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Thread: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

  1. #1

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    Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Hi folks

    I've long been interested in old lenses such as Petzvals for portrait work, but have only just become aware of the single meniscus and achromatic doublet types like the Struss and Pinkham & Smith through reading the threads here.

    I'm wanting to do some portraiture with my Century Graphic 23 and have been wondering what lens options might exist.

    I have a pair of beautiful projector lenses made by Kershaw for Gaumont-Kalee in the 1950s, they are Petzvals and on 35mm and digital they are my favourite lenses to shoot portraits with, but I don't think mounting one of these things with any kind of shutter for my Century is going to be in any way practical, sadly.

    So, over to you guys, what lenses, and they will have to be under 200mm for the Century, are possibilities? Could I simply make my own from a meniscus or a doublet? I'm open to any/all ideas, no matter how outlandish.

    A couple of portraits with my 5-inch Kershaw Petzval projector lens on NEX-3:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Great idea! I am glad you started this thread. I cannot wait to see how it develops. I shoot 2X3 while learning, cheaper faster. I also have several Graphics, one a Speed Graphic which would be ideal for this with it's FPS.
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  3. #3
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Greenhalgh View Post
    So, over to you guys, what lenses, and they will have to be under 200mm for the Century, are possibilities? Could I simply make my own from a meniscus or a doublet? I'm open to any/all ideas, no matter how outlandish.
    There are 120mm and 200mm Imagons, 5", 6.5", and 7.25" Verito's, and all sorts of small old Landscape Lenses that can be opened up...

    In the do-it-yourself category, you can space the front element of a Tessar forward (and there are tons of them in all sizes at very reasonable prices), or re-purpose another lens; magnifying glasses, binocular and telescope front elements, strong diopters and close-up auxiliary lenses...

    Here are a couple of links to get you going:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ctorial-lenses!
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...amp-Smith-lens
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  4. #4

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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Fujinon SF were also in similar focal lengths as the Imagons.

  5. #5
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    You could bust a Holga apart and mount that lens to your lens board or shutter.

    Ilex Portrait Lens 105mm f3.5 is a nice lens in shutter.

    Jon
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast: www.jonshiu.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    The Schneider Symmar 1:5,6/100mm is also a soft-focus portrait lens, when used without the front part. Then it becomes a 1:12/175 (printed in green on the lens) soft-focus lens .

  7. #7

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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Thanks guys, given me plenty to think about there.

    Mark, that's great work with the simple cheap positive lens. I threw a big cardboard box full of assorted lens elements out a few months ago sadly, but I have a few things I could utilise. I have several brand new unused 5cm diameter uncoated positive lenses, could try one of those, I also have a couple of broken zooms I could raid for elements.

    That's a very interesting idea about using the front element of a Tessar. I happen to have a Kodak Anastigmat 124mm lens from a 116 folder that is too soft for general use, it happens to be in a fully working Compur #00 with a non-standard real cell thread diameter so the whole thing I had put to one side as fairly useless, but it would be really simple to remove the rear cell and the second element of the front cell leaving just the front element, this appeals to me as it comes with a shutter.

    Now, what I'm wondering is what the focal length of the front element alone would be and what the aperture value would be. Let me see if I understand how to measure it - hold the lens in front of a white wall pointing at a window and move it back and forth until I have an image then measure that distance and that is the focal length? Then to get the f-stop I would divide this focal length by whatever the diameter of the element is?

  8. #8

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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Ian, maybe get your hands on one of the old early 1900s Kodak folding cameras, like the Kodak Hawkeye #2. Many of those came with meniscus lenses which should be about the right focal length and have the right coverage for a Century Graphic 23.

  9. #9

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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Aah, what a good idea, I never thought of that. If I remember correctly, these has a solid aperture fitted to make them something like f11 but if I removed that I would get a nice portrait meniscus. I like the brass and nickel pneumatic shutters, they look very nice, so I'll keep an eye out for one of those, cheers!

  10. #10
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Soft Focus Portrait Lens for 2x3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Greenhalgh View Post
    ...That's a very interesting idea about using the front element of a Tessar. I happen to have a Kodak Anastigmat 124mm lens from a 116 folder that is too soft for general use, it happens to be in a fully working Compur #00 with a non-standard real cell thread diameter so the whole thing I had put to one side as fairly useless, but it would be really simple to remove the rear cell and the second element of the front cell leaving just the front element, this appeals to me as it comes with a shutter.
    The front and rear elements of a Tessar are both positives, but fairly weak and probably too long for your use. I was referring to keeping the system together, but moving the front element forward:

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/Ba...ndLTessar.html
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...nfo-and-Images

    BTW, if you have an Ilex 4 or Copal 3 shutter around, the front and rear threads are 58mm, so a 58mm close up auxilliary lens screws right in. You can even stack a few or split them front and rear for a shorter focal length! If you get a couple sets of them, you'll have quite a casket set with working shutter and iris, and you can take the glass out of old 58mm filters for spacers. Tons of fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Greenhalgh View Post
    ...Now, what I'm wondering is what the focal length of the front element alone would be and what the aperture value would be. Let me see if I understand how to measure it - hold the lens in front of a white wall pointing at a window and move it back and forth until I have an image then measure that distance and that is the focal length? Then to get the f-stop I would divide this focal length by whatever the diameter of the element is?
    Yup! And if you do this on the camera after focusing, it compensates for the extended bellows!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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