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Thread: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

  1. #1

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    Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    Hi all,

    I just acquired an ANSCO American Optic 8x10 Studio camera and I need help in identifying what lens choice would be good for doing wet plate portraits. I would imagine something in the range of a 300mm f//5.6 would be perfect, but as this is my first 8x10 (and first wet plate camera) I am not sure where to start.

  2. #2

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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    300mm is too short for flattering head and shoulder portraits on 810 because of foreshortening. You need something longer then a normal lens.

  3. #3
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    300mm or 12" lens is perfectly fine for many types of portraits. Longer lenses will get progressively harder to deal with for a multitude of reasons.

    There are plenty of 300mm f/4.5 Tessar-type lenses out there - you want speed for wet plate. One I suggest to look for is a Gundlach Radar 12" f/4.5.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    300mm or 12" lens is perfectly fine for many types of portraits. Longer lenses will get progressively harder to deal with for a multitude of reasons.

    There are plenty of 300mm f/4.5 Tessar-type lenses out there - you want speed for wet plate. One I suggest to look for is a Gundlach Radar 12" f/4.5.
    Since he didnít specify what type of portraits he wants to do I did. I stated too short for head and shoulders. Also, itís a bit short for ĺ length as well.

    Why let him discover, after buying the camera, lens, holders, plates, etc + his time to discover big noses, protruding foreheads, etc. because he has too short a lens?

    You should be offering guidance.

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    Textbook definition of a proper "portrait" lens is a bit outdated, especially when getting into bigger plates and longer lenses where magnification becomes more significant and focal length is less relevant due to focusing closer. I have shot head-and-shoulders portraits with a 300mm on 8x10 and find no issues wrt foreshortening. One of my friends made some beautiful WP portraits on 4x5 with a 90mm focused very closely!

    My advice is to look at photos here in the monthly portrait threads and get an idea for what focal lengths and types of portraits you plan to do. Longer fast lenses will get expensive quick. If you discover you can make do with f/9 or perhaps even less options expand.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #6
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    First, what size plates will you be making, full 8x10, whole plate, or 6x8? Many wet plate photographers use converted 8x10 film holders, which are cut for a smaller size. (I like 6x8, because you get 6 from a 12x24 aluminum sheet, as opposed to 3 whole plates or 8x10s.)

    A 300mm would be fine as a portrait lens for 6x8 or whole plate.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    could cell phone selfies have changed our 'perspective'

    Literally
    sin eater

  8. #8

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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    could cell phone selfies have changed our 'perspective'

    Literally
    Probably not as much as TV has.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    I do watch more TV than look at selfies on cell phones, never!

    Might be an age thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Probably not as much as TV has.
    sin eater

  10. #10

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    Re: Lens help needed (8x10 wet plate)

    Iím watching the impeachment coverage on MSNBC. They have a panel discussion with 5 people sitting at a curved table. Michael Steel is on the end, closest to the camera on the left end of the table and boy, does he ends up with a huge left shoulder!

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