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Thread: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

  1. #1

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    Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    ....at least, that's what this seller says. 330549156099

    "Many folks are dishonestly adding the moniker ‘Portrait’ to the name of the lenses they’re selling to mislead folks into believing these lenses are portrait or soft focus lenses when they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination a soft focus or portrait lens. For example, some Petzval lenses are soft enough to be used as a portrait lens, some are ‘tack sharp’ and despite this, are being mis-represented as a portrait lenses."

    He seems not to know why Petzvals were invented (for Daguerreotype portraits), what they were marketed and used for for 100 years, and that they are having a resurgence with portrait photographers. I wrote and tried to explain the same, but just got chewed out.

  2. #2

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    ....at least, that's what this seller says. 330549156099

    "Many folks are dishonestly adding the moniker ‘Portrait’ to the name of the lenses they’re selling to mislead folks into believing these lenses are portrait or soft focus lenses when they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination a soft focus or portrait lens. For example, some Petzval lenses are soft enough to be used as a portrait lens, some are ‘tack sharp’ and despite this, are being mis-represented as a portrait lenses."

    He seems not to know why Petzvals were invented (for Daguerreotype portraits), what they were marketed and used for for 100 years, and that they are having a resurgence with portrait photographers. I wrote and tried to explain the same, but just got chewed out.
    can imagine...

    His ranting about us from the old world is rather rude.... I wouldn't buy anything from him anyway...

  3. #3

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    Say what? Why go out of your way to insult potential customers--many of whom presumably buy, sell, and use Petzval (omg portrait) lenses. Then he goes on to salt his ad with the magical Pinkham dust.

  4. #4
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    At the risk of being pedantic... There are three generations called portrait lenses by photographers or manufacturers of their day, (the dates you could probably argue with a bit):

    The first (1840-1900) was the Petzval, because they were bright enough (f/4-ish) for fairly quick exposures on less-light-sensitive materials when all other lenses of reasonable sharpness were f/8 or slower. One needed a portrait lens so the sitter didn't hold still for so long.

    The second (1880-1950) was the softened portrait lens of many different designs, meant to flatter the sitter by smoothing out the skin flaws and wrinkles.

    The third (1920-current) is just a conventional general -purpose lens of somewhat-longer-than-normal focal length to flatten the features, or at least keep them from appearing to protrude.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #5

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    The first poster is mis-representing what I said in my ad for my 405mm Kodak Portrait lens, here's the first entries in my ad, and I'll point out that I was talking about lenses in general and not just Petzvals, and I mention Petzvals way down the line, and in mentioning them I said 'some', not all, some Petzvals are being represented by sellers as something they aren't. Here's what I said..........

    "This is the FABULOUS 405 Kodak Portrait lens, a TRUE PORTRAIT LENS that doesn’t take a backseat to even the Pinkham semi-achromatics.

    This lens was designed as a portrait lens from the start and has PORTRAIT on its barrel, unlike the imposter lenses being thrown up for sale on ebay recently, that were NEVER portrait lenses nor do they have the name PORTRAIT ANYWHERE ON THE LENS BARREL.

    Many folks are dishonestly adding the moniker ‘Portrait’ to the name of the lenses they’re selling to mislead folks into believing these lenses are portrait or soft focus lenses when they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination a soft focus or portrait lens. For example, some Petzval lenses are soft enough to be used as a portrait lens, some are ‘tack sharp’ and despite this, are being mis-represented as a portrait lenses."

    I was talking about ALL the lenses NOT just Petzvals, that some speculators and/or collectors are representing as portrait lenses when they in fact they have no idea of what they're selling.

    Where does anybody see me knocking the photographers who use these lenses or a other fellow shooter??? I haven't been rude to anybody who uses and/or are knowledgeable these lenses, I use them myself. What I've done, I've spoken my mind, and done just the OPPOSITE of what Goamules says, and spoken out against the folks who DON'T use any of these lenses let alone Petzvals and who suggest that any of these lenses started out life as portrait lenses when they haven't.

    There's been some dancing w/words here, I am a portrait shooter, and know what a Vitax, Vesta, or Dallmeyer is, and my gripe w/the speculators and collectors on ebay is that they're representing lenses(others lenses along w/SOME Petzvals) to folks as portrait lenses who're going to be awafully disappointed when they get the lens and it doesn't turn out to be a Vesta or Dallmeyer.

    You made up your mind I was talking about only Petzvals and the folks who use 'em and that was wrong Goamules as well as you continuing this by bringing here w/partial quotes.

    I was talking about speculators and collectors who mis-represent lenses in general as portrait lenses, to collect a 'buck' and not fellow shooters .

    If you want to 'roast' me for what I 've said in my ad go ahead, but don't put words in my mouth by mis-representing what I wrote as being only about Petzval lenses, because that's not what I said.

    Projection Petzvals have been mis-represented on ebay as being portrait lenses, I'm critical of that, which has nothing to do w/somebody selling a Vesta or Vitax, or Dallmeyer which are obviously are portrait lenses.

    Goamules decides that's not what I'm talking about and also decides that what I've said amounts to 'Petsvals are portrait lenses', and them somebody else chimes in that I meant some of you, via rudeness.

    Fairness????? I don't so. This is my first/last comment. I'm gone.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  6. #6

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    I'm not going to let this pass w/o a reply to another comment.

    I'm not putting 'salt' in the game w/my comparing the Kodak Portrait lens to the Pinkham, I've said what I've said about the Kodak Portrait in comparison to the Pinkhams for years via my site 'Widopen'.

    I've mentioned for yrs before I posted this ad that I considered the Kodak Portrait as another interation of the Pinkham SA, so I'm not going to stop saying that because I'm selling this lens.

    I've in fact shot w/the Kodak, Pinkham SA I, Pinkham SA Doublet III, and Pinkham VQ IV #2 along w/the Kodak Portrait, so I can compare 'em because I've actually shot with them.

    If I shot the same subject matter w/all of the above mentioned lenses you would not be able to spot the shots by the Pinkham versus the Kodak Portrait.

    Now I'm gone
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  7. #7

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    Jonathan.

    I like most of what you write in your listing about the lens itself. But I think, like, Goamules, that you ignore the fact that the definition of portrait lens until the last century WAS a question of speed and the movement of sitters/illumination. It had nothing to do with soft lenses - apart from a few speciality lenses. The criticism of certain listers which has made here about Projection Petzvals sold as Portrait Petzvals has been about the "packaging" in the listing - many of these have been optically identical with some of the glamour names - just without stops.

    And a few more comments:

    "This lens was designed as a portrait lens from the start and has PORTRAIT on its barrel, unlike the imposter lenses being thrown up for sale on ebay recently, that were NEVER portrait lenses nor do they have the name PORTRAIT ANYWHERE ON THE LENS BARREL."

    This is absolute nonsense, Jonathan! "Portrait" labelling started with Voigtländer's (Euryskop) Portrait series in the middle 1890's, I think. Which rules out a lot of classics.



    " I will NOT sell outside the United States PERIOD. Don’t ask, don’t beg, don’t bid, if you’re not in the U.S. No proxy bidders bidding through a US address, then you contact me from out of the country. I’ve had enough of overseas buyers attempting to victimize me with CHARGEBACK FRUAD and FEEDBACK EXTORSION. Enough is enough."

    Like, Gandolfi, I think this could be more diplomatically worded. When selling high value items, there is always a good chance of attracting unsavory/demanding bidders - irrespective of country of residence.

    "No returns accepted"

    You cannot be serious about this. Things do ocassionally get damaged in the post or delamination starts - my courier says "expect a fall from 1 meter".
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 3-Apr-2011 at 13:31. Reason: Euryskop

  8. #8

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    I do have some sympathy for Jonathan's position in this, despite not liking his sales requirements ( I am from away); these are not at issue here.
    The current favour petzval's have in the market have more to do with the use of them on larger than recommend formats and the enjoyment of their flaws, than their use as a sharp and fast portrait lens of the day.
    The time of the soft focus lens really didn't stop in 1950 as the makers of 35mm lenses Fugi, Canon, Minolta, Pentax Mamiya and Nikon all marketed their soft focus lenses as portrait lenses
    the general purpose lens of longer than normal length was as much a function of 35mm and medium format as a trend away from large format bouncing back to large format usage.
    I think that the underlying assumption of a purpose built portrait lens for the last 100 years is a soft focus lens.
    I think I understood what Jonathan was saying.
    Better than hearing "How this baby swirls"
    Bill
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  9. #9

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    I guess I'll be riding this out....

    You've got this on the money Cowanw.....

    I think I've tried hard to encourage folks to get into this very type of photograph, I've preached this kind of photography for years, and it would be very disappointing to have a buyer mis-represent a lens to somebody who is considering getting into this and who's promptly burned on his first purchase of a 'Soft Focus'/'Portrait' lens.

    "This is absolute nonsense, Jonathan! "Portrait" labelling started with Voigtländer's Portrait series in the middle 1890's, I think. Which rules out a lot of classics.'........

    You're mixing up issues, this was never about what you or I consider a Petzval to be, again, my comments were about folks who in many cases have no idea of what the performance is of the lens they're selling, and we're talking about folks who haven't studied the history behind James Petzval, and Petzval lenses, they simply have a lens and figure they'll get more if they call it a portrait regardless of what the lens will do.

    Again, you're dancing w/words, I think it's reasonable to assume that if a lens has 'portrait' on it in the way we're discussing this, that there's the strong possibility that it's a portrait lens, and OF COURSE there are lenses there WERE NEVER intended as portrait lenses that turned out to be GREAT portrait lenses.

    None of what I've just mentioned has ever been an issue w/me, and I think I alluded to that in the original ad, so let me clarify, my comments have been about folks having no idea of what they're selling, and the resulting disappointment of the folks who may buy these lenses from these folks.

    I'm NOT excluding lenses just because they don't have 'Portrait' on the barrel, I've got lenses myself that don't have portrait on the barrel and I've done some very satisfying portrait work w/them, like the Raptor, a GREAT PORTRAIT LENS.

    My ad simply suggests that my lens is the Kodak Portrait lens, and you can be confident of that since it does have 'Portrait' on the barrel, saying this doens't exclude some other lenses that function as great portraits lenses regardless of what they were intended for, AGAIN, my negative comments were reserved for the those that would mis-represent what a lens does regardless of what's on the barrel, and disappoint a buyer who doesn't get what he thinks he's getting. What I've just said isn't non-sense, it makes a lot of sense.

    This is about what I've said, dishonest sellers bullshitting buyers, and NOT what you or I consider a lens to be regardless of whether a lens has got 'portrait' on the barrel, or a lens that started out life as something else, but functions as a great portrait lens anyway.

    This all depends on what you mean by a portrait lens, I think to a certain degree folks can interchange the idea of a soft focus w/the so-called portrait lens, or at least a degree of softness, in using a lens for portraits for a soft rendering. My Petzval was too sharp for portraits out of the box, I had to separate the rear elements away from each other to get it to perform the was I want on portraits.

    If I'm honest, and I'm going to sell this lens on ebay, and for the benefit of somebody who may not know what you folks know, I'll list this Petzval as being quite sharp, where you'll have to unscrew the rear elements away from each other to get some softness, and let the buyer make up his mind as opposed to just saying it's a portrait lens and taking my money.

    The harshness and abruptness in the wording of who bids is not for the good folks, it's for the 'crooks' where I've worded this nicely and delciately and they still bougt my gear though a US proxy, contacted me from overseas, telling me that they were on an oil rig and I wouldn't be getting any money for a month, and after a month, they tell me the perfect gear that I sent them was damaged and that they'll hold up my money unlesss I agree to change the price to HALF of the winning bid. They also make it clear that if I don't do that, I'll get a negative.

    I was two months battling this out on ebay and paypal, so I wish I could know who to trust and to sell to but I can't, so I directed some harshness to the crooks, not to good folks, I wish I know who to trust overseas

    What I take issure with and what I think is unfair is somebody starting out this thread by suggesting in a mocking tone that I stated that 'Petzvals aren't portrait lenses'. Now you can lynch me to the rafters but I didn't say that.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  10. #10

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    Re: Petzvals aren't for Portraits

    This is 'Upon Reflection'..............one version is the Kodak Portrait, the other version is the Pinkham Visual Quality IV #2..............Pick 'em

    Regardless of whether you can pick which is which, I'll suggest that these two versions are both fairly close, close enough that neither image is taking a backseat to the other.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

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