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Thread: Stop this soft focus crap!!

  1. #1
    cyberjunkie's Avatar
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    Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Hi!
    Because of a tragic loss, lately i'm not staying at home for long. Hence no large format photography, no B&W contact prints, no experiments with X-ray film.
    I spend most of my time abroad, and i've restarted doing travel photography with my Pentax DSLR bodies, mostly with modern zooms (heaven forbid!), and with a few nice vintage primes (employed on a rotation basis, so i can at least try all my new purchases ).
    I still buy a few collector's items every now and then, with the secret hope that sooner or later i will have time to actually try them on film.
    When i have nothing better to do i browse Ebay in search of some nice find.
    Very often, more often than before, i find lenses sold at hefty prices, and mislabeled as "portrait".
    I don't think that it's coming from simple ignorance on the seller's side, not most of the times at least...
    Have a look at this pearl:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/7-F-4-5-Co.../201152269380?

    A long blurb on soft-focus lenses, a high price (IMHO)... but what you get is a very common focal, a very common model (albeit from an extremely good lensmaker).
    The word "portrait" comes from nowhere. No such engraving on the lens, no adjustable element, nothing.
    I contacted the seller, but i'm almost sure i won't get any reply.
    Buyers beware!
    Better buy the Vademecum before committing to the purchase of a lens which has just the capability to take portraits of human beings. No more no less than all the other glasses which can project a properly focused image on the ground glass plane!

    What do you think?
    Am i too picky, too naive, too concerned?

    cheers

    Paolo
    have fun
    CJ

    WTB (and pay good monet for):
    soft back cell for Ilex Photoplastic 5x7
    disks for Imagon 420mm
    5x7 back for Calumet C1
    5x7 conversion for Bi-System

    for sale
    Photographica

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Whenever I see pages and pages of neatly formatted text on an ebay item, I assume it's lifted from somewhere and not created for the auction. Spelling errors and poor formatting more often mean authentic seller-written text and maybe a reasonable deal.

  3. #3

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Have you verified your claims? It seems that a quick search on Cooke Series II turns up numerus mentions of it being a portrait lens... with or without the sorft focus feature.

    Example:
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...l=1#post526878

    It might not be that you are picky, too naive, or too concerned; you may just be incorrect.

  4. #4

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    I worked in a studio that used an Ilex Paragon (Commercial Ektar type) as a portrait lens, as I'm sure many similar studios of the 50s and 60s did. As with the Cooke mentioned, the manufacturer didn't call it a portrait lens, either. Now I'm using a similar one for my portraits. Therefore, it is a portrait lens. If I ever sell it, I will certainly be using the word "portrait" and tacking $600 on to the price!

    I agree with Cyberjunkie--"portrait" does seem to the the sucker word of the moment.

    adding: I just checked the Ilex catalog. The first thing they specify this lens for is portraiture. Now I even have the maker's word for my future price!
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  5. #5

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    I'm with Paolo on this one. He has a paragraph that he obviously copied from somewhere that describes the Series II as a sharp focus portrait lens, then puts in a line to protect himself saying it is not the soft focus version, then has two pages of text touting soft focus lenses. Clearly he is hoping that people get caught up in the soft focus frenzy and only read the large text. Why else would he put in all that wording about soft focus? It has nothing to do with this lens. I hope that everyone who is interested in this lens (which should sell for less than $100) sees through all this and doesn't get some thing they aren't expecting.

  6. #6
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Dozer View Post
    I'm with Paolo on this one. He has a paragraph that he obviously copied from somewhere that describes the Series II as a sharp focus portrait lens, then puts in a line to protect himself saying it is not the soft focus version, then has two pages of text touting soft focus lenses. Clearly he is hoping that people get caught up in the soft focus frenzy and only read the large text. Why else would he put in all that wording about soft focus? It has nothing to do with this lens. I hope that everyone who is interested in this lens (which should sell for less than $100) sees through all this and doesn't get some thing they aren't expecting.
    The seller SF hype is annoying, I wonder if he added the "this is not the soft focus version" after the fact. As to price? If you don't like the price, don't buy it. Cookes are highly sought lenses in any configuration, they are a well known name, and this one is very pretty. An Ilex Paragon is a tessar type, but will sell for less than a Zeiss Tessar. Pedigree makes a big difference to some buyers, he's counting on that. I think to say it should sell for "less than $100" is silly, unless you have one you're letting go for that in which case, I've got a crisp Franklin for you. : )
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  7. #7

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Storer View Post
    ... If you don't like the price, don't buy it. ...
    Amen. Same if you don't like/trust the description!

  8. #8

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    Whenever I see pages and pages of neatly formatted text on an ebay item, I assume it's lifted from somewhere and not created for the auction. Spelling errors and poor formatting more often mean authentic seller-written text and maybe a reasonable deal.
    You're saying if it's written by an idiot, it may be a reasonable deal?

  9. #9
    loujon
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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Dozer View Post
    I hope that everyone who is interested in this lens (which should sell for less than $100) sees through all this and doesn't get some thing they aren't expecting.
    I'll buy all the 7-8" Cooke Series II lenses you have to sell for under a $100 each. Bring them on. I think he is "trying" to sell for twice it's value. So $300-$350 ish seems a good asking price but 80-90-100 bucks each from you & I'll take em ALL!

    Funny Tracey I had pulled my post back a little while ago but after seeing your post I'm going to make mine. Very much the same as yours.

  10. #10

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    Re: Stop this soft focus crap!!

    Well, if the price is right, it will sell, right? That's the only real test of price.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

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