Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
Taking portraits, too much reality is often not a good thing so I ended up putting a chunk of plastic in front of my Hasselblad Zeiss lenses.

On my 4x5 some of the old portrait lenses did remarkable things.

I found that 35mm and medium format lenses were pretty standard impressive lenses, but using different old lenses on a 4x5 created some beautiful effects on portraits. It amazed me (I'm not real technical) how shooting portraits with lenses not normally considered portrait lenses did some wonderful things.

The image would be so much different than if you shot it with a Hasselblad 150 or even "distorted it" with an 80. As I'm sure every knows, a portrait lenses is called that because we decided as a group that people looked better with a longer lens than "normal", because normal tended to make the nose come forward and the cheeks go back which we decided was not so flattering.

With 4x5 these things sort of went out the window.
I agree with you about focal length and sheet film. With 5x7 I'd shoot with 210mm lenses, and with 4x5 I'd use a 5" or a150mm lens.
But strangely, I find that with 35mm I like from 35 to 100mm focal length for portraits, not worrying about distortion, just being careful with angles. Same with the Hasselblad; some of my most appreciated portraits are done with the 80mm, and even a few with the 50mm, in addition to the 150. I often carry just one lens, so it becomes a matter of making the most of what I've got, but also it forces me to challenge some widely held norms, which is fun because I often find that there isn't much substance to those norms.