Re: Home made Lenses ( soft focus )

From: Tom Ferguson ^lt;>
Date: 03/04/05-10:50:23 AM Z
Message-id: <>

I own three "real" soft focus lenses. Two old Wollensaks and a more
modern Fuji. The Wollensaks were bought before the current pricing
madness (I think I paid about $125US each for my 10 inch and 16 inch,
both in shutter!).

The older soft focus lenses, like my/your Wollensak Veritars, are
really just a couple diopters. Very simple two element lenses. A
diopter is simply a single lens element. This, given the current
pricing madness, is the joy of John's article. They are simple and
cheap to build!

The more modern Fuji soft focus lens is a different beast. Nice in its
own way, but a far more complicated lens formula. I find myself using
the old (simple) Wollensaks far more often.

Actually, my favorite soft focus lens is a "mystery lens" bought at a
swap meet (Quarksite in the Arizona desert). It was sold as a "Real
Kodak Large Format lens", but has no markings and doesn't cover 4x5 at
infinity. Two elements, no shutter. You can see images made by it here
(kalli on cloth):

On Friday, March 4, 2005, at 08:19 AM, John Cremati wrote:

> I have gone soft in the head over soft focus lenses..... My
> friend just
> purchased one ($1500 ) that covers 8x10 and I also bought a 14 inch
> color
> corrected Wollensak Veritar for $650.....The images achieved from these
> lenses are just fantastic......It is the equivalent of a fine
> impressionist
> painting only in photography..... It simplifies the image.....
> The store bought Soft focus lenses made for Portraiture or
> Landscape
> offer a clarity along with a glowing softness that will be very hard
> to
> duplicate just jimmy rigging a filter or a few close up lenses.....
> In
> fact I have found it to be NO COMPARISON at all as far as image
> quality!
> I have also been playing around with process lenses
> modifying
> the iris from typically f 8 or f9 up to f3.5 or 4 .... I would then
> remove
> the front element and have been getting fabulous results complete with
> the
> halos in the high lights and diffusion, to sharp centers diffusing to
> the
> edges...... .
> There are some serious quirks and tips for shooting Soft focus but
> that
> will have to wait. Got to go to work....
> John Cremati
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Ferguson" <>
> To: "Alt-Photo group" <>
> Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 10:30 AM
> Subject: Re: Home made Lenses
>> A good friend of mine (John Siskin) wrote an article for View Camera
>> Magazine on do-it-yourself lenses. He uses diopters (close up filters)
>> to built multi element lenses. Nicely soft wide open (as one would
>> expect). The magazine issue is long out of print, but you can download
>> the instructions from John's site:
>> Go to the magazine section. I'd give you a direct URL, but it is a
>> framed site.
>> --------------
>> Tom Ferguson
>> _____________________________________________________
>> This message scanned for viruses by CoreComm
Tom Ferguson
Received on Fri Mar 4 10:50:37 2005

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