View Full Version : head shots using a 180mm on 4x5?

4-Oct-2011, 07:01
I have a Calumet cc-400 4x5 and one 180mm lens. If I use this lens for a head shot portrait will it work? By that I mean will the perspective look right?

Frank Petronio
4-Oct-2011, 07:16

Most people will suggest going longer and, while that is more traditional, there is nothing wrong with using a 180 or wider. If anything you can argue that the wide-normal 180 will give the photos more depth and dimensionality if you want to rationalize it with words. Some famous photographers use 120 on 4x5 without it looking weird - it can work.

My advice is that you would likely want to keep the noses and hands away from the edges of the frame and try to hit people right square and center in the eyes with a wider lens.

4-Oct-2011, 07:18
i think it's a little wide for portraits. Like 50mm on 135 format. So 240mm or 300mm would be better for 4x5 i guess.

Jim Noel
4-Oct-2011, 08:00
The major thing against a 180 for head and shoulders is the close proximity the camera will have to be to the subject. YOu might experience some fore-shortening if subject have a prominent nose.

Scott Davis
4-Oct-2011, 08:07
Usually 210 is considered to be the shortest "portrait" length for 4x5. But you can make any focal length work if you broaden your definition of "portrait" to more than just a head-and-shoulders shot.

4-Oct-2011, 12:51
What is a 240 or 300mm lens that will work with 4x5. On KEH many of the longer lenses have (8x10) by the lens so I am assuming that some lenses will not work with my 4x5????

Scott Davis
4-Oct-2011, 12:58
The Fuji 250 F6.3 or F6.7 versions will fit nicely on a 4x5 camera. Another beautiful lens in that range is the Kodak 10" Commercial Ektar. The size ratings have more to do with what the lens will cover, image-circle wise than per-se what camera they will fit on, and it's more of an issue with wide-angles that tend to have humongous rear elements that may not fit through the front standard of most 4x5's. Look for lenses that are NOT in Copal 3 shutters, but smaller sizes like a Copal 1, Compound 1/2/3, Ilex 2/3, or even barrel lenses to which you can front-mount a Packard shutter. The Copal 3, Ilex 4 or 5, and Compound 4 and 5 shutters are big and heavy, and usually support big and heavy glass that the front standard of your 4x5 may not be able to handle. What kind of 4x5 do you have?

Frank Petronio
4-Oct-2011, 13:58
A good monorail like any Sinar, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Horseman L, Toyos, Linhof Kardan, etc. will handle a 300mm f/5.6 in a Copal 3 quite handily. A wooden Wista, Tachihara, Chamonix, Shen-Hao, Speed-Crown Graphic, etc... will be strained or not have enough bellows.

A 300mm wide open on 4x5, at head and shoulders distance, is very nice and classic, maybe swing the front standard to have focus follow their eyes.

You don't necessarily want to try to duplicate smaller format lens lengths. A 150mm on a 6x6 Blad is a popular combo, as is an 85/1.4 on full-frame/35mm. I'm not saying that the 300mm is the best length to use, but that it follows this convention.

4-Oct-2011, 14:13
Thanks for that point Frank. I am not afraid to try something different... whats the worst that could happen?
Scott I have a Calumet cc-400 monorail with about 14" of bellows.

E. von Hoegh
4-Oct-2011, 14:47
I have a Calumet cc-400 4x5 and one 180mm lens. If I use this lens for a head shot portrait will it work? By that I mean will the perspective look right?

Unscrew the front cell and see what you get. Focal length will be roughly 300mm, wide open will be about f:12; count your apertures from there.

Frank Petronio
4-Oct-2011, 16:44
Schneider Symmars and some other lenses were sold this way, as convertibles, ~ 1960s - the shutters even had markings for both focal lengths. You can certainly try it with other lenses of similar design, albeit working at f/12 (f/11 and a third-of-a-stop smaller) is a hassle. Also, because the way the rear group of elements focuses RGB at different places, it is mainly for B&W. Definitely something to test before promising people something from it.

4-Oct-2011, 22:59
You can use even a 360mm f5.5 tele xenar or 360mm f5.5 tele arton with your available bellows draw. I think these might perform nicely as portrait lenses too. Wide open they will introduce a nice background bokeh.

E. von Hoegh
5-Oct-2011, 10:39
I have a Calumet cc-400 4x5 and one 180mm lens. If I use this lens for a head shot portrait will it work? By that I mean will the perspective look right?

Why not just set the camera up and see for yourself?

5-Oct-2011, 21:11
A 180 is what I use most for portraits - not necessarily at head and shoulders but close - then crop