Which old lens would make this kind of image?

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I have a custom-modified lens for MF camera which is essentially a normal lens with a fixed f8 diaphragm all elements but one removed. It takes soft, uncorrected pictures like these Picture 1
Picture 2 Which old/classic lens will make similar pictures? I also own soft focus lens, but SF gives different effect. Thanks!

-- Michael Arkhipov (mike@arkhipov.com), May 05, 2002


Hi Michael,

none of the old lenses will take such pictures because they are all better corrected. If your custom-modified lens is just a part of an normal lens, any single convex lens e.g. loup will do the job. The Rodenstock Imagon is also an special lens wich is not full corrected and would give similar effects.

-- Thomas Vaehrmann (TVaehrmann@web.de), May 06, 2002.

Two older soft focus lenses with similar results:

http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/brotan_e.htm http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/verito_e.htm

The Imagon is a high class soft focus lens, but much different than the two above.


-- J. Patric DahlÚn (jenspatricdahlen@hotmail.com), May 06, 2002.

The Imagon's are great! I have a 250 with the three disks, shade and filter. You can find them on Ebay pretty reularly. They are beautiful for portraits, still life's, and almost everything for a back up negative for a different look. I have used mine with strobes also in the studio (http://unblinkingeye.com/Photographs/Gallery/SWalton/ SWalton1/swalton1.html) also. I do want to say, they do have a long bellows draw, just be aware of this if you buy one.

-- Scott Walton (walton@ll.mit.edu), May 06, 2002.

For something similar, check out Mark Tucker's "plungercam" gallery at http://marktucker.com/plungercam/index.html

-- Jeffrey Goggin (audidudi@mindspring.com), May 06, 2002.

I think you need a Zeiss Softar filter, not another lens.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), May 06, 2002.

The look kind of reminds me of some zone plate stuff I've seen.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), May 06, 2002.

A cheap suggestion which will get you the localized smeary flare around the white highlights, you can take a lens/shutter out of an old kodak folder. The ones for 616 size file, like the Kodak Monitor for example, are in the 120mm range focal length and they will cover 4X5 straight on. You buy the cameras for less than $20, and the shutter pops right out when you undo the retaining ring on the inside. The less you clean up the glass the more it will look like whay you want.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), May 06, 2002.


Those images look like they were taken with a Holga. For the benefit of those unfamiliar, a Holga is a plastic (toy) MF camera made in China. It uses a simple plastic lens and has a fixed f8 aperture. You can probably approximate that look using a pinhole on LF.

Regards, Pete

-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), May 06, 2002.

I think the filter adapter will work, but it will not be as satisfying as the lens. Try the adapter, but it is a totally different animal.

-- Dean Lastoria (dvlastor@sfu.ca), May 06, 2002.

Micheal, I have sold my mamiya 6 gear because I have turned into "soft" ever since I bought an old canon 7 with the F 0.95 50mm lens. When used wide open, it create the images identical to what you have attached. Especially when I do portraiture. The softness is just wild as far as I am concern. I still keep my cambo wide with 47xl for my LF requirements.


-- Renee Galang (r.galang@chisholm.vic.edu.au), May 06, 2002.

Michael, great shots by the way, especially the first one! Sorry for the off topic ;)

-- Andrey Vorobyov (AndreyVorobyov@hotbox.ru), May 07, 2002.

The lens didn't make the photographs, you did, and very nice photographs they are, especially the first one.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), May 07, 2002.

Michael, You don't need to be asking questions, you need to be giving answers. The shots are great. You can get the same effect with single element lenses mounted in a shutter. I have had good luck with using the "plus" lenses designed for 35mm closeups mounted in a shutter. You have to figure out the f-stops. Good work with the setup you have.


-- Doug Paramore (Dougmary@alaweb.com), May 10, 2002.

Michael, you got me thinking and I removed the rear group from a 100mm 2.8 Xenotar and am doing some tests. At wide apertures it looks very interesting. Sharp........but, not sharp. Covers 4X5 wnd maybe more. About FL 7" that way. The rear group in any tessar may have possibilities too but probably too sharp.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), May 10, 2002.

Thanks to everybody for information and I appreciate that you like my pictures. It looks like I need to get old Xenotar or Planar mounted in shutter and remove some glass... I didn't do it myself for the MF camera (it is actually Kiev-60 that I bought ready with the lens modified by a gentleman in Minsk, Belarus). I am rather clumsy, but I'll give it a shot :)

-- Michael Arkhipov (mike@arkhipov.com), May 12, 2002.

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