360 for 8x10 portraits: apo ronar vs. normal design?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Okay, this has probably been beat to death, but here goes again:

I'm getting set to work on a portrait series with an 8x10. Suffice to say that I'm pretty darn new to the format, although fairly experienced in 4x5.

At the moment, I have a 360/9 Apo Ronar. For 8x10, this is pretty much the focal length I want. I've asked this another way, but here it goes again: for fairly close, 3/4 length or so portraits, would I particularly gain anything by going with a normal design lens instead?

-- george (geod@sbcglobal.net), February 04, 2002


IMHO No. Actually, once again IMHO, I believe that if sharpness is your ultimate goal you probably couldn't make a better choice. As long as you're talking 3/4 length portraits of someone less than Shaquille O'Neil's stature you'll be shooting at an image:subject ratio of much less than 1:10. At infinity the image circle will barely cover - but seeing as how you'll be shooting at closer ranges, and presumeably with minimal if any movements, you can probably get away with it. Now as for the inferiority of this lens in rendering 3- dimensional objects (it's a 2-dimensional lens you know) when compared to "standard" lenses (what is a "standard" lens anyway) I'll have to let one of the more learned among us instruct you as to the laws of physics at play there. I'll leave you with the following . (sorry my computer came up blank for "grain of salt" in the objects file), you'll need it, or a pair of mucking boots.

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), February 04, 2002.

It's not a typical portrait lens, but if it's the lens you have, try it out and see how it works for you before buying another lens. See if you have enough bellows extension for the kinds of portraits you like to make. My favorite lens for 8x10" portraits is my 360mm/f:4.5 Heliar.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), February 05, 2002.

The only thing you'll really gain is a lighter wallet. :-) Seriously though, the Apo Ronar will probably be a little bit sharper than a e.g. Sironar, due to the character of the lens. But this difference is probably too small to tell.

A 360 5.6 or 6.8 Sironar/Apo-Symmar/Nikkor W/... is huge compared to the Apo Ronar. The Apo-Symmar is 112mm length x 115mm width, with a 112mm filter thread! I'm not sure about the weight, but probably 1500 grammes or more. And again, you will probably gain ... nothing, apart from muscles.

-- Björn Nilsson (b.w.nilsson@telia.com), February 05, 2002.

I'm speaking out of turn here because I've never gone past the thinking stage on 8X10 portraits but my first thought is I would want the biggest aperture for focusing. Also with a 360 at 1:10 you're down to inches of depth of field. You'd want to be able to see and place those inches exactly where they should be. I've thought one of the older f4.5 lenses would be my choice. Heliars are renowned and expensive. Velostigmats and Xenars were common in f4.5. A packard shutter behind the lensboard would open a whole world of choices.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), February 05, 2002.

Jim's point is one to consider, but still try it out and see how it goes. I use strobes with the modeling lights on for 8x10" portraits, so I usually have enough light to focus quickly wide open with the f:4.5 or an f:6.8 lens, then I check it again stopped down. I usually like short DOF for portraits, so I'm usually somewhere between f:11 and f:22, occasionally f:32, and I try to focus on the leading eye. Here's a recent example with a 12"/6.8 Dagor:


-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), February 05, 2002.

The 360 length is good for portraits, You really must realize that you must have alot of light!!!!!!! You need to shoot at F32 or F45 to get the nose and ears in focus on the same frame and to allow for the fact that the subject will move an inch or two as you do the session. You will needd 3000 wat seconds of flash. Or you will need subjects who can stay perfectly still for a second. I use the 480 for portraits too and it works. I like the 360 6.8, The idea of focusing with f10 is tricky but in portraiture you set the camera and then you get out the measuring tape to measure the distance from the subject to the camera. This allows you to let the subject understand they have to be ia specific place and you can also check focus without having to unload the film back etc etc.So once you have focus figured out who cares about the f stop. Get it and use it. If you don't like it email me to but it.

-- Ed (zeke@idirect.com), February 06, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ