View Full Version : close up portrait for 5x4

brian robertson
3-Feb-2009, 07:52
Dear All,

I'm new to LF, have a new 5x4 Shen Hao and 210 Nikkor. I want to get in really close for head shots- like macro. Using ambient light, mainly indoors. What would you recommend a) for size for this and b) good value for cost? Thank you!

Steve H
3-Feb-2009, 08:14
I have a Wollensack Verto II....12" or something like that I believe. I bought it in shutter for around $300 or so; I really like it as you can 'dial in' the softness; so it can be used as a regular lens as well if you like.

Joe Forks
3-Feb-2009, 08:25
even using your 210mm to focus at 1:1 you would need an additional 60mm of extension board (assuming your shen has 360mm of bellows).

Ken Lee
3-Feb-2009, 08:59
A "normal" 210mm lens requires 210mm of bellows draw to focus at infinity: that's how they rate lenses. A "telephoto" design requires less bellows draw - but tele lenses have shortcomings of their own: smaller image circles, and a learning curve when using view camera movements. However, these factors should be irrelevant for tight face shots.

A "normal" lens design will always require 2x its focal length to shoot at 1:1. At 1:1, the subject will be 4x5 inches in size: smaller than most faces. A tele lens will require less bellows draw than a standard lens, to get you just as close.

If you are wedded to the Shen Hao, then you might consider a tele lens such as the 300mm Fujinon T, the 400mm Fujinon T, or the 360 Nikkor T. If not, then consider a second camera - with longer bellows draw - and keep your 210mm lens. Used equipment is cheap these days, and you can certainly have more than one camera. You can even get an old 5x7 or 8x10 camera (which come with much longer bellows), keep it in "the studio", and use a 4x5 reducing back.

If you want to fill the frame with a face and have more than just the eyes - or tip of the nose - in focus (although some people like that look), you will need lots of light and/or fast film and/or a steady subject.

Most lenses are optimized for 5:1 to infinity. If you want really high performance close to 1:1, it's better to get a true macro lens, or a copy lens. A shorter length like 135 or 150, will let you use your existing camera with its existing bellows draw.

Ralph Barker
3-Feb-2009, 09:49
Getting a partial-face "macro" or even a tight head shot with a bellows of average extension without introducing what I call "proximity distortion" (foreshortening) is tough. Using a tele-design lens helps, but still doesn't give the magnification usually desired. You might consider using an 8x10 field camera with a 4x5 back, as Ken suggested, to get more bellows. Another alternative is the use of a close-up lens (filter-style), although that introduces some loss of image quality.

Peter K
3-Feb-2009, 10:39
Another alternative is the use of a close-up lens (filter-style), although that introduces some loss of image quality.
Not if one uses an achromatic one like the Zeiss Master Diopters. This lenses are used with movie cameras. And the movie screen is realy LF ;)

Dr Klaus Schmitt
3-Feb-2009, 13:13
Just made a rough calc to see that if you use 4x5" and about 1:7 mag, you would be 1.7meters away using a 210mm and 2.9meters using a 360mm. Sounds like the 210mm is not that wrong...?

Peter, any recommendations from Nürnberch?

Peter K
3-Feb-2009, 14:35
JPeter, any recommendations from Nürnberch?
Helioplan makes achromatic diopters in +3.0, +4.0, +5.0 dioptries on special order. Possible in M 67 x 0.75 mm for the Nikkor-W f/5.6 210mm. (1 dioptry = 1/m)

So let's assume the +3.0 will be used. A lens with a focal-lenght of 333 mm. If the lens is focussed at infinity and than the diopter is screwed in, all subjects in the distance of 333 mm are in focus. And there is no need for an exposure factor.

But with such a short distance one will get the same look as with cheep digi-cams. So a normal, not achromatized, diopter of 1.0 dioptries will be a better choice.

Peter K

3-Feb-2009, 15:32
Your Shen Hao has 360mm of extension. According to Ebony's handy lens page (http://www.ebonycamera.com/articles/lenses.html), the 210 Nikkor requires 207mm of extension at infinity. To calculate the close focus distance at maximum extension: 1/207 - 1/360 = 1/closest focusing distance, and that works out to be 487mm.

You can figure the size of the image this way: Draw a triangle, with the base 120mm (the long dimension of 4x5 film, rounded down a bit), with the height 360mm (fully extended bellows). Conveniently, that's a 3:1 ratio. If you draw the mirror image triangle on the other side of the dot that represents the lens, with a height of 487mm, you'll get a base of 162mm, or 6.4". Holding up a ruler, on me, with my big head, that's about chin to eyebrows, or a very very tight head shot. In short, your camera/lens combo will work for more normal headshots or head-n-shoulder shots without needing anywhere near the maximum bellows.

Once you rack out past 260mm, you'll have to start to compensate for bellows extension for your exposure calculations.