View Full Version : Suggestions for Portrait 5x7 lens in a shutter

13-Apr-2012, 18:57
I don't really care how old it is but I do prefer it to be in a shutter.
Most of my portraits have been done with wide lenses close to the subjects e.g. 105 on a 4x5 or a 120 on a 5x7.

The lenses I currently have access to are . . . spread out. 90, 150, 180, 600. I guess I could borrow a 360 but its just too big (Caltar II-N on a copal 3... 110mm filters) for a field camera.

Any thoughts?


13-Apr-2012, 21:09
I got a sweet wollensak Petzval in a studio shutter. Soft focus adjustment and all!

Ken Lee
14-Apr-2012, 04:38
I really like the 300mm focal length on 5x7, for the perspective that it gives (or rather, the perspective we get when we stand back at the distance needed when using that focal length on 5x7... phew!).

One old-fashioned rule-of-thumb to determine "ideal" focal length for portraits, is to simply sum the vertical and horizontal lengths of the film. For 4x5 it's 4+5=9 inches or 225mm. For 5x7 it's 5+7=12 inches or 300mm. On 8x10 the length is 18 inches or roughly 450mm.

These 2 portraits were made with a 5x7 camera and a 300mm Fujinon A: see here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/still9.html) and here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/still2.html). Here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/still1.html) is a portrait done with a 450mm Fujinon C lens on 8x10.

Speaking of Eddie, when he lent me the 9-inch Kershaw (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/NineInchKershaw.php) portrait lens, I had a chance to evaluate that focal length on 4x5. I concluded that Kershaw knew exactly what they were doing. Interestingly, the modern Cooke PS945 (http://www.cookeoptics.com/cooke.nsf/products/largeformat.html) portrait lens is also 9 inches. I suspect Cooke knows what they're doing too :cool:

That focal length is not only good for portraits, but for general photography as well.

There are many 300mm lenses available in shutter. The big plasmats are great if you need maximum coverage and widest aperture, but the 300mm Nikkor M and Fujinon C are popular because they are considerably smaller and lighter, are mounted in smaller Copal 1 shutters, and take smaller filters too: 52mm.

Emil Schildt
14-Apr-2012, 06:38
I'd look for a heliar in a shutter (240mm or 300)

...and I found one for you - (cheap as I see it..)


14-Apr-2012, 07:01
These are just my opinions and I'm getting back into LF after a very long hiatus so take what I have to say with a teaspoon full of salt. Also, I'm only going to comment on focal length, not lens design nor image quality.

Do you want to add to your lens kit or replace one or both of the middle two? There's a substantial gap between 90mm and 150mm but since bulk and weight are a concern that's understandable. IMHO, there's not enough difference between 150mm and 180mm to keep them both unless there's something special and significantly different about them. Lastly, there's a huge gap between 180mm and 600mm.

Starting with the lenses you own: If I was trying to save weight and bulk and I was "certain" that 90mm is the widest I'll ever shoot (will never buy a 72mm SA XL) AND the longest lens I'll ever use is a 600mm then here's what my 5x7 kit would look like...


If you ever intend to buy a 72mm SA XL then here's another option and the focal lengths are nicely/evenly spaced...


Depending on how dear it is to me vs. the 180mm... I sell the 150mm to raise funds for the longer lens. OR... if the budget allowed I'd sell the 90 and 180 and by a 72 SA XL and 300mm.

All above stated, weight and bulk aren't issues for me so I bought lenses that are much closer in focal length because I like many options.

Lastly, as you can tell I don't believe it's important to own a "normal" focal length lens. For me, an even spread is more important.

Paul Fitzgerald
14-Apr-2012, 08:35
"I guess I could borrow a 360 but its just too big (Caltar II-N on a copal 3... 110mm filters) for a field camera. "

The old "tele" lens do produce very nice portraits and are smaller than f/4.5 lenses.

Voigtlander Telemar
SK Tele-Xenar, Tele-Arton
Wollensak Tele-Raptar (Optar)

14-Apr-2012, 08:50
Speaking only of a portrait FL: What about a nice small lightweight 305mm G-Claron in a Copal shutter? They're reputed to be quite sharp, are fairly priced if you shop carefully and coverage is far more than you need.

Jim Noel
14-Apr-2012, 08:53
Think older. I use a 10 3/4" Dagor on 5x7. Small when compared to modern lenses, can be converted to be almost twice as long and a little soft, in an old reliable Ilex shutter. This particular focal length is not easy to find, but I sometimes use my 12" Dagor on the 5x7 as well as the 8x10.

14-Apr-2012, 09:40
Why not a cheap 210? I'm planning on mostly shooting 4x5 from here on out, but leaving a nice, cheap 210 on my 5x7 and using it as a 1 lens kit. 240 might work too.