Cheap options for 8x10 portrait lenses

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by illumiquest, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I need to find a portrait lens for my new 8x10 which is use exclusively for wetplate. Speed is a huge concern with this so I'd need faster than f/6 if at all possible. I'd like to get something in a portrait length so 16"+.

    As a working photographer I'm apparently not rich enough to spend what most long fast lenses are going for so I'm wondering whether there are other options? I've been using a projector lens that's 18-f/3.7 but it's not making the prettiest images.

    I hate when people make posts like this since I'm sure the information is out there if I dig for a week. So apologies in advance.

    Any suggestions welcome.
     
  2. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I bet if you made a f5.6 stop for your projector lens, that would help a great deal.

    Sometimes monster tessars are cheap. I have a 40cm/4.5 zeiss (ha ha) tessar I paid $100 for. One like it recently sold for $299 with only one bid on ebay, but you'd have to be patient to get one.
     
  3. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    okay

    I think yours is a reasonable question. Why re-invent the wheel. Maybe somebody has a quick answer that will save you a lot of time and money. The collective knowledge of these viewers is wonderful. I once worked in a camera shop over Christmas vacation and was amazed how much I did not know about cameras. Oh, I knew news cameras pretty good, like Nikons and Rolleiflexes and Speed Graphics but much about Minoltas and where in the devil is the battery on a really old Polaroid? (Inside the leather bellows, it turned out.)
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I agree about the "monster Tessar" solution, if you don't mind the bulk. I have a 375/4.5 Orbit lens of that description, and it makes a nice-looking image as long as you don't mind working with its size. (You cannot appreciate how big an Acme #5 shutter is until you've held one!) I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it wasn't much. There's probably a Paragon version of the same lens, though I think the f/6.3 version is more typical.

    There are quite a few miscellaneous Tessars out there, but it's hard to find them reliably. I think you just have to keep checking on the usual sources like KEH and eBay.

    -NT
     
  5. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I don't mind bulk. My new camera is an 8x10 Orbit, same as the Calumet C1 I think. Seems like it'll hold something pretty hefty up there.

    What's the longest tessar they made? I'd love to get something at 4.5 if possible. There's the velostigmat 19.5 but one just went for 900 so its out of my range.
     
  6. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    what do you consider "portrait" focal length? -consider that you will have to extend the lens quite a bit for a head + shoulders, and you are looking at only a 2x-4x reduction.. or even 1x for head shot. So a 300mm lens works more like a 400-450mm lens close-up.

    I would second the reccomendation of a tessar. If you can handle not having a shutter, a barrel lens would be cheap.
    Also look for a gundlach radar.. they go for pretty cheap and are usually in a betax shutter.
     
  7. LJH

    LJH Member

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    One of Reinhart's lenses, and test the images from the included Waterhouse stops?
     
  8. stormpetrel

    stormpetrel Member

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    Why not try an industar I-37?
    It is a big 300mm f4.5 russian tessar.
    There are plenty on ebay. Very cheap!
     
  9. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Projectors made for opaque materials, such as some of the Balopticon (bausch and lomb ad for this) or one sold by Zeiss around the same period, had large lenses that easily cover 8x10. Some are Petzval, some triplets, but all of them are cheap, of you can find them. Here's a shot (paper negative) taken with the big chrome and black B&L version from a 1917 Balopticon I got for free. ahman8x10web.jpg
     
  10. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I guess I should have mentioned that I only shoot wetplate with this camera so barrel lenses are perfectly fine. I'll look at the russian tessar, thanks for the input everyone.
     
  11. jcc

    jcc Member

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    I have an Industar-37 300mm f/4.5 — it doesn't cover 8x10" though.
     
  12. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    So much for that option
     
  13. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    It seems like it should come pretty close if it really is a Tessar design, right? At the usual 55 degree coverage angle, I get an image circle of about 306 mm, *just* short of covering 8x10 at infinity. Is that about what you're seeing with yours, or does it have narrower coverage than usual?

    If it's close at infinity, the OP would probably be fine using it at portrait distances.

    -NT
     
  14. jcc

    jcc Member

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    I get vignetting on a full plate, so I imagine the longer side of the 8x10 will have it a lot worse. I've never shot it on an 8x10 sheet film, just aluminum and glass plates.

    But for a $50-100 Russian Tessar-knockoff, it's a good bargain.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    lumiquest
    how about something like a triple convertible
    or a symmar convertible

    i think there are 370/480 symmar convertibles
    you need to bank on needing way more than 480 of bellows though
    the nodal point is not at 480

    the TRs tend to have a nice signature ...

    sometimes they go not too much $$
    but i don't know what cheap is anymore ...
     
  16. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    14" Air Ministry f5.6 made by Cooke. I've had a couple that were outstanding. I like the Cooke version better than the competing Dallmeyer. there are codes. VV, WW. something like that. Maybe someone will pipe in. Happily, they're still relatively cheap!
     
  17. ansaldo49

    ansaldo49 Member

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  18. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    Just curious, which lens is this?