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Thread: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

  1. #1
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Rather than bore you with another "210mm lens for 8x10" thread, I'll bore you with a "300mm lens for 8x10" thread.
    Looking for some suggestions on an affordable 300mm lens to use for 8x10 portraits.
    What's affordable? Nothing, really, but let's try under $800 for starters.

    Here are the rules I'm playing by:
    • Not looking for 14" or longer, not my style.
    • not the very latest modern glass (no APO-Sironars, etc)
    • needs to be in a shutter
    • single/multi-coated
    • smooth and sharp look, medium contrast
    • not pictorialist/soft looking lenses
    • f/4.5 preferred

    Been there: Radar, Commercial Ektar, Wolly Series II, Heliar

    Considering a 300mm Xenar, one is f/4.5, other is f/5.6 and of more recent vintage
    Also considering some older coated Fujis - 300 S or 300 L (both in Copal 3, both f/5.6).

    I know there's a lot I don't know, so any suggestions would help, if they tick off one or more boxes.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Hi Ari

    Kodak 12" f/4.8 Portrait. I had one, didn't really know what I had, and sold it. Big mistake.

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    I have a 300 Fuji L. I like it, but it's not like I've done a bunch of comparisons.

    Looking at your comments, I'd also check out an Ilex Paragon. I haven't had a 300, but I've had a couple 254mm versions, and they are great performers.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  4. #4

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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Well, you’ve already tried the two I was going to suggest. I’m assuming that the ones you tried aren’t to your liking. Can’t wait to hear what’s next for you. Xenar... should be another good choice but not too sure it will be significantly different from the others. Can’t wait to hear what you do.

  5. #5

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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Could you explain what didnít work with the ones you tried and maybe a bit more of the type of look that youíre after? Itís hard to suggest without knowing more about your preferences.

  6. #6

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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    Hi Ari

    Kodak 12" f/4.8 Portrait. I had one, didn't really know what I had, and sold it. Big mistake.
    I wish I had bought it. Hard to find good one at affordable price.
    Jim

  7. #7
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Eric, thank you for the suggestion. I had one and didn't like it, too soft for my taste.
    Peter, thank you. Wondering what differences exist between S and L series Fuji lenses? I have an Ilex Paragon S with a soft focus/diffusion ring. I like it, and will look again for a non-diffused Paragon.
    Brian, thank you. I had a Cooke XVa, sold it to finance some family stuff, and miss it terribly. It was a singular lens, nothing will come close except maybe a Cooke XV, but both are out of my budget. The older f/4.5 coated Xenars are appealing, or maybe I'll find another convertible lens that works for me.
    Kiwi, understood. The lenses I didn't keep were mostly fine, but they were difficult to tame in contrasty situations, or they had too little contrast (usually uncoated), or I got tired of sending the Ilex shutters in for repair.
    Jim, everything is selling at sky-high prices. Hard to find a deal anymore.

  8. #8

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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    If you found the uncoated Wollensak Velostigmat Series II lacking a bit of punch for your taste, consider the coated Raptar 4.5 successor. A little more contrast, but with the classic Tessar rendering. I understand being leery of older shutters, but an Alphax #5 just won’t quit, and is available with synch if that’s important.

    I paid $300 for one in great condition within the last year, so the price is generally reasonable.

  9. #9
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    11 3/4" Heliar.


    Or NOT. Looks like you tried that one. Sorry.
    Next time I must read the question!

  10. #10
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Suggest a 12" (300mm) lens for portrait work on 8x10?

    Looks like you've ruled out just about everything

    And if you've ruled out the lenses, get a prettier model.

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