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  1. #1
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    A new article by Jeroen Bruggeman has just been posted:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/portrait-lenses/

    Please feel free to leave comments here.

  2. #2
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Bruggeman says that the Fujinon f8.5 300C is a Tessar design, being that it's a four element lens.

    However, when I refer to that lens as a Tessar, on this forum, I get corrected and told that it's not actually a Tessar

    The Nikon/Nikkor f9 300M is a true Tessar design. I understand that the Fujinon 300C is not a true Tessar design, although it has four elements.

    What is it?

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    All four elements being airspaced would classify it as a dialyte. The tessar Fujinon lens was
    the L series, similar to the Nikkor Q (the single-coated predecessor to the M).

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    The appeal of large format is the combination of high resolution and beautiful tonality.
    Had me....

    Moreover, 5x7” (and larger) negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to crummy digital “baryte” prints.
    Lost me. How can I take the article, or author seriously after this introduction?

  5. #5

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay DeFehr View Post
    Had me....

    Lost me. How can I take the article, or author seriously after this introduction?
    It's not a textbook.

    Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

    Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  6. #6

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    It's not a textbook.

    Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

    Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.
    I agree with Mark.

    It has become taboo to compare a silver gelatin print to one produced with a printer. Some get very defensive about their digital output while others sound apologetic about their 'traditional' work. We're all free to choose our workflow and to express our opinions about it. No need to get defensive or apologize for our artistic choices.

  7. #7

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato Tonelli View Post
    I agree with Mark.

    It has become taboo to compare a silver gelatin print to one produced with a printer. Some get very defensive about their digital output while others sound apologetic about their 'traditional' work. We're all free to choose our workflow and to express our opinions about it. No need to get defensive or apologize for our artistic choices.
    Renato,

    I don't think it's become taboo, at all. In fact, I'd say it's becoming necessary, and much more interesting, when the comparison is made by someone intimately familiar with both processes, and equally accomplished in both. The author made no such comparison, he simply degraded an entire craft in an offhanded way, and I see little in that to admire or respect. To be clear, I've never made an ink print of any kind, and I've not seen many that represent the state of that art, but the ones I have seen, and what I've learned from the people who make them instills in me a respect for what is a different, and potentially incredibly beautiful process, and for the people who dedicate themselves to advancing it.

  8. #8

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    It's not a textbook.

    Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?

    Personally, to date, I have yet to see any print enlarged or electronic that can match a nicely done contact print at the same size.
    It wasn't the author's opinion of his craft that bothered me, it was his slander of others' craft. Talk about defensive! You're entitled to your opinion, and the author to his, however narrow or ill-informed it might seem to me, but in a piece that wants to be taken seriously about technical aspects of craft, and which relies on judgement, the comment seemed to me out of place and set the wrong tone for what followed, but that's just my opinion. But then , I don't believe journalistic principles apply only to textbooks, either, so we're bound to disagree.

  9. #9
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    It's not a textbook.

    Really, are we to a point in this world where we can't show a bit of opinion about our craft?
    Agreed, but putting it on the reference page makes it a bit of a primer for someone looking for introductory knowledge about portrait lenses for large format. While it's an interesting sampling of whatever lenses were at hand, only one, the Heliar, was meant as a portrait lens.

    The others were general-use or meant for something completely different, like the Ronar and Artar. Those two process lenses fall far outside what is usually thought of as a portrait lens, (to dark, too sharp). Which isn't to say one can't use them as portrait lenses, but then, what lens can't you use for portraits? The Ronar seems to get the highest praise of all, ("Portraits shot with this lens feature an intergalactic gorgeousness... with a butter-smooth transition from sharp to unsharp areas, divine bokeh at all apertures, yummy tonality, and colors better than in real life...") But it would be near my last choice for traditional portraiture. So the article describes more what the author thinks portraiture should be, and less about what in the traditional sense makes a good portrait lens.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  10. #10

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Opposite to "sampling of whatever lenses there were at hand", my sampling was quite thoughtful and based on extensive research, although confined to (approximately) post-1930 lenses, and with some omissions explicated at the end. Quite a few lenses were not mentioned not because of my ignorance about them, but because I do know them.

    For Ronars and all those other lenses that were not designed to be portrait lenses, it seems to me more useful to find out open-mindedly what those lenses can do for us, rather than to discard them for tradition's sake. Had we taken traditions too seriously, we would now be painters (on cave walls), as photography would not have been invented.

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