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Thread: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

  1. #41

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post

    I'd contend that sharpness isn't as important as the author seeks with large format because the degree of enlargement is much smaller than with small film or digital, but I recognize photographers' preference for sharpness is all over the scale, especially when lenses do double duty for general purposes uses. Thus if it's important to him, it's probably important to many other people.
    At enlargements of half a meter, the difference in sharpness and grain between 6x6cm and 4x5" is already very clear, and becomes ever clearer the larger the prints are made, even to lay people, so it must be treated seriously.

  2. #42

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    There have been several generations of lenses produced expressly for large format portraiture. The first generation was the Petzval portrait lenses, of which the fastest were designated "portrait lenses" because they were fast, and could minimize long exposure times.

    The second generation began with the Dallmeyer Patent Portrait, a fast Petzval that had an adjustment for inducing spherical aberration to spread the very shallow depth of field. The extra depth of field didn't really make much difference, but people liked the soft look of the spherical aberration, and many new designs added more and more aberration for softness' sake.
    Those and other old lenses are great, and for people interested, I explicitly referred to Galli's webpage, so it was not an omission that I wasn't aware of. I had drawn a (vague) boundary at around the nineteen twenties, for the general reason that the performances of old portrait lenses are better documented, and people interested can more easily find information about them, and for the personal reason that I don't want to work with lenses without a shutter (and can't afford to send off a series of colossal brass lenses to S.K.Grimes to mount them in gargantuan Ilex #5 shutters, although I've considered the option).

  3. #43

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_1856 View Post
    Thanks, Tuan, for pointing out this article.
    I hope it doesn't jack the price of the Apo-Lanthar up to even more absurd levels than it already is.
    It would have been nice to see his opinion of the results of a DAGOR.
    To lower the price of the Lanthar, I also said that it's image circle is too small for front movements, it's colors are bad, it's less sharp than the Sironar-S, and it's radio activity will kill you instantly. What else would you want me to say?

    If I can borrow your Dagor, I will test it for you! I've seen fabulous landscapes by Dagors, but was in doubt about its possibilities as a portrait lens; the examples I found seemed not to improve upon my favourite lenses. The only way to find out is to test one myself, but they happen to be too expensive to just buy one to try, and in Europe there is hardly anyone who owns one and from whom I could borrow. If I had been a landscape photographer, I would certainly have bought one, and then would have also used it for portraits if the occasion arises.

  4. #44

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    The second generation began with the Dallmeyer Patent Portrait, a fast Petzval that had an adjustment for inducing spherical aberration to spread the very shallow depth of field. The extra depth of field didn't really make much difference, but people liked the soft look of the spherical aberration, and many new designs added more and more aberration for softness' sake.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeroenbruggeman View Post
    Those and other old lenses are great, and for people interested, I explicitly referred to Galli's webpage...
    Or as you said in your conclusion, "soft-focus lenses are terminally tacky, and I would not want to be found dead with one."
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #45
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    for what its worth.. i was hoping to read about lens's for 8x10.

    i also have the opinion, that a portrait is mainly an image, of mainly the face, that, expresses the I as a whole, not the whole body nor a scene with a body for good measure.?

    so my opinion is worthless as i didnt really read it and didnt really look at the pictures.
    through a glass darkly...

  6. #46

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Or as you said in your conclusion, "soft-focus lenses are terminally tacky, and I would not want to be found dead with one."
    Yes, and you rightly understood that this sentence was indeed a personal opinion that neither needed to be repeated (by me) nor should influence others' purchasing decisions (and I'm sure I'm not that influential anyway).

  7. #47
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    far out this the most interesting fred i've red...
    through a glass darkly...

  8. #48

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmicexplosion View Post
    for what its worth.. i was hoping to read about lens's for 8x10.

    i also have the opinion, that a portrait is mainly an image, of mainly the face, that, expresses the I as a whole, not the whole body nor a scene with a body for good measure.?
    It's perfectly fine to take photo's of faces only, if you wish, and my test results equally apply to that interpretation of portraits. For 8x10", my results suggest that Tessars, Dialytes (not MC), and Heliars will be good, in addition to lenses that only exist/make sense for 8x10, so just translate focal lengths. I would say anything between 300mm and 480mm will do, but for close ups I would start at 360mm. Image circles that are tight at infinity will be large for portraits as you want them to be. Much more knowledgeable than I am on 8x10 is Jim Galli, who has a wonderful website (eh, just right now it doesn't work, hope it will come back.)

  9. #49
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    The problem with assessing dagors is that they, like tessars, were made for the better part
    of a century, so have quite an internal evolution and variety of their own which can't be given a simple sterotype. I've simply used the later ones, and mostly for 8x10, which were
    exquistely color-corrected; and yes, I did sometimes use them for landscape. But it is
    really for portraiture that these lenses sing. The internal contrast of midtones and highlights is fabulous, and the nature of the edges is different from either the old-style
    official portrait lenses and modern plastmats etc. A very important lens category in this
    discussion.

  10. #50

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Although I do not agree with every statement, I do appreciate the article and agree 100% that if you lay a well printed gelatin silver print alongside a well printed digital print, the gelatin will win hands down. I believe the problem is that too many people now are so used to the clinical sharpness, and strong edge contrast of digital images that they do not appreciate the beauty of an analog image.

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