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  1. #1

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    Portrait lens for whole plate

    Hello all,

    what would be a good focal length for a whole plate portrait lens?
    14 or 16"?
    Thanks
    Anton

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I have a Seneca Portrait lens for whole plate. Exact focal length is not indicated, but it appears to be a Wollensak Vesta in other clothes, which is an 11 1/2" FL. The lens is somewhat odd in that it also works as a convertible - take the front element off, put it behind the diaphragm, remove the rear element completely, and you have a 17" lens. Really, just about anything over 11-12" would make an acceptable portrait lens for whole plate. Bear in mind that portrait lenses with their famously large apertures are going to get massive the longer you go. I have a 16" Bausch & Lomb F4.5 portrait lens for 11x14. The front element is over 4" in diameter and the whole thing in brass barrel must weigh over 10 lbs. You may have a hard time finding a whole plate camera that can handle that big of a lens.

  3. #3

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    lens

    thanks a lot,
    I have a 12" Goerz Dagor, i think that could be OK, only way to find out is to try it of course..............f-stop is 6.8 though, a beautiful lens.
    A

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Harry, I use a 12" Dagor on my 10x8 camera and it's superb, very sharp and great tonality, I'm lucky the original owner sent it back to Goerz for factory coating after WW11. (Goerz Am. Opt).

    f6.8 isn't bad at all remember modern 300mm are f5.6 which isn't significantly faster. You should get some great images with the lens, so good luck.

    BTW my Avatar is the Dagor.

    Ian

  5. #5
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    The 12" Dagor will give you a nice large image circle if stopped to f 22 or smaller. I have on on the 7x17 which covers easily at f 32.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  6. #6

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    One thing to remember is that as you extend the bellows for closer focus in a portrait, the lens takes on the perspective of whatever the bellows extension is, ie, if you have a 12" lens cranked out to 17", it will give the look of a 17" lens.

    Dagors are beautiful, sharp lenses, and many wonderful portraits have been made with them, but the designation "portrait lens" often carries a soft-focus (Verito/Imagon/Pinkham & Smith...) or soft-corners/sharp center (Petzval-design) connotation. (Sorry if that's pedantic!)

  7. #7
    JG Motamedi's Avatar
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    Traditionally a whole-plate f3.6 Petzval had a focal length of 16", smaller aperture versions (f5 to f6) were usually 14".

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    One thing to remember is that as you extend the bellows for closer focus in a portrait, the lens takes on the perspective of whatever the bellows extension is, ie, if you have a 12" lens cranked out to 17", it will give the look of a 17" lens.

    (Sorry if that's pedantic!)
    Not quite right at a given distance between the camera and the subject the perspective remains the same regardless of the focal length of the lens used, only the magnification and field of view changes.

    Try it, use an extreme wide angle and a telephoto, enlarge the centre of the wide angle shot and compare the two, the perspective is identical.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Not quite right at a given distance between the camera and the subject the perspective remains the same regardless of the focal length of the lens used, only the magnification and field of view changes.

    Try it, use an extreme wide angle and a telephoto, enlarge the centre of the wide angle shot and compare the two, the perspective is identical.

    Ian
    Well, a telephoto lens is a whole `nother beast, as it focuses closer than its effective focal length...

    But look at it like this... A lens has a given angle of view at infinity, let's say 30 degrees corner-to-corner on 8x10. But as you extend it outward to focus closer, the coverage increases and that 30 degrees now covers 11x14, and you're cutting the 8x10 middle out of it. At closer distances with more extension it gives the perspective of a longer lens.

    To put it another way, a 120mm lens would be an extreme wide angle on an 8x10, with all the "stretchy" perspective look. But cranked way out to macro distances, it loses that "extreme wide angle" effect.

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Only distance affects perspective.

    Stick two cameras side by side both with 150mm lenses on, say one on a 5x4 and the other on a 35mm camera, the perspective is identical, only the angle of view changes. Then stick a 50mm lens on the 35mm camera without moving it, the angle of view changes and becomes closer to the 5x4 cameras, but the perspective is still identical.

    Now stick a 17mm lens on the same 35mm camera, the angle of view is enormous but again the perspective is the same.

    Ian

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