View Full Version : Holga look for 4 x 5

lisa larson
9-Jul-2009, 06:08
I have a 4 x 5 wista DX and would like to try antique looking portraits of head and shoulder shots. Could anyone recommend a lens that would work for this camera and give a soft focus and not perfect look like today's lenses. I plan to do alternative processes with the negatives. Thanks. :)

Martin Miksch
9-Jul-2009, 06:27
You could buy kind of softar add-on lens or try to use glass with some vaseline on it.
Kind Regards

9-Jul-2009, 06:49
A Tessar or Heliar from the first half of the 20th Century wide open. These lenses are, or can be, mounted in shutters which makes portraits easier. A small Petzval lens suitable for 4x5. Jim Galli probably has an assortment of lenses that meet your requirements and might be for sale.

Good luck!

9-Jul-2009, 06:52
you can also make some simple lenses using close up filters (AKA Diopters) and mount them using step up rings infront of a copal shutter.

To figure out focal length just divide the rating the have by 1000. In other words a #1 close up filter has a focal length of 1000mm and a 10 has a focal length of 100mm. If you stack two 3s you will get around 166mm. You will find that the focal length may vary by about 10% but that is easy to deal with using your bellows.

Go on Ebay and get the cheapy kits they sell that will have 4 closeup filters for around 20 bucks.

Such lenses will be very soft and will have light fall off at the edges of the frame but that seems to be just the look you are going for

9-Jul-2009, 06:55
Smacks his head hard!

$1.00 Chinese magnifying glass "lenses". Dollar General. Family Dollar. Etc.

A back issue of View Camera magazine has a great article featuring high school student's portraits made with $1 lenses. A search of this forum will find more information about that project.

Here you go..........


Jim Graves
9-Jul-2009, 23:40
Lisa ... here is a portrait of my son taken with one of the magnifying lens Wayne is talking about. This really is a 50 cent lens ... Mark Sawyer (the HS teacher mentioned by Wayne) found these magnifying glasses (2 per package - the small one works well on a 4x5, the larger on a 5x7) in the 99 Cent Store. I just cut off the plastic handle and glued the lens to a lens board.

One complication, though ... there is no shutter. I used mine on a Speed Graphic which has a focal plane shutter to get around this. You could use the lens on your Wista with a packard shutter (still manufactured ... just Google it or look on ebay.) Of course, there is no aperture either ... its wide open and computes out to approximately f/3.8 ... so with a Packard shutter at about 1/25 you could shoot some pretty slow film. Or work the way Mark's students did ... in a studio, pose and focus, insert the film holder, turn out the lights, remove the dark slide, use a strobe for the exposure, reinsert the dark slide and turn the lights back on.


9-Jul-2009, 23:45
petzval's :D and other un-coated lenses that are just shy of covering 4x5 (if you want vignetting)


And a simple achromatic doublet lens element ($4) held in a cardboard "lensboard" by friction alone :D This would probably cover ("cover") 8x10, but there wouldn't be anything but a mush of light and dark around the edges, hah!