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2x3 Speed Graphic Soft Focus Verito/ other lenses

 
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coastiechief



Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Location: portrait

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: 2x3 Speed Graphic Soft Focus Verito/ other lenses Reply with quote

Can anyone recommend a soft focus lens for my 2x3 speed graphic camera? I realize the lens board is small and these lenses are mainly made for 4x5 cameras. I realize I can probably put a filter on my current lenses but I'm not certain if that is as effective. I am trying to recapture the 1930s Hollywood glamor portrait effect.

Thanks in advance,
Anthony
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That "Hollywood glamor portrait effect," in the case, for example, of photographer George Hurrell, was due as much or more to the lighting and especially to meticulous retouching as it was to the lens, as Mark Vieira's book "Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits" (Abrams, 1997, LC #96-27184) makes abundantly clear. IMO it will be impossible to achieve the same effects by the simple expedient of lens choice, for even if you were able to duplicate precisely the equipment Hurrell used, the end result depended on so much more than that. But good luck in your quest.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only is Henry right, but your format puts up a major hurdle. The most common soft lenses are made for 8x10, not 4x5. 14"-18" lenses are quite common, 7-9" lenses are scarce and in many cases double the price of the longer lenses. With 2x3 you'll need something in the range of 4-7" and while they were made they are extremely hard to find and very expensive.

From my experience, the format/enlargement has a major effect on the soft focus effect Give the same Diffused Focus lens, (say a Wolly or Cooke with a diffusion dial) of two focal lengths, one for 2x3 one for 8x10; a small amount of diffusion on 2x3 will not give you the same effect as a moderate amount on 8x10. Remember most of these images were contact printed.

Probably the best soft focus lens for the format would be a new Cooke PS 945. It's really designed for 4x5 and is a bit long for 2x3 at 229mm. Clive Russ might be able to sell you one for about $4000.

Now that I've dashed your hopes completely, I'm gonna take a different tact.
Don't look for soft focus portrait lenses.

Look for old lenses-- Anastigmats, rapid rectilinears and fast lenses of f3.5 and better. The Anastigmats can be found on old folding cameras typically in a Kodak Ball bearing shutter, they will be slow, f7.7 or so, but will be cheap, cheap cheap.
Fast lenses of around 105-162mm will be more expensive but chicken feed compared to soft focus portrait lenses. Shoot all of these wide open. Try unscrewing the front and rear elements a bit to throw off what the lens designer worked hard for. In some cases, you'll be able to focus an image with the front half removed completely.


Or take a standard 127mm Ektar shoot wide-open and either focus on the tip of the nose of the subject or slightly in front of it.

If you are printing your own work, Find the proper exposure for the print and then print it in focus for half the time and slightly out of focus for the rest. These last two tips came from Photo-Miniature magazine of the teens and master printer that worked from the 30s to the 70s in many a wedding and portrait printing house.

Experiment. Make mistakes. Make messes. PLAY.

You won't get the exact effect of Hurrell but you will probably find something more interesting.
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coastiechief



Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Location: portrait

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: 2x3 Speed Graphic Soft Focus Verito/ other lenses Reply with quote

Thanks Henry and Les for the information. In my heart of hearts I kinda felt this wasn't going to pan out. The wide open option is propbably my best option.
Thanks again for the great tips and prompt responses.
Anthony
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice. You can get all kinds of old lenses on the infamous auction site. Triplets, such as the 105mm Voigtar, old achromat meniscus lenses, etc, shot wide open give some really interesting effects. Plus, they're cheap. You can also use diffusion onthe enlarger togood effect. Imagination is key.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Glenn,
hey, I've played around a lot with diffusion on taking lens and during enlargement. Some good and not so good results.
The main issue being that diffusion during exposure on thetaking lens flares the highlights (bright areas) into the dark; usually the desired effect. Diffusion under the enlarging lens does the oppsite as one is then dealing with negative values; the dark areas are flared intot he highlights, which is not favored by some folks. However, I got some interesting results that way using grainy film with a diffuser under the enlarging lens. My samples were Delta 3200 and some Maco 820 Infrared. I thought the result was a very pleasing soft effect. Interesting that the Rose I shot with the infrared had the Hollywood portrait type glow. I used only a dark red filter on a red rose, which placed the dark red tones high on the scale. I think if I were to try this on a portrait the results would look more like the 1920's images... too far back.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of fun things you can play with. Crumpled cellophane, bubble wrap, a vaseline smeared UV filter, etc. Different brands of diffusion filters offer slightly different effects, too. The Kodak diffusion discs were popular in the '40s. I don't know if you if you can find one now. I think I have one in Series VI, somewhere. One I have never used is a fog filter. It gives a dreamy effect, which is nice for some things.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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