Portrait lens for 8x10

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bmac, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I'm looking to round out my kit of LF lenses with a lens in the tele / portrait length. This would be to compliment my G-Clarons 210 & 355. The lens should be single coated at least, and in a modern shutter with flash sync. And hopefully in the $400-$700 range.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    brian

    you might look for a 14" portrait veritar.

    they were made by wollensak in the 50's
    alphax shutter - bipost sync. some say it is a modern version
    of the verito.

    i picked one up for about $300 ...
     
  3. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    FWIW, I shoot portraits on 8x10 with a 240mm lens and I wouldn't want anything else. I just love the feeling it gives. I use a 240mm Process Nikkor that's been mounted into a shutter, but any 240mm lens would work.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Among more modern lenses, something like an earlier Symmar of around 360mm ought to do well and fit your price range. 360mm may seem short for a portrait lens, but I rather like it, and it's been a fairly common focal length for 8x10" portraits historically. Another good possibility might be a 14" Commercial Ektar (Karsh used one), which will be in an Ilex shutter with bipost sync.

    If you don't have a lot of extension, the 360/5.5 Tele-Arton will cover 8x10" at portrait distances, but not at infinity. I have one, but I find it a little too clinical for portraits.

    Veritos are usually in studio shutters, so you would have to add sync to them, but they are beautiful portrait lenses. The 360 Heliar is usually in barrel, but it's another favorite of mine. Generally, anything that is 360 or longer/f:4.0 or 4.5--i.e., most of the classic portrait lenses--is going to be in a primitive shutter.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2004
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Brian, Either of the G-Claron's is useable as a convertible by removing the front group. The 210 becomes a 370, and the 355 a 615 or so. Much of the correction is diminished with only one group which can be a bonus for portraits. Of course the aperture scale changes by about 1 2/3 stops or actually more like 2 full stops for the increased bellows at portrait distances. Give it a try. Won't cost you more than a few sheets of film. Polaroid even better.
     
  6. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Wow, I didn't know that! I will check it out.

    Brian
     
  7. DeanC

    DeanC Member

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    Blast from the past post...

    Any idea what happens if you try this with 270 or 305 G-Clarons?

    Thanks,
    Dean
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    just tossing in another bid for the 14" Commercial Ektar, or if you can find one, the 12" Professional Ektar F4.5. Very fast lens for the format. nice bokeh from the Ilex shutter's multi-multi blade diaphragm.
     
  9. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    My suggestion, Brian, would be to get some padding first.

    I think I'm permanently bruised from all the flipping and flopping I've done in search of my ideal portrait lens for 8x10.

    I've come to the tentative conclusion that portrait lens choice depends first on the style of portaits one prefers, and how strongly one wishes to avoid the foreshortening associated with using too short a lens at too close a distance. Personally, I prefer to maintain more camera-to-subject distance, combined with tighter head shots. So, preferring at least 2x "normal" focal length, I've been on the lookout for a nice Nikkor T (for the shorter bellows extension) in the 720mm range. Interestingly, I've found the 360T I have will cover 8x10 for tight head shots, but it's just too close (intimidating) for subject comfort.

    On the flip (or is it the flop?) I like the look of some of the older portrait lenses like those Jim has been experimenting with. Unfortunately, they mostly lack modern shutters with flash sync, making them a bit more problematic for use with studio strobes.

    So, I'm still undecided. I wish you better luck in making a choice.
     
  10. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The 'classic' portrai length has always been 18" - 20" ( 450 - 500 ).

    I think you'll find the 14 - 16 range TOO short... and a 24 too long.

    The 19 Artar is perfect.

    Readily available in shutter. Not dirt cheap, but it is the right answer.
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    You've already got a 355m/14" lens so a 14" Commercial Ektar would be 'more of the same.' I agree with df that a 19" Artar is a peach of alens. While expensive when mounted in a shutter, barrel examples aren't all that expensive and with a packard shutter it would be very workable. These lenses are SHARP. If you prefer a soft portrait lens look at Wollensaks or Cookes, but these are substantial lenses and will tax the front standards on many 8x10s.
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    So Bmac, what did you end up with. I agree with Ralph that padding is a must. Have some installed on the walls of a small room. I don't necessarily agree that 18" is a must for 8X10. 810 is kind of unique in that a full head shot is very close to 1:1. So bellows extension gets to be a factoroid. I'm finding a 15-16" lens at 28-30 inches works well to fill the frame with a head shot. Yesterday I shot 5 lenses on the same subject up in my "studio". A shootout. 18" Gundlach 4.5 Radar. 18" B&L Plastigmat Portrait. 14.5" magic lantern triplett ($14.99) 12" Voigtlander Euryscop 4.5, and a 19" B&L Tessar. Waiting for the prints to dry so the vote is still out. But I have to say the $15 lens is a serious contender. Certainly as Ralph says, different looks for different jobs. Local ranchers with 60 years of facial sun damage would definitely require a Petzval or perhaps even a RR with wiry sharpness. If Kate Hudson happens along I'll be using the 15 1/2" Cooke Portronic.
     
  13. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    More like if she shows up, someone will be calling the paramedics to get your heart going again! :smile:
     
  14. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Brian first posted this in June of 04. Since then he has sold most of his film cameras except 35mm and is not spending any time here at all. To bad I miss him.
     
  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    I NEVER read the date.... silly me

    He'll be back
     
  16. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Darn. I didn't pay attention to the original post date, either. So, I feel a bit silly, as well.

    On the bright side, the topic remains of potential interest to those new to 8x10.
     
  17. Randy Moe

    Randy Moe Member

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    Still appropriate in July 2012. The new depression retirees need to keep occupied. I am occupying a large portrait studio and darkroom to escape digital madness. However, now one must do both. I am grateful for APUG historical content.
     
  18. vic vic

    vic vic Member

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    @ jim gali ...
    enjoyed your pages very much, with all those antique lenses play - almost like side by side look, lots of lenses and lots of character.