210mm and what other focal length recommended (for aspiring portraitist?)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
I am an amatuer who is seriously considering buying a reflex mirror hood for my 4x5 (and forgoing a $5,000 investment in medium format for portrait work. Already own nice 210mm Nikkor. To complete kit , would someone please suggest any other ocal length which might be standard for this type of work. Thank you very much.
-- Andre Noble (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2000
A second lens, after 210mm, is often a semi-wide angle, a 135mm or a 120mm. Some opt for a 90mm as a second lens, but I have not found a 90mm too useful, since it is too wide for my taste.
-- William Marderness (email@example.com), February 20, 2000.
A 300 mm lens is a fairly standard length for portrait work in 4x5. 210 is on the short side for portrait work, anything shorter wouldn't work at all. Before forgoing a medium format system you should know that large format portrait work isn't that easy. With a 300 mm lens at the distances you're at for a head and shoulders shot, you have very little depth of field. That leads to small apertures and exposure times that are too long for most sitters unless you have very bright lights. I've done a little portrait work but I'm not a professional and others can probably tell you more.
-- Brian Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2000.
Instead of a new lens, you might consider a sliding roll-film back/adapter for the 4x5. This would let you use your 210 for head shots, and speed up work as well as lowering film costs... and reflex viewers for sliding roll-film backs are smaller and less expensive than for 4x5... with modern negative films, NPS or Porta, 6x7 will allow pretty large prints for portrait work.
-- Glenn C. Kroeger (email@example.com), February 20, 2000.
What kind of portraiture?
If head and shoulder portraits the 210 will give you foreshortening and lead to large noses, arms, shoulders, etc. A 300 to 360 would be better for H&S.
WHEN DOING PORTRAITS THE RULE OF THUMB FOR HEAD AND SHOULDERS IS THAT THE TIP OF THE NOSE TO THE BASE OF THE EAR MUST BE IN FOCUS.
To achieve this make sure you have enough light for the required aperture unless you are going to experiment with lens tilts
-- Bob Salomon (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2000.