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View Full Version : Anybody have experience with Cooke Soft focus lens?



Herb Cunningham
11-May-2012, 08:34
I have had a Cooke ps 229 for some years now, have only used it a bit, maybe twice.
Anybody have serious experience with the lens? I don't do portraits, and the only time I had a good shot with it was on my 5x7,
which is no longer here.
The kind of subjects in the landscape that would benefit is my primary question.
If there is some wonderful use, I may keep it, but so far I am ignorant of such use.

Emil Schildt
11-May-2012, 08:51
Cooke PS945 right?

FL 229mm...(?)

Herb Cunningham
11-May-2012, 08:58
[QUOTE=gandolfi;886461]Cooke PS945 right?

FL 229mm...
Yep, my bad it is the PS 945.

cdholden
11-May-2012, 08:59
I'm assuming they are the same. I am curious about how well it covers 5x7.

Robert Hall
11-May-2012, 10:16
The web site says it has an image circle of 190mm at infinity.

Herb Cunningham
11-May-2012, 12:50
I'm assuming they are the same. I am curious about how well it covers 5x7.
I shot a scene that did not require a lot of movement, and never had any problems.

Diane Maher
12-May-2012, 18:17
I have used the lens with whole plate, 6 x 8 with no problems. As for use in the landscape, look for things that reflect light, or specular highlights. This is something I learned at Tillman Crane's soft focus workshop last year.

jp
12-May-2012, 18:50
Pick up some used books on pictorialism and see how people of old used soft lenses for landscape work. Even Ansel Adams did. Browse the Galli-style thread here to see what Stephane, Galli, et.al. have done outdoors. THere should be no shortage of inspiration.

The differences between the lenses is subtle, but it's good to stick with one lens for a while to learn it for soft work. You may need to shoot 50+ sheets of film over several outings to learn how the lens will do certain scenes, distances, apertures, degree of enlargement, scene contrasts, etc... The big advantage that lens has over the older ones is that it has a shutter, and that's rather useful outdoors, especially one that goes to 1/125.

Outdoors, I like soft focus for closeups of plants and bigger scenes where the detail isn't the reason for the photo. The softness can strongly enhance a composition at the expense of detail. Bright areas (like Diane mentions) can build into definite shapes, and dark areas (like thick forest conifers) can become imposing dark areas. Things get less literal.

If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.

Herb Cunningham
13-May-2012, 08:51
Pick up some used books on pictorialism and see how people of old used soft lenses for landscape work. Even Ansel Adams did. Browse the Galli-style thread here to see what Stephane, Galli, et.al. have done outdoors. THere should be no shortage of inspiration.

The differences between the lenses is subtle, but it's good to stick with one lens for a while to learn it for soft work. You may need to shoot 50+ sheets of film over several outings to learn how the lens will do certain scenes, distances, apertures, degree of enlargement, scene contrasts, etc... The big advantage that lens has over the older ones is that it has a shutter, and that's rather useful outdoors, especially one that goes to 1/125.

Outdoors, I like soft focus for closeups of plants and bigger scenes where the detail isn't the reason for the photo. The softness can strongly enhance a composition at the expense of detail. Bright areas (like Diane mentions) can build into definite shapes, and dark areas (like thick forest conifers) can become imposing dark areas. Things get less literal.

If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.
Many thanks. I have been tempted by digital as it is soooo easy compared to darkroom work, but it IS different. I will get out soon and shoot the types of subjects you mention. I need to build my portfolio, and will also shoot some IR with the lens.

pbryld
13-May-2012, 10:32
If money's tight, you could probably sell it for some serious $, and get a kodak 305 portrait in ilex5 shutter for a soft focus lens with a portion of the proceeds.

Just curious: How much would a used one go for?

Herb Cunningham
13-May-2012, 17:51
New ones are $3500, last time I looked a used one sold for $2990.00 They are seldom made, Badger takes a $500 deposit to even hold a place for a new one.

evan clarke
13-May-2012, 17:57
Herb, Imuse mine with Efke Aura Ir, stopped down to f22.5 and it has a look like none of my other lenses.. Here's a link to a scan of one (the print is much more vibrant) http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=66222&catid=member&imageuser=2067

Evan Clarke

Herb Cunningham
14-May-2012, 05:15
great picture, Evan- I shoot Rollei IR a lot, I will give that a try.

jnantz
14-May-2012, 06:00
hi herb

i don't have your lens, but i have used soft lenses for a while now ( i just realized for almost 20 years? )
while the temptation is to get a "normal" negative, soft lenses really shine when the negative
is a bit dense/has meat on it. flat light, excessive bright light/high key just over expose and over develop a little ..
and you might like the results of your lens better than with a normal or thin negative. play with the fstop ...
sometimes lenses really sing when stopped down a bit.

john

Jim Galli
14-May-2012, 06:16
Herb, Imuse mine with Efke Aura Ir, stopped down to f22.5 and it has a look like none of my other lenses.. Here's a link to a scan of one (the print is much more vibrant) http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=66222&catid=member&imageuser=2067

Evan Clarke

Great shot Evan. Very subtle..you can't quite put your finger on why it is doing what it's doing. A good use.