!50mm large format lens

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Very new to LF cameras so please bear with me. I'm picking up my 4x5 on sat. It includes a 150mm lens. What kind of portrait work can I expect to do with this lens? Full length, waist up etc?? A 210 is not in the budget for another month or so.

Thanks a million


-- Joe Tasse (jst@tassestudios.com), January 12, 2001


Joe: The 150mm is considered a normal lens for the 4x5, like the 50mm on 35mm format. I would recommend waist up shots for portraits if you want the perspective to look normal. You will have to get too close with the 150 to fill the frame with a head shot. However, with the 4x5, you have a big enough negative to crop to head and shoulders in the enlarger and still keep the quality. Crop to about a 6x7 format or slightly larger and the perspective is fine. Perspective is controlled by the distance from the subject to the camera. Your 150 will work until you can add a longer lens. The 210 you mentioned makes a pretty good portrait lens, but a 250 would work better. You can get one used without wrecking the budget. You don't need blazing sharpness for portraits on LF. You will spend all your time retouching.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), January 12, 2001.

Thanks for that answer Doug...That's what I was looking for


-- Joe Tasse (jst@tassestudios.com), January 12, 2001.


Just stand back further than you would for a head-and-shoulders portrait with your 150 and then crop down to a head shot if that is what you want. Since you now have so much film available with 4x5, you can crop quite a bit and still make reasonable enlargements. A tight head shot with a 210 is too close anyway in my opinion.

The point is that the issue is perpsective not focal length; and perspective is determined by film-to-subject distance. Once you decide on perspective, (where do you place the tripod,) you pick focal length to fill the film with as much or as little image as you want. If you don't happen to have such a focal length---no one has all possible lenses---use the next one shorter that you do have and plan on cropping. This is one of the prime reasons for large format and why 35mm users have so many lenses while LF users may be perfectly content with a few.

-- John Hennessy (northbay@directcon.net), January 12, 2001.

try taking off the front element off your 150 and see if you have an instant long focus soft portrait lens. have fun! rich

-- rich silha (rsilha@visi.com), January 13, 2001.

One more thing to remember. In 35mm, moving from 150 to 210mm is quite a large change, but while it _does_ make a difference in LF, it's a much more subtle difference. 210mm is more or less equivalent to a 70mm lens on 35mm film (too much mixing of mm here!).

I would suggest taking a few months to do all you can with the 150 before moving to something longer. You may find you're happy with the one lens. You may find that you want something more like a 240 or 270 to pair with the 150.

125mm, 210mm, 360mm is my lens set. I find it to be a good spread of focal lengths. The steps between focal lengths are not too small, not too big.

-- mike rosenlof (mike_rosenlof@yahoo.com), January 15, 2001.

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