Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: soft focus lens for architecture

  1. #1
    schafphoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    205

    soft focus lens for architecture

    What's the widest soft lens for that covers 5x7? Or 4x5 with movement. I'm toying around with doing some photos that are the opposite of documentary HABS super-sharp, maximum depth work. I used to have a 150mm soft lens on a Mamiya RB 6x7 (back in 1988) and I remember that the soft focus discs when used wide open gave me a look that couldn't be matched with a Softar filter or a diffusion filter. It was a sharp-softness that's hard to explain.

    As I remember ... as the lens was stopped down, it became sharp and showed maximum softness wide open with the full effect of the holey-disc effecting the light path.

    -Schaf
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  2. #2
    Between here and there
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Sweden & Germany
    Posts
    457

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    The 120 mm lens from www.re-inventedphotoequip.com is the first that comes to mind, not that wide on 4x5 but perhaps better on a 5x7. According to the data sheet it should cover 250 mm coverage.
    "Be still and allow the mud to settle."

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,776

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    Do you require the normal architectural specs? Like lack of distortion, and at least reasonable consistency of sharpness out to the edges? Both of those might be lacking in all of the easy solutions. Wollensak made a 5" Verito, but good luck finding one.
    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

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    4,565

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    What's the widest soft lens for that covers 5x7? Or 4x5 with movement. I'm toying around with doing some photos that are the opposite of documentary HABS super-sharp, maximum depth work. I used to have a 150mm soft lens on a Mamiya RB 6x7 (back in 1988) and I remember that the soft focus discs when used wide open gave me a look that couldn't be matched with a Softar filter or a diffusion filter. It was a sharp-softness that's hard to explain.

    As I remember ... as the lens was stopped down, it became sharp and showed maximum softness wide open with the full effect of the holey-disc effecting the light path.

    -Schaf
    A problem is that most soft focus lenses were made in focal/coverage ranges that were suitable for portraiture, so shot focals "for the format" may not be easy to find.

    "Sharp-softness" it's not that hard to explain, but it has many flavors. Basicly a soft focus image has two factors, a sharp image and a soft image overlaped on it. This can be made in Photoshop by overlaping the two images, or with the enlarger, providing defocus in a share of the paper exposure...

    ...but if the effect is obtained with a lens then the effect can be different depending on the scene spot distance to the camera and focus place. Many times softnes is provocated by generating adjustable amounts of spheric aberration (coma...), it is the case of the Universal Heliar series, an additional ring displaces an internal element for that, Fuji SF and Rodenstock Imagon also works from a similar principle by using those disks.

    An important factor is how light is diffused, the light that should arrive to a point can be diffused in a circle around it or in certain radial direction, say to the image boundaries or more to the center, this draws an halo from a bright subject on a dark background or not...



    From my side, rather speaking about particular soft arch glass I don't know, let me mention that there are several ways you can provocate a soft focus effect with a lens. One is unscreewing a bit the cells, so the inter-cell distance is not the ideal one generating spheric aberration, and then exploring with different apertures.

    Antother trick is to vary aperture during a long exposure (ND filter, perhaps), in that way the fraction of the exposure made with the large aperture will have many things in the Out Of Focus, or all the image if you want, you may even take the shot at 3 apertures to gradate the effect across all depth of field.

    If you want a swirl bokeh this is also quite easy to provocate... Also you may also interchange cells from different lenses, say a front cell from a 150mm Symmar convertible and a rear cell of a 210mm, and exploring behaviour at different apertures.

    Another way is using the front element alone of (again) a convertible symmar. And see this http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/


    I've been exploring all that several years ago, for portraits in my case, just to realize that it allows great creative possibilities, this is a field I'd like to learn more.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    4,330

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    One trick is to remove the wheel stop and platform in a Dallmeyer Wide Angle Rectilinear. They become very soft.

    Or use a Verito, they can be pretty wide. Here is a wholeplate (6 1/2 X 8 1/2) I shot with a 7 1/4" Verito:


  6. #6
    Big Negs Rock!
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Pasadena
    Posts
    1,174

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    I have a 200 Imagon that covers 8x10 wide open. I know it isn't supposed to cover it, but it does. There may be other lenses out there that are wider.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA
    www.markwoods.com

  7. #7
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,412

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    When you said "sharp soft", I immediately thought of the Softar. The Softar (the real one made by Zeiss) has bumps on a flat filter glass. The image formed through the flat parts is sharp, but the bumps add a haze over the whole image. I get a similar effect applying a gaussian blur to a photoshop layer, and then making the layer transparent to allow the sharp base layer to come through.

    https://flic.kr/p/9pqwSL

    The modern soft-focus lenses I've messed with attain their soft-focus effect by adding spherical aberration, which will undermine the sharp part of sharp-soft.

    But I'm no expert on vintage soft-focus.

    Rick "almost always preferring the sharp image" Denney

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5,310

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    Most of them will cover much more than designed, they just get weird and swirly around the edges... .
    Reinhold's wollaston meniscus and the Verito are both available in a variety of sizes.. Probably a 7 inch range verito would be pretty wide for your use.

  9. #9
    Corran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North GA Mountains
    Posts
    7,566

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    My 8 1/4" Verito covers 5x7 nicely, and even puts light on 8x10 all the way, but it gets super wonky out towards the edges.

    For your usage, I would think a better plan would be to use your preferred sharp, wide lens and then a Zeiss Softar as indicated by RD. Or for cheaper alternatives, a filter with Vaseline on it or a thin black stocking stretched over it.

    I've been looking for more wide-angle soft-focus lenses, "real" ones, as I prefer that FOV but for now my Verito on 5x7 is nice for landscape.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #10
    schafphoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    205

    Re: soft focus lens for architecture

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    Do you require the normal architectural specs? Like lack of distortion, and at least reasonable consistency of sharpness out to the edges? Both of those might be lacking in all of the easy solutions. Wollensak made a 5" Verito, but good luck finding one.
    No the edges can be wonky. It might be something that gets repurposed from 6x9 or 6x12 medium format. Or even a lens without a front or rear element that exhibits a certain funk.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

Similar Threads

  1. Soft Focus Lens for 4x5
    By Larry Huhn in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2016, 09:40
  2. How to focus a soft focus lens
    By Geoffrey_1456 in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 2-Aug-2012, 06:56

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •