Portrait lens for 4x5"
I currently use a Ilex-Caltar 165mm 6.3 lens on my Speed Graphic as a sort of portrait-oriented 'normal' lens, which works decently, but I recently found a 210mm 5.6 Schneider Symmar on offer for about $120, and as I've heard good things about Schneider in general I became interested. Would you say that a 210mm is more suited towards portraiture, or rather, is the change in focal length compared to the 165mm "worth" the price, as I've never shot with a 210mm before I don't really know how it would look.
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It is well suited to that sort of thing. It's a typical plasmat lens. Lots of "can't go wrong" choices in 210mm, this included. This is a sharp general purpose lens. Some people prefer slightly soft for portraits, but it's all personal choice.
The change of focal lengths from 165 to 210 on a 4x5 is small, but it will allow you to stand a little further back, and perhaps reduce some perspective foreshortening if you do portraits.
May I suggest a simple way to see the difference? Cut out a 4x5 opening in a piece of card. Hold it 165 mm from your eye looking at a subject. Now hold it 210 mm from your eye. That is the difference you will see between those lenses.
I cannot comment on the other aspects of the difference, because I am not familiar with the Ilex-Caltar, but the Schneider is a good lens.
its an OK fl for portraits ... depends on what you like ... if you /3 it gives you the approx 35mm FL, so its about a 70mm on a 35 ..
it's a little more than head+shoulders. if you like a tight crop from a small distance you might look for a 254 ( 10" ) which is the "traditional" focal length for portraits. its a great focal length that gives you a little bit of distance between you and your subject too
( so you aren't all in their face ) the 10" tele optar is s sweet portrait lens, and made-for the speed graphic.
if you get the symmar, be advised you won't be able to use it converted on your camera.
its what i believe is called a plasmat design, and the focal nodes make it so the lens needs more than the named focal length ...
to focus even at infinity, and your speed doesn't have anywhere near that much stretch. it says 370, but needs way more than that ...
nice lens still, i have use and love mine ( and use it converted in a long bellows camera ) ...
ps the tele optars appear on eboink from time to time in and out of shutters, not a hard lens to find.
Last edited by jnanian; 11-08-2013 at 06:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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You can use that Symmar in parts (cells). That will yield a longer focal lenght at somewhat reduced image quality. That might be useful too for portraiture.
Edit: that will give you even more extension problems as John just indicated...
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I own a Crown Graphic which I purchased with outdoor portraits in mind. It came with a 135mm lens which is great for environmental portraiture. I added a 210mm for closer up and it works great.
If you do a lot of head shots or head and shoulder shots, as recommended above, a 240mm to 250mm would be better. Of course those focal lengths are more expensive.
Depending on how close you want to get to the subject, a non-tele 250 may be a bit long for a 4x5 Crown. This because the 4x5 Crown's maximum extension is 12 1/2" (317 mm). A 250 telephoto such as the 10"/5.6 Tele-Optar/-Raptar mentioned earlier in this discussion should be fine.
Originally Posted by Alan Gales
If I had only one lens for a 4x5 it would be a 210. If the shutter is working well on the one you're looking at then it's a good buy. It will do nicely for portraits, though, as noted, on a Graphic you may run out of bellows if you're working close.
For head and shoulders shots it will give you about 10-15 feet of working distance which is a nice space.
Yeah, Dan you are right.
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
I tried my non-tele 250mm on my Tachihara at 12 1/2" bellows extension. I could get a head and shoulders shot but I could not fill the frame with someone's face or head.