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Thread: Portrait Lens Question

  1. #11

    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Thanks Noah. Much appreciated.

  2. #12

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    My experience with the Fuji 360 is that it is noticeably soft if you shoot with a large aperture. By f16 or f22 it gets very nice. I tend to shoot portraits close to wide open, and I found that my Schneider Apo-Symmar 360 was much sharper than the Fuji at large apertures. Depending on the look you're going for, one or the other may be preferable.

  3. #13

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Quote Originally Posted by hugosharp View Post
    Hi All,

    First post, just getting into LF (8x10) photography. As a way of learning i'm going to shoot a series in the style of Avedon's In the American West (ie crisp portraits. Some nice bokeh if needed though not soft focus images like Paolo Roveri). I've searched a lot and found that he shot it with a 360mm Symmar-S. I was going to just get one of these on ebay and get shooting but after much research i'm now considering putting my money into a 360mm Tessar instead. My question is therefore, what should i be expecting from each lens? Obviously there are many variables but should i be pulling my hair out or are either going to suits my needs when trying to get crisp portraits. For that matter would any "big 4" 360 get me in the ball park (eg Nikon, Fuji, Shneider, Rodenstock)?
    Pretty much yup. Of the two dozen or so LF lenses I own, the only 14" lens I have is a Gold Dot Dagor that I bought new in 1987. Probably my least used focal length. L

  4. #14

    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Thanks Luis. Why is it the least used length? And are you shooting portraits? Thanks

  5. #15

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Quote Originally Posted by hugosharp View Post
    Thanks Luis. Why is it the least used length? And are you shooting portraits? Thanks
    Frankly, for 8x10 I think a 12" is the most useful focal length. I typically bring the 12" Dagor instead of the 14". A 14" plasmat is a BEAST, but you'll figure that out. I have two 12" Dagors as well as a 12" Artar. You might also consider a 14-16.5" Artar. Nice small size considering and if you don't stop down much it won't be razor sharp, or stop down to f22 to 45 if you want more sharpness & DF. Whatever you get, make sure it's in a recent shutter (ie Copal) or certainly nothing older than an Ilex shutter, and if an Ilex plan on having it serviced. L

  6. #16

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    I shoot portraits on 8x10. You can use a 12" in some circumstances, but not as a usual lens, in my opinion. It's OK if the subject is small in the frame, and in one plane, but not close, or when something is sticking out towards the camera. Some people would include noses relative to ears as "something sticking out", others think that kind of distortion is OK. I don't. My usual lens is a 36cm Heliar on 8x10, or 30cm tessar-type on 5x7. If you're curious, I think nearly every shot in my LF Flickr page, which is mostly portraits, is labeled as to format and focal length

    I don't care for plasmats, in general, but if you're replicating Avedon, that's probably what you need to have, if for no other reason than to feel like you're doing it right. Likewise for the focal length; use what he used.

  7. #17
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    I agree with Michael. If you are going after that Avedon look, use a plasmat. Heliars and tessars are wonderful portrait lenses with their own look, and I would not associate that with Avedon. But I have to admit that I shoot neither stopped down, and if you are shooting outdoors in the west you will have a lot of light so could stop down considerably, and maybe then a tessar looks like a plasmat? Hell, I don't know...

  8. #18

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Stop them down enough, and they all look like pinholes. :-)
    Tim's probably right: stop them down to f22, and who could tell the difference?

  9. #19

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    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Jim, IMHO, nailed it.

    There is no silver bullet. Whole Avedon's series are more about light and awesome printer than about lens. Grab something, stop it to f22 and shoot. As long as it is relatively sharp - you will be fine.
    Symmar-S in 360 is frantastic sharp plasmat that will absolutely work.

  10. #20

    Re: Portrait Lens Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Jim, IMHO, nailed it.

    There is no silver bullet. Whole Avedon's series are more about light and awesome printer than about lens. Grab something, stop it to f22 and shoot. As long as it is relatively sharp - you will be fine.
    Symmar-S in 360 is frantastic sharp plasmat that will absolutely work.
    Ok brilliant. Thanks all for the feedback. Helps immensity. Does lead to the question though of what about his printing was so good?!

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