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Thread: 4 x 5 Newbie

  1. #1

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    4 x 5 Newbie

    Hi all,

    I am starting to use LF. Need some advise as to what choice of lens should I use for studio. I am only interested in portraiture. So I have a 210mm f/6.8. So what other lens do I need to get? I would like to be able to shoot head shot, half body and full body. Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Mongo's Avatar
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    If you've used another format, you can just convert the focal lengths you're comfortable with to 4x5 lens lengths. Lenses on 4x5 are approximately equivalent to 35mm lenses of 1/3rd of the focal lenght (that is, a 50mm lens on 35mm is about the same as a 150mm lens on 4x5). Conversions aren't exact due to the different aspect ratios of the films (35mm is 2:3 while 4x5 is, well, 4:5).

    I'd probably go for a 150mm for the shots in which you want to include more of the person, but ultimately the amount of space you have in your studio will come into play. For example, if your studio's large enough, you can just use the 210 and move the camera back for full-lenght portraits. I doubt that this is what you have in mind, but you should figure out just how much room you have for moving the camera about to help you decide what lenses will be useful to you. (Again, if you've shot another format this way, converting the focal lengths that have worked for you is the easiest way to figure out what will work in LF.)

    Best of luck to you with your move to LF. It's extremely addictive...and extremely satisfying.

    Be well.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  3. #3

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    I've always thought 7-1/2" Wollensak Velostigmat (or the later, coated Raptar) were pretty special when it comes to a portrait lens. You can get a good example for under $100.

  4. #4
    BradS's Avatar
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    I like the 210 Geronar for portraits. Simple, cheap and not so sharp that you end up doing bodily harm to your subjects . I would however, like to find something similar in a longer focal length for "head and shoulders" shots.

  5. #5

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    If you have a 210 I would think about a 300 for the next step. Your camera will need to have at least 16" of bellows for the 300mm/12" lens.

    steve simmons

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    MattCarey's Avatar
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    One question is "Which 210mm lens"? Character of the lens is as important as focal length. As noted above by Brad, sometimes extreme sharpness isn't the answer. Also, extreme softness isn't always the answer (no everyone wants a Verito shot).

    Matt

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If you've got enough bellows to get close and enough floorspace to step back, a 210mm lens can do it all. Spend the money on lighting.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    If you've got enough bellows to get close and enough floorspace to step back, a 210mm lens can do it all. Spend the money on lighting.
    Well put.

  9. #9

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    Thank you for answering my questions. However, my studio is about 30ft in length and 16ft in width. I have only bought 2 x 1000watts tungsten light. Currently I am using 35mm and 6x7 medium format. So I am going to do 4x5 LF soon. I hope in this forum, I can get to know more about LF. Thanks.

  10. #10
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    With 30 feet of studio and putting the subject 10 feet from the background, you can still get a full length portrait of a basketball player with a 4x5" camera and 210mm lens. Seriously, if you're just doing portraits from tight headshot to full length, I don't think you need more than a 210mm lens. It would be the first lens I'd grab from the bag for a portrait on 4x5" in any range, unless I didn't have room to back up and needed a wider lens, or unless I wanted soft focus, in which case I'd use a Verito.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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