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Thread: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

  1. #1

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    Oct 2006
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    Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    I'm shopping for a used (economical ) lens for taking portraits with my SH 4x5 -
    something equivelent to an 85-105mm in 35mm format, but I'm not sure
    of the availability of inexpensive lenses in this range on the used
    market or the SH's ability to focus those lenses at the 12-15 foot
    range at which such portraits would be taken.

    If anyone has any experience with this camera for this type of
    photography, I'd be happy to hear your recommendations.

    Thanks,

    John Harper
    http://www.ae5x.com

  2. #2
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    A 240? Hard to find something inexpensive in this price range. Smaller lenses that people seem to like in this focal length include the Fujinon A 240mm and Schneider G-Claron 240mm. Both have f/9.0 max openings. The G-Claron is single coated. Most other lenses in this focal length (with f/5.6 max apertures) are in Copal 3 shutters. If you are willing to go that route, the offerings expand.

  3. #3

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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    210 Schneider f5.6 is what I use for Portraits with the Shen Hoa (and the Toyo G for that matter). I also have a 240 Germinar f:9 that I can use which is certainly smaller, I really don't use it all that much in 4x5.


    Mike

  4. #4
    Andy Eads
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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    If you want to keep it light, consider a Kodak 203mm f/7.7 Ektar. If you can find one in a Compur shutter, all the better. I think a 240mm lens would be better from a perspective stand point but the previous comments point out the problems in that focal length range.

  5. #5
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    A 240? Hard to find something inexpensive in this price range. ...
    Yet again - a 240mm f:5.6 Symmar convertible does the job. The original shutter (for most of them) is a Compur #2, which went out of production at about the same time as the lens. Some have been remounted in Copal #3, I believe.

  6. #6

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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    More of a question than a statement, but isn't 210-240 a bit short for head & shoulder portraits on 4x5? My experience suggests a 300 is closer to what you would want. (Applying the "triple it" rule of thumb when finding a 4x5 equivalent lens, 85-105 converts to 255-315.)

  7. #7
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    With the larger negative follows an increased reproduction ratio, which in turn increases the extension needed as a percentage of focal length, thus narrowing the image angle a bit.
    Using the short side of the image as a "base line", the "multiplier" is about 4, not "triple it". This pulls in th other direction and might lead to thinking that a 355mm lens would be best, but that's just too long for portraits on 4x5".
    So 240mm on 4x5" is actally pretty close to 90mm on 24x36mm.

  8. #8

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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    Real problem is I think his camera only has about 300mm of bellows. So it doesn't matter if a 300mm is better because unless he gets a telephoto it might not focus close enough.

    But how much of a difference is there between 240mm and 255mm?

    Does he really need light? Lots of older big 210-240mm lenses selling for not much money. Backpack portrait photographer? Spending money on a light lens might not be the best choice.

    Also he doesn't say what inexpensive is.

    To the OP get out your calculator. You can figure out how close your bellows can focus with a non-telephoto lens fairly simply. I'm sure the formulas are on this site some place.

  9. #9

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    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    I bought a Shen Hao 4x5 last week with 4 lenses, one of which is a Komura T400 f/6.3.

    Yesterday I tested the camera out and all 4 lenses had film exposed by them. I paid special interest to the telephoto 400 lens as I thought it may do nicely for interesting portrait work.

    I was really surprised at just how close I could focus, down to 3.1m but that is stretching things to the limit. Realistic close focusing for portrait work with this lens, should see the subject about 4m to 5.5m or slightly more as very workable, whilst giving a very nice blurred background. This is for a bust shot, not a full length standing shot.

    A 210mm lens will give you very nice 3/4 length portrait workability, whilst still allowing you forward and back focusing for differential focus. You should be able to get a bust shot with the 210mm but I didn't try that as I concentrated on the 400mm.

    One of the things I didn't know about until I read the latest edition of Magnachrom (I think that is correct) is that the back can be pushed back about 35mm to give slightly more bellows draw. The latest edition of this online free magazine has a reasonably interesting report of the Shen Hao 4x5 camera, including a picture of the camera extended to the limit with the back pushed back.

    With a heavy lens on the front I will be employing this back facility to change the centre of gravity slightly for straight portrait work. The front standard can be altered to give more bellows draw but will not hold a heavy lens well when on the limit.

    Bellows draw on my particular camera is approximately 356mm +-1mm.

    I would suggest a conventional 240mm lens would allow you to operate quite close, without pushing the camera to the limits, any longer and stable close focusing ability, may hinder your creative possibilities. I myself will now be looking for a 240 for this very purpose.

    Mick.

  10. #10

    Re: Lens for head & shoulder portraits with Shen-Hao 4x5

    Mick is right on with his estimate. I think a 210mm is the perfect lens and a 240mm at the limit of the bellows on that camera. How about a 210mm convertible Symmar? What does it convert to, about 370mm? That might be a very reasonable choice. Gives two choices for portraits, 3/4 and head and shoulders. What do you think?

    Mick is your camera new, how do you like it so far? What are you going to be using it for?

    tr

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