I too disagree with the "limited utility" aspect of soft focus lenses. A normal everyday "perfect" lens will be sharp all the time, and the only thing you can control with the lens is focus and to some extend depth of field. That's limited utility.
Originally Posted by CGW
Put an old SF lens on a 4x5 camera. You can get way soft wide open to potentially normal looking results as you stop down (depending on the lens, but this is a pretty common outcome). Every f stop is going to have different softness for different subjects depending on the detail being photographed. Every f stop will have different contrast results too. Consider it more like having photoshop built into the lens. And you can also adjust focus and DOF like normal lenses. Furthermore some of the soft focus lenses have dedicated softness adjustments separate from the aperture, and others have the imagon strainers for additional options.
I am interest in SF (and doing things in the camera in traditional ways) because it's the real thing and the original method. Just as people pay more than their house is worth for a shelby ac cobra compared to a modern recreation @ 1/10 the price, people will also continue to like making photographs using original means, even if it's a little more work.
Soft focus has enthusiasts who have differentiated between what is kitsch and what is authentic and inspiring regarding styles. Examples regarding soft focus on modern commercial portraits to disguise zits and wrinkles is the kitsch they don't get enthused about. The authentic era of soft focus was 80-100 years ago.
Last edited by jp498; 10-22-2010 at 12:59 PM. Click to view previous post history.