4x5 ideal head shot focal lenght lens ?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Terry Breedlove, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Terry Breedlove

    Terry Breedlove Subscriber

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    What would be the ideal or at least very good focal length lens on a 4x5 for head shots ? I have two lenses a 135 for landscapes and a 210 for portraits. I am a new LF shooter.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    210mm is a very common length for portraits, headshots, and tabletop work.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    As David says 210mm but a 180mm is OK as is a 240mm, but your 210's a good choice, I like mine for landscapes as well although a 135mm/150mm or 90mm tend to be first choice.

    Ian
     
  4. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    The 210, as mentioned.

    If you just have to buy something new snap up an old 203mm 7.7 Kodak lens.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I have a 210 and a 10 inch(255mm). Prefer the 10" for head shots, allows for comfortable working distance from subject, doesn't feel like I'm crawling over them for the shot. The 210mm is ideal for 3/4 length poses.
     
  6. Monito

    Monito Member

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    The ideal is based on the ideal perspective, which depends on the goal. If it is an intimate portrait head shot, then you may wish to be four or five feet away (perspective depends only on distance). If it is a corporate headshot then you may like five to seven feet. A beauty shot needs a perspective that speaks of distance, unattainability, idealization and say 7 to 10 feet might be good. These are of course only guidelines.

    Then you can use this fully featured lens calculator to figure out the focal length: http://eosdoc.com/jlcalc/
     
  7. Terry Breedlove

    Terry Breedlove Subscriber

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    I am thinking of close intimate portraits. So it is more about distance which effects perspective than anything. So to be around say seven to ten feet away for a good perspective I need a lens that will fill the frame or close enough to it. So 210 or above might even be better. If I am to close with a wider lens then the nose is to big. If I use to much lens then the face flattens to much when working at a comfortable 7 to 10 feet.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    10", so you aren't in the face of your subject ...
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I like a 360 telephoto for head and shoulders.
     
  10. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    I use a 210 for most portraits, but have occasionally wished for a 240, just for that extra bit of compression, but always end up thinking that there's not THAT much difference between 210-240, so I should just work harder with what I have
     
  11. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Here is what I like:

    380mm (15 inch) – Head shot
    360mm (14 inch) – Head & Shoulder
    300mm (12 inch) – Half Length
     
  12. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    Ahhh, to have the bellows length to use those lenses that close, I would be in heaven! :wink:
     
  13. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    A 'headshot' (tightly framed, face only and no shoulders visible) takes about 150mm lens on 35mm format, or 6.3x the frame short dimension. That means you would need about 560mm to achieve the same tight framing (about 1.4' FOV along short dimension) with same perpective derived from the same camera position (8' camera to subject).

    If you use shorter, you either have to crop the neg to get the same tight framing, or you have to move in closer to the subject, which alters the perspective of the face.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2011
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  15. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Unless you hav a rich uncle, due to the price of LF lenses, even used, make do with that which you already have. Make it work.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There was a good article some years ago by Ron Wisner about why supposed lens equivalencies from small formats to large formats don't necessarily apply. Lenses used for ULF portraits, for instance, seem impossibly wide, and yet they don't seem to produce outrageous distortion. Really, very few people would use a 500mm lens for a tight portrait on 4x5", because most cameras don't have that much bellows, unless the lens is a tele design. There are a few such lenses, but most large format shooters don't own them.

    On the other hand there are photographers who purchased the required 210mm lens for studying 4x5" commercial studio work at Brooks--portraits and still life--and never owned another 4x5" lens in their entire careers.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I have successfully used a 10 inch but prefer 12 inch for headshots.
     
  18. Monito

    Monito Member

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    If you are referring to very wide aspect ratio ULF, then I could see that. Otherwise, I'm curious about the claim. I went looking for the article and was unable to find it.

    [on edit:] Found this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/15090-ron-wisner-ulf-portrait-lenses.html
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The article used to be on Wisner's website, but that's disappeared, last I looked for it. It may be cached somewhere, and I think it was also published in _View Camera_ magazine, or maybe on VC website. If I recall, the main principle had to do with the fact that with a large enough neg, any portrait, or virtually any image made indoors is in the macro range, and the effective focal length depends more on the chosen framing than the focal length of the lens.

    In any case, if you look at what large format photographers actually do and cameras that actually exist and lenses that are in common use, the common portrait focal lengths get shorter with respect to the "normal" lens for the format as one goes up in format. If the typical portrait length for 35mm is, say 85mm, and the normal is 50mm, the ratio of portrait to normal is 1.7. If the corresponding lengths for 4x5" are 210mm and 150mm, then the ratio is 1.4. For 8x10", I'd say 14" and 12" and so would Yousef Karsh--1.17, and up from 8x10" it tends to stay in that range of about 1.0 (or even less)-1.3.

    I'm sure there are exceptions, and one can cook up all sorts of schemes for using enormous lenses in large format, and of course there is a certain amount of wiggle room either way, and one may prefer one lens or another for reasons other than focal length and subject distance. There's nothing wrong with using a longer lens, if you can manage it in a typical portrait situation (i.e., enough bellows to focus, ability to focus quickly without having to maneuver two tripods, etc.), but it is by no means a necessity, or even the norm.
     
  20. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    If you simply use diagonal measure of the frame, 'equating' angle of view comes out wrong because of the dissimilar aspect ratio of the frame...3:2 for 135, 5:4 for 4x5.
    But if you base comparisons on the SHORT DIMENSION of the frame, you will derive equal widths framed in both formats. 135 has 24mm frame width, 150mm = 6.25 * 24mm. Lisco film holder has 94mm of exposed film width, 6.25 * 94 = 588mm, same angle of view.
     
  21. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    True. I have used a similar idea for landscape shooting for years based on the long side rather than the short side. And the math is even easier.

    My favorite lens on 35mm is, well, 35mm, and the negative is 36mm. A 4x5 film holder is "about" 120mm on the long side, and a 120mm lens gives the same angle of view.

    In fact, I have wondered for years why people are so enamored with the expensive 6x12 roll film holders for field cameras. There's a 6x12 image in every 4x5 image I shoot. I can completely understand the handheld wonder cameras with the 47mm super WA lenses, but toting around a full kit then putting a roll film back on it seems like extra work to me. To each his own, but I have no problem using film holders and cropping.
     
  22. Jesse

    Jesse Member

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    Wonder if that article is in the Archives at View Camera Magazine . I seem to remember they also had a chart of focal lengths and corresponding lengths in other formats.
     
  23. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    Here’s how to calculate the equivalent focal length in terms of a familiar format for a different focal length and format.

    Let

    F = unknown equivalent focal length for the familiar format

    D = diagonal of the image rectangle of the familiar format

    f = focal length of new format

    d = diagonal of image rectangle of the new format

    F = f*D/d

    Example:

    Determine the 35mm format equivalent of the Mamiya RZ67 210mm APO lens on the 6 x 7cm format.

    Take the diagonal of the 35mm format as D = 43.27mm and the diagonal of the 6 x 7cm format as d = 89.25mm (The Mamiya RZ67 manual states that the format is 56mm x 69.5mm).

    F = 210mm*43.27mm/89.25mm = 101.8mm = 102mm to the nearest millimeter

    This agrees with the 35mm equivalent for this lens given by Mamiya here

    http://www.mamiya-usa.com/rz67-pro-iid-lenses-210mm-f4.5-apo.html
     
  24. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Ian, if I did my math correctly, then a 210mm lens on a 4x5 would be roughly equivalent to 55mm on 35mm camera?

    F = 210mm*43.27mm/163mm

    I get 163mm diagonal for 4x5 film.
     
  25. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    I measured the image window of my 4” x 5” Fidelity Riteway = 92.5mm (between film-holding rails) x 120.1mm.

    So the diagonal or the image rectangle is 151.6mm.

    Then the 35mm equivalent of a 210mm lens on the 4” x 5" format is

    F = 210mm*43.27mm/151.6mm = 59.94mm = 60mm to the nearest millimeter.

    This makes sense, since the normal focal length for 4” x 5” format is 150mm.

    So yes, you were close. The key idea is to use the diagonal of the IMAGE rectangle—not the size of the film, because that has lots of non-image border.
     
  26. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    I'm with Brian Shaw on this one. If you think you can get a head shot with a 210mm lens from 7-10 feet, you haven't tried - it no where close. A commercial photographer I know always used a 12" Dagor on 4x5 for portraits. So I think a little longer lens - in the neighborhood of 240mm to 300mm - is better.

    If what you're looking for is like the attached jpeg, it was done with a 7-1/2" Cooke, and my dad was amused because a tripod leg was actually under the chair he was sitting on, and the lens was less than 3 feet from his face. To me, this is not a workable focal length for routine head and shoulders portraiture. Pardon the artifacts, it's type55 and was framed when I scanned it.

    Cheers, Steve
     

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