lens for 4x5 Speed: portrait...
Please take a moment to advise a newcomer about a used portrait lens for a 4x5 Speed.
The key to this is my current 'budget' status. That noted, the 'Aero-Ektar' option is lost to me. However, what with the fp shutter it may be the case that a relatively less expensive barrel lens may be a workable solution.
But which make, what size, and which reliable vendor? Does anything come to mind in the $200-300 range?
ps: I'm told that a lens approaching ~300mm is what is often used (at least 1.5 times the camera's "normal" lens).
Last edited by Dean Taylor; 01-27-2013 at 06:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
you could use anything from a magnifying glass taped to the front to an old rapid rectilinear or petzval. even a meniscus lens.
if you're looking for a "normal" lens, a 152mm Ektar is a good start. But really, whatever came with it will likely serve you just fine for learning the basics.
I would suggest go for any of the older Tessar formula barrel lenses, such as CZ/CZJ Tessar, Schneider Xenar, B&L Tessar, Commercial Ektar, etc. They are usually f/4.5 and come in many focal lengths, e.g. 135mm-210mm for portrait.
There are lots of f/4.5 Tessar lenses in barrels for quite cheap, i.e. under $100. Not sure what sort of portraits you're aiming for, but something around 180-210mm would be a good general-purpose people-lens or up to 300mm if you have the extension for it (I don't think the Speeds do).
Longer lenses like 300mm are great for tight headshots, but they require nearly twice as much bellows extension as a 180mm. Consider a magnification of M=0.66 for a tight headshot (6x8" at the focal plane):
B = MF + F
So with a 180mm lens, you can get the portrait with 300mm of bellows, but with a 300mm lens, you need 500mm of bellows. Your speed can probably do the former but not the latter.
Last edited by polyglot; 01-27-2013 at 07:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Portraits with a speed, are best done handheld if possible. That said, you want to be able to use the rangefinder. Presuming you have a pacemaker speed with a kalart, that can work with 90-210mm lenses. So, I'd look for something in that range. The speed with a 300mm and bellows racked way out is a bit unwieldy, handheld. (if not doing handheld, then just get a nice monorail camera and use on a tripod - it's much more versatile, ultimately.)
The aero ektar is really the best choice if you can find one for reasonable money. I've found them for $325-375 before, which is only a bit over your range. Another good choice is the Pentac 8" f/2.9 lens. Lighter and usually cheaper than the AE, it will also mount up to the speed nicely and work with the RF. There's also other barrel lenses in that range, aerial lenses or otherwise. Even a good 150mm+ enlarger lens will work fine.
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I think you need a telephoto lens, not just any long lens, because of the bellows extension.
You can use a 210 just fine. Cheap and excellent will be a tessar or triplet or optar of similar focal length. I really like the meyer trioplan for a triplet, but there are options. Tessars are really really good for sharp and moderate contrast. For cheap and variable softness, the wollaston meniscus at f8-11 will be very versatile. Part of the appreciate of the speed graphic is you can use so many lenses because the camera has a built in shutter. I use it on a tripod, monopod, or handheld.
I use the Schneider Xenar 135mm lens that came with my Crown. I also use a Caltar ll-E 210mm f/6.8 lens which is a rebranded Rodenstock Geronar. The 210 is cheap, takes nice portraits and will also fold up into my Crown Graphic just like the Xenar.
There are lots of "normal" long lenses for the Speed Graphic. They're usually around 162mm and in Graflex Optar shutters. If you have the Kalart rangefinder, you can find online the details of how to reset it. I don't know why anyone would need the Aero-Ektar unless focusing on the ground glass. Of course, you can get barrel lenses and use them with the focal plane shutter.
thanks for the insight re: the use of an enlarger lens on my Speed.
A cursory look at eBay prices seems to nail it down for my 'budget' criterion.
At any rate--and, assuming that there is no such thing as a free lunch--what are the trade offs vis a vis the resulting portrait image with an enlarger lens? Are they manufactured to (for lack of a better term) looser tolerances that other lenses--hence the lower cost?
thanks, one and all!
ps: re: Speed, will this one do the trick?