View Full Version : Portrait Lens Advice Needed

Renato Tonelli
23-Apr-2013, 17:17
I would like to purchase a portrait lens for a series that I am planning for this Summer. It would be wonderful if I could use it for close-ups of flowers as well. I am thinking of the look one gets with a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 4.5/210 (that nice, soft background, or 'bokeh'); However, I would prefer to have a lens in shutter and I am now thinking along the lines of a Kodak Commercial Ektar (8.5in or 10in).

I will be using it on both a Linhof Master Tech 4x5 for the flower close-ups and on a 5x7 for the portraits. Researching this Forum and other sources suggests that the Kodak Commercial Ektar might suit my needs and they seem to be available and reasonably priced. Am I on the right path...?

As always, thank you for your thoughts and advice.

Mark Sawyer
23-Apr-2013, 18:03
There's a significant difference between f/4.5 and f/6.3 in depth of field, (a concern with "that nice, soft background, or 'bokeh'"), and on Tessars, a smaller difference in sharpness, (the f/6.3 being slightly sharper even when set at the same smaller aperture as an f/4.5). The design was tweaked a bit between the two, and the f/6.3 had a bit more coverage too. The Commercial Ektars are f/6.3. I'd say go with an f/4.5 Tessar for the portraits. Kodak made some very nice f/4.5 Ektars, (not Commercial Ektars), as did B&L, Wollensak, Ilex, and others. But for the flowers...?

23-Apr-2013, 18:05
You can't go wrong with the Commercial Ektar. Another nice option would be a Fujinar 210/4.5, and the Xenar 210/4.5 in compound shutter. All great tessars.

Triplets are great too. Fuji's soft focus triplet is just barely soft and probably pretty smooth even one stop down. I like my trioplan, but it's not in a shutter, so that doesn't meet your needs.