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Thread: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

  1. #1

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    210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for adding me to your group. I'm new to LF and am wondering about which lens is best for me and my style of shooting. I have a Calumet 4x5 with a 16" (400mm) bellows and a 150 Schneider 4.5 Xenar lens, but I'm looking to add a longer lens for portraits.

    I'm considering either a 210mm or a 240mm (I'm assuming 300mm will require more bellows than I have). First of all, can I assume that I have enough bellows length for close ups with either the 210 or 240?

    Secondly, for a newcomer to LF, would you recommend that I use a 210 or 240 for portraits? Currently, I'm looking at a 210mm/5.6 Schneider APO Symmar MC in a Copal 1 shutter or a 240mm f/9 Rodenstock Apo-Ronar Lens in Copal 1 Shutter.

    I'm just now starting to dig into the wealth of information that this group has generously shared and it's a little overwhelming.

    Can a few of you veterans give me some guidance on the 210 vs. 240 choice?

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    John

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Either would be fine.

    I'd try to find an older lens with a shutter with more aperture blades for a rounder aperture.. Thin depth of field will mean the background will be out of focus and you want that that look good too.. The copal-1 isn't bad, but you can do better with a Kodak Ektar Professional, or a Fuji 210/4.5 or 240 in Shannel or Copal-3 shutter. You don't need a super sharp top of the line glass to do nice portraits.

  3. #3
    Exploring Large Format Exploring Large Format's Avatar
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    Either would be fine.

    I'd try to find an older lens with a shutter with more aperture blades for a rounder aperture.. Thin depth of field will mean the background will be out of focus and you want that that look good too.. The copal-1 isn't bad, but you can do better with a Kodak Ektar Professional, or a Fuji 210/4.5 or 240 in Shannel or Copal-3 shutter. You don't need a super sharp top of the line glass to do nice portraits.
    New to shutter distinctions. I get that there are many shutters preferred over Copal, but are you suggesting a Copal #3 is better than a Copal #1, all things being equal. If so, could you explain?
    Thanks much!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    You should be able to find either in a Copal 1.

  5. #5

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    I'm with JP on the older lenses.
    If you were to get an Apo-HM Symmar /Ronar/ whatever modern lens, your portraits will show every pore, hair & skin imperfection.
    If you will be using the lens for portraiture only, you would be well served with something like a 210mm 4.5 Tessar, Ilex Paragon, Wollensak Raptar or Velostigmat...these are generally softer when open, and sharpen up when stopped down.
    One plus is that the older shutters have lots of aperture blades, for round aperture, which gives nice OOF rendering.
    The corresponding downside is that older shutters need more maintenance.
    If you are looking for a general purpose lens, maybe a 210mm f 6.1 Xenar would be a good compromise. (Tessar formula) . Small, uses 46mm filters, in a Copal 1...5 blade shutter.
    You will get a lot of differing opinions here, but what you choose should reflect what you want to achieve.

  6. #6

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    “ Secondly, for a newcomer to LF, would you recommend that I use a 210 or 240 for portraits? ”

    That close enough to not matter.

    210 or 300. Your 150 will be good for environmental portraiture.

    My favorite has become the Kodak Commercial Ektar... but they tend to be on the pricey side.

  7. #7

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    “ Secondly, for a newcomer to LF, would you recommend that I use a 210 or 240 for portraits? ”

    That close enough to not matter.

    210 or 300. Your 150 will be good for environmental portraiture.

    My favorite has become the Kodak Commercial Ektar... but they tend to be on the pricey side.

    Is a 16” (400mm) bellows long enough to use a 300mm?

  8. #8

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    I use an older 240mm Rodenstock Sironar regularly on my Chamonix 4x5 for portraits.

  9. #9

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Like Brian says, 210 and 240 are pretty close. I also favor the Kodak Commercial Ektar but everyone is different.

    Read this!

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...rtrait-lenses/

    Also check out the Image Sharing (LF) and Discussion section on this forum. Study the portraits there to see what you like. Many times the lens the photographer used for the portrait is listed. If you find you are interested in certain lenses then type in that lens on Flickr to see more examples.

  10. #10

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRivito View Post
    Secondly, for a newcomer to LF, would you recommend that I use a 210 or 240 for portraits? Currently, I'm looking at a 210mm/5.6 Schneider APO Symmar MC in a Copal 1 shutter or a 240mm f/9 Rodenstock Apo-Ronar Lens in Copal 1 Shutter.
    I don't know either of these lenses specifically, but assuming that both are in good condition, I don't see how you can go wrong with either for portraits. Keep in mind that your first lens is almost never your last lens--if you can get either one for a decent price in good condition, pick one and see what you like. You can always sell it and try something else.

    As for a choice between the two focal lengths, I can only offer my own perspective. I only rarely do portraits, but in building my lens kit I opted for a 240mm over a 210mm because it was more clearly distinct, in terms of focal length, from my 150mm lens. I have done a couple of portraits with the 240 (I have the Schneider g-claron), and have been immensely pleased with the results.

    Good luck, and have fun with it!

    Bruce

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