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380mm tele-optar - what's the reputation?

 
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peegeenyc



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

has anyone used or got any knowledge if this lens is useful for portraits etc or not?

is it sharp? soft? was it very expensive or just less desirable on the Super D 4x5's?

thanks,

paul
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 15-in. "Tele-Optar" f:5.6 was around for a long time, both in barrel and in an "Alphax" shutter. The Word was that it was a capable performer, not a spectacular one, but those Words tend to be idiosyncratic and lacking in technical specifics. i never heard anyone say it was lousy.

It ought to work well for portraits on a "Super D," being twice the focal length of the "normal" lens for that camera and 2.5X the focal length of the 162mm. lens considered normal for 4x5. You'd thus expect perspective resembling what you'd get with a 120mm. lens on a 35mm. camera, or a 200mm. lens on 2X2. The legendary (and unaffordable) Rodenstock "Imagon" portrait lens for classic "Exakta" cameras was a 120mm. design.

For portraits, you might consider trying some of the expedient means used in the Good Old Days to soften outlines, e.g. crumpled cellophane with a hole in the middle, clear acetate smeared with petroleum jelly, etc., over the lens.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, Kodak (and maybe others) made what they called a "Portrait Diffusion" lens; I have a couple of them in series VI, but have never had occasion to try them. They look like clear glass with concentric ridges molded into the surface. Anybody out there have any experience with this and care to comment?
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not seen the Kodak attachments, but your description sounds a lot like the "Rolleisoft" diffusers for the old TLRs. There are a lot of good products like this from Tiffen, Harrison & Harrison, and others; and the old "Pictrol" variable diffuser, once designated for use on enlargers, now is offered for attachment to a camera lens, too...

...BUT the 15-in. "Tele-Optar" has a humongous front element, close to 3 ins. in diameter, and you'd need Series 9 accessories for it. Tiffen offered diffusers in this size, the last time I looked, but the prices are commensurately humongous, and make crumpled cellophane look very attractive indeed!
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peegeenyc



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not so interested in soft effect for portraits personally, but would like a sharp longer lens to reach out there...
I hope its reasonably sharp a couple of stops down?

or maybe I'd be better off wiht a modern 300mm lens on the camera. anyone used a Nikon M 300 - lightweight but f9...

paul
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming both lenses to be in mint condition, the Nikon certainly will be sharper than the Wollensak. It incorporates the advances in optical glass production made over four decades, and is designed and manufactured by one of the world's great lens houses.

But is that additional sharpness worth the higher price, the smaller maximum aperture, and the shorter focal length? Only you can say how sharp the images need to be, and how bright you want your groundglass focusing image.
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worldphoto



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 199
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a side note: Diffusion filters and warming filters in the Series 9 size don't come up often on eBay but just recently I was able to win one each for a total cost of thirty six dollars. So if one is patient, good things can happen. The diffusion filter was a Harrison and Harrison and the 81C warming filter was a B+W. I intend to use them taped on the rear element of my 360mm lens.
Harry
P.S. My family and my wife's family have reached an age that diffusion and warmth are necessary for the photographer that doesn't want to have to work long hours on the computer.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3814666830&category=30041&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBWA%3AIT&rd=1


[ This Message was edited by: worldphoto on 2004-05-14 07:53 ]
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