View Full Version : Recommend a 400mm Portrait lens for 8x10

Andre Noble
1-Oct-2009, 21:26
Hello, I want to move to 8x10 portraiture in studio. After much research on the net, i decided a 450 or 480 lens would best suit my style. I am looking at 3 lenses : Fuji 450 f12.5, Nikon f9 450, Rodenstock Apo Ronar 480 f9.

I like that the Fuji can be bought new. I may eventually like to use the lens on 11x14 as well.

Which lens do you recommend and why?

Paul Fitzgerald
1-Oct-2009, 22:13

I'm a spoiled brat, pampered twit and like the classics, f/4.5 is SO much easier to see on the GG.

420 & 480/4.5 Heliar, THE classic portrait lenses for all the right reasons.
420 & 480/5.5 Dogmars, slightly different but classic (and triple convertible)
16"/3.8 Vitax, the most modern petzval look
19"/4.0 Varium, lovely softer focus look
420/4.5 Ysar, single coated, crisp and smooth.
Xenar /4.5, they did make 420 & 480 up to the late 60's, single coated, 26 blade apertures, sharp, crisp and smooth. The 360/4.5 is lovely.
Zeiss Tessar 500/5.0, post no pictures from this lens, people will literally eat their children to afford buying one.
500/4.5 Dogmar, a monster, makes the rest look small, zero DOF can be interesting.

The more, the merrier.

1-Oct-2009, 22:37
I hope you don't mind me throwing another option into the mix. What about a 600mm Fujinon-C? I would think the longer FL would be better for portraits.

Ron Marshall
2-Oct-2009, 00:12
I have the Fuji 450mm f12.5, which I have used for portraiture on 5x7. For portaits on 5x7 I found it a bit long and a bit dark, otherwise a wonderful lens.

I also have a Fuji 360mm f6.5, which suits me well for portraits on 5x7.

On 8x10 I would go for either of the f9 lenses you mention, bright enough, long enough.

Do you have enough bellows to get as close as you would like with a 450? (a top hat board is an option)

Mark Sawyer
2-Oct-2009, 06:37
Coverage with the Apo Ronar may be a little tight on 11x14 at infinity, but should be fine at portrait distances. You may be cutting off the option of using it for general photography with movements on the camera if you might ever want go that route. (Same with the equivalent Artar, I suspect.)

Robert Hughes
2-Oct-2009, 07:07
Best lens for portraiture?

The one you have!

Scott Davis
2-Oct-2009, 10:50
There's a reason not to use extra-long lenses for portraiture on larger formats - once you get beyond 8x10, a head-and-shoulders portrait is approaching 1:1 magnification ratio. Very few 8x10 cameras short of monorails with extension bellows have enough bellows to focus a 600mm lens to 1:1, or even a 450 for that matter. A classic 8x10 portrait lens (and even on 11x14!) is the 360mm (14") Commercial Ektar. If it was good enough for Yousuf Karsh and Richard Avedon, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Steve Hamley
2-Oct-2009, 11:09
405 Kodak if you want soft focus: no one's mentioned it yet.

Cheers, Steve