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Thread: Best soft focus lens for the money?

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by durr3 View Post
    What is the best "soft focus" LF lens for the money? 5x7 to 8x10 size. Say around $500 or so.

    thanks
    J
    A +1 diopter lens

  2. #22

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Greg.

    Darlot's portait lenses were always listed as portrait lenses in catalogues, for instance here:

    http://www.antiquecameras.net/1890lenscatalogue.html

    But, unlike their competitor Voigtlander, they never got around to engraving them as such. The only times they actually wrote "Portrait" somewhere on the lens was in connection with Convertible lenses, like the Universal and the centralising cone.

    This creates enormous problems to-day for buyers and sellers as Darlot made very large numbers of Projection Petzvals late in the 19th century. These, in appearance and brass details, are just about impossible to distinguish from non-Waterhouse stop early Darlots.

    Now about soft lens purchases for the OP!

    You will have to look through the list of known sales made in a period up to about 2014.

    http://www.antiquecameras.net/softfocuslenssales.html

    After this period you will have to search through the thread here called "soft lens sales". The last entry here (currently) is a Dallmeyer Patent lens (a smaller F4, series A) for under 500 usd.
    Soft lenses were mostly for studio/family portrature, so shutters, when fitted, were mostly of the open/shut variety.

  3. #23
    multi format
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    durr3

    if it is a shuttered lens you need, most all ( except for the kodak, and using a diopter/magnifying glass on another lens ) are limited to a barrel...
    the wollensak veritos as mentioned come in a studio shutter, so your speeds are limited to
    how fast or slow you are able to manipulate a degroff air cylinder to vary your speeds( i'm able to get a fast and slow speed ). sometimes
    you might find the veritos mounted in a betax shutter ... factory mounted. the veritar comes in a 14" size
    and will easily cover your 5x7 and 8x10... its a "coated(for color)" lens and comes in a more modern alphax shutter and a bii post flash sync.
    good luck !
    john
    ps. i didn't study physics in college

  4. #24

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    Aug 2011
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    Mississippi, USA
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    All of your posts have been some great information. Thank You to All...Now to get one!

  5. #25
    Les
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Back in '82 I was bumpin' around Europe and walked out of some museum and saw this Getty-esque light (those that live near Malibu would get this) and decided to use vaseline on a UV filter. The results were fine.

    Getting reliable results might be tricky, one can use just tiny amount and place it where it counts on the glass or just glob it on thick :>). Anyhoo, cleaning the filter was an ***itch***.

    Disclaimer: No lens has been harmed and one does not need physics degree (even classes) for this.

    Les

  6. #26
    Alex Timmermans
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    Holland
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Just a silk stocking covering any lens....
    "You dont take a picture, it's given to you"

    www.alextimmermans.com
    www.collodion-art.blogspot.com
    email : collodion-art dot onsmail dot nl

  7. #27
    Les
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Indeed, agree with Alex above. Many cinematographers use this idea...and use Dior, since too many types are inconsistent.

    Les

  8. #28
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by alex from holland View Post
    Just a silk stocking covering any lens....
    No, no, no! There's a big difference between true soft focus achieved through spherical/chromatic aberration and fuzzing up the image with a stocking or Vaseline smeared on the lens.

    Probably the best soft lens in the "uber-cheap" category is to take a shutter you already own and trust, and buy a diopter set that matches the rear thread size. The Ilex 4 and Copal 3 are 58mm front and rear, so if you buy a couple of $12 sets of diopters, and maybe a few spacer rings, you could have years of experimenting with a single menisci of various focal lengths at the rear, or try front and rear elements with different spacings as a periscopic layout. Or get ambitious and blow a few more bucks for a nice achromatic meniscus, (here's a listing: http://fuzzcraft.com/achromats.html ). Or put an achromat at the rear and a single diopter up front and make your own Verito! (Except it won't really be a Verito...)

    But then you're stuck with explaining to people that your lens is something you cobbled together on the cheap. There's a certain satisfaction, at least for some of us, in owning and using a true piece of history.

    The Verito is the best and most available deal out there, as they made so many for so long. And there's a really good reason why they made and sold so many: they're really nice lenses. I wouldn't argue with Jim Galli about the Eidoscopes and Pinkham & Smith's being fabulous lenses, but a Verito is every bit as nice, at least in my eyes. But each has its own look, which is why some of us rationalize having small (or large) collections of these lenses. Hell, Alvin Langdon Coburn had a dozen P&S Semi-Achromats because each one was a little different!

    Then again, those magnifying glasses from the 99-cent store were a lot of fun, and really did make some beautiful images...

    Whatever floats your boat, it's all good!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #29

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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    I know a real SF lens is the real thing (I have at least one) but I get some good results from SF filters - Softar, Tiffen Soft/FX and dutos. Please forgive my heresy.

  10. #30
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Best soft focus lens for the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    ...Please forgive my heresy.
    YOU SHALL BE BURNED AT THE STAKE, YOU HEATHEN!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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