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Thread: Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

  1. #1

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    Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

    I realized that I have actually not seen Dallmeyer petzval diffuse focus in action on pictures or I have at least not recognized it. All pictures taken with Dallmeyers I have seen are very sharp in the point of focus.

    Does someone here have some examples that demonstrate this feature of the lens?

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    Re: Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

    I think people will be very reticent about illustrating, describing and comparing different pictorial lenses in action. We all have our own "soft lens" glossary - which may not be accepted by others! - and reproduction through the electronic media doesn't help much. So much depends on choice of subject and side/Back illumination.

    Petzval lenses do have super sharpness in a very limited zone. Dallmeyer's patent Petzval creates rather limited softness and cannot be compared with the later "Pictorial" lens designs which were quite contraversial for many.
    To be honest, Dallmeyer's softness was considered probably more as an advantage for portrait photography in terms of reducing the need for retouching (freckles, pimples etc.) rather than being more "artistic".

    I know nothing about Vitax other than it is one of many that used the Dallmeyer patent design when the original patent ran out and Dallmeyer had only the "turn the front" adjustment patent left!

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

    Dallmeyer's original intention with the "soft focus" feature was to increase depth of field, not give a softer image. It kinda did, sort of, in a way... But the by-product of having a softer image while still maintaining detail caught on.

    My Dallmeyer 3B has the soft focus adjustment frozen, a pretty common problem with the Dallmeyers. But here's an old portrait done on 8x10 film which shows the effect, made with a 13.5-inch Vitax, which uses Dallmeyer's layout, set to maximum softness. I'd say the Petzval-based soft focus softens textures while still maintaining good detail underneath, and avoids the heavy halation some other soft focus designs display.

    I need to get back on film...

    Erin with 13.5 Vitax 3.8 and soft by Mark Owen Sawyer, on Flickr
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Dallmeyer's original intention with the "soft focus" feature was to increase depth of field, not give a softer image. It kinda did, sort of, in a way... But the by-product of having a softer image while still maintaining detail caught on.

    My Dallmeyer 3B has the soft focus adjustment frozen, a pretty common problem with the Dallmeyers. But here's an old portrait done on 8x10 film which shows the effect, made with a 13.5-inch Vitax, which uses Dallmeyer's layout, set to maximum softness. I'd say the Petzval-based soft focus softens textures while still maintaining good detail underneath, and avoids the heavy halation some other soft focus designs display.

    I need to get back on film...

    Erin with 13.5 Vitax 3.8 and soft by Mark Owen Sawyer, on Flickr
    Many thanks for this example. May I ask what film did you use? I saw one comparison between Dallmeyer and Vitax and Vitax appeared to have much more contrast but this one looks pleasantly soft.

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Dallmeyer or Vitax diffuse focus in action?

    Quote Originally Posted by erian View Post
    Many thanks for this example. May I ask what film did you use? I saw one comparison between Dallmeyer and Vitax and Vitax appeared to have much more contrast but this one looks pleasantly soft.
    Contrast can be controlled much more in the negative's exposure/development and in printing than by choice of lens, so don't go by that. The Dallmeyer and Vitax are the same design, same number of internal air-glass interfaces, and both uncoated, so their contrast under equivalent lighting would be about the same, (unless one's internal barrel was more reflective than the other's, which can make a significant difference).

    This would have been on Arista.edu 100, our go-to sheet film when I was teaching high school photography. This young lady was quite the large format photographer herself!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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