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Thread: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Massachusetts USA

    Re: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    Can I ask of the lens Gurus what lens length or type would be needed for a Century 8x10 studio.
    It has lots of bellows draw , currently I have a 480mm on it and I would like to do larger magnifications of small objects.
    Also who here on this site would be the right person to ask about purchase??
    Not a Guru - only a chela (student) but with 480mm of bellows draw, a 240mm lens (or shorter) will get you 1:1. Again, the Fujinon A, APO Ronar, APO Nikkor, fall into this category, as do the real Macro lenses like G-Claron, Macro Sironar, Macro Symmar, Macro Nikkor.

    The Fujinon A lenses are a clever hybrid design: f/9 for compactness, plasmat design for wide coverage and excellent correction, corrected close enough to be suitable for macro, but also for infinity.

    Process lenses have been described by some experts as optimal for flat subjects, and real macro lenses as best for 3-dimensional subjects. That's probably true, but may appear only under the most rigorous scrutiny. I've used both kinds interchangeably, and not been able to detect any difference, at my admitedly lower level of requirements. The f/5.6 plasmat macros will be brighter to shoot, easier to focus, with widest coverage and the ability to use the most view camera movements, as in table-top product photography. The f/9 process lenses will offer less coverage, and greater difficulty in focusing under dim light.

    At double extension, image circle increases to 2x what we get at infinity: many "4x5" lenses will cover 8x10 at that point. The Nikkor Macro lenses don't even cover adequately until used at macro distance: they are really intended for macro only.

    All that being said, with 8x10 your image quality will be very high and you may not notice the difference between ordinary lenses and those designed for close work, unless you enlarge a bit. If your prints are small, then almost any lens will do, like an old Tessar that opens to f/4.5 (helpful for focus).

    One other consideration is the inter-relation of subject distance, focal length, and perspective. Shorter lenses will make it easy to get in close for higher magnification, but will introduce foreshortening. Normal-to-longer lenses are often preferred for that reason, even though they require more bellows extension.

    For that reason, on 8x10 you might want to consider 300mm or longer, or simply shoot a smaller format and appreciate the greater depth of field you will get. If you stick a 5x7 or 4x5 adapter on that back of the Century, the same 480mm bellows will give you plenty of additional magnification.

  2. #12

    Re: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

    Quote Originally Posted by okcomputer View Post
    My first post here, I've spent the last week admiring the photos on the various portraits threads.

    I had a brief fling with LF in the past. I had nice Shen Hao with a 150mm Caltar lens. My attempts at developing 4x5 film in a Yankee tank were not so great, and I sold the whole kit around the time Polaroid 55 was discontinued.

    Now, I'd like to have another go at it. This time around, I think I'd like to get a monorail style camera as I'd like more positive locks on the movement and a more solid feel overall than a wooden field camera. I intend to use it indoors or around the house 75% of the time. A used Sinar F2 is in my budget, and I may hold out for a P if I can find one.

    My questions: What focal length should I get that would work good for both portraits and 1:1 macros? Will the cameras I mentioned above have enough belows extension for macro? Any other factors I should consider?

    I'll attach a photo below which represent about as close as I could get with the Shen Hao/150mm combination. I'd like to be able to get a little closer in this time around.

    Howdy okcomputer!

    I'm still pretty new to LF photography, so take my words with a grain of salt... I'd say that you can't go too wrong with a get a Sinar F or two and a lens in the 120-210 range. As others have mentioned, you'll probably wind up with something like a 135-150 and a 210 if you're interested in both macro and portraiture.

    Personally, I've gotten my grubby hands on a pair of Sinar Fs. Each set came with a regular and wide bellows, and some rail extenders... I haven't done it yet, but unless I am way wrong, I should be able to daisy-chain everything together Even if I never do that to any good use, I've still got replacement pieces in case something goes wrong.

    For development, you might consider the BTZS tubes. If you're on a budget (aren't we all?), they are a spendy option. ( Once I'm done spinning the BTZS tubes, the film goes in a stop bath and then into a tank for fixing, etc... I don't see why you couldn't used trays for developer and stop and then fix in a tank if you wanted to. (I'm suggesting this so that you use what you might have and also spend less time in the dark.)

    Oh! If you haven't read it already, the page about bellows extension at is great. There are a number of explanations. If you don't have a preferred way (or if your current way makes your head spin) to work out exposure compensation, you can read the many ways and pick the one that works for you! (I'm a mathematician, and it took me a few minutes thinking about the inverse square law to get things completely straight. I really like the method that Nicholas Hanks and John Cook describe.)

    Other than that, don't sweat the gear. Have fun, and post your new macro/flower pictures in the Image Sharing section. It looks like your stuff's gonna rock!

  3. #13
    bob carnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Toronto, Ontario,

    Re: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

    thanks for the great response Ken... I want to keep on 8x10 film as its very easy to work with , in the darkroom its a breeze to handle with my big ass enlarger.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Sep 1998

    Re: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

    What kind of portraits?

    Environmental? Head and Shoulders? Full Length? 2/3 or 3/4?

    Each would usually use a different focal length lens.

    In studio or out? How much distance do you have to work in? All of these will determine which focal lengths will be best in your case. If you try doing a head and shoulders shot with a normal focal length lens you will have significant foreshortening which will result in large noses, foreheads, chins, etc.

    If you try doing a full length in the studion with a lens best for a head and shoulders you may not have enough room to capture the shot.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Besanšon, France

    Re: Looking for some recommendations, portraits and 1:1 macros

    portraits and 1:1 macros

    Hello from France!

    Here is a link to some images that are both portraits and 1:1 macros
    .. and many similar pages on the same blog

    Taken with a 7" Aero-Ektar, film format 8x10".

    Disclaimer: posting this web pointer here does not imply that I agree with, nor appreciate, the technique used by the author, Henri Gaud, who is a friend, but can't we disagree with friends ?

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