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Thread: Best soft focus lens for the money?

  1. #11
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Kodak 305 portrait or a verito, though verito usually have bad shutters. you can do wonderful stuff with a magnifying glass or Reinhold Wollaston meniscus. I studied physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

  2. #12
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Value for money, magnifying glass. I mounted one in a cardboard shipping tube (spray painted black), cut a slot for cardboard waterhouse stops, and glued it all to a homemade wooden linhof board. Its crazy wide open, and pleasing for pictorial portraits and landscapes at f/8. Use it in dimmer light with slower film and a hat or cap shutter. Total cost in materials? Less than two dollars. Value in learning and shooting? Priceless...

  3. #13
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    For budget, check out my spaghetti measure lens on YouTube

  4. #14

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Thanks to all for your input. I will do some study.

  5. #15

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    I've picked up 2 soft focus lenses and 3 Petzval lenses over the past few years at that big auction site for very, very reasonable prices. Definitely all bought at way less than what they were worth. Secret is never to search with the words "soft focus" or "Petzval". "Brass" is also a term not search with. Do search with the words "old lens" or "antique lens". The VM is a must to use as a reference. Also don't be afraid to ask the seller if there are any words engraved on the lens. One time the seller Emailed me back the words "Darlot Portrait"... bought that lens in an instant.

  6. #16

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Actually, I don't think there any Darlot lenses engraved "Darlot Portrait"!

    Check ebay.fr as most french listings by "amateurs" do not have right english keywords for english based searches.

  7. #17

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I've picked up 2 soft focus lenses and 3 Petzval lenses over the past few years at that big auction site for very, very reasonable prices. Definitely all bought at way less than what they were worth. Secret is never to search with the words "soft focus" or "Petzval". "Brass" is also a term not search with. Do search with the words "old lens" or "antique lens". The VM is a must to use as a reference. Also don't be afraid to ask the seller if there are any words engraved on the lens. One time the seller Emailed me back the words "Darlot Portrait"... bought that lens in an instant.
    Good advice...thanks

  8. #18

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    Actually, I don't think there any Darlot lenses engraved "Darlot Portrait"!
    There actually were 5 Darlot Portrait lenses with rack & pinion and central stops sold in 1890:
    4 1/2" (3 1/4 x 4 1/4)
    5 1/2" (4 1/4 x 5 1/4)
    7" (5 x 7)
    10 1/2" (8x10)
    15" (11x14)

    Took mine apart to see if it was a Petzval... yes it is a Petzval with just beautiful image qualities. I believe the sole agent for the USA was Benjamin French & Co in Boston, Mass. Lenses sold by them were engraved "B. F. & Co."

  9. #19

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Russ Young's PhD thesis (The Soft-Focus Lens and Anglo-American Pictorialism) is worth reading. Wish I had a copy with all the images.
    Peter

  10. #20

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    I believe the venerable Verito remains the best real value. They simply were in production for such a long period that they remain available. To get an 11 1/2" one which will work on your formats you may have to bump the budget up a couple hundred more bucks. Over your budget but in my ever so humble opinion the best dollar value to this day is the Hermagis Eidoscop. They are the equal to the Pinkham Series IV in every way and hover at less than 1/2 the cost.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

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