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Thread: soft focus lens recommendation

  1. #1

    Smile soft focus lens recommendation

    I will like to have a recommendation for a soft focus inexpensive lens for a view camera I will like if I somebody will give some advice as to what and where to buy these lenses for 4x5 and also 8x10 formats. I would like to stay under 500 or less each.

    Thanks Luis

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    Soft=focus lenses are sort of trendy today so their cost tends to be high. Selecting one is a very personal matter, since they have very individual characteristics. You can't really say one is better than another, just different. Have you read the article on soft-focus lenses amongst those listed at the bottom of the home page? This might help. You may also get some ideas from amongst the sample immages that jim Galli and others have put onto the Forum. Keep in mind, though, that soft-focus images in particular lose a lot of their character when translated into digital. You can find many of these samples by searching "soft-focus" and "Petzval". (Petzval is actually rather different, but is often considered las related.)

  3. #3
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    You might also try diffusion filters of various sorts. Filters produce a much different effect, of course, but can range in price from free to relatively inexpensive compared to Petzvals and other recently re-popularized lenses. It all depends on what look you want.

  4. #4
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    Among new lenses, the Congo soft focus ones look pretty interesting at a reasonable price...

  5. #5

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation


    "I will like if I somebody will give some advice as to what and where to buy these lenses for 4x5 and also 8x10 formats."

    Not to rain on the parade BUT soft focus lenses do not enlarge well, better to stay with 8x10 which most were designed for.

    Have fun with the hunt.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2001

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    My favorits are Imagons, Wollensak Velostigmat II, Universal Heliar and you find them on ebay and also some camera shops.
    Armin Seeholzer

  7. #7
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    You might also want to consider building your own. It's one of the few optical engineering challenges where a little ignorance helps!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    I used a Nikon soft focus filter on a 35mm camera and also under the enlarger. It was great, a very nice combination of "sharpness" and "unsharpness" (and when used under the enlarger has the advantage of allowing you to vary the degrees of soft focus). Mine was 62mm, I don't know what other sizes they come in but they're inexpensive compared to a lens, around $100 I think.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  9. #9
    Glenn Mellen
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Southlake, Texas

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    Another option to spending multi-hundreds on a lens, or making your own lens, or for that matter of putting on soft focus filters which restricts the effects to what the factory wants:

    Since we/you are using "old technology," consider a custom-made soft focus that may cost you nothing (and was used in the "old days"). Simply apply a touch of vaseline to a UV or Skylight filter. Add more vaseline for more effect... reduce amount of vaseline for less effect... keep the center clear for variable effect, etc. Soft focus effects can also be done by shooting through lace, or shooting through nylon stockings.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2007
    20mins north of boston

    Re: soft focus lens recommendation

    try he has a list of soft lens and barrel lens you should be able to find something you like seem to be fair prices:
    Lauren MacIntosh

    Whats in back of you is the past and whats in front of you is the future now in the middle you have choices to make for yourself:

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