow or ill-informed it might seem to me, but in a piece that wants to be taken seriously about technical aspects of craft, and which relies on judgement, the comment seemed to me out of place and set the wrong tone for what followed, but that's just my opinion. But then , I don't believe journalistic principles apply only to textbooks, either, so we're bound to disagree.

Jay DeFehr
11-Apr-2012, 07:04
I agree with Mark.

It has become taboo to compare a silver gelatin print to one produced with a printer. Some get very defensive about their digital output while others sound apologetic about their 'traditional' work. We're all free to choose our workflow and to express our opinions about it. No need to get defensive or apologize for our artistic choices.

Renato,

I don't think it's become taboo, at all. In fact, I'd say it's becoming necessary, and much more interesting, when the comparison is made by someone intimately familiar with both processes, and equally accomplished in both. The author made no such comparison, he simply degraded an entire craft in an offhanded way, and I see little in that to admire or respect. To be clear, I've never made an ink print of any kind, and I've not seen many that represent the state of that art, but the ones I have seen, and what I've learned from the people who make them instills in me a respect for what is a different, and potentially incredibly beautiful process, and for the people who dedicate themselves to advancing it.

Greg Miller
11-Apr-2012, 07:22
It does seem a bit odd to me that in the opening paragraph of an article about portrait lenses that the author would make such a comment about a very specific type of output. What do digital baryte prints have to do with "tests of lenses for 4x5” and 5x7” negatives, targeted towards their usefulness for portraits in the broadest sense"?

Nathan Potter
11-Apr-2012, 07:55
Well, as photographers our choice of words are not likely to be as well crafted as our images.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Mark Barendt
11-Apr-2012, 10:35
Jay,

If I didn't listen to and learn from people with whom I disagree or who have quirks that bother me I'd miss out on lots of knowledge.

Jay DeFehr
11-Apr-2012, 11:07
Jay,

If I didn't listen to and learn from people with whom I disagree or who have quirks that bother me I'd miss out on lots of knowledge.

And that they have something useful to teach you places them beyond reproach? That's a strange attitude. The author wants his readers to have confidence in his judgement, as online images can't tell the whole story he intends to tell, but his judgement about subtle qualities is severely damaged (in my mind) by his careless and baseless comment about ink printing.

As I've said, I did find the article as a whole interesting and useful, but that doesn't mean the article or specific comments are beyond critique.

SergeiR
11-Apr-2012, 11:40
Hmmm.. I have 150/2.8 Xenotar, which indeed was doubling contours.. Until i realized it was not mounted properly. Once i took it apart and recleaned and mounted right (rear element was not screwed in properly) - presto.. It suddenly became deadly sharp at 2.8 and no funky odd double-contours, but pretty darn nice bokeh..

Drew Wiley
11-Apr-2012, 12:05
Joroen - no need to take a lens apart. If you don't believe those of us who use these lenses on a constant basis (and are not speculating whatsoever), you can simply link the
Fuji brochures with exploded diagrams on Kerry Thalmann's Fuji site. The current Fuji C's
have very high contrast due to the multicoating, and also have better coverage than
tessars. But color rendition, detail, and contrast are very similar to the late Nikkor M tessars. You would have difficulty telling shots apart if both style lenses were shaded.

Drew Wiley
11-Apr-2012, 12:18
Gem - The CMW lenses are just the current offering of Fuji's W and NW series of plasmats.
The C's are four-element airspaced dialytes, so with even fewer air/glass interfaces. The
coating solved most issues of flare long ago. But I find I do have to be careful to use a
deep bellows shade when using a 450C on high-flare open sky situations with 4x5 format
due to the enormous image circle it takes in. But these kinds of modern lenses also involve
various refinements from old school simple less classifications. When I want to know about
the history in general I look it up in Kingslake.

jeroenbruggeman
11-Apr-2012, 12:31
The Fujinon brochure (higher up in this thread) convinced me that the Fujinon-C is a Dialyte, and I changed the text accordingly. Thank you guys for pointing this out to me. It also shows that crowd-sourced editing is fast and efficient.

Because of the superior quality of baryte contact prints, many photographers and their clients are drawn to large format, so I keep that at the top.

Jeroen.

Mark Sawyer
11-Apr-2012, 12:52
It's not a textbook.

Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?


Agreed, but putting it on the reference page makes it a bit of a primer for someone looking for introductory knowledge about portrait lenses for large format. While it's an interesting sampling of whatever lenses were at hand, only one, the Heliar, was meant as a portrait lens.

The others were general-use or meant for something completely different, like the Ronar and Artar. Those two process lenses fall far outside what is usually thought of as a portrait lens, (to dark, too sharp). Which isn't to say one can't use them as portrait lenses, but then, what lens can't you use for portraits? The Ronar seems to get the highest praise of all, ("Portraits shot with this lens feature an intergalactic gorgeousness... with a butter-smooth transition from sharp to unsharp areas, divine bokeh at all apertures, yummy tonality, and colors better than in real life...") But it would be near my last choice for traditional portraiture. So the article describes more what the author thinks portraiture should be, and less about what in the traditional sense makes a good portrait lens.

Mark Barendt
11-Apr-2012, 13:16
And that they have something useful to teach you places them beyond reproach? That's a strange attitude. The author wants his readers to have confidence in his judgement, as online images can't tell the whole story he intends to tell, but his judgement about subtle qualities is severely damaged (in my mind) by his careless and baseless comment about ink printing.

As I've said, I did find the article as a whole interesting and useful, but that doesn't mean the article or specific comments are beyond critique.

Nothing is above reproach and I have learned not to take anyone's word at face value, not even trusted sources.

This article, as I view any article/book/..., is just an opinion as far as I'm concerned; even text books are flawed and skewed by opinion, right or wrong the winners write history.

What can be important about an article like this is when the info matches other sources or my own experience and how the author describes the differences so that if I have one of the lenses I can have some feel for how another might relate.

jeroenbruggeman
11-Apr-2012, 13:21
Opposite to "sampling of whatever lenses there were at hand", my sampling was quite thoughtful and based on extensive research, although confined to (approximately) post-1930 lenses, and with some omissions explicated at the end. Quite a few lenses were not mentioned not because of my ignorance about them, but because I do know them.

For Ronars and all those other lenses that were not designed to be portrait lenses, it seems to me more useful to find out open-mindedly what those lenses can do for us, rather than to discard them for tradition's sake. Had we taken traditions too seriously, we would now be painters (on cave walls), as photography would not have been invented.

Drew Wiley
11-Apr-2012, 13:30
It's certainly a valid set of experiments, simply because we often find ourselves improvising with lenses we routinely travel with instead of something big and clunky we might prefer in the studio: how does a typical modern lens perform wide open, for example,
with respect to out-of-focus characteristics. ... generally not very good, but some are
certainly better than others in this respect.

jeroenbruggeman
11-Apr-2012, 13:53
Hmmm.. I have 150/2.8 Xenotar, which indeed was doubling contours.. Until i realized it was not mounted properly. Once i took it apart and recleaned and mounted right (rear element was not screwed in properly) - presto.. It suddenly became deadly sharp at 2.8 and no funky odd double-contours, but pretty darn nice bokeh..

I had my lens cleaned and serviced first, as the shutter was in-accurate. When I then mounted it, I could clearly feel that the rear part well-fitted the shutter, so this might not have been the problem. For sure, I didn't have "funky odd double-contours" with my 80mm Xenotar on my Rolleiflex, but neither of my Xenotars was very sharp wide open, and bokeh was a far cry from Heliar's or Lanthar's.

Mark Barendt
11-Apr-2012, 14:23
Agreed, but putting it on the reference page makes it a bit of a primer for someone looking for introductory knowledge about portrait lenses for large format. While it's an interesting sampling of whatever lenses were at hand, only one, the Heliar, was meant as a portrait lens.

The others were general-use or meant for something completely different, like the Ronar and Artar. Those two process lenses fall far outside what is usually thought of as a portrait lens, (to dark, too sharp). Which isn't to say one can't use them as portrait lenses, but then, what lens can't you use for portraits? The Ronar seems to get the highest praise of all, ("Portraits shot with this lens feature an intergalactic gorgeousness... with a butter-smooth transition from sharp to unsharp areas, divine bokeh at all apertures, yummy tonality, and colors better than in real life...") But it would be near my last choice for traditional portraiture. So the article describes more what the author thinks portraiture should be, and less about what in the traditional sense makes a good portrait lens.

So do the research, write, and submit an article that presents your point of view so that people looking for a primer can have two views.

Mark Sawyer
11-Apr-2012, 14:50
So do the research, write, and submit an article that presents your point of view so that people looking for a primer can have two views.

Is it not allowable if I post them here in the thread on the article so people can have two (or more) views?

Kirk Gittings
11-Apr-2012, 14:54
Of course. Go for it.

Bill_1856
11-Apr-2012, 14:55
Thanks, Tuan, for pointing out this article.
I hope it doesn't jack the price of the Apo-Lanthar up to even more absurd levels than it already is.
It would have been nice to see his opinion of the results of a DAGOR.

Mark Barendt
11-Apr-2012, 15:06
Is it not allowable if I post them here in the thread on the article so people can have two (or more) views?

I don't know why not.

What I was suggesting was that you could probably get your views onto the reference page as a primary source rather than as a comment.

mdm
11-Apr-2012, 15:20
What is specially valuable about this article is that it is based on a number of years of first hand experience, rather that collective third and second hand knowledge learned by constant mindless repetition on forums such as this. Its conclusions are also supported elsewhere, such as on Ken Lee's site and others. Leave the stupid nitpcking and self-agrandisement to the stupid nitpickers and self-agrandisers.

Mark Sawyer
11-Apr-2012, 15:54
My apologies, it seemed more like an "if you don't like it, go write your own article" response. When one does write a opinionn article for a reference page, I'm afraid one must expect a few opinionated responses. For that, the author has my sympathies!

There have been several generations of lenses produced expressly for large format portraiture. The first generation was the Petzval portrait lenses, of which the fastest were designated "portrait lenses" because they were fast, and could minimize long exposure times.

The second generation began with the Dallmeyer Patent Portrait, a fast Petzval that had an adjustment for inducing spherical aberration to spread the very shallow depth of field. The extra depth of field didn't really make much difference, but people liked the soft look of the spherical aberration, and many new designs added more and more aberration for softness' sake.

The third generation, (which would run through modern lenses) is back to fast, sharp lenses, the speed being to minimize depth of field rather than for speed of exposure, (not so much an issue with modern film).

The article was about using general-use and special-use (other than portrait) lenses as portrait lenses. Such use is fine, and excellent portraiture can be done with such lenses, but in an article specifically about "Large Format Lenses for Portraits", this should be mentioned. Just opinion, disagreements are respected.

QT Luong
11-Apr-2012, 16:17
his careless and baseless comment about ink printing.


It's possible that the sentence was not worded in the best way. The author has corrected it in a revised version (so that this detail doesn't distract). However I don't think it is "baseless" to assert that a digital print doesn't look good compared side-by-side to a contract print of the same size. In fact I am curious how many would even disagree. This is not a comment on the craft of digital printers, just on the limits of a pixel-based medium.

jp
11-Apr-2012, 16:53
It's an informative article that covers one aspect of a hugely vast and historic topic of large format portrait lens options. It's sort of the post-modern options rather than a historical review.

Many of the photos are very nice, but the ones with the black backgrounds do little to show bokeh or contrast because of that black background. A future revision might show images with a natural background if they want to be for maximum subjective comparison.

I'd contend that sharpness isn't as important as the author seeks with large format because the degree of enlargement is much smaller than with small film or digital, but I recognize photographers' preference for sharpness is all over the scale, especially when lenses do double duty for general purposes uses. Thus if it's important to him, it's probably important to many other people.

The mention of the heliar as an option (and a good option!) is that there's a whole world of wonderful old triplets that are great for portraits. He may not have written about this, as it's probably as big a topic as tessars are, but triplets and their often make nice nice portrait lenses. If he didn't write more about this, it's probably just reflective of the individuals experience. I've used some triplets, but haven't used lanthars and ronars for example. Getting into the galli, soft, and peztval stuff is surely biting off more than one can chew for a simple webpage, so skipping it is probably wise on the author's part, and will help keep prices in check.

Jay DeFehr
11-Apr-2012, 17:22
It's possible that the sentence was not worded in the best way. The author has corrected it in a revised version (so that this detail doesn't distract). However I don't think it is "baseless" to assert that a digital print doesn't look good compared side-by-side to a contract print of the same size. In fact I am curious how many would even disagree. This is not a comment on the craft of digital printers, just on the limits of a pixel-based medium.

It's baseless because he doesn't bother to qualify what he means by "doesn't look good", if he'd been careful enough to use even that loaded wording. The idea that such wholesale judgments can be made is the carelessness I referred to. If he'd just posted two lists of lenses, one headed "These lenses are good for portraits" and another headed "These lenses are crap for portraits", we'd probably want to know more about how he came to his conclusions, whether or not we agreed with him. By establishing in his opening paragraph that he's prone to wholesale judgments about subjective distinctions, he damaged his credibility regarding what followed. I'm not suggesting we throw the baby out with the bathwater and assume everything he wrote is of no value, but I'm glad he revised his opening paragraph. And I don't mean anything personal in my critique, I'm sure the author is a fine fellow.

Mark Sawyer
11-Apr-2012, 17:44
The mention of the heliar as an option (and a good option!) is that there's a whole world of wonderful old triplets that are great for portraits. He may not have written about this, as it's probably as big a topic as tessars are, but triplets and their often make nice nice portrait lenses.

Heliars have five elements, (they're not triplets), but yes, they give a lovely rendition.

David Karp
11-Apr-2012, 21:27
Jeroen,

Thanks for the article. Seems like it has been a long time since someone prepared a new article on the LF Home Page.

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 00:31
I'd contend that sharpness isn't as important as the author seeks with large format because the degree of enlargement is much smaller than with small film or digital, but I recognize photographers' preference for sharpness is all over the scale, especially when lenses do double duty for general purposes uses. Thus if it's important to him, it's probably important to many other people.



At enlargements of half a meter, the difference in sharpness and grain between 6x6cm and 4x5" is already very clear, and becomes ever clearer the larger the prints are made, even to lay people, so it must be treated seriously.

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 00:48
There have been several generations of lenses produced expressly for large format portraiture. The first generation was the Petzval portrait lenses, of which the fastest were designated "portrait lenses" because they were fast, and could minimize long exposure times.

The second generation began with the Dallmeyer Patent Portrait, a fast Petzval that had an adjustment for inducing spherical aberration to spread the very shallow depth of field. The extra depth of field didn't really make much difference, but people liked the soft look of the spherical aberration, and many new designs added more and more aberration for softness' sake.


Those and other old lenses are great, and for people interested, I explicitly referred to Galli's webpage, so it was not an omission that I wasn't aware of. I had drawn a (vague) boundary at around the nineteen twenties, for the general reason that the performances of old portrait lenses are better documented, and people interested can more easily find information about them, and for the personal reason that I don't want to work with lenses without a shutter (and can't afford to send off a series of colossal brass lenses to S.K.Grimes to mount them in gargantuan Ilex #5 shutters, although I've considered the option).

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 01:03
Thanks, Tuan, for pointing out this article.
I hope it doesn't jack the price of the Apo-Lanthar up to even more absurd levels than it already is.
It would have been nice to see his opinion of the results of a DAGOR.

To lower the price of the Lanthar, I also said that it's image circle is too small for front movements, it's colors are bad, it's less sharp than the Sironar-S, and it's radio activity will kill you instantly. What else would you want me to say?

If I can borrow your Dagor, I will test it for you! I've seen fabulous landscapes by Dagors, but was in doubt about its possibilities as a portrait lens; the examples I found seemed not to improve upon my favourite lenses. The only way to find out is to test one myself, but they happen to be too expensive to just buy one to try, and in Europe there is hardly anyone who owns one and from whom I could borrow. If I had been a landscape photographer, I would certainly have bought one, and then would have also used it for portraits if the occasion arises.

Mark Sawyer
12-Apr-2012, 02:00
The second generation began with the Dallmeyer Patent Portrait, a fast Petzval that had an adjustment for inducing spherical aberration to spread the very shallow depth of field. The extra depth of field didn't really make much difference, but people liked the soft look of the spherical aberration, and many new designs added more and more aberration for softness' sake.


Those and other old lenses are great, and for people interested, I explicitly referred to Galli's webpage...

Or as you said in your conclusion, "soft-focus lenses are terminally tacky, and I would not want to be found dead with one."

cosmicexplosion
12-Apr-2012, 02:17
for what its worth.. i was hoping to read about lens's for 8x10.

i also have the opinion, that a portrait is mainly an image, of mainly the face, that, expresses the I as a whole, not the whole body nor a scene with a body for good measure.?

so my opinion is worthless as i didnt really read it and didnt really look at the pictures.

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 02:19
Or as you said in your conclusion, "soft-focus lenses are terminally tacky, and I would not want to be found dead with one."

Yes, and you rightly understood that this sentence was indeed a personal opinion that neither needed to be repeated (by me) nor should influence others' purchasing decisions (and I'm sure I'm not that influential anyway).

cosmicexplosion
12-Apr-2012, 04:39
far out this the most interesting fred i've red...

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 05:21
for what its worth.. i was hoping to read about lens's for 8x10.

i also have the opinion, that a portrait is mainly an image, of mainly the face, that, expresses the I as a whole, not the whole body nor a scene with a body for good measure.?

It's perfectly fine to take photo's of faces only, if you wish, and my test results equally apply to that interpretation of portraits. For 8x10", my results suggest that Tessars, Dialytes (not MC), and Heliars will be good, in addition to lenses that only exist/make sense for 8x10, so just translate focal lengths. I would say anything between 300mm and 480mm will do, but for close ups I would start at 360mm. Image circles that are tight at infinity will be large for portraits as you want them to be. Much more knowledgeable than I am on 8x10 is Jim Galli, who has a wonderful website (eh, just right now it doesn't work, hope it will come back.)

Drew Wiley
12-Apr-2012, 08:59
The problem with assessing dagors is that they, like tessars, were made for the better part
of a century, so have quite an internal evolution and variety of their own which can't be given a simple sterotype. I've simply used the later ones, and mostly for 8x10, which were
exquistely color-corrected; and yes, I did sometimes use them for landscape. But it is
really for portraiture that these lenses sing. The internal contrast of midtones and highlights is fabulous, and the nature of the edges is different from either the old-style
official portrait lenses and modern plastmats etc. A very important lens category in this
discussion.

Jim Noel
12-Apr-2012, 10:35
Although I do not agree with every statement, I do appreciate the article and agree 100% that if you lay a well printed gelatin silver print alongside a well printed digital print, the gelatin will win hands down. I believe the problem is that too many people now are so used to the clinical sharpness, and strong edge contrast of digital images that they do not appreciate the beauty of an analog image.

Mark Sawyer
12-Apr-2012, 11:49
I prefer gelatin silver prints to digital prints for some of my work, but I've come to accept whatever prints for what they are. For some work, the look of a digital print may be more appropriate. It's a somewhat different medium, and to argue over someone else's choices would be like arguing "my platinum prints are better than your carbon prints", etc.

The problem comes when someone writes a reference article for the LF home page and pronounces his way of working as "breath-taking", and "far superior to crummy digital prints" made by other photographers.

jeroenbruggeman
12-Apr-2012, 11:55
The problem with assessing dagors is that they, like tessars, were made for the better part
of a century, so have quite an internal evolution and variety of their own which can't be given a simple sterotype. I've simply used the later ones, and mostly for 8x10, which were
exquistely color-corrected; and yes, I did sometimes use them for landscape. But it is
really for portraiture that these lenses sing. The internal contrast of midtones and highlights is fabulous, and the nature of the edges is different from either the old-style
official portrait lenses and modern plastmats etc. A very important lens category in this
discussion.
Sounds good, seems that I'll have to save up some money and buy one! Or should I sample from several decades?

cdholden
12-Apr-2012, 12:21
I prefer gelatin silver prints to digital prints for some of my work, but I've come to accept whatever prints for what they are. For some work, the look of a digital print may be more appropriate. It's a somewhat different medium, and to argue over someone else's choices would be like arguing "my platinum prints are better than your carbon prints", etc.

The problem comes when someone writes a reference article for the LF home page and pronounces his way of working as "breath-taking", and "far superior to crummy digital prints" made by other photographers.

Agreed.
A "reference article" should be more fact, with little or no opinion. Let the reader form their own opinions based on the facts presented, or found in their own work with the suggested material (lenses, film, papers, etc).

Drew Wiley
12-Apr-2012, 12:25
If I was you I'd try to borrow some dagors or dagor clones. The problem with later ones
like the Gold Dot Goerz and even newer Kern versions is that they've attained cult status
and tend to be absurdly overpriced from time to time. But like everything else, it's a matter
of supply and demand, and eventually certain ones come up reasonable. For portrait use
I'd stick strictly with moderately long focal lengths per format, i.e., 210 for 4X5 or 360 for
8x10 (or 4X5 closeups). These are not fast lenses like some tessars, so are used in a different manner. But with only four air to glass interfaces, the internal contrast can be
something special.

jeroenbruggeman
13-Apr-2012, 04:32
The problem with later ones
like the Gold Dot Goerz and even newer Kern versions is that they've attained cult status
and tend to be absurdly overpriced from time to time.
After reading in another thread that many putative gold rim Dagors offered for sale have fake gold rims, and noticing that gold dots cost more than a small helicopter, I bought a gold-less 210mm Dagor. To be tested next month...

ridax
24-Apr-2012, 03:30
Because of the superior quality of baryte contact prints, many photographers and their clients are drawn to large format, so I keep that at the top.

I agree contact prints are superior to enlargements - both digital and analog. But, it's quite clear there are people who do not like the statement. It is also clear that this statement does not have anything to do with portrait lenses, their contrast, bokeh, etc. So IMHO the article would probably be more wholesome and more to the point without messing this very different and distracting topic into it.


Another (and much more impotant) point:

Please clarify the lenses' names! While it is true that there were no non-Apo Ronars, the same is NOT true for Sironar-N's and some other lenses. So it's often really useful to mention not only the EXACT names but also the serial numbers and years of production.

Personally, I still have to see any tessar- or dialite-type lens that would come close to the old Convertible Symmar, bokeh-vise. On the other hand, I find the Symmar-S bokeh quite ugly. I also like the old Convertible Sironar bokeh as well as the Apo-Sironar-S bokeh but I think the Apo-Sironar-N bokeh is not up to the same level.

The above preferences are of course quite subjective, but the very fact that the difference does exist, is surely not.

So I would prefer to avoid generalizations such as "German plasmats" (or even "modern German plasmats").

P.S.: I also think no Fujinon nor Nikkor plasmat's bokeh ever comes close to the above mentioned Convertible Symmar and Convertible Sironar nor to the Apo-Sironar-S one.

sully75
24-Apr-2012, 14:01
My question: do you really think lenses make that much difference? I ended up with a number of Fuji-W's and a SA 90mm. They are all in decent shape, shutters sound good. Have some dust in them, coatings generally are in good shape. I have what would probably be a pretty adequate lineup for 4x5. For my old 5x7, I'm planning on just leaving a Fuji 210mm on it all the time.

I'm not really inclined to go searching for more lenses at this point. But all this talk of designs has me wondering, how much difference would it make? Would anyone here be able to tell one modern lens from another, if they were side by side, same composition, same focal length?

I hate to sound like a total rube, but I like the Fujis because I think they are really pretty lenses.

Mark Sawyer
24-Apr-2012, 14:30
I could get in trouble on this one... :rolleyes:

If you compare traditional portrait and pictorial lenses to modern general-use lenses, the differences are pretty significant across quite a few areas: those listed below, plus soft focus-inducing aberrations, coma, field curvature, softening of skin texture, corner vs. center sharpness, contrast, and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting...

If comparing modern general-use lenses against each other, the only significant differences are speed/dof, angle of coverage, and how the lens defines the edges of out-of-focus highlights.

The Fuji's have a great reputation. (Have you seen Kerry Thalmann's page, http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/fujinon.htm ?) I only have one, a 300mm Fuji L (Tessar), which I like a lot as a sharp 8x10 lens. But I like Cooke's better, because they're reeeeally pretty lenses! :)

Brian C. Miller
24-Apr-2012, 14:38
I'm not really inclined to go searching for more lenses at this point. But all this talk of designs has me wondering, how much difference would it make? Would anyone here be able to tell one modern lens from another, if they were side by side, same composition, same focal length?

I hate to sound like a total rube, but I like the Fujis because I think they are really pretty lenses.

Somebody did that a while back with a couple of lenses. One scene was some trees and woods, and the other scene was overlooking a parking lot. Since the poster wrote that one was brand X and the other was brand Y, they got matched up pretty quick. If the poster had put up the two pics and not mentioned the lenses, I'm sure that few members would guess the exact lens. But side-by-side, it was evident.

As for liking a lens for its physical looks, fine. It's a valid reason as any to select one manufacturer over another. My lenses are motley lot, and it's happenstance that my Toyo has mostly Nikkor lenses. I honestly consider all of them "valid," and the whole point of testing is to know how they shape light.

jeroenbruggeman
25-Apr-2012, 06:51
For a second edition of the portrait lenses test, I'll review a 210mm Dagor, which is now on its way from Japan, and perhaps my Littman with an Ysarex 127mm, if anyone is interested. I will also add a couple of different examples, a.o. show more clearly the difference in bokeh between a Dialyte and a Plasmat, and correct mistakes, if any: so far, the only error pointed out was that I had called the 300 Fujinon-C a Tessar (it's a Dialyte), but that I have already corrected. Some people know their stuff and contributed to improvements, but them set apart, a majority of commenters in this thread produced more heat than light, and I'll ignore them from now on.

I thought that mentioning serial numbers in the running text would distract most readers, but since they were asked specifically for the Sironars, here they are for them: 150mm Sironar-S: 11468401. 150mm Sironar-N: 10990614. Tell me if you want more.

With Ridax I agree that Fujinon and Nikkor Plasmats' bokeh is not a pleasant sight, to the extent that I did not even take them seriously as portrait lenses (although very seriously and excellent for multiple other purposes). Therefore I refrained from reviewing them, with the exception of the 240mm Fujinon-A, which is not that bad: it's bokeh causes only mild head aches, in contrast to Fujinon-W Plasmats that cause serious brain damage. But how about his other claim that the Convertible Symmar has better bokeh than any Tessar or Dialyte? I did not test a Convertible Symmar myself, but does anyone have convincing examples in favor of, or refuting this claim? I did study thousands of photo's and tested dozens of lenses, though, and until someone proves me wrong I tend to believe that the Ysarex (a Tessar), among others, has substantially better bokeh than any type of Symmar.

Some people don't want me to say the apparently uncomfortable truth about the difference between analogue and digital prints. I would suggest them to start making analogue prints themselves, and to become happy about the results, or to get over it. But perhaps Ridax is right in saying that this topic should be discussed separately from portrait lenses proper, and should not be mentioned in my lens test article. I have not made up my mind yet.

Old-N-Feeble
25-Apr-2012, 07:02
Every lens is beautiful... in it's own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day.
And every camera's beautiful... in its own way.
Under God's heaven, the photographer's gonna find the way.

Greg Miller
25-Apr-2012, 07:28
Some people don't want me to say the apparently uncomfortable truth about the difference between analogue and digital prints. I would suggest them to start making analogue prints themselves, and to become happy about the results, or to get over it. But perhaps Ridax is right in saying that this topic should be discussed separately from portrait lenses proper, and should not be mentioned in my lens test article. I have not made up my mind yet.

I still don't see what this has to do with an article titled "Large Format Lenses for Portraits", unless you want to tell us which lenses make for better anologue prints and which make for better digital prints..

Your original statement by the way was "negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to same-sized digital “baryte” prints." Now it seems to have grown to all analogue prints vs. digital prints. Out of curiosity, which is better, an analogue contact print on baryte paper or an analogue same-sized enlarger “baryte” print"?

jeroenbruggeman
25-Apr-2012, 08:10
Your original statement by the way was "negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to same-sized digital “baryte” prints." Now it seems to have grown to all analogue prints vs. digital prints. Out of curiosity, which is better, an analogue contact print on baryte paper or an analogue same-sized enlarger “baryte” print"?

In the article there is a photo of a lady being photographed through a window with a Sironar-S on 5x7". One of the best labs in my country scanned the negative and made a digital 5x7" print on their best "baryte" paper, which I then held next to my analogue baryte print. The difference was immense, and the digital one looked crummy indeed; I've even thrown it away, and I still stand behind my initial phrase. The larger the print, however, hence the further away the viewer from the print, the more similar in quality analogue and digital become, which (to my taste at least) happens much faster with color than black and white (but I have a colleague who would disagree and prints analogue up to 3 meters). Contact prints look much better than ones from an enlarger, but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.

Greg Miller
25-Apr-2012, 08:14
Contact prints look much better than ones from an enlarger, but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.

What if the print benefits artistically from extensive dodging and burning, that is not possible to achieve with contrast masks. Is the enlarger print still inferior to the contact print?

jeroenbruggeman
25-Apr-2012, 08:27
What if the print benefits artistically from extensive dodging and burning, that is not possible to achieve with contrast masks. Is the enlarger print still inferior to the contact print?

Of course digital is then to be preferred, and it can be used for images impossible to achieve analogously. This seemed obvious to me, therefore I didn't consider mentioning it. For photographing the world "as it is", though, a bit of thinking before taking the photo might avoid part of the dodging and burning afterwards.

Greg Miller
25-Apr-2012, 08:47
Of course digital is then to be preferred, and it can be used for images impossible to achieve analogously. This seemed obvious to me, therefore I didn't consider mentioning it. For photographing the world "as it is", though, a bit of thinking before taking the photo might avoid part of the dodging and burning afterwards.

Gee, I didn't even mention digital in my question - I was asking about two analog processes. Although I was curious about why you singled out digital when there are so many analog processes that also would not fare well against a contact print using your assumed obvious criteria.

There are many criteria that can define what "looks better" ranging from the very technical to the very artistic. Not to mention the very subjective tastes that each of us has. And which tool allows the artists to create a piece of art that best matches their vision. As we have learned form all the analog vs. digital threads and even the current thread on what type of metering is best, defining the "best" always comes back to personal taste. Making dogmatic statements like "A" is better than "B" only works in scientific fields where there is actual proof of the fact. Making statements like that with most things photographic will only lead to the typical 'mine is better than yours" battles that happen here all so frequently.

rdenney
25-Apr-2012, 10:21
When people use what is an informative article to express opinions, those opinions need to be expressed as such. It's a fact, for example, that a plasmat has six elements, and that it's an air-spaced Dagor design. It's an opinion that it renders beautifully (or not). One might therefore say, "The plasmat, as a derivative of the dagor, seems to me to share some of what I like about the dagor's rendering..." It's quite easy in that sentence to separate what is stated as fact from what is stated as opinion. It is a fact that the plasmat is a derivative of the dagor, but it is an opinion (and one that is easy to challenge) that 1.) it shares the dagor's expressive qualities or 2.) that the dagor's expressive qualities are worth sharing. This distinction is important when writing for information, as opposed to just writing for entertainment. (I purposely selected an example not in the author's article, because it's the point about writing, not anything about plasmats and dagors, that I wish to make.)

I recommend this principle of writing to the author. Authoritativeness must define itself--credentials are not enough, especially credentials based on experience (which, by definition, can't be written down--doing so makes it knowledge...or opinion based on experience).

This applies even more importantly to opinions, however well supported by experience, that are not important to the information that is the reason for the writing. It's quite tempting to toss an opinion into non-fiction, using whatever authoritativeness derives from the non-fiction part as a cloak of authority for the opinion. We have movie stars out there expressing opinions about scientific subjects that they only grasp (usually incorrectly) in summary, for example. And then we have politicians purposely politicizing such simplistic assertions. It makes everyone quite sensitive to words that try to establish an opinion as fact through the back door. When when those tactics are exposed, it undermines the value of the more authoritative part that remains.

It may well be true that contact prints always look better than digital prints at the same size even when both are printed on similar paper, but I would submit that the experience presented to back up that claim is insufficient to support it when it is contested, especially when the debate is coming from people who have more experience than the author with the digital approach. Borrowing the credentials of a lab is to me nearly comical--we all know of general commercial labs who cannot scan or print digitally to save their lives, and those who do it well usually specialize very deeply in just that. And that doesn't even address the issue of what constitutes "better"--my digital prints look different, but they are often closer to my visualization than my darkroom prints ever were. I'm about equally skilled (er...unskilled) in both, and my comparison is based on what I can do, not what can be done, which is not the basis for a sweeping assertion. Again, I'm not arguing the thesis regarding contact prints, because I've not made the comparison myself at any level, but I do believe that should be argued with greater authority than the author has brought to bear.

So, for the author: How important is making the point that silver-gelatin contact prints on baryta paper are always better than digital prints on baryta paper? You've made a comparison based on one sample from a commercial lab. Are you willing to bring into question the authoritativeness of your central topic of portrait lenses, about which you've gathered your own extensive experience, by insisting on it?

Rick "wary of weakly supported assertions" Denney

Old-N-Feeble
25-Apr-2012, 10:57
Rick, your eloquence regarding use of the written word is admirable as is your stark pragmatism. Where has scientific methodology gone?

John NYC
25-Apr-2012, 12:37
but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.

Given Tim Parkin's recent tests that show that the 80MP Phase back competes somewhat well with enlarged 8x10 negs, I simply do not believe you have actually done the work to substantiate your claim above. Show me your tests from which you derive this statement of opinion.

jeroenbruggeman
25-Apr-2012, 13:30
Show me your tests from which you derive this statement of opinion.

You know very well that the subtle qualities of analogue prints get lost on the Web, but you're welcome to visit any upcoming exhibition of my work, where I usually have analogue and digital side by side.

jeroenbruggeman
25-Apr-2012, 13:44
Borrowing the credentials of a lab is to me nearly comical--we all know of general commercial labs who cannot scan or print digitally to save their lives, and those who do it well usually specialize very deeply in just that.

For the record, the lab that you find so comical is Kleurgamma, which has produced a large number of both digital and analogue prints for numerous museums and galleries in many different countries.

John NYC
25-Apr-2012, 14:21
You know very well that the subtle qualities of analogue prints get lost on the Web, but you're welcome to visit any upcoming exhibition of my work, where I usually have analogue and digital side by side.

Are you shooting with a Canon 5D in the comparison? Or are you using a Phase IQ 180? Something in between? The higher end digital makes a world of difference. I know 10MP is not going to look as good enlarged as a 4x5 or 5x7, but I have real doubts about the larger format digitals being sub-par in a print only 20 inches on the long side.

John NYC
25-Apr-2012, 16:35
A person new to lf photography might run across the article, perhaps through the author's home page where he links to it as "About the (mostly old) lenses that I use I've written an extensive test", and think that Sironars, Symmars, Ysarexes, and Fujinon-A's, -C's, and -W's are classic old portrait lenses, and that perhaps the best old classic portrait lens is the Apo-Ronar.

I'm sorry, but the article is a mishmash of very biased personal opinion and technical errors to be corrected later as other people do the author's research work for him. The LF Home Page shouldn't be a Vanity Press for those who can't get it right...

I agree. Most of it is opinion and should be stated as such clearly. The word "test" is used 35 times in the article. As far as I can see the only thing that was done is the author used a bunch of different lenses in completely different situations and then expounded personal opinions about the results of his prints with each. While that is OK and can be very informative, it is not a "test" of any sort in the sense of the word as I have ever heard it used.

rdenney
25-Apr-2012, 18:10
For the record, the lab that you find so comical is Kleurgamma, which has produced a large number of both digital and analogue prints for numerous museums and galleries in many different countries.

I didn't find the lab comical. I found the notion that one could test the full capability of digital printing by ordering one print from any given commercial lab comical. There are lots of high-end labs that have great credentials and experience. But assuming they represent all that can be done with a sample of one is a mistake. Did you send your negative to be contact printed by some other commercial lab, and accept whatever they produced on the first try as assuredly representative of the state of the art for contact printing?

Often, such comparisons are not comparisons of what is possible, but of different standards that were applied to the items being compared.

Rick "who has seen less-than-steller work from some pretty high-end labs in his 40 years in photography" Denney

jeroenbruggeman
26-Apr-2012, 00:26
technical errors After the minor correction on the Fujinon-C lens type, which actually pertained its misnaming, not its performance, not a single technical error in my text has been pointed out by anyone.

Ed Bray
26-Apr-2012, 13:52
I absolutely love the High Key shot in post #93.

As a new starter to 4x5 photography I am planning on using a pair of Symmars in their converted mode unfortunately both at f12 (180mm @ 315mm and 210mm @ 370mm) when I can find some info on how to convert them.

rdenney
27-Apr-2012, 06:04
As a new starter to 4x5 photography I am planning on using a pair of Symmars in their converted mode unfortunately both at f12 (180mm @ 315mm and 210mm @ 370mm) when I can find some info on how to convert them.

It's simple, just remove the front cell. You will need to check focus at your final taking aperture, though; the placement of the diaphragm when the front cell is removed causes a small focus shift as you stop down.

Rick "who has a 180 convertible" Denney

Ed Bray
27-Apr-2012, 06:27
Excellent thanks, I removed the rear element and found that I got a focal length increase but nothing like I was expecting.

mandoman7
27-Apr-2012, 08:03
God forbid anyone would actually delve into the subject itself, exploring the wonder and diversity of human character.

John NYC
27-Apr-2012, 09:56
God forbid anyone would actually delve into the subject itself, exploring the wonder and diversity of human character.

No one here has criticized the imagery as far as I can see. What exactly is your point?

mandoman7
27-Apr-2012, 13:48
No one here has criticized the imagery as far as I can see. What exactly is your point?
Boy, these are testy waters! No offense was meant to anyone in particular. The point was that its easy to get sidetracked with lens particulars, and what others might be saying about them, and then possibly losing sight of the original intention. To put it another way, I like the shots where the guy takes a lens that is nothing special and makes something creative and interesting with it. Maybe this isn't the place for such an interjection...

mandoman7
29-Apr-2012, 09:08
I've been known to step on the soapbox and get a bit pedantic...

But as long as I have a few minutes to waste this morning, I'll elaborate. After about 10 years of doing portraits in the 80's and early 90's, I had a revelation which was that the effective portraits seemed to happen when I gave myself over to the process, and let go of certain preconditions that I might have started out with. And part of that process was to find a place of empathy and understanding with the subject. A place of true compassion at least for the duration of the session. I thought about it for a few years, and then realized that the place I was looking for was often found in the third question.

Once you get your lights up and the subject in position, as portrait photographers know, the air can get heavy. Most photographers develop some sort of repartee to lighten the atmosphere. What I found, though, was that, after a question and a followup, their 2nd answer often contained a clue to a place of departure. But to hear this clue you had to really be listening. . What you might hear would be a hint of how they felt about some trying situation in their life. When I heard it, I would offer a third question which would give the subject the answer they were looking for; was I really listening?

Eventually I came to realize that what I was talking about was one of the best gifts you can give to another person in many contexts; the gift of listening. But in the portrait situation, however, it had magical effects on people's faces. People's eyes light up when they feel they are with a kindred spirit. If the third question showed that you had heard something about their frustration and were honestly curious about it, I guarantee that you'll then hear the rest of the story at length, if your interest is genuine. To do this you have to have your lighting and camera questions resolved, of course. You'll lose the subject quickly if you go there. Its easy to tell, on the other hand, if the subject is feeling like they are in a welcome place.

In the rest of my encounters, I'm not known as a particularly good listener :p, but I've found that it definitely pays off in the portrait session.

John NYC
29-Apr-2012, 09:45
Well it seems like the mods did their usual trick of deleting all the posts they didn't want to see, including the one that showed the true colors of the OP and people's reactions to that, including Helen's.

Pretty tired of the selective censorship around here.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Apr-2012, 09:53
I didn't go back and look for censorship... but if that's really what's happening then why do we bother to post our opinions on forums at all?

Greg Miller
29-Apr-2012, 10:09
There were at least 6 posts from yesterday that have vanished altogether. It seems the moderators have 2 levels of deletion. The ones that are are deleted that have a placeholder and an explanation of why it was deleted. And those that just disappear with no trace with no explanation. The ones missing here fall into the 2nd category, which smells a little bit like a cover up.

John NYC
29-Apr-2012, 10:11
I didn't go back and look for censorship... but if that's really what's happening then why do we bother to post our opinions on forums at all?

By censorship I mean deleting many many posts in this case without a trace.

I think I am done with this place. Bye.

Old-N-Feeble
29-Apr-2012, 10:21
By censorship I mean deleting many many posts in this case without a trace.

I don't think anyone likes, or appreciates, that type of moderation. While I completely agree that many posts should be moderated I don't agree that they should simply vanish. That's just too close to "Big Brother" control and "Newspeak", IMHO.

The above stated, I understand why some of my posts should be moderated... I'm half brain-dead these days and make a jerk of myself without realizing it at the time.

Sorry Mods/Admins but that's the way many of us feel... even some who won't speak up.

jb7
29-Apr-2012, 11:08
It's like being Lenin in a picture of Stalin.

John, don't swell the ranks of those who have left, nothing to be gained by that..

Mark Sawyer
29-Apr-2012, 11:41
There were at least 6 posts from yesterday that have vanished altogether. It seems the moderators have 2 levels of deletion. The ones that are are deleted that have a placeholder and an explanation of why it was deleted. And those that just disappear with no trace with no explanation. The ones missing here fall into the 2nd category, which smells a little bit like a cover up.

I agree, and this is disturbing. I find myself replying to insults and accusations that weren't there anymore, and some of my points about technical aspects of the article disappeared. There is also contentiousness running through the tread with no trace of how that contentiousness came to be.

Rude entries into other threads (far less rude than some here) are removed with that placeholder explanation of why it was removed. That I can accept as "moderating". These just disappeared without a trace. This isn't moderating, it's sanitizing and concealing the nature of the situation.

Mark Sawyer
29-Apr-2012, 11:48
I don't think anyone likes, or appreciates, that type of moderation. While I completely agree that many posts should be moderated I don't agree that they should simply vanish. That's just too close to "Big Brother" control and "Newspeak", IMHO.

The above stated, I understand why some of my posts should be moderated... I'm half brain-dead these days and make a jerk of myself without realizing it at the time.

Sorry Mods/Admins but that's the way many of us feel... even some who won't speak up.

I can understand the need for moderating too. But when one side throws out insulting and offensive statements, then the tone heats up, and finally the initial insults disappear, it leave a misimpression about why the heat is there.

mdm
29-Apr-2012, 19:10
I am surprised it has not been moderated more heavily. Many times I have felt this thread is out of hand. Argument and discussion is one thing, but when it turns personal, and nastliy so, then its time for the delete button. The method is to goad and prod someone until they explode, which makes them look bad. But never forget who is doing the goading and prodding, they are the bigots and bullys. I have done a lot of pot stirring in my time and if it makes people think its a good thing, but when it gets personal its wrong. There are certain people who make it their business to nit pick and testily undermine a posters opinion (and I include myself), to bolster their ego perhaps, and exert control, but it seems to have spread a little too much. The forum where all viewpoints are tolerated amiably is a forum in which a lot of proiftable learning happens. Without people learing about large format, it will die. Mr Sawyer, you are a teacher, you know well a bigot in the classroom has nothing to teach his students. How many wonderfully intelligent people have been crushed by a closed minded maths or art or photography teacher?

Mark Sawyer
29-Apr-2012, 19:19
Maybe before we assume it was one of the moderators, we should find out for certain if one of them removed the posts. Whenever I've seen a post removed from other threads here, there was always a marker left where the original post was with the author's name and the reason it was removed, and the moderator who removed them always identified himself. I've never seen posts disappear without a trace. :confused:

I'll report my own post and ask for whatever clarification can be given...

J. Fada
29-Apr-2012, 20:09
Leave the mods alone. Jeesh. This thread was a train wreck right from the beginning comments and only got worse as it went along with the bad reaction of the OP to some pretty lame comments by others.

It is not like there were any secrets that could save the planet that were deleted. Frankly I am surprised at the reactions some people in this thread had and it changed my opinions about some people too.

Think hard before you write something negative on the internet.

Kirk Gittings
29-Apr-2012, 20:20
Maybe before we assume it was one of the moderators, we should find out for certain if one of them removed the posts. Whenever I've seen a post removed from other threads here, there was always a marker left where the original post was with the author's name and the reason it was removed, and the moderator who removed them always identified himself. I've never seen posts disappear without a trace. :confused:

I'll report my own post and ask for whatever clarification can be given...

Its possible to do it by simply hitting the wrong button-easy to do if you are in a hurry and its also completely irreversible. We have all done it before. I know I have awhile back. Probably a simple mistake-not by Ken-he is on vacation or me-I'd remember but I haven't paid any attention to this thread. Whoever did it probably didn't even snap to it.

QT Luong
29-Apr-2012, 20:20
I moderated this thread (something I do rarely these days) because someone called me by name asking me to do so. I am not particularly keen on wading through a thread like this, but when I do so, I delete all posts that do not follow guidelines (not "what I don't want to see") and their dependents, although I have made an exception for posts by Mark because they contain fine images.

As it has been guessed correctly, there are two options for deleting a post. "Hard delete" removes the post from the database. "Soft delete" replaces the post by a notice that the post has been deleted, and an optional explanation. Except for spam, I always use "soft delete" (I think other moderators do the same). I left an explanation only for the first deleted post as well as the last, since there were dozens in between. From there, it is easy enough to infer who "started" without need to preserve the offensive post itself.

At first I did not understand the accusations of "censorship", or "cover-up", since when I am logged under my account (see attached images), I can see the deletion notices. I created a secondary account -without moderator status. From that account the deletion notices are not visible, so there is something that's not working properly and we'll investigate. But even if this was intentional, I don't think those accusations are appropriate.

In the while, please note that the author has revised the article, taking into account comments. The old version has been overwritten by the revised version.

7287472875

Greg Miller
29-Apr-2012, 20:27
Thanks for the explanation.

Mark Sawyer
29-Apr-2012, 22:09
Yes, thank you for the clarification QT. I agree with the comment that this thread has been a train wreck.


I moderated this thread (something I do rarely these days) because someone called me by name asking me to do so. I am not particularly keen on wading through a thread like this, but when I do so, I delete all posts that do not follow guidelines (not "what I don't want to see") and their dependents, although I have made an exception for posts by Mark because they contain fine images.

Please, if you can, delete those posts too. I only posted the images and my background when Bruggeman repeatedly challenged me as being unenlightened and inexperienced in portrait photography, and demanded "evidence" of my qualifications to comment. They seem rather pointless now.


In the while, please note that the author has revised the article, taking into account comments. The old version has been overwritten by the revised version.

It's still full of problems, like "for people, you have to use mostly front movements, as back movements readily distort faces and bodies." There's a difference between using front movements for architectural perspective control and rear movements for focus control in portraiture, and there are reasons why the large studio cameras (designed specifically for portraiture), from the early E & HT Anthony's through all the Century Studio Cameras to the Rembrandt Portrait Cameras were made with only rear movements.

But whatever. I'd rather read reference articles for good information than to correct bad information or hear insults about my or other people's ways of working. This will be my last comment on the matter.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Apr-2012, 04:34
I just reported one of my own posts.

QT Luong
30-Apr-2012, 11:59
Issue resolved. A wrong button checked, amongst thousands available in the admin settings, thanks to Ralph Barker for figuring this out.

Greg Miller
30-Apr-2012, 16:17
Issue resolved. A wrong button checked, amongst thousands available in the admin settings, thanks to Ralph Barker for figuring this out.

Moderator = thankless job. Nobody ever says "great job", but you hear all the gripes. And the pay is not so hot either ;) But we appreciate moderators even if it does not always seem like it.

Ralph Barker
30-Apr-2012, 17:47
Thanks, Greg.

jeroenbruggeman
1-May-2012, 00:34
Eventually I came to realize that what I was talking about was one of the best gifts you can give to another person in many contexts; the gift of listening. But in the portrait situation, however, it had magical effects on people's faces. People's eyes light up when they feel they are with a kindred spirit. If the third question showed that you had heard something about their frustration and were honestly curious about it, I guarantee that you'll then hear the rest of the story at length, if your interest is genuine. To do this you have to have your lighting and camera questions resolved, of course. You'll lose the subject quickly if you go there. Its easy to tell, on the other hand, if the subject is feeling like they are in a welcome place.

Beautifully said!

jeroenbruggeman
1-May-2012, 03:20
It's still full of problems, like "for people, you have to use mostly front movements, as back movements readily distort faces and bodies."
Initially, the problems in the article were sparse and far between, and due to comments in this thread, they have been addressed in the revised version. How could the article be "full of problems" still? The burden of proof is on the accuser, who mentions only one. But is that one even a problem?

To find that out there is a simple experiment that everybody with a camera and a lens can replicate at home. With the camera in neutral settings, point it at a rectangular object from an oblique angle, like the table in my Figure 2, such that it almost fills the ground glass from top to bottom, and focus in the middle of it. Then use only front tilt to make the plane of focus flush with the object (and adjust focus as necessary). As you will see, the proportions of the object don't change. Set the front back in neutral position and now use back tilt to adjust the plane of focus. Consequentially, the part of the object close to the camera looks wider and bigger than before. This elementary knowledge on LF camera's is also illustrated in Simmons Using The View Camera (2nd ed) pp. 59-60. For photographs of people, it implies that when using back tilt on the horizontal axis, a face will look fatter than it is, and when using back tilt on the vertical axis, like in Fig.2, arms (or legs) will look disproportionally long. If such a distortion is not a deliberate and desired effect, like it was in Fig.2, use front movements, exactly like I said. No problem after all.

jp
1-May-2012, 05:20
If you're still taking revisions, there is another contradiction to address:

Distribution of sharpness and lens personality

Although lenses of the same type and brand differ somewhat in sharpness across specimen and across focal lengths, they typically show up a highly similar distribution of sharpness (1) over their apertures (e.g. optimal at f16–f22), (2) over distance (e.g. optimized for short range), and (3) over the center-to-edge range (e.g. sharp almost to the edge versus only in the center); and, they have the same characteristics for bokeh, color rendition, contrast, and flare, that together determine skin tones. We may thus speak about the personality of a lens in terms of these traits.

This seems to be in conflict with:

150mm Tessars
To get great bokeh, there are much cheaper lenses than the Lanthar, among others some Tessars. Tessars have been built for over a century by many different factories, creating a wide variety of lens personalities with not many family traits that all of them share, perhaps only their bokeh, which is better than Plasmats’. Other traits, e.g. color, flare, distribution of sharpness, and contrast differ considerably, and not all Tessars are suitable for portraits, as we will see

jeroenbruggeman
1-May-2012, 06:55
Point taken, thanks.

Mark Sawyer
1-May-2012, 20:59
I told myself I wouldn’t get drawn back into this, but I hate having people edit my words selectively.

I specifically differentiated between front movements for architectural purposes and rear movements for portraiture, something you edited out. In architecture, corrections are made with front movements when even slight distortions of straight parallel lines are critical. This comes at the expense of taking the lens off its optical axis, ie, it is no longer pointing at the center of the film, and you risk working at or beyond the edges of the image circle.

Yes, let’s look at your figure 2 as an example. You used a 150mm Sironar-S with a 231mm image circle on the 5x7 format that has an image circle of 210mm. You’ve got about 10mm, less than half an inch, for movement at each corner. By going outside the area of coverage and into just the area of illumination, you’ve sacrificed resolution to a degree obvious in even a web image, let alone a print. And that’s with a relatively wide-covering plasmat. Try it with a Ronar or Tessar, and you wouldn’t even have illumination.

The human face and figure have no grid of parallel lines to worry about. Without geometric grids, the amount of distortion that will occur from using normal rear movements is not apparent to the human eye. (What is very apparent to the eye is the spatial distortion you introduced by using such a short lens for a portrait with the hand so extended forward as to make it unnaturally large, an irony in an example of how to avoid distortions and preserve proportions...)

Trying to put it very, very simply, the concerns that are critical with straight, parallel lines of architecture are secondary to keeping a lens on axis in portraiture where there are no geometric lines to worry about.

This is one reason why dedicated large format studio portrait cameras, from the E&HT Anthony Portrait Cameras of the 1880’s, through all the Century Studio Cameras of the early 20th century, to the last of the studio cameras, the B&J Rembrandt Portrait Cameras and Master Pictorialist Cameras of the 1950’s and 60’s, were made with no front movements.

Seriously, setting all my points aside, do you claim to know more about what is necessary in a portrait camera than multiple generations of camera builders and professional portrait photographers working across the golden age of large format portraiture? (Somehow, I don’t think this will be answered…)


Initially, the problems in the article were sparse and far between, and due to comments in this thread, they have been addressed in the revised version. How could the article be "full of problems" still? The burden of proof is on the accuser, who mentions only one. But is that one even a problem?

I will go through the basics again:

If someone comes from your site where you’ve linked to your article on “mostly old lenses”, they will believe that:

1.) They are learning about “old” lenses. (They are not.)

2.) If one is interested in “bokeh”, (a word your article used 51 times), a good recommendation is: “If the sitter can't stay motionless and I want to bet on the safe side, I use f16 or f22.” (There are multiple techniques to helping a subject stay motionless, and one need not sacrifice aesthetic control.)

3.) Century Studio Cameras (and others like them) are not adequate for portraiture because “you have to use mostly front movements”. (It is arguably one of the best choices one could make for studio portraiture.)

BTW, regarding your Lanthar, which you say "looks as if this lens has inbuilt yellow and green filters," and as a result, "The Lanthar’s color rendition is weird, looks like 17th century paintings, and needs Photoshop correction." The Lanthar's radioactive glass yellows over time due to radiation tracks in the glass, and can be bleached by leaving it in the sun for a few days.

Mark Sawyer
1-May-2012, 23:16
...and to the rest of the forum, I apologize. It was a long day...

jeroenbruggeman
4-May-2012, 01:24
Multiple points to be addressed, for which I change the order.

The Lanthar.
Thanks for reminding me of bleaching the glass in UV light. I had read it years ago, then forgot about it, and will now try it. Depending on how good this works, I'll mention it in the next version.

Movements.
Shift is not the first camera movement that comes to my mind for portraits (although I use it if a person is in front of a building), as the prime target is (usually) to get the eyes sharp, for which tilts are necessary. Any more back tilt than a very little I do notice, as well as disgruntled sitters did on whom I tried this. The experiment I described in my previous message everyone can replicate at home to verify the distortion I talk about. Why did those studio portrait camera's back in the fifties that you mention only have back movements? Were image circles typically small, or were only little movements used? By the way, if we would have to deal with shift only, then shifting the front up or the back down amounts to exactly the same result, so then one of them can be left off the camera.

150mm Sironar-S.
Electrical guitars were initially not invented for rock 'n roll, and when they started being used for that new genre, some complained about the distortion and noise. We all know how that story continued. In general, finding new applications for existing materials is part of the creative process. The text in my article describes how to make portraits without distortions first, i.e. by using front movements, and when the novice knows this, (s)he can subsequently do whatever (s)he wants. For as long as some art collectors love my near-far portraits with the Sironar-S, and you don't pay my bills, I continue to use my Sironar-S beyond it's initial purposes and limitations. By the way, the 231mm image circle is at infinity, but at the close range where I work I have more.

Bokeh and focus.
The word bokeh (with some explication added) concisely summarizes what one wants for a portrait lens without going overboard on the technicalities of spherical aberration. For a portrait, even at f22, there is plenty of unsharp background that one wants it for.
In the article, there are multiple examples and mentioning in the text of portraits shot wide open before the reader reaches the sentence: “If the sitter can't stay motionless and I want to bet on the safe side, I use f16 or f22.” For sitters in difficult positions, multiple sitters who move with respect to each other (Fig 15), or non-cooperative ones, my advice makes it possible to get the eyes sharp. Additionally, many contemporary photographers want the entire face sharp, not only the eyes, and they deliberately use smaller apertures (e.g. the highly successful Rineke Dijkstra, among many others). So what's the loss of aesthetic control for you is the gain of it for others. But the world is big enough to contain a diversity of aesthetic views.

Old lenses.
Due to your earlier remarks, I've made it clear at the start that the article is about lenses that their manufacturers mounted in shutters. Experts then know that it's about more recent lenses than those from the "brass age" of photography. On my personal webpage outside the LF-domain I can write whatever I want, though, and for that matter say that I import my lenses from Saturn and use its rings as retainers. I say there that my lenses are old not only because most people think they are, but mainly because compared to their lenses, most of mine are actually relatively old.

premortho
26-May-2012, 14:20
Well, thanks to you moderaters. I can take off my flame proof suit now!

ridax
28-May-2012, 23:03
Seriously, setting all my points aside, do you claim to know more about what is necessary in a portrait camera than multiple generations of camera builders and professional portrait photographers working across the golden age of large format portraiture? (Somehow, I don’t think this will be answered…)

In fact, this can be (and IMHO should be) answered. Yes I am sure any knowledgeable photographer of the modern era (like the one whose article is being criticized here) knows much more about what is necessary in a MODERN portrait camera than the camera builders and photographers of the 'golden age of large format portraiture' - just because ALL modern anastigmats are VERY different from the 'golden age' glass.


the concerns that are critical with straight, parallel lines of architecture are secondary to keeping a lens on axis in portraiture where there are no geometric lines to worry about. This is one reason why dedicated large format studio portrait cameras, from the E&HT Anthony Portrait Cameras of the 1880’s, through all the Century Studio Cameras of the early 20th century, to the last of the studio cameras, the B&J Rembrandt Portrait Cameras and Master Pictorialist Cameras of the 1950’s and 60’s, were made with no front movements.

No this was not the reason. The real reason was the curved, almost spherical field (=zone of sharp focus) of Aplanats (Rapid Rectlinears) and Petzval type portrait lenses. Imagine tilting a lens with a spherical 'plane' of focus, and literary NOTHING will change in the sharpness distribution across the image. Actually, the only change will be the fast fast running out of the lens' coverage - incredibly small compared to modern glass. With all lenses like this, why make a camera with front tilts and swings?!

Yes the 'golden age' folks WOULD build, and gladly use, front tilt and swing cameras - if only they had a chance....

ridax
29-May-2012, 01:16
For a second edition of the portrait lenses test, I'll review a 210mm Dagor, which is now on its way from Japan, and perhaps my Littman with an Ysarex 127mm, if anyone is interested.

With Ridax I agree that Fujinon and Nikkor Plasmats' bokeh is not a pleasant sight, to the extent that I did not even take them seriously as portrait lenses (although very seriously and excellent for multiple other purposes). Therefore I refrained from reviewing them, with the exception of the 240mm Fujinon-A, which is not that bad: it's bokeh causes only mild head aches, in contrast to Fujinon-W Plasmats that cause serious brain damage. But how about his other claim that the Convertible Symmar has better bokeh than any Tessar or Dialyte? I did not test a Convertible Symmar myself, but does anyone have convincing examples in favor of, or refuting this claim? I did study thousands of photo's and tested dozens of lenses, though, and until someone proves me wrong I tend to believe that the Ysarex (a Tessar), among others, has substantially better bokeh than any type of Symmar.

I've spent the last month retesting all the TESSAR type lenses I have at hand. Most of them are too short for LF portraiture, but I got the idea. My sincere apologies for my previous claim.... and many many thanks for the correction.

Yes my 4.5/101 Wollensak Raptar and my 4.5/105 and 4.7/127 Tominons and my 4.7/127 Rodenstock Ysaron and my 4.5/135 uncoated Zeiss Tessar and my 4.5/190 Kodak Enlarging Ektanon easily beat my 100, 135, 150, 180 and 210 Convertible Symmars and Convertible Sironars - bokeh-vise. These tessars yield beautiful foreground blur and awful background blur at full aperture, and vise-versa from f/6.3 on. It is particularly interesting that the Ysaron, Tominon and Ektanon are enlarging lenses that certainly were not deliberately optimized for bokeh by their designers (go try an enlarging plasmat to see a really shocking ugly bokeh - both in the background and the foreground!). I wonder if the Ysarex and Ektar lenses are still better than the Ysaron and Ektanon.

The (hard to describe) IN-focus pictorial qualities are IMHO the best in the 101mm Raptar (but only within 24x36mm film frame!), with the 127mm Ysaron very close to it. Next I'd put the old 135mm Zeiss Tessar (within 24x36mm film frame only) and the 190mm Ektanon (within 6x7cm film frame) stopped down to f/8 (both are too soft for my taste at wider apertures). The Tominons are somewhat "dull and technical" in the sharp-focus zone.

That said, I would not use the (fantastic for a 24x36mm SLR) 101mm Raptar and the old 135mm Zeiss even on a 4.5x6cm camera as both have to be brutally stopped down to get reasonably sharp outside the central part of the field, and I like the 190mm Ektanon at f/8 and f/11 on 4.5x6cm to 6x7cm but no bigger. In fact, it was the poor field sharpness of the vast majority of the tessars that turned me away from taking them seriously, years ago....

(Sorry I would not list all the tessar-type glass I've put my hands on; hope the above examples are enough.)

Convertible Symmars and Convertible Sironars are still very good (and IMHO the best-bokeh plasmats ever made - though less beautiful then the best of the tessars) for background blur at all apertures, the Symmar IMHO having a very slight edge over the Sironar. The Apo-Sironar-S and the Apo-Symmar-L, if I remember correctly (don't have any of them at hand now), are to be stopped down to about f/11 for better background bokeh, this time the Sironar probably being better. I do not know of any other plasmats with good bokeh (I never tried the before mentioned 240mm Fujinon-A though).

And as I totally agree the back camera tilts and swings are better to be avoided in portraiture (and for a lot of other subjects, too), for me, the lens' coverage gets way more important in LF - which means at least the longer of my Convertible Symmars are not going to be retied yet....

Ken Lee
29-May-2012, 04:56
http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/tech/BokehComparisonSmall.jpg (http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/tech/BokehComparison.jpg)


You might find this interesting: Click on the photo above to see a comparison of the bokeh or blur rendition of 4 different lenses of standard "portrait" length: 210mm Braunschweig Heliar, 210mm Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar, 240mm Fujinon A (a plasmat), 240mm APO Nikkor (a dialyte). I've tried to match the images in terms of tone, size and perspective. (It's a fairly large image, and your browser will probably shrink it to fit the frame, but you can click it to see full-sized.)

These lenses represent a small sample of designs old and new, stopped down to f/11. I tried to focus on the bottle in the center of the image. The Heliar shows some focus-shift, of which I was unaware until after the setup had been dismantled. Closing the aperture to f/11 after focusing at f/4.5 shifted the point of focus closer, to the edge of the book. This may be why we see a slightly greater blur in the distance with the Heliar lens.

My conclusion: At this aperture, the only difference we might see, could be attributed to a aperture shape - but in order to see any compelling effect, we need specular highlights: small points of bright light. For "normal" scenes at "normal" apertures, any difference in blur rendition is negligible. Wide open, the Heliar would show the greatest amount of blur, because it's designed to do just that: it's a "portrait" design where aberrations disappear at around f/9. Stopped down even moderately, it is hard to see any difference whatsoever between these 4 samples.

Mark Sawyer
29-May-2012, 11:28
In fact, this can be (and IMHO should be) answered. Yes I am sure any knowledgeable photographer of the modern era (like the one whose article is being criticized here) knows much more about what is necessary in a MODERN portrait camera than the camera builders and photographers of the 'golden age of large format portraiture' - just because ALL modern anastigmats are VERY different from the 'golden age' glass.

No this was not the reason. The real reason was the curved, almost spherical field (=zone of sharp focus) of Aplanats (Rapid Rectlinears) and Petzval type portrait lenses. Imagine tilting a lens with a spherical 'plane' of focus, and literary NOTHING will change in the sharpness distribution across the image. Actually, the only change will be the fast fast running out of the lens' coverage - incredibly small compared to modern glass. With all lenses like this, why make a camera with front tilts and swings?!

Yes the 'golden age' folks WOULD build, and gladly use, front tilt and swing cameras - if only they had a chance....

Nice of you to speak for all those photographers, but, um...

The Century Studio Cameras came out in 1904, (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?84101-New-Book-for-sale-quot-The-Century-Studio-Camera). To quote Jay Allen, "The Century Studio Camera took almost all the professional portraits in America for more than half a Century (1904-1960) but today's modern photographers know nothing about this camera."

Flat field lenses available by the time the first Century came out included Tessars, Cooke Triplets, Heliars, Protars, plastigmats, Unars, Dagors, and many others. And there were field cameras with front movements available by the time the Century Studio Cameras were intruduced, so yes, those photographers did have that option, and most professional portrait photographers went with the studio cameras.

By the way, the manufacturers could have incorporated front movements into the studio cameras, but most didn't, and the Century (by far the most popular) never did, over several decades and many models.

So we're left with a reference article advising photographers to use narrow-coverage lenses (all of the author's recommended "favorite portrait lenses, a bunch that I call 'the seven samurai'") well off-axis. I consider this very bad advice. Vignetting will be a problem, and the sharper center of some of those lenses will be moved off-center, and for no good reason. Just a recipe for problems...

goamules
1-Jun-2012, 12:22
In fact, this can be (and IMHO should be) answered. Yes I am sure any knowledgeable photographer of the modern era (like the one whose article is being criticized here) knows much more about what is necessary in a MODERN portrait camera than the camera builders and photographers of the 'golden age of large format portraiture' - just because ALL modern anastigmats are VERY different from the 'golden age' glass.

You've got to be kidding me. Are you one of those "modern photographers who knows much more than previous generations...?" How have you improved on the Scheimpflug principle (1904)? How are "modern" anastigmats different than the original Zeiss 1890s Anastigmat? Or from a Dallmeyer Triple Achromat from 1860? Relative to movements?


No this was not the reason. The real reason was the curved, almost spherical field (=zone of sharp focus) of Aplanats (Rapid Rectlinears) and Petzval type portrait lenses. Imagine tilting a lens with a spherical 'plane' of focus, and literary NOTHING will change in the sharpness distribution across the image. Actually, the only change will be the fast fast running out of the lens' coverage - incredibly small compared to modern glass. With all lenses like this, why make a camera with front tilts and swings?!

Have you ever actually TAKEN any photographs with a Petzval or Rectilinear? It doesn't sound like it. Movements are very useful for them, in 1870 and in 2012. And the RR was a radical improvement in terms of curved fields over the Petzval, that's what it's attraction was. Your statement "...all [older] lenses like this..." is absolutely wrong. You must not know about all the lens designs before the anastigmats.


Yes the 'golden age' folks WOULD build, and gladly use, front tilt and swing cameras - if only they had a chance....

Are you actually trying to say there WERE no movement cameras in the early 20th century? How about 19th century? What is the "golden era" for you, 1850? You're right, early daguerreotype cameras didn't have movements. But look at an old 1900 Sanderson or an earlier Chapman and you'll find front movements galore. My 1893 Rochester has them too.

I suggest Ridax and jeroenbruggeman should learn to do a little more research before posturing themselves as "experts" at anything.

ridax
2-Jun-2012, 04:22
Have you ever actually TAKEN any photographs with a Petzval or Rectilinear? It doesn't sound like it. Movements are very useful for them (...) look at an old 1900 Sanderson or an earlier Chapman and you'll find front movements galore. My 1893 Rochester has them too.

So that little provocation was enough to see other people stating front tilts and swings were very useful and were in use indeed. :)

Though the least-flat-field Petzvals were also in production well into the mid-20th century and certainly in use up to the present day - along with the fixed-front cameras, and totally within the 1850s tradition.

I guess that's just a matter of style. And as such, it possibly should not be used as an argument on the original topic....


So we're left with a reference article advising photographers to use narrow-coverage lenses (all of the author's recommended "favorite portrait lenses, a bunch that I call 'the seven samurai'") well off-axis. I consider this very bad advice.

I strongly suspect the problem is just that - taking any word written for an authoritative advice, or even a recipe, not a mere description of the writer's personal style preferences. Yes I would hesitate taking (or giving) that (as well as many other ideas) as an advice. But I would never ever object to sharing this (and the strictly opposite) as anyone's personal way of creative photography.

The question is, has an article for this website to be constructed of well-proved universal truths only, or may it contain any concepts that some of the other photographers do not accept?

.... My apologies for the harsh style and the one-sided argumentation of that previous post of mine.

P.S.: Yes I have tried a circa 300mm 1850's French Petzval and a 600mm f/6 Bush Aplanat on my 8x10", offered for sale by a fellow photographer. No I did not buy any of them. Yes I admit I am an anastigmat person myself....

rdenney
2-Jun-2012, 05:35
I've said this before. It is entirely within the capabilities of any author worth publishing to distinguish between statements of fact (which requires proofs) and statements of opinion, including the opinion of which facts are relevant for the task at hand. Opinions, when stated as such, don't demand proof. But they do demand reasoning grounded in what has been proved.

Authors rigorous in this way usually don't get challenged, if their proofs are valid. They either write the evidence into the article, or they explain it later (if they can).

One thing should be clear at this point: assertions are not facts, or proofs, and won't be accepted as such by knowledgeable readers.

Rick "finding that acknowledging gaps in one's knowledge is a sure step to filling them" Denney

Ed Bray
2-Jun-2012, 06:22
Movements.

By the way, if we would have to deal with shift only, then shifting the front up or the back down amounts to exactly the same result, so then one of them can be left off the camera.



I apologise in advance if I am stepping on anyone's toes in this thread or that I give the impression that I know what I am talking about, but as a newbie to Large Format photography I have done a great deal of reading over the last couple of months to try to understand the various movements on the camera and how their use effects the image, and, as I understand it similar front and back shifts actually give a different result with the front shift giving a change in vantage point. Am I wrong?

Old-N-Feeble
2-Jun-2012, 06:38
Shift or rise/fall, via front or rear standards, net identical results. Tilt or swing, via front or rear standards, net very different results.

cowanw
2-Jun-2012, 07:43
I believe you are right, Ed. Movement of the lens changes the relationship of near and far things in the photograph.
Old-N-Feeble is also right in that if first you move the whole camera to the new lens position and then move the back back, this is equivalent to moving the lens.
This is described well in the Time Life book series, The Studio. and is best understood (by me) in how much I am looking up the nose, in portraiture.

Old-N-Feeble
2-Jun-2012, 07:59
I once had the entire Time-Life Photography series I accumulated as a teen. I might still them packed away somewhere. I can't remember. IIRC, they were a very nice thorough source for information.

Mark Sawyer
2-Jun-2012, 16:05
I strongly suspect the problem is just that - taking any word written for an authoritative advice, or even a recipe, not a mere description of the writer's personal style preferences. Yes I would hesitate taking (or giving) that (as well as many other ideas) as an advice. But I would never ever object to sharing this (and the strictly opposite) as anyone's personal way of creative photography.

I think the problem is that articles on the Reference Page, people should be able to trust that they are getting "authoritative advice" and learning sound, useful principles of working from people with some level of expertise and experience. The article in question gives bad information and teaches sloppy technique.


The question is, has an article for this website to be constructed of well-proved universal truths only, or may it contain any concepts that some of the other photographers do not accept?

The question left in my mind is, are there any standards at all for Reference Page articles?

If Bruggeman is going to pronounce as wrong the working methods and well-proved universal truths from multiple generations of professional portrait photographers and camera makers, he needs to back it up with sound reason and knowledge.

mdm
2-Jun-2012, 20:39
Each creative act is a sudden cession of stupidity, apparently Edwin Land said that. Go and do something more interesting, like make some mushy portraits with rear movements only. Nobody cares except you.

ridax
2-Jun-2012, 22:02
The article in question gives bad information and teaches sloppy technique.

I would not call it bad/sloppy but I agree the information is incomplete.


I think the problem is that articles on the Reference Page(...) The question left in my mind is, are there any standards at all for Reference Page articles?

Good point. Sorry I had paid little attention to this before.

But what I know for sure from the first-hand experience in the book publishing world is, a quality work of fiction needs at least 2 to 3 editors, along with the author him/herself, editing and re-editing the text at least 2 to 3 times, and any scientific or technical paper surely needs a lot more - even when it is not meant to be a universal reference.

Setting the standards that high is surely nice but I'm afraid for this topic, a multi-year work of several of the most knowledgeable and experienced authors is needed to make it complete.

Well, may be that project has just started.... assuming of course the people participating in it exhibit a lot of good will and patience and tolerance.

Mark Sawyer
3-Jun-2012, 13:09
I would not call it bad/sloppy but I agree the information is incomplete.

I suppose we're just choosing different words, but advising people to use narrow-coverage lenses off-axis for no good reason is, for me, bad information. And in an article that dwells so heavily on "bokeh", Bruggeman's statement that if "I want to bet on the safe side, I use f16 or f22," shows sloppy technique. Closing the aperture that much has a significant effect on the image, and to do it "just to be safe" is trading away a lot of aesthetic control.

Other things, like defining "bokeh" as simply "creaminess" is very incomplete.


Setting the standards that high is surely nice but I'm afraid for this topic, a multi-year work of several of the most knowledgeable and experienced authors is needed to make it complete.

Well, may be that project has just started.... assuming of course the people participating in it exhibit a lot of good will and patience and tolerance.

Now you're teasing us! :)

ridax
4-Jun-2012, 00:30
Now you're teasing us! :)

Yes I am.

Because I really wish to see the project completed - up to the very high standards you are advocating here. And also because I realize I would probably never do it myself as I think I do see what an enormous body of work it is. (That month spent on short focal length tessars alone is well enough for me. And please bear in mind that little survey of mine does not even include a single f/6.3 tessar - which are different beasts with similar pictorial properties but with less astigmatism and much better field sharpness.)

And because of this, I feel a lot of respect to the person who was daring enough to get the work started. And that's why I strongly prefer to be very careful in choosing the words I use to criticize his work.

Øyvind:D
18-Jul-2012, 12:59
The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)

JBAphoto
28-Jul-2012, 18:44
The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)

I was about to put in my comment, but with this one already here there is no need apart from the real need to consider the approach the photographer is taking and the subject's personal qualities

jeroenbruggeman
6-Sep-2012, 09:59
The second edition of my review of portrait lenses is online. Changes with respect to the first edition are the following, along with a number of minor modifications.

As promised, a review of a Dagor is added.

The tea-colored front lens of a Lanthar can be cleaned by sunlight indeed, as Mark pointed out, so my earlier complaint about its color rendition has been deleted.

At the beginning there is a somewhat more balanced account of in-focus skin tones and out-of focus bokeh (versus a bias towards bokeh at the expense of skin tones in the first edition).

Also at the beginning there is a treatment of camera movements and image circles.

The-man-who-calls-himself-Ridax tested a bunch of Tessars (and I tested one more, a 180mm Bausch and Lomb wide open), reconfirming my earlier claim that in general, Tessars have better bokeh than Plasmats.

Nobody reacted to my proposal in this thread to review a 127mm Ysarex (f4.7), a Tessar attached to a hand-held camera, so I saved myself the trouble of testing it elaborately. What I can say briefly is that apart from its focus and image circle, it performs very similar to the 210mm Ysarex discussed in the review article. Of course wide open, bokeh shows up more clearly with a 210mm than with a 127mm lens. The image circle of the 127mm is tight, and from wide open until f5.6 the corners are mushy. Stopped down further, it performs as well as its big brother.

ridax
9-Sep-2012, 15:39
Sorry for going a bit off-topic but I just can't resist the temptation to put this in....


While it is true that there were no non-Apo Ronars, the same is NOT true for Sironar-N's and some other lenses. So it's often really useful to mention not only the EXACT names but also the serial numbers....

It seems that being positively sure about anything is just enough to get all one's beliefs ruined at once :). So, as an extra argument for the pedantic writing style, please meet a 180mm f/6 non-apo Doppel-Anastigmat Ronar, serial #1677, manufactured by G. Rodenstock, München (according to the published numbers/dates, well before 1910).

Unlike the modern Apo-Ronar, this Ronar is really a double (convertible) anastigmat. It is perfectly symmetrical and has 4 elements in 4 groups, but this is not a common Celor (dialite) type Ronar. It is a double Gauss, with positive menisci outside and negative menisci closer to the diaphragm. At infinity, this strange Ronar covers a field of about 10" in diameter, with excellent sharpness but naturally poor contrast due to the 8 glass-to-air surfaces and the absence of coating. Its foreground blur is nice at full aperture, and its background blur is very good at f/16 (at f/11, both are nothing to write home about). If I had no Symmars that are as sharp but are also coated, I would be very excited about a Ronar like this...

BTW, I guess this unsung Ronar may well turn out to be the earliest Rodenstock that still survives. Any collectors out there? ;)

80235

olvrkrg
24-Jun-2013, 14:22
Figure 16, designated Apo Ronar 240 f16, is definetly a mistake. Rules of Optics do not allow a depth of field of 30 or 40cm with a scale down of estimated only 1:4.

jeroenbruggeman
25-Jun-2013, 02:30
Figure 16, designated Apo Ronar 240 f16, is definetly a mistake. Rules of Optics do not allow a depth of field of 30 or 40cm with a scale down of estimated only 1:4.

LF-cameras allow for Scheimpflug...

IraZimina
22-Mar-2017, 05:47
Jeroen, hello! Tahnk you very much fopr your artcile on the large format lenses, very informative and with examples. I have been very impressed with the photo made with the Rodenstock Apo-Ronar 240 where focus is so unique it looks totally amazing. I am thinking to buy large format camera and really would love to know what you used as such focusing makes my heart as a mainly a portrait photographer feel endless happiness. Also would love to ask about the size of the negative, i usually use 13x18 cm, 18x24 cm and plan to get 8x10 inches and 30 x 30 cm. Thank you a lot! Best regards from Moscow

Armin Seeholzer
22-Mar-2017, 16:21
The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)

I do not agree fully on this one its about 80% the light and maybe 20% the lens and film in my opinion!

Taija71A
23-Mar-2017, 17:34
The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)

Although, I know what Armin means... I would definitely have to agree with you here.
Over the years, I have learned that 'Lighting'... Is always of the very utmost and 'Primary' importance.
--
If, I ever had to make a choice between using the 'Best' Lens for the Job...
Or seeking the 'Best' Lighting for the Job -- I would always choose the very best Lighting. Thank-you!

Kind Regards, -Tim.

"Lighting is vital. Without that they've got Nothing."
~~ Joe Grant. ~~

jeroenbruggeman
28-Mar-2017, 08:09
"If, I ever had to make a choice between using the 'Best' Lens for the Job...
Or seeking the 'Best' Lighting for the Job -- I would always choose the very best Lighting. Thank-you!"

If you manage to realize the best lighting, why not have a good lens as well? A portait with a Heliar will then look much better than with an Apo-Symmar L.

Ariel Genton
29-Aug-2017, 14:36
Hello Jeroen.

Thanks a lot for this article and sharing your experience on the use of those lenses.

I was happy to see I choosed some appropriate lenses such as Schneider Symmar S 210 mm and Rodenstock Ronar 240 mm. They are very good for townscapes. I will use them for portraits.

Do you know of a book or article about the portrait in LF? I want to train with scheimpflung on it...

regards

Ariel

jeroenbruggeman
31-Aug-2017, 05:23
Dear Ariel,

There are inspiring books by good portrait photographers who typically do not reveal the technicalities, and there are technical books, e.g. on Scheimpflug, that do not explain how to make portraits in LF. So the only thing I could recommend is to practice a lot. It helps a great deal if you make your sitter feel comfortable and arrange some support for the head such that it does not move when you fiddle the knobs.

Best,

Jeroen

DolphinDan
4-Sep-2017, 17:46
Hi Ariel,

Sinar published a book on people photography with Sinar LF cameras back in the 90s. The book is kind of pricey and short, but here is a link to the book on AMAZON.com:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sinar+lf+people+photography&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Asinar+lf+people+photography

Namaste,
Daniel

AtlantaTerry
5-Sep-2017, 22:42
Hi Ariel,

Sinar published a book on people photography with Sinar LF cameras back in the 90s. The book is kind of pricey and short, but here is a link to the book on AMAZON.com:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sinar+lf+people+photography&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Asinar+lf+people+photography

Namaste,
Daniel

Sorry, but that link does not work.

Amazon says: "We found 0 results for "sinar if people photography"

Taija71A
6-Sep-2017, 05:57
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sinar+people+photography&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Asinar+people+photography

"People Photography (Creative Large Format) People Photography is the fourth volume in the series Creative Large Format.
Photography in the large format is the new trend, especially in demanding advertising and fashion photography."

Product Details:

Series: Creative Large Format
Paperback: 95 pages
Publisher: Sinar Publications AG (April 1996)
ISBN-10: 372310049X
ISBN-13: 978-3723100493

Rick A
9-Sep-2017, 06:24
Hi Ariel,

Sinar published a book on people photography with Sinar LF cameras back in the 90s. The book is kind of pricey and short, but here is a link to the book on AMAZON.com:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sinar+lf+people+photography&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Asinar+lf+people+photography

Namaste,
Daniel

Is this what you were trying to link to?
https://www.amazon.com/People-Photography-Creative-Large-Format/dp/372310049X/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504963369&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=sinar+ln+people+photography