4x5 Speed Graphic Portrait Lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JADoss23, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. JADoss23

    JADoss23 Subscriber

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    So this may be a dumb, broad question because I don't know much about lenses for my 4x5. Just now getting into large format but was curious about a lens for portraits/close up shots for a Speed Graphic. Right now just have the basic ektar lens on the 4x5 but would like to eventually start doing some wet plate work. My speed graphic is sort of a Frankenstein camera and doesn't have a focal plane shutter. Also looking for something more budget friendly to learn with. Sorry if this is extremely vague just don't know much and any info helps. Thanks!
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There was a 210 Rodenstock Geronar in the classifieds, that's a lovely lens and a real bargain. Kind of short for close closeups of people though.
     
  3. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    If you want a longer lens than the 8 inchers mentioned already, think about the 10"/5.6 TeleRaptar, also sold as TeleOptar.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Thanks Dan. I couldn't think of that one.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    There are a lot of good 10" lenses. I wouldn't go longer than that for your Speed, though because it has such limited bellows. A PHENOMENAL 10" lens would be the Kodak Commercial Ektar f6.3. It will fit nicely on your camera, and you can probably focus it to portrait distance (head and shoulders or 1/2 length for sure, closer, I don't know of the top of my head). Another good option would be one of the Bausch & Lomb Tessars - they made a zillion of them, and you can probably find one in shutter in the 8-10 inch range for not much money, and they'll be fairly fast (f4.5 probably).
     
  7. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    There are lots of options out there. Which one is best for you will be determined by your budget, what type of portraits you want to take (tight head shots, waist up poses, environmental, etc.) and what kind of look you are going for.

    I have an Anniversary Speed Graphic that I recently restored and have used several different lenses for portraiture with it. I tend to like my Tele-Xenar 360mm f/5.5 for head shots. I also use a B&L Tessar marked as a 5x7, (but is about 8 1/2" f/4.5 lens) which works well for head and shoulder shots so long as the background isn't too busy (I'm not a huge fan of the Tessar bokeh). My 150mm f/5.6 Fujinon NW also works pretty well for head and torso shots (or just about anything really). I also have a 135mm f/4.5 CZJ Tessar that's calibrated to my rangefinder that I use for candid, handheld portraits and portraits taken with my Heiland flash gun (giving them that Weegee look). For outdoor portraits in nature, I enjoy my 8 1/4" f/5.6 Petzval.

    One thing I've learned with portraits is you can't shoot everyone the same way. Some people need a sharp lens, with a narrow angle, tightly cropped on their face with hard lighting, and some people need a soft lens, with a wide angle, bringing in some body posture while using soft lighting. So to me, every lens is a portrait lens. I'd hate to be limited to just one lens for all of my portraits. Now if you're just wanting to shoot one style of portrait, like adult female head shots in studio lighting, then I could see the purpose in buying a dedicated lens just for that.
     
  8. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    The tele lenses need less bellows draw for the same focal length so I'll "plus-1" one the Tele-Optar.
     
  9. hsandler

    hsandler Subscriber

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    I just put a Sironar 240mm lens on my Crown Graphic. It will focus as close as 5 feet, which will be good for headshots. A Speed Graphic has a little more extension, so should support closer focus or a longer lens.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  10. Ed Sawyer

    Ed Sawyer Member

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    Nikkor-T 360mm
     
  11. MultiFormat Shooter

    MultiFormat Shooter Member

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    I agree, I have one on my Speed Graphic (with a custom-cut rangefinder cam) and find it to be a nice lens.
     
  12. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member

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    I prefer twice normal focal length for head and shoulders portraits. In 4x5 this is 300mm/12". Not familiar with your camera and how much bellows it has. At head and shoulders distance of about 4.5 feet, bellows draw with a 300mm lens is about 355mm from shutter aperture to film plane. This can be achieved with accessory extension backs and/or top hat lens boards, if they are available for your camera.

    Head and shoulders can always be achieved with a wider lens and cropping the negative. To simulate the perspective of the longer lens, camera to subject distance needs to be in the neighborhood of 4.5-5 feet. The image on the ground glass with a wider lens at this distance will not look anything like head and shoulders.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    couldn't agree more !
    its a great lens, and for a LONGER one the 15" is good too ...
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have a 360mm f5.5 Tele-Xenar but I wouldn't find it very practical for portraits. It won't focus particulary close on a Speed Graphic. A non tele 300mm/12" lens won't focus close either. Dan Fromm's suggestion of a 10"/270mm Tele-photo would be practical though.

    Personally I prefer a 210mm or 240mm lens, I have 210mm geronar for portraits as well as a 240mm Nikon W, this mirrors what I've used for years for 35mm somewhere between 50mm and 100mm an 85 mm would be idea.

    Ian
     
  16. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    I typically use a Nikkor-T 270mm f/6.3
     
  17. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    "I typically use a Nikkor-T 270mm f/6.3"

    Good choice, I should have mentioned that one too.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There's also a Schneider 270/5.5 Tele Arton.
     
  19. MultiFormat Shooter

    MultiFormat Shooter Member

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    Will this lens provide full coverage of a 4" x 5" image circle, wide-open at infinity? I ask because I've heard it is designed for 2.25" x 3.25" cameras.
     
  20. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member

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    For the Nikkor-T ED 270/6.3:
    Image circle wide open is 114mm, does not cover 4x5
    Image circle a f/22 is 160mm, covers 4x5
     
  21. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I once had the Caltar version of this lens. Like you say, a lovely lens and a real bargain. Another plus is that it would fold up into my Crown Graphic, just barely. :smile:
     
  22. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    +1 for the Tele-Optar aka Tele Raptar.
     
  23. MultiFormat Shooter

    MultiFormat Shooter Member

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    Thanks, that's what I thought, but I wanted to make sure.
     
  24. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    The Speed Graphic has a somewhat limited bellows draw. Having used one for years, personally I would refrain from suggesting focal lengths above 210-240mm for a Speed Graphic. More in general, I find it is very tiresome to take portraits with focal lenghts above 240mm, which require a lot of bellows extension, and would actually suggest 210mm instead. I would also not use a telephoto lens type for portraits, but a long-focus lens type instead; but this of course may be my personal taste.

    In general I would also refrain from suggesting lenses that have coverage problems at full aprture. Portraits are a subject where you may really want to use the lens at full aperture.

    In this range, the Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar 210mm or 240mm and the Schneider-Kreuznach Sironar 210mm are good budget lenses. Older Symmars and Sironars had the bonus of being convertible lenses, however, due to the limited bellows draw of the Speed Graphic, you would not be able to focus the longer focal lenght.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sironar lenses are made by Rodenstock not Schneider, I'd avoid a plain Sironar they are prone to delamination, there's no such problem with the Sironar-N or Sironar-S.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  26. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Ah yes sorry, they're the counterproposal by Rodenstock.