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  1. #1

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    Cheap options for 8x10 portrait lenses

    I need to find a portrait lens for my new 8x10 which is use exclusively for wetplate. Speed is a huge concern with this so I'd need faster than f/6 if at all possible. I'd like to get something in a portrait length so 16"+.

    As a working photographer I'm apparently not rich enough to spend what most long fast lenses are going for so I'm wondering whether there are other options? I've been using a projector lens that's 18-f/3.7 but it's not making the prettiest images.

    I hate when people make posts like this since I'm sure the information is out there if I dig for a week. So apologies in advance.

    Any suggestions welcome.

  2. #2
    jp498's Avatar
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    I bet if you made a f5.6 stop for your projector lens, that would help a great deal.

    Sometimes monster tessars are cheap. I have a 40cm/4.5 zeiss (ha ha) tessar I paid $100 for. One like it recently sold for $299 with only one bid on ebay, but you'd have to be patient to get one.

  3. #3

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    okay

    I think yours is a reasonable question. Why re-invent the wheel. Maybe somebody has a quick answer that will save you a lot of time and money. The collective knowledge of these viewers is wonderful. I once worked in a camera shop over Christmas vacation and was amazed how much I did not know about cameras. Oh, I knew news cameras pretty good, like Nikons and Rolleiflexes and Speed Graphics but much about Minoltas and where in the devil is the battery on a really old Polaroid? (Inside the leather bellows, it turned out.)

  4. #4

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    I agree about the "monster Tessar" solution, if you don't mind the bulk. I have a 375/4.5 Orbit lens of that description, and it makes a nice-looking image as long as you don't mind working with its size. (You cannot appreciate how big an Acme #5 shutter is until you've held one!) I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it wasn't much. There's probably a Paragon version of the same lens, though I think the f/6.3 version is more typical.

    There are quite a few miscellaneous Tessars out there, but it's hard to find them reliably. I think you just have to keep checking on the usual sources like KEH and eBay.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  5. #5

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    I don't mind bulk. My new camera is an 8x10 Orbit, same as the Calumet C1 I think. Seems like it'll hold something pretty hefty up there.

    What's the longest tessar they made? I'd love to get something at 4.5 if possible. There's the velostigmat 19.5 but one just went for 900 so its out of my range.

  6. #6
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    what do you consider "portrait" focal length? -consider that you will have to extend the lens quite a bit for a head + shoulders, and you are looking at only a 2x-4x reduction.. or even 1x for head shot. So a 300mm lens works more like a 400-450mm lens close-up.

    I would second the reccomendation of a tessar. If you can handle not having a shutter, a barrel lens would be cheap.
    Also look for a gundlach radar.. they go for pretty cheap and are usually in a betax shutter.
    Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.

  7. #7
    LJH
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    One of Reinhart's lenses, and test the images from the included Waterhouse stops?

  8. #8
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    Why not try an industar I-37?
    It is a big 300mm f4.5 russian tessar.
    There are plenty on ebay. Very cheap!

  9. #9
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    Projectors made for opaque materials, such as some of the Balopticon (bausch and lomb ad for this) or one sold by Zeiss around the same period, had large lenses that easily cover 8x10. Some are Petzval, some triplets, but all of them are cheap, of you can find them. Here's a shot (paper negative) taken with the big chrome and black B&L version from a 1917 Balopticon I got for free.Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

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    I guess I should have mentioned that I only shoot wetplate with this camera so barrel lenses are perfectly fine. I'll look at the russian tessar, thanks for the input everyone.

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