This is great! Thanks everyone. Most of your comments reinforce my choice of Tessar types. I think if I end up with something new, the Tessar lenses have the look I am after, at a price I am willing to pay while I am experimenting with a new kind of photography for me.

To answer Michael's question, I intend to do these portraits outdoors in open shade using natural light, foamcore and other similar gentle reflectors.

Ken: I had not seen that part of your site before. Very interesting. I had discounted the Nikkor M because it is so sharp. But of course I have been shooting it at f/22 most of the time! I will give it a try. I really like free!

Sal: I suspect you are right. Today I am doing some experiments with my WP Seneca and a converted 215mm Ilex Acuton. It converts to 14 inches. I will compare that to what I see through my 300mm Nikkor M. I will also get to see what the converted lens does for portraits. It is a sigle coated Plasmat. So far I have used it uncoverted and only for landscapes.

Drew and JP: I had not thought about a Fujinar in addition to the Xenar and Fuji L lenses. I might find some gems there too! I am working on a budget, and these often seem to slide under the radar.

Thanks again everyone. Lots of good stuff to think about and try.