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Thread: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

  1. #1

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    Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    I've a Fujinon A 240mm for my 4X5 and have read about the SFS lenses that seem to have behind the lens soft filters (that look more like baffles than filters). These latter remind me of the feather boa lighting I've read was often used in Hollywood for some reason. At anyrate, these SFS lenses don't run all that much, yet every $ saved is usable elsewhere. So I'm wondering whether a standard lens like the 240 A with a soft filter might produce the same effect? Got a couple of the latter from an old MF camera that passed through my hands. Anybody know? Just curious.

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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    I had a Fujinon SF lens, it had an acceptable softness, but specular out-of-focus highlights had a weird "flower power sticker" ( for lack of a better description) pattern that didn't work for me...so I sold it and got a Verito.
    The soft focus filter that I liked the most was the Nikon Soft 1. When examined closely, it looked like there was a pattern of small water droplets on the filter glass...they worked as small lenses, softening the image by giving it two planes of focus...one sharp, one not so much.
    If you are going to use a SF filter. I recommend one of that variety. There are many kinds out there.
    Or...less expensive still, stretch a black stocking over the lens, after poking a pattern of small holes in it with a lit cigarette (or similar).

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    I'm a big fan of Fujinon lenses, but I don't like their soft focus lenses very much. I have a 190sf lens for the GX680 system. It doesn't have much character. It's just a not very sharp lens. It doesn't have any of the glowy magic of an Imagon, Verito, Veritar....
    May tomorrow be a better day.

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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    I had a Fujinon SF and disliked it so much that I gutted out the glass, no regrets, and used the shutter and mounts to make my own SF lens from parts. It doesn't work like a real SF lens; it's just unsharp.

    A good diffusion filter is better. But a real SF, like a Verito, or even an Imagon, would be the thing to have.
    Last edited by mdarnton; 9-Jun-2020 at 07:37.
    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: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    I've a Fujinon A 240mm for my 4X5 and have read about the SFS lenses that seem to have behind the lens soft filters (that look more like baffles than filters). These latter remind me of the feather boa lighting I've read was often used in Hollywood for some reason. At anyrate, these SFS lenses don't run all that much, yet every $ saved is usable elsewhere. So I'm wondering whether a standard lens like the 240 A with a soft filter might produce the same effect? Got a couple of the latter from an old MF camera that passed through my hands. Anybody know? Just curious.

    Not the same effect. SF glass has many nuances, this is a complex matter with many flavors, there is a very refined imaging subculture around that.

    _____


    First you should be aware of the PSF concept (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_spread_function)

    A soft filter spreads the light that should go to a point on film/sensor over a "circle", and/or generating flare.



    A SF lens may have two differences compared to a soft filter.


    >> Effect may depend on the distance to subject, effect can be different in the perfect plane of focus compared to the out of focus regions.

    >> The PSF may not have circular symmetry, rather diffusion being a circle diffusion may be directed to the image center or to the counter. See this image (https://www.flickr.com/photos/558734...7643501915954/) and look/enlarge the distant bright points in the background, you see the diffusion directed to the image center. In this case that PSF comes from spheric aberration provocated by the displacement of the inner element of the Universal Heliar, it has a ring to adjust that.

    With that kind of diffusion shown in that example if you have a dark background, in a protrait, then the face silhouette is not "diffused", you don't have a glow around it, but the face itself is softened, so the trick is not evident.

    Or you may want a "glow"...

    Just saying that soft focus is a "complex matter", a SF filter it's just a kind of softness. We have many resources and many interactions with focus, aperture, illumination, background...

    Of course many times any kind of softness may work, but if wanting refinements in this field then we have a lot.

    ______

    A soft focus image may have many refined nuances, first all image can have an imperfect sharpness, or you may have a sharp image component overlaped with a less sharp image, and that less sharp image can have a circular diffusion or instead a light difussion that has a "direction" or a character.


    For a characterization of your diffusion system, you may use a bright spot with a dark background, then inspect the PSF it renders depending on focus, position and adjusted intensity.


    Note that with systems that have directional difussion (to the image center...) with rise/shift you may displace the diffusion center over the format (in a similar way that the swirl bokeh center can be displaced from the image center).
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 9-Jun-2020 at 07:17.

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    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    Then I will stop looking for #13

    an inside joke for Peter

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    I'm a big fan of Fujinon lenses, but I don't like their soft focus lenses very much. I have a 190sf lens for the GX680 system. It doesn't have much character. It's just a not very sharp lens. It doesn't have any of the glowy magic of an Imagon, Verito, Veritar....
    2022

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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    ...So I'm wondering whether a standard lens like the 240 A with a soft filter might produce the same effect?
    Every model exhibits its own distinct combination of under- and over-corrected lens aberrations, which vary with aperture, focus distance, sensor size, view camera movements and lighting. You can't easily lump them together or mimic one with the other. You can, however, find one that you like.

    For some images made with the Cooke Portrait PS945, click here.

    For some images I made with 180mm Fujinon SFS (no strainer), click here. I love the lens, particularly its smooth blur rendition.

    For some images I made with 9 inch Kershaw, click here

    For some images made with a variety of Reinhold Schnable's Wollaston Meniscus lenses, click here

    For some images made with huge variety of soft focus lenses, see Jim Galli's work here - although the link appears to be down today.

  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    As usual, Ken's work is terrific. I haven't tried any still life photos with my Fujinon SF, but I will now. My view was based on studio portraits. Besides the lack of glow, I don't like that the strainer type aperture isn't removable. Just like with an Imagon, out-of-focus highlight will be in the shape of the aperture, and, generally, that's very unwelcome. (I don't use my Imagon with the sink-strainer apertures.) I might try dismantling my Fujinon to remove the strainer. With the LF versions, I believe the strainers are interchangeable between a yellow and a red one. Thus, they must be easy to remove.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  9. #9

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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    The strainer is easily removable on a Fujinon SF

  10. #10

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    Re: Portraits: Fujinon SFS lenses vs. Fujinon 240 A + Soft Focus filter

    Peter, take out the front component (if I remember right) and pop the strainer off with your fingernail. Slip fit.
    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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