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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    Use a small embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taught. They come as small as 3 inch diameter. The distance between the lens and the stocking determines the amount of diffusion.
    Then you open the issue of spreading dark into the light areas,,, vs in the camera, when the light moves into the dark areas of the film.

    I liked the effect in the enlarger. Back when,,, I tried for the sharpest, clean negative I could do,,, and did the manipulation in the dark room. Now that I'm old,,, I'll be trying out the other side a bit, might even try the old vasoline on the skylight filter trick.... never did that as a kid.

  2. #32
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I remember Hasselblad made soft filters plus some other brands made them too. Have you ever tried the black netting over the lens. You could also print softer with soft filters in the darkroom too.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Whatever. SF lenses are really one trick ponies. The images have a stale look however rendered or manipulated that's worn out its welcome.
    Maybe the look will come back sometime but for now the PS versions trump in camera versions for photo editors.
    SF lenses have a large degree of variability. A slight effect is possible-not everything SF will look like that 70's look. Saran wrap, Vaseline on a filter, sheer stockings over the lens-all these do something different optically than what happens inside an SF lens.
    BTW-You know so many photo editors you can make a blanket statement like that about them?
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchro-press View Post
    There's one element I'd like to add to this discussion. It's format size and its relationship to soft focus images.
    Frankly, I don't think 35mm soft focus photographs can approach the quality of a large format soft focus print.

    A 35mm soft focus print will still have sharp focus grain. To blur the grain pattern requires the picture itself to be blurred and there is a world of difference between soft focus and out-of-focus.
    This sharp grain/soft image creates, I think, a discordant image. The viewer is confronted with seeing a soft focus image and simultaneously a sharp grain pattern.
    This sharp/soft combination creates a certain mood which I like a lot for some motives. While not made with SF lenses, look at highly pushed B&W images with out of focus areas or motion blur. It looks like half tone which creates a raw/crude look, and with SF lenses you gain extra control over it.

    So I would like to phrase the opposite question: what's the point of large format and soft focus? Can't you replicate its effect in the dark room, and much more accurately than small format and SF? Note that Heinrich Kühns negatives were all tack sharp, only in the dark room and by choice of photographic paper he created his famous dreamy prints.

  5. #35
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I really love portraits taken with Petzval lenses. This shot is just beautiful.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rabato/5099924296/

    It's it not all soft. Also softness is not just shallow DOF.
    Last edited by Mainecoonmaniac; 10-29-2010 at 02:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #36
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    I really love portraits taken with Petzval lenses. This shot is just beautiful.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rabato/5099924296/

    It's it not all soft. Also softness is not just shallow DOF.
    as much as I agree with you, petzval has nothing to do with soft focus....

    rather about the big difference between a razor sharp center and diffused corners.

  7. #37
    Russ Young's Avatar
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    The typical gauche comments from those who have never seen anything but the poor imitations of the last fifty years... look at an original before 1920. What has become truly boring is the ultra-sharp images of the last eighty years - you'd think there would be some progress in photographic aesthetics in that long a time.

    Anything placed in front of the lens destroys resolution. Period. This is not true of a good soft focus lens.

    A soft focus lens works primarily through spherical aberration and creates a less distinct image overlaying a sharper image.

    Another extremely important difference is the rendering of the areas behind best focus. With a quality soft focus lens, they transition very gradually into softer and softer rendering. Somewhat related is the issue of bokeh. Neither PhotoSnot nor something placed in front of the lens has either of these qualities.

    Russ

  8. #38
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of Petzval lenses. Take a look.

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&...ortrait&m=text

  9. #39
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian
    a thousand dollars is quite a bit of money.
    i hate to suggest this, but i will ...
    lens baby makes a single cell meniscus lens
    with sink strainer apertures. it is basically their
    take on one of the most popular portrait lenses
    of all time - the rodenstock imagon. it is a glass lens,
    and it comes in their new mount system.
    you won't spend anywhere near 1000$

    i am a big fan of soft focus portraits.
    less sharp, less in critical focus allows the viewer
    some lee-way in understanding an image.

    while some may think soft focus is cheesy
    ultrasharp and deep DOF can be just as bad.
    its just another tool to work with.

    have fun
    john
    Stretch pantyhose across the objective lens.

    I've only tried it a few times, but it is interesting.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  10. #40
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    For starters, we're not talking about Sally Mann--a personal favorite--whose work isn't on the table..
    gotta love this sentence.

    doesn't Sally Mann use true soft focus lenses all the time....

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