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Thread: 4x5 portrait lens

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    4x5 portrait lens

    Dear All --

    I just purchased my first 4x5 (Anba field) and want to use it for some indoor location/studio portraits -- head to hips, good depth of field with sharp detail throughout. I'd like to start out with something relatively inexpensive, and maybe upgrade later on in the game. This is my first foray into lrg format so any advice is deeply appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Meiwen

  2. #2

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    Sep 2005
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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    Heliar healiar heliar 210/4.5 ..... give me one .... please


    I mention the Heliar as it has very specific transition from in-focus to out-of-focus. Look around this web for examples. But it is indeed not cheap. For one in a goo order and working shutter you will pay at least $500.

    For head to hips a focal length of 180 and loger should be OK (not to get too strong distortions). For a cheapo approach - try some 210/5.6 like: Symmar, Sironar N, Fujinon W or Nikkor W. Also 210/6.8 Geronar (Caltar II - E) would do - that is what I have and want to try this weekend for portraits too.

    There are other "dedicated" potrait lenses but if Iwere you I would start with some "neutral" lens (one of the mentioned ones)

    If you want to go with a longer lens (240 or even 300) - check wheter you have enough bellows draw to focus and also wheter your camera is stable enough close to maximal bellows extension. I have Tachihara with 300mm bellows draw both of the last two conrerns would apply.

    If you are brand no to LF some book would do good to get the basic idea.
    Something like: Steve Simmons - Using The View Camera (I have this one), or Leslie D. Stroebel - View Camera Technique. But there are many others.

    Good luck
    Matus

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    I agree with Matus that a 210 would be a good choice, as they are very easy to find, reasonably priced, come in #1 shutters (for the most part), and act as approximately a 60mm lens would on 35mm. Another choice would be a 203 Ektar. These are small, sharp and cheap, but the shutter isn't as nice. Make sure it has flash sync, and you'll probably have to pay for a CLA.

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    I would look for any of the classic tessar types from the mid 1950's single coated like this one.

    http://www.apug.org/classifieds/show...1&cat=2&page=1

    The Heliar is superb if you don't mind paying for one. A 190mm Ilex at f4.5 will also have a fine smooth look to it. The Kodak 190mm f4.5 is even better when they turn up.

    Got called away and didn't get to finish. The key is the f4.5 aperture. 3.5 better still but the prices on these go up by magnitude. Wollensak f4.5 Velostigmat 8 1/4" etc. You will be surprised how smooth a portrait can be wide open with an older tessar type.

  5. #5
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    On the practical side, it's good to consider how much bellows extension the camera provides, and what camera-to-subject distance the shooting location will provide. Longer focal lengths (e.g. 210mm or so, and above) will provide greater working distance and more natural perspective (i.e. less foreshortening), but if the shooting space doesn't allow enough room, or the bellows isn't long enough for that focal length at that distance, a compromise might be necessary.

  6. #6

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    Dec 1999
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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    I usually recommend a bellows that is at least 50% longer than the lens.

    steve simmons

  7. #7

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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    I am finding my 203mm Ektar to be a great portrait lens. I also have a 210mm Fujinon, but there is something about the character of the Ektar that I like for people shots.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  8. #8

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    Feb 2007
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    Arizona
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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Graves View Post
    I am finding my 203mm Ektar to be a great portrait lens. I also have a 210mm Fujinon, but there is something about the character of the Ektar that I like for people shots.
    Agreed, I'm actually keeping my eye out for a 190-210 like the Ektar for portraits with my 4x5 . I have a beautiful Apo-Symmar 210, but that is a bit too sharp!

    Thanks to some helpful advice from Jim Galli I did just buy a 12" Wollensak Velostigmat Series II for my B&J 5x7 --- looking forward to trying it out.

    JT

  9. #9

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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    Heliar, it is definetly a great lens.
    I own a 210 tessar 3.5 that I have fought to the teeth to have it few years ago on ebay.
    I was looking 4-5 times a day to see how the auction was going, a beautiful lens to look at.
    When I got it and used it on the other hand I wsn't really happy with it.
    Since I shoot almost always wide open didn't stand to the comparison with my dallmeyer petzval in sharpness.
    I kind of put it aside, but it is always in the back of my mind, and something tells me that I haven't used it to its full potential.
    I also owned a tessar around 152 mm f 2.5, that regrettably I sold back but that I now long for.
    I tested it, but not long enough, I should have kept it....
    You live and learn, but the void stays there....

  10. #10

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    Re: 4x5 portrait lens

    Shooting at f/4.5 is with modern films, we often need a rather fast shutter-speed. Those old shutters only go so fast. So you may have to choose a slow film, depending on the light...May we all have such problems !

    Classic lenses tend to have many-bladed diaphragms, which makes them more suitable for portraits, even when stopped down a bit.

    On the other hand, I have found that my Fujinon 240A, 300A, and 450C have superb OOF rendition - but only when shot wide-open. If we could only replace those ghastly 5-bladed diaphragms, we'd really have something better suited for portraits.
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 18-Jul-2007 at 11:24.

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