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View Full Version : What is your favorite 5x7 soft focus portrait lens?



durr3
6-Feb-2017, 07:35
Looking for advice on best "soft focus" portrait lens.
What do you use and how do you like it?
Example photos would be great!

Thanks

russyoung
7-Feb-2017, 16:53
Everyone has an opinion, wondering why no one has weighed in...

Verito 14.5" f/4-5.6

Russ160960

William Whitaker
7-Feb-2017, 19:49
Everyone has an opinion, wondering why no one has weighed in...

Verito 14.5" f/4-5.6

Russ

The venerable Verito is always in fashion, of course. But while waiting for the others to pounce, I thought to suggest a 12" Kodak Portrait, especially one mounted in a factory Ilex #5. Of course, the best soft-focus lens is the one that works for you and... fits your camera. That's a detail you didn't include. If you're using a studio camera, that's one thing. But if yours is a modern folding field camera, then you'd be hard-pressed to get either one of these lenses mounted to it.

A "portrait lens" doesn't have to be soft focus. An old Velostigmat would work wonderfully. Or an Ilex Paragon. Or a Tessar 1c (these last often plentiful and affordable in barrels marked "5x7" or "5x8"). If you're lucky, maybe a 210 or 240 Heliar. :) Not soft-focus, but a helluva lens!

And just a comment...
Hang around the recurring monthly portrait thread. There is some very fine work there and you can see what other people use and to what effect.
My take on soft focus lenses is that lighting is just as important as the lens itself. Or very nearly so. After all, photography is about light. My 2.

jp
7-Feb-2017, 20:03
I hadn't weighed in because I don't have a 5x7 camera.

But the Kodak Portrait Will mentioned is made for 5x7 and having the shutter is handy. It's a great lens. It's all I shoot on my 8x10 field camera. (https://flic.kr/p/P83PCL)
My Gundlach Hyperion 9" is supposed to be for 5x7 as well, but I use it with 4x5 speed graphic. It's a very nice lens but obscure/rare enough I can't suggest it and expect someone to just go get one.
The Verito Russ mentions is very nice. Most don't have a contemporary shutter, but if you're supplying the light, you can deal with that. Veritar would be a more modern with a newer shutter.
Amongst any of these, it's not that one is better, but more so my skill with one is better due to practice.

Bill_1856
7-Feb-2017, 20:15
9" Verito f:4 someone beautifully remounted in a Copal #3. Stopped down a little it loses that destinctive look.
For 5x7, I prefer a 10" f:8 Rapid Rectilinear. My problem is the semi-functional Eastman shutter, even though Carol at Flutot's has given it her best magic. (The Verito is an AWESOME package.)

mdarnton
7-Feb-2017, 21:11
Soft, 11.5" Verito; sharp, 300mm f6.3 Paragon. If not the Paragon, any good Tessar would do for me. I have a variety of Tessar-types for all of my cameras in preference to other choices.

MAubrey
7-Feb-2017, 21:13
Fuji's 250mm SF?

DrTang
8-Feb-2017, 09:12
not SF.. but I use a 240 Heliar on my Linhof Tech 5x7... I also have a 300 Heliar that is just a bit too long for my studio space most of the time

the Heliar never misses... it's magic..it is.. and it has that creamy graduations from light to dark.. and it's not 'too' sharp

it's the perfect lens for me.... but..it is not a soft focus lens

Emil Schildt
8-Feb-2017, 09:47
not SF.. but I use a 240 Heliar on my Linhof Tech 5x7... I also have a 300 Heliar that is just a bit too long for my studio space most of the time

the Heliar never misses... it's magic..it is.. and it has that creamy graduations from light to dark.. and it's not 'too' sharp

it's the perfect lens for me.... but..it is not a soft focus lens

Agreed, but the 300 Universal Heliar is awesome - also for 7x5

Tim Meisburger
9-Feb-2017, 06:32
Agreed, but the 300 Universal Heliar is awesome - also for 7x5

+1

Raymond Bleesz
9-Feb-2017, 07:08
+1

I do not know if this fits in with the question, however, just yesterday I used a historic Scovill Albion field camera, 8.5x11 with a Rochester 5x7 film holder with its historic Rochester Victor lens to produce this image---it is my understanding that the Rochester Victor lens was not designed as a "portrait" lens, but rather a "quality normal lens".

Raymond in Colorado

161022

goamules
9-Feb-2017, 07:29
Favorite soft focus 5x7 portrait lens, the 9" Karl Struss Pictorial, of course! One by me, one by the man himself:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6042/6211185141_05f832fec6_z.jpg

http://c300221.r21.cf1.rackcdn.com/vintage-blog-gloria-swanson-by-karl-struss-1922-1429486202_org.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/719/23175452545_b8213eda5c_z.jpg

Raymond Bleesz
9-Feb-2017, 07:31
My mistake and I offer my apologies -----The historic Scovill Albion camera, late 1880's, is 6.5 x 8.5 in size, not 8.5x11, all other info is correct. Raymond

goamules
9-Feb-2017, 09:34
And is not a soft focus lens.

Hugo Zhang
9-Feb-2017, 09:57
Another vote for Universal Heliar. I use a 36cm one for 5x7 head and shoulder shots and dial in #3 if for middle-aged ladies who don't like to wrinkles on their faces.

jnantz
9-Feb-2017, 10:00
probably a 14" portrait veritar

Tim Meisburger
9-Feb-2017, 10:58
Favorite soft focus 5x7 portrait lens, the 9" Karl Struss Pictorial, of course! One by me, one by the man himself:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6042/6211185141_05f832fec6_z.jpg

http://c300221.r21.cf1.rackcdn.com/vintage-blog-gloria-swanson-by-karl-struss-1922-1429486202_org.jpg


https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/719/23175452545_b8213eda5c_z.jpg

Yours is better! What a nice signature.

goamules
9-Feb-2017, 17:28
Thanks Tim, too kind. You take some great shots too.

John Kasaian
9-Feb-2017, 22:32
13" Cooke Series II Anastigmat. Mine's in a Betax shutter. Not very soft although it was considered a portrait lens in it's day (1900s & teens, I'm guessing.)

Jeff T
9-Feb-2017, 23:19
+1 for 9 inch Karl Struss Pictorial, the 305 Kodak Portrait in Ilex5 shutter, the 405 Kodak Portrait. I'd love to try Universal Heliar.

vssoutlet
12-Feb-2017, 06:26
Verito 14.5" 3.5

William Whitaker
12-Feb-2017, 07:16
Verito 14.5" 3.5

f/3.5?