View Full Version : Compact Portrait lens

30-May-2012, 05:01
Hello everyone .

I searched the internet for it got to many threads on this forum and many deferent articles. I'm shooting Lanscapes and Portraits (mostly portraits) with a 4x5 camera. Most of my work in the field and i wanna be as much as posible lightweight. I not long ago got a Chamonix 4x5 camera (that im super happy with). But now my portrait lens is to big and heavy, I'd like to get something smaller ( i use now symmar 240 f/5.6 XL - it's bigger then my lens board..) It's a great lens - but a heavy one. I know about the Fuji light ones but they are F/9 or so . And i need it to be F/5.6 .

I love the size of the apo-symmar 150 L but it's too wide for my needs . So i'm thinking between the 2 lenses :

Apo-Sironar-S 210/5.6 or Apo-Symmar 180/5,6 L MC . These are the lenses i can get in the Russian used market for a very good price. Do you have any other suggestions ?

I'd love to hear or see examples from the users of these lenses as well.

Thank you

30-May-2012, 06:39
Smallest might be an ektar/optar 210mm press camera lens, but that'll be f7.something.

Then slightly bigger is the kodak commercial ektars at f6.3

Find yourself a xenar or tessar f4.5 in an old compound shutter for a modest sized lens that looks good.

30-May-2012, 06:58
Fujinon 210 f5.6, usually comes in a Copal 1 or Seiko 1 shutter.
And any modern 210 as well.

Jay DeFehr
30-May-2012, 07:13

180mm would be a little short for the way I shoot portraits, but if it works for you, the Apo Symmar has a very good reputation, as does the Apo-Sironar-S. I don't think you'll find much difference in the performance of these two lenses, so it comes down to physical size, and personal preference. a 210mm lens works well for me. I've been using an old, uncoated Goerz Dogmar, but recently bought a Symmar-S. The Goeorz is faster @ f/4.5, but the Symmar-S is multi-coated, and works with my Sinar shutter. I'll try the Symmar, and keep the one I like best.

Good luck!

Ken Lee
30-May-2012, 08:36
Better to get the 240mm Fujinon A. Yes, it's f/9 but takes only 52mm filters and is very light. Nothing else will be as small, except perhaps a 200mm Nikkor M, which is even smaller and lighter ! It also takes 52mm filters, and is f/8, which is better than f/9 I suppose. They are both so sharp, it's crazy.

A lens can't be large and small at the same time :-)

Drew Wiley
30-May-2012, 11:32
I dunno. The mention of portrait use makes me think of something a little less extreme in
contrast and a bit faster in aperture. The 210 Fuji L comes to mind.

30-May-2012, 12:18
If you can get a 210 Sironar S at a good price you wont regret it, should be good for all types or photography except maybe aiming the camera into the sun. Its not compact but manageable, in a Copal 1 and quite large for a modern 210. A Sironar N or most other modern 210 lenses will be slightly smaller.

8x10 user
30-May-2012, 12:53
If you are looking for a modern lens the apo Sironar S and N are excellent choices. You can also try an apo-ronar of a longer focal length.

You might want to also check out antique portrait lenses... For lighter options you have your spencer portland's and other Mencius lenses as well as the plasticca group of lenses. For middle weight you got your modified RR (gundlach hyperion, PS VS, eidoscope, ect. Heavier options would be your cookes, and heliars. Most of theses lenses are not going to include shutter it is possible to rear mount many of theses lenses into a copal 3 shutter. Another lens to check out would be the Dagor.

E. von Hoegh
30-May-2012, 12:58
The 150 convertible Symmar converts to a 265, which is a good portrait lens. There are also 135 180 and 210 covertible Symmars, all of which are physically smaller than their later non-convertible counterparts. They're cheap, too - highly underrated lenses.

30-May-2012, 13:08
The 210/5.6 plasmats (Symmar, Sironar) are going to seem much smaller and lighter than a 240/5.6 plasmat, simply because the latter requires a No. 3 shutter, while the former only needs a No. 1 shutter. This is dictated by the size of the aperture at f/5.6--can't escape that.

So, at 240mm, the need is for a lens that will fit in a No. 1 shutter, which will require a slower lens. For example, the Rodenstock/Caltar Type Y (240mm f/6.8) is a tessar-type Ysarex, and it's in a No. 1 shutter and no bigger than a 210 plasmat.

The older Symmar lenses are smaller than the newer versions. For example, the older Symmar (aka, Symmar Convertible) 210/5.6 in a No. 1 shutter weights 480 grams and uses a 58mm filter on the front. The newer Symmar-S and the newest APO-Symmar-L 210/5.6 in a No. 1 shutter weigh 550 grams and require a 77mm filter on the front.

The shutter is the big difference in size and weight for most of these. The 240/5.6 Symmar-S is only slightly larger than the 210, but with the No. 3 shutter, it weighs nearly twice as much.

Rick "not sure why an in-between shutter never took hold" Denney

Jim Galli
30-May-2012, 13:18
I have one of these little jewels (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?67483-Antique-4X5-Achromatic-Meniscus-Lens-in-modern-Copal-Shutter!) ready to ship. Not your target focal length, but great fun, and very very tiny. Even shipping to Russia is under $20 I think.

Drew Wiley
30-May-2012, 13:22
A notable exception would be the 250/6.7 Fujinon W. In a no.1 shutter with 67mm filter size, so not quite as compact as a 240A or 250 G-Claron, but still way more manageable
than a typical plastmat that focal length, and really nice big image circle (covers 8X10).
It's actually lighter than some 210 plasmats.

Ken Lee
30-May-2012, 13:53
If we're considering a 67mm filter as small enough, then we can include the 210mm f/5.6 Nikkor and (as others have mentioned) the 210mm f/5.6 Sironar-N.

1-Jun-2012, 04:10
Thank you all :-)

5-Jun-2012, 00:26
I just came a cross the plain 210 sironar lens . Any comments on that model ? Is it any good of a lens ?

Thank u

Ken Lee
5-Jun-2012, 06:06
It's a Sironar-N, a fine lens. Not as much coverage as a Sironar-S, but a very nice lens.

Jim Galli
5-Jun-2012, 06:32
Earliest Sironar, Non S, Non N, Non W from the late 1960's early 1970's can have delamination problems.

I just came a cross the plain 210 sironar lens . Any comments on that model ? Is it any good of a lens ?

Thank u

6-Jun-2012, 10:08
So in the end i got myself a Sironar - N 210 f/5.6 MC - it's just the compact size as i wanted and seems like a great lens :)

Jay DeFehr
6-Jun-2012, 11:10
Let's see some examples.

10-Jun-2012, 07:50
Let's see some examples.

I'm very happy with the size of the lens and the results of the picture - great lens :)


thank you all again for the help :)

Jay DeFehr
10-Jun-2012, 15:40
Looks great! I'm glad everything worked out!