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Thread: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

  1. #21

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    The schneider Xenar 135 has a nice rendering for out of focus areas and may be a bit soft in the corners if shooting f8 and below. At f22 the corners are sharp and the flare is minimal. The Nikon 135 is a bit sharper overall and has increased local contrast due to multi-coating. The newer the lens the more reliable the shutter is likely to be.

    I never liked the 150mm for unknown reasons. Probably for the same reason I prefer the Minolta 45mm vs 50mm on most 135 cameras. Or the 40mm voightlander lens on my M3.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  2. #22
    multi format
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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    You might look for an olde Wollensak 135 Raptar, or an olde 135 symmar convertible ( chrome barrel). I don't have either of those lenses in those specific FL but I have a 6" and 15" Raptars ( and wish I never sold the 90mm I had! ) and they are beautiful ( and if you gooooogle 135 rapter you see nice reports of people's favorite lenses ) and a 210/370 symmar that has never done anything but make great photographs. I can't imagine the 135 being much different. Just be aware if you convert the symmar, it will take a bit more bellows to focus at infinity than the focal length of the lens implies ( for example the 370 takes about 440mm instead of 370 ).

    Have fun!
    John
    enjoy your coffee

  3. #23

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    i'll agree with Mr. De Smidt; the Kodak 135/6.3 Wide Field Ektar is an excellent lens, well-suited to your requirements.
    My own example has been a favorite for thirty years now.
    The WFE will not have the contrast of a modern multicoated optic, but it is very sharp, renders subjects beautifully, and has more coverage than most of the plasmats mentioned here.
    A third vote for the WF Ektar in the 135mm focal length. They are old, but a great design with better coverage than the plasmats. Make sure you look for one in good condition. Many have damaged coatings (the coatings were softer then). I use mine whenever I'm out shooting architectural stuff. If you need extra coverage and fairly lightweight in this focal length, this is really the only option.

    As for contrast... I find the two I have to be just fine in this regard, but I shoot B&W and have the advantage of adjusting contrast at the printing stage. For color work, especially if you shoot transparency film, I would think a bit less contrast would be an advantage.

    Best,

    Doremus

  4. #24
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Nikkor M's are very highly corrected tessars, but unlike many tessars are relatively thin and lightweight. They were made in 100, 200, 300, and 450 focal lengths. The image circles are decent but not equal to plasmats. For example, the 300 will cover 8x10 film, but not with much room to spare. Due to only six multicoated air/glass interfaces, these particular lenses have exceptionally good hue reproduction and high contrast - contrast exceeded only by late Dagors. The 100M is f/3.5, a wonderful lens for 6x9, but useless for 4x5, whereas some 105 plasmats will just barely cover 4x5. As an aging backpacker, I'm particularly appreciative of small exceptionally precise lenses like Nikkor M's and Fuji A's; but the A's, being "Super Plasmats", have much larger image circles relative to their focal length. Relative to the previous post by Doremus, if you want an excellent single-coated 80 deg coverage plasmat lens of similar design but less contrast than Fui A's, G-Clarons are the ticket. No 135's in either, but there is a 150 G-Claron. As most people on this forum already know, the official brochure specs for G-Clarons are relative to copy repro standards, so the rated image circle is given very very conservatively. For our purposes, these are true 80 degree lenses. BUT all these lenses I've just mentioned are very very crisp or hard-sharp too; so if you want soft dreamy background blur in portraiture, none of these is an ideal choice.

  5. #25

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Thanks to all for continued additions. I'll look into the WFE; it sounds very good but seems harder to come by, and those I have seen come in shutters that might present repair problems.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  6. #26

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    The 125/5.6 W is revered among landscape photographers for its small size and very high image quality. The 135/5.6 has a little bigger image circle. These are modern plasmats. Not ideal for architectural work where a lot of rise might be involved, but generous enough image circles for lots of things. I can't imagine any tessar that focal length adequately covering 4x5. I have a 100 Nikkor M tessar that is adequate for 6x9 roll film, but useless for 4X5; and it's from the very latest series of tessars engineered for view camera use, which logically jumps clear up to 200mm for 4x5 recommendation. I can't imagine using a 150 Xenar for 4x5 except on a press camera where movements are often minimal anyway. 120 Super Angulons are nice if you want a solid rock to sit on when fiddling with your other camera gear.
    I have a Fuji 125 5.6NW and it really is an excellent lens. A really super focal length for environmental portraits, small, light and pretty inexpensive for what you can do with it. I have attached a couple of examples shot at f11 for reference.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #27

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    essentially natural light portraiture on location, B&W, interior and exterior.
    There is always a debate, but given the usage you plan... I'd consider bokeh as a main factor in the decision, of course bokeh is a "YMMV", but if you prefer an smooth background to isolate subject and to not have distracting edges around people then you may think more in the aesthetics than in the nominal glass performance.

    Here you have a nice article about some kind of portraiture glass, some opinions in the article are perhaps debatable but it's a very good article: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...rtrait-lenses/


    "Chacun à son goût", but plasmat vs tessar debate has some subtleties that IMHO are worth to consider.

  8. #28

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Thanks, Tobias. Very nice work; I especially like the first image. The focal length, however, strays toward the too-short for my intentions, though the differences are small and cropping is an option.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  9. #29

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Thanks, Pere; I have read the article (and most of those on the home page) previously. My 210 has a 7-blade Copal by which I have done well so far. Perhaps, with today's advanced precision manufacturing technologies, someone will get back to making circular irises again.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  10. #30

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    Re: Recommendations: Small 135mm with good coverage for 4x5 portraits?

    Reality of this happening is about .... zero.

    Market demand for new view camera lenses is about nil due the vast number of good "used" view camera lenses on the market today. The non-round lens aperture shape is a product of a generation of view camera users that commonly use taking apertures of f16 and smaller with the goal of everything in the image in "sharp" perceived focus. Flip end of this was the interest in historic-vintage view camera soft focus lenses which is very much a topic all to it's own.

    Before this became the orthodoxy, there was a generation of view camera and camera photographers that understood and valued out of focus rendition. This group included film makers, and related moving pictures folks who often used out of focus rendition to great effect in their works. They demanded details like round iris that is conducive to good out of focus rendition. It is why many older shutters have a round iris. It is nothing to do with ability to be manufactured, it is everything about production-cost-profit and what the market is interested in and will accept.

    Know to get the best out of using larger taken apertures with a view camera, it demands proper (parallel and more) precision and accurate alignment of both front and rear standards with absolutely flat film at the imaging end of the camera.

    IMO, the only way you're going to know for sure what lens and it's rendition on film then print can only be determined by test and using any given lens over time. While suggestions and recommendations can be a good thing, there is no good alternative to testing and using a given lens to see if it really does work for you.


    Bernice





    [QUOTE=Ulophot;1507686
    My 210 has a 7-blade Copal by which I have done well so far. Perhaps, with today's advanced precision manufacturing technologies, someone will get back to making circular irises again.
    [/QUOTE]

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