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Thread: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

  1. #1

    Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    Hello!

    So I recently purchased a 4x5 camera, and I have to say, I'm hooked. Photography has never been so fun!


    I am thinking about purchasing an 8x10 camera soon as well, although mainly for a very specific purpose. I am looking for that "large format portrait look" (basically shooting a 300mm at f5.6 for environmental portraits) and then contact printing, and was wondering if anyone had any advice for the best bang for your buck 300mm.

    Ideally i'm looking to spend 300 or less, since this camera will have a very niche use for me. I've seen a few on eBay but am not sure where to really start!

    For reference - my go to lens in medium format is the carl zeiss 80mm f2.0 for contax for portraits as well as the pentax 67 105mm f2.4 SMC lens, to give an idea of the quality I like in the bokeh I shoot.

    Thank you!

  2. #2

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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    Bang for buck: Fujinon W is usually the most lens for the least money, in all focal lengths. My personal favorite in that length is the 300/6.3 Paragon (or same branded as a Caltar).

  3. #3
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    A 12 inch (305mm) Kodak Commercial Ektar suits me fine and is in your price range. There are also Kodak Portrait lenses with more out of focus character but I'm not familiar with them. The down side is the Acme shutters have gotten old and may need servicing.

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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    Aero Ektar 12 inches f2.5 . Pretty legit lens; mounting can be an issue for smaller board . I have two of these; the second one I got for less than $40 total I think on ebay about two weeks ago...Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    Make sure you understand what shutter features you will need. Many of the 'bargain' options may come in barrel (shutterless) or in old shutters that might not work as expected.

    You will probably see some nice modern lenses offered mounted on Sinar DB lens boards, often for much less than a comparable lens in a Copal/Compur shutter. These were meant to be used with Sinar's behind-the-lens leaf shutters on their monorail cameras. While some people have adapted the Sinar shutters for other cameras and most of the DB lenses can be easily remounted on normal Copal shutters... proceed with caution unless the Sinar system is what you actually want.

  6. #6

    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    Quote Originally Posted by ottluuk View Post
    Make sure you understand what shutter features you will need. Many of the 'bargain' options may come in barrel (shutterless) or in old shutters that might not work as expected.

    You will probably see some nice modern lenses offered mounted on Sinar DB lens boards, often for much less than a comparable lens in a Copal/Compur shutter. These were meant to be used with Sinar's behind-the-lens leaf shutters on their monorail cameras. While some people have adapted the Sinar shutters for other cameras and most of the DB lenses can be easily remounted on normal Copal shutters... proceed with caution unless the Sinar system is what you actually want.
    Thank you! Yes I'm looking to stick with a copal system, so thanks for the advice.

    The Fujinon 300mm 5.6 looks enticing... how would that compare to say the nikkor 300mm 5.6? Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far!

  7. #7
    village idiot BennehBoy's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    This was shot on a Schneider 300/5.6 Symmar wide open on 8x10:



    It's a big heavy lens however so may not be the best choice for 4x5. Also probably at the upper end of the price scale but can be had economically if you are not concerned with cosmetics.

    You're going to have to be quite far from the subject for environmental portraits, I usually shoot those with a 165SA.

  8. #8

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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    The Symmar 300 is an interesting lens, it doubles as a 500mm f12 with a narrower field of view, the front element unscrews leaving the shutter and the rear element. I sold one on ebay a year ago for a few hundred dollars in very good condition, the shutter was a Compound type.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    If you want a little more wiggle room (environmental portraits, etc), you could do worse than get a Fujinon 250 f6.7.
    Well within your budget, sharp, and comes in either a Seiko or Copal 1 shutter, so not as big & heavy as a 300mm f5.6 lens.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice: 8x10 300mm f5.6 Portrait lens

    I'd say a Wollensak Velostigmat Series II, which is an f/4.5 Tessar. And go for one with a diffusion ring at the front; it's a nice option to have, one that the other lenses don't have. Note that these often come in older Betax shutters that don't have flash synch, but you can add a synched Packard Shutter for studio strobe work.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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