Favorite portrait lens for 11x14" format?
OK, this is in the spirit of updating my lens wishlist (part 1, triple convertible lens, see previous thread...). So, those of you doing portrait work in the 11x14" format, please allow me to ask: what is your favorite portrait lens and why?
Many thanks in advance,
Stop thinking portrait and think 1:1.
art is about managing compromise
19 to 25 inches ( 450 - 635 mm )
Unless you're working with a big camera on a stand, it is very difficult to make a bigger image than you can with 8x10. You run out of light, as well ( correction for magnification factor ).
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
18" Wollensak Verito because of it's wonderful soft, dreamy look. If you're looking for a sharp portrait lens, maybe a 19" or 24" Artar.
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So far, I've only used one lens on the giant Century #8 11X14. An equally gigantic 22" Voigtlander Petzval. The camera is on a studio stand and has enough bellows (over 40") to fill an 11X14 with a head and shoulder shot.
I have several lenses that will work on it but I simply have not had the time or subjects yet. I have a 24" Dallmeyer 6D which is overkill, the 20" 5D would be plenty. I have an 18" Gundlach Hyperion which is the same formula as the more famous Pinkham Smith Visual Quality series IV. You choose the dreamyness by stopping down. At f4 it's VERY soft. Then there's the 18" Bausch & Lomb Plastigmat Portrait. It has a spectacular look to it stopped down. It's missing the front element if it ever had one. Anybody know? My 15" does. The big #6 Voigtlander Euryscop would be a fine choice for sharper focus. It's 21". Then I have a big 27" Suter Aplanat I've never used. Oops, almost forgot the 22" Verito. Some or all of this stuff would work at portrait focus on the 20X24 Polaroid.
I'm dreaming of a 19" Hermagis Eidoscope. But I'd settle for an 18" Pinkham Smith. Also dreaming of a winning lotto ticket so I can play with all this stuff non-stop.
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A Ross Symmetrical 18x16" should do nicely, or the slightly less imposing Suter Aplanat B no.6. Both of these work fine on my 24x30cm camera - I don't shoot 11x14", but 24x30cm and 30x40cm (that's 9.5x12" and 12x16", or close enough).
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
19 " Artar, (about 481 mm), the 450 fugi C (compact) tiny little lens, the 355 G Claron, these all cover at infinity and can do group portraits as well as head shots and can be used on larger formats and smaller...
however, as it has been mentioned... think 1:1, for portraits, head and shoulders etc. the lens does not have to cover at infinity, this gives you lots of possibilities......move the camera closer and pull the bellows, a lot of lenses cover...some of the process lenses i.e. nikor 360 mm and ronar 360 will cover, when the bellows are pulled...they will cover 16 x 20 at one to one!
I would like but do not own yet the fugi 600 mm (compact) it covers at infinity...
the nice thing about 11 x 14 for head shots is
it is the SMALLEST format you can use to photograph the human head at a one to one ratio....
makes a great and most impressive contact print portrait and I feel is unsurpassed for detail using the modern lenses like the fugi and the clarons and various process lenses, taking advantage of the film format and the ability of the lens to show sharp detail.....you need lots of light........
48cm f4.5 Universal Heliar - best bring a big camera and a big wallet.
I haven't picked a favorite yet. There's a good article by Ron Wisner (I think it's on the Wisner site), about why the rule of thumb about using a lens approximately equal to the diagonal of the format for portraits doesn't really apply when you get over 8x10" and are in the macro range. I often use a lens of about 14" on 11x14" for portraits--headshots to about 3/4 length.
I'm curious as to the replies here myself----I've heard of several that really like a 360 mm for 8x10 and I've fallen close to that with my Fuji 420 L for 8x10 and the 420 L still has a pleasing perspective into the 11x14 format as well and it easily covers--I have a 19 RD Artar (Ilex shutter) but still I like the 420 Fuji but I'm suggesting full length in 11x14 as I've never tried a tight portrait in 11x14 due to my limited budget and my concerns with DOF in 11x14. For a good waist up in 8x10 the Fuji is my number 1 pick and so sharp (Tessar) in the f16-22 range which is as shallow (as of yet) that I'll go for a portrait.