Question re: portraiture w/210 lens--arca swiss users : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

presently i am taking portaits with a 210 lens on a 6x9/4x5 arca swiss camera with a bag bellows(wide angle) and the 9inch rail racked out all the way with my subjects about 5 to 7 feet away. my results are very satisfiying, however, i want to get closer facial shots(tighter). moving the camera closer will not do. i have been advised to obtain a "standard" bellows along with an rail extension in order to accomplish what i desire. is this advise correct?? would i be better off to obtain a longer lens( assuming i continue to use the bag bellows and the 9 in rail)??? i'm treading in unknown waters and i would appreciate your input. thank you.

-- raymond a. bleesz (, August 07, 1999


Yes. You need both the longer rail and the standard bellows. I'm actually surprised that you can use a 210 with the bag bellows.

-- Ben Diss (, August 07, 1999.

I have the 4x5 F-line. It has the 3 part rail that has a 12 inch bottom portion and two 6 inch top portions that can slide out for a total extension of maybe 16 inches or so.

I too am surprised that you can use a 210 with the 9 inch rail. If you want a tighter composition without moving closer, you will need a longer lens, say a 300. Now 300mm is about 12 inches, so you're not going to focus anything with a 9 inch rail. (you need at least the lens' focal length to focus at infinity, more extension for closer subjects) For head and shoulder portraits, you probably want at least 14 inches of extension. The rails I have on my Arca would work very well.

-- mike rosenlof (, August 07, 1999.

Well, there is a way to use a 300 on a system with only 9" of bellows (or in your case, "bag") draw. You could get a 300mm Telephoto formula lens. These typically have a flange focal depth of around 60% of the focal length of the lens. For a 300mm that would work out to about 180mm. This type of lens would actually sit closer to the film than a standard 210mm. But, there are a couple of other considerations when working with such a lens. 1. Limited coverage: Tele lenses don't typically have as generous an image circle and so you will have to do all your swinging and tilting from the rear. You can just about forget any appreciable shifts. 2. Exit pupil factor: If you get close enough to your subject to render it's image on the ground glass at anything bigger than 1/10th actual size, you will have to calculate an exposure factor to compensate for the magnification of the lens. You can buy such a lens (Fujinon 300T f8) for around $800 on the used market. I just sold one on a Horseman 80mm lens board for $750. They are great lenses, if not a bit heavy to lug around. You will probably save a little money by getting the correct bellows/rail combo and avoid the exit pupil issue altogether. Good luck in your search!

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, August 15, 1999.

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