View Full Version : 11x14 - good cheap portrait lens?
05-04-2009, 11:03 PM
Today I got the 11x14 back that was on loan from the school. I want to have my students shooting portraits with it pretty quick, and am looking for a fun, inexpensive portrait lens to use with this thing. I have several lenses, and a 460 Nikkor that will cover it. I want to do something fun a-la Jim Galli with the cool funky bokeh and narrow depth of field. I probably ought to just go straight to the horses mouth with this one huh?
05-05-2009, 06:03 AM
Bausch & Lomb Tessar 1c's (I think that's the number) are not terribly expensive, quite common (although perhaps not in that focal length), and will give you that narrow depth of field (I think they're an f4.5). Downside is that your 11x14 better have concrete in the front standard. They're massive.
05-05-2009, 08:39 AM
It's a Lotus. It has a geared rise, so I feel confident I can put whatever will fit and not have that be the issue. I'm sure there are plenty of other issues, I just don't think that's going to be one of them.
Thanks for the tip on the Tessar. I'll start looking and see what I find.
05-05-2009, 07:08 PM
Well, if you want something really cheap...
Don't laugh; these lenses let a high school student get the cover of View Camera Magazine last year!
05-05-2009, 08:05 PM
i don't think a wolly triple velos 13/20/25 can compare with
mark's 2f99c lens ..
that is pretty sweet mark!
05-05-2009, 08:31 PM
I saw that article. We have our own collection of miniscus lenses. We used the dollar store variety also, inspired by your article. I hunted and hunted and could only find plastic lenses. I was hoping for something gooey and wonderful like your students made, but ours were quite a bit more gooey than what we wanted. I did make one today out of a glass lens that I found at home recently. I shot a portrait with the 11x14 using a paper negative. It gives interesting results, but I think I want something a tad better.
05-06-2009, 12:22 AM
Sadly, I think even our longest lens, a 14", would only be appropriate for an 8x10. A diopter lens (usually sold as a "close-up" attachment) might do well for you. I've used these quite a bit with my own home-made concoctions. The main thing to know is that a +1 diopter is one meter's focal length, a +2 is a half meter's fl, a +3 is a third of a meter, etc. A pair of +1's or a single +2 should be about right for 11x14 portraits. The lenses are additive, so two +1 lenses equal a +2, a +1 and a +2 equal a +3, and so on.
The aperture placement determines field flatness and coma, but spacing and maximum aperture are the "fun" things to play with. But the actual lens itself you just have to live with and work with. But I've made several, and love them all.
Here are some images from my APUG gallery made with multiple-diopter lenses:
05-06-2009, 09:08 AM
petzval lens convert, just remove the rear cell, the front is usually 2xFL.
Goerz 'Dogmar' convert, front cell is 1.9XFL and very swirly, rear is 1.4FL and 'pictorially' soft wide open
CZJ 500/5 Tessar is a killer portrait lens, but a fully modern look to it.
any 420mm or longer should work well but they get very expensive very quickly.
Good luck with the hunt.
05-06-2009, 09:29 AM
equinox photographic has a 10.75" busch telar ( barrel )
maybe you can remove the front cell and make it cover.
as is it will cover 6x8 .. less than 100$
05-06-2009, 11:41 AM
So far I have a 450 Nikkor and a 30 inch Red Dot. I know they'll both be nice and sharp stopped down...maybe the Artar will do something interesting opened up all the way.
05-06-2009, 09:16 PM
Michael, Paul's idea with the front group of a 12 - 14 inch Petzval is a good one. A really beautiful soft look. Another neat lens is the 11 inch Verito. Perfect for your wee cameras but take the front group away and just use the rear alone.
This portrait of John Merly was done on 14X17 with the rear group of the 11" Verito. It becomes about a 24 inch lens but of course for a portrait I was somewhere around 32 inches perhaps. Not so fast any more that way, but still very pretty.
OK, looking at this, calling Merly pretty is beyond a stretch.....
05-06-2009, 11:17 PM
Jim's idea is a good one, but the 11 1/2" Verito converts to a 20", not a 24", when the rear cell is used alone. Should still have plenty of coverage for 11x14, but it isn't going to meet the "inexpensive" part of your criteria.
I wonder how your Artar would work if you unscrewed the cells a few turns to increase the spacing. This is essentially how some of the variable soft focus lenses work, but they're probably different formulas than what an Artar is. Still, it would cost little to find out. Just don't unscrew the cells so far that they fall out!
05-07-2009, 01:24 PM
I'll try messing with the Artar and see what happens. Thanks for the leads so far guys.
05-10-2009, 04:59 PM
i would say unscrew just the two elements in the rear. not the entire group but rather the elements of the rear group. could be nice.