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Thread: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

  1. #1

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    Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Was browsing through the soft focus lens thread and I think there were examples of 'pictorialism'?
    I would like to get a similar soft-focus effect - I understand part of it is printing,
    but, For a beginner on 4x5 what would be your recommended soft-focus lens, let's say, under 500$.

    I'd want to try one of the older models to see if I can get a true vintage/classic look.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Hello again! The cheapest way would be to look for a old, brass landscape meniscus lens, one that you could open up the nominal aperture of F11 to about F4.5 or so. These are the squat lenses that have a hole in the front, no glass in front. They often have a wheelstop mechanism. If you can get that out, or unscrew the barrel, they are nice and soft when shot wider open than designed. Some of the pillbox types actually make it easy, you can unscrew the front brass section for the washer stop, and end up with a fast, soft lens. This one is a little long for 4x5: 291058229831

    Otherwise, look for a small 7-9" Verito, but they are usually not that cheap anymore.

  3. #3

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Thank you. What would I do for shutters? And lens board mounting -do these come in the #0,1 or 3 sizes? Or different ones?
    So if I understand you right, I'd have to remove the barrel for the soft focus effect?

  4. #4

    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Analoguey,

    Take a look at my post here for soft focus on the cheap http://www.largeformatphotography.in...s-on-the-cheap

    Good luck
    Dan

    Antique & Classic Camera Blog
    www.antiquecameras.net/blog.html

  5. #5

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Quote Originally Posted by analoguey View Post
    Thank you. What would I do for shutters? And lens board mounting -do these come in the #0,1 or 3 sizes? Or different ones?
    So if I understand you right, I'd have to remove the barrel for the soft focus effect?
    yes, you need to remove part

    shutters are easy, in that you don't really need one, simply find a fitting lens cap, remove for one or two seconds and replace, voila your film will then be exposed

    older lenses were manufactured well before the Copal shutter sizes were invented, if you are using wooden lens boards, then simply cut a whole for the rear of the lens

    regards

    andrew

  6. #6

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Landscape meniscus lenses used to be the Cinderella of 1890/1910 brass lenses. At that period they were part of the budget photography set for the amateur. Regretably, they are very often with restricted apertures which require violence to open them up and they have become very popular (expensive, compared with 10 years ago).

    Another source of similar achromats is the front part of a magic lantern lens. These are often damaged at the rear due to heat problems and ill treatment ( a light touch is required for dismantling and cleaning the two rear elements). The front achromat is usually in quite good shape and coverage for up to 8x10 will be no problem. The most common size is around 46-52mm barrel diameter. Look for plain tube type which attracts less interest than the brassy/wheel pinnion versions.

    It is said that 1/2 rapid rectilinear lenses are not so much fun!

  7. #7

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Plume View Post
    shutters are easy, in that you don't really need one, simply find a fitting lens cap, remove for one or two seconds and replace, voila your film will then be exposed

    older lenses were manufactured well before the Copal shutter sizes were invented, if you are using wooden lens boards, then simply cut a whole for the rear of the lens

    regards
    andrew
    Also one can use a Packard Shutter.
    http://www.packardshutter.com/

  8. #8

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    The cooke anastigmats are pretty good portrait lenses.

  9. #9

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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    I would look into an imagon - the smaller sizes are easy to find and relatively cheap (and many have shutters). They are not made of brass and not popular with collectors, which is good - you will end up getting a solid value and will avoid paying inflated collector prices.

  10. #10
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Soft focus (portrait) lenses for 4x5

    Well, if you really want cheap...

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

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