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Thread: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Hello,
    I recently purchased a Wista VX to use for portraits in the field. The camera has a 12 inch bellows draw and I was wondering what a good lens would be to get head and shoulders portraits or even tight face portraits? Was considering either a 210mm or a 240mm? If anyone has any advice or experience with these focal lengths for portraits would be greatly appreciated
    thanks in advance
    Brent

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    The 210mm focal length is my personal favorite for people shots on 4x5. It just feels right. I mainly shoot people photos and so, have not one but six (!) different lenses in the 210mm focal length. Each has its own "look" - personality if you will.

    I've also tried shooting head shots with both 300mm and 240mm on 4x5....and I just don't like the look. The people come out looking flat and dimensionless. The 240mm plasmats are big and heavy and not my favorite (I keep one on the 8x10).

    Given the geometrical constraints imposed by your camera here are some ideas to think about....

    with a 210mm focal length, the closest you can focus is : 700mm from lens to subject but with a 240mm focal length, the closest you'd be able to focus with a 12 inch bellows is 1.2 meters.

    In my mind, the choise is an easy one...the 210mm focal length is simply the best choice.

  3. #3

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Thanks Brad,
    Since you have 6 different lenses perhaps you can recommend one

    Ive been looking at these:
    Schneider 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar
    Rodenstock 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Sironar-S Lens
    Rodenstock 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Sironar-N Lens

    Lots of difference in price, Is it a case of you get what you pay for?
    I'd like to do a portrait series with close tight face shots, maybe a bit of shoulders with a view to blowing up wall size prints so I dont want to compromise on quality

    Thanks in advance!
    Brent

  4. #4
    Octogenarian
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Consider the Fujinon f9 240A.

    It will do everything you need it to do.

    Mounted in a Copal 0 shutter, it is the ideal lens to use with your 4x5 Wista VX.

  5. #5
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gem Singer View Post
    Consider the Fujinon f9 240A.

    It will do everything you need it to do.

    Mounted in a Copal 0 shutter, it is the ideal lens to use with your 4x5 Wista VX.
    Amazing lens, but is it too sharp for portraits?
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  6. #6
    Octogenarian
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    I have a Soft FX filter that softens the image and removes wrinkles, when I use the lens for portraiture.

    The OP mentioned in another thread that he wanted a lens that could be used for general field work as well as portraiture.

  7. #7

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    You can also find Tessars and Heliars in the lovely 210mm focal length, in shutters that are old, but which work just fine after many years. They open to f/4.5, which makes focusing easier, and have circular apertures, which give lovely background blur. They may not have wide coverage or modern coatings, but they are better for portraits in my humble opinion.

    They are often more affordable too.

    Here's one made with a 250mm Tessar on 4x5, and here's one made with a 210 Heliar.
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 10-Nov-2010 at 08:57.

  8. #8

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by brent79 View Post
    Thanks Brad,
    Since you have 6 different lenses perhaps you can recommend one

    Ive been looking at these:
    Schneider 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar
    Rodenstock 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Sironar-S Lens
    Rodenstock 210mm f/5.6 Apo-Sironar-N Lens

    Lots of difference in price, Is it a case of you get what you pay for?
    I'd like to do a portrait series with close tight face shots, maybe a bit of shoulders with a view to blowing up wall size prints so I dont want to compromise on quality

    Thanks in advance!
    Brent
    Brent,

    The lenses you list are all exceptionally good....I am sure any one of them would be suited to your need. I have the following lenses in the 210mm focal length.

    Fuji 210mm f/5.6 Fujinon-W
    Rodentock 210mm f/5.6 Sironar-N
    Schneider 210mm f/6.1 Xenar (I have two!)
    Rodenstock 210mm f/6.3 Ysarex
    Rodenstock 210mm f/6.8 Geronar

    The first two don't get used much - too big and heavy and the Fujinon is just way, way too sharp. People do not like it when you can see every pore and blemish in skin of their face. My favorite for all subjects has been the Xenar and the Ysarex. The geronar is also a favorite....like a modern cooke triplet....and very inexpensive!

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    For 4x5:

    150 for full-length
    210 for waist up
    300 for h/s
    450 for tight into the face

    Perspective is a matter of subject to camera distance. Use the appropriate lens to crop as desired.

  10. #10

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    Re: 210mm or 240mm for Portraits?

    i like a bit of a longer lens so i vote 240. i too would follow kens ideas for a lens. also check out the tessar f4.5 or 3.5 if you can find them. great lenses and very very cheap as well.

    have fun .

    eddie
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

    My YouTube videos
    oldstyleportraits.com
    photo.net gallery

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