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Thread: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

  1. #1

    Cool Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    I have had a Cooke ps 229 for some years now, have only used it a bit, maybe twice.
    Anybody have serious experience with the lens? I don't do portraits, and the only time I had a good shot with it was on my 5x7,
    which is no longer here.
    The kind of subjects in the landscape that would benefit is my primary question.
    If there is some wonderful use, I may keep it, but so far I am ignorant of such use.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    Cooke PS945 right?

    FL 229mm...(?)

  3. #3

    Cool Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    [QUOTE=gandolfi;886461]Cooke PS945 right?

    FL 229mm...
    Yep, my bad it is the PS 945.

  4. #4
    funkadelic
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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    I'm assuming they are the same. I am curious about how well it covers 5x7.

  5. #5
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    The web site says it has an image circle of 190mm at infinity.

  6. #6

    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by cdholden View Post
    I'm assuming they are the same. I am curious about how well it covers 5x7.
    I shot a scene that did not require a lot of movement, and never had any problems.

  7. #7

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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    I have used the lens with whole plate, 6 x 8 with no problems. As for use in the landscape, look for things that reflect light, or specular highlights. This is something I learned at Tillman Crane's soft focus workshop last year.

  8. #8
    jp498's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    Pick up some used books on pictorialism and see how people of old used soft lenses for landscape work. Even Ansel Adams did. Browse the Galli-style thread here to see what Stephane, Galli, et.al. have done outdoors. THere should be no shortage of inspiration.

    The differences between the lenses is subtle, but it's good to stick with one lens for a while to learn it for soft work. You may need to shoot 50+ sheets of film over several outings to learn how the lens will do certain scenes, distances, apertures, degree of enlargement, scene contrasts, etc... The big advantage that lens has over the older ones is that it has a shutter, and that's rather useful outdoors, especially one that goes to 1/125.

    Outdoors, I like soft focus for closeups of plants and bigger scenes where the detail isn't the reason for the photo. The softness can strongly enhance a composition at the expense of detail. Bright areas (like Diane mentions) can build into definite shapes, and dark areas (like thick forest conifers) can become imposing dark areas. Things get less literal.

    If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.

  9. #9

    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    Pick up some used books on pictorialism and see how people of old used soft lenses for landscape work. Even Ansel Adams did. Browse the Galli-style thread here to see what Stephane, Galli, et.al. have done outdoors. THere should be no shortage of inspiration.

    The differences between the lenses is subtle, but it's good to stick with one lens for a while to learn it for soft work. You may need to shoot 50+ sheets of film over several outings to learn how the lens will do certain scenes, distances, apertures, degree of enlargement, scene contrasts, etc... The big advantage that lens has over the older ones is that it has a shutter, and that's rather useful outdoors, especially one that goes to 1/125.

    Outdoors, I like soft focus for closeups of plants and bigger scenes where the detail isn't the reason for the photo. The softness can strongly enhance a composition at the expense of detail. Bright areas (like Diane mentions) can build into definite shapes, and dark areas (like thick forest conifers) can become imposing dark areas. Things get less literal.

    If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.
    Many thanks. I have been tempted by digital as it is soooo easy compared to darkroom work, but it IS different. I will get out soon and shoot the types of subjects you mention. I need to build my portfolio, and will also shoot some IR with the lens.

  10. #10
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    Re: Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.
    Just curious: How much would a used one go for?

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