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Soft Focus Lenses ?

  
 
Sauseschritt
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


What are your thoughts on soft focus lenses ?

Do you like them ? Do you hate them ?

Do you rather prefer to do tricks like vaseline on a filter on the lens ?

Do you have favorite soft focus lenses ?


I really like the idea of soft focus.

Personally I never liked the idea of vaseline. Just too messy and unpredictable.

I find the output of the Leica Thambar rather pleasant, but its price point is riddiculous.

I have the Nikkor AF 105mm f2 DC, which can be overdriven to generate a soft focus effect. I find it somewhat hard to work with to get good results though. Maybe at f4 with the DC at 5.6R. Really I have stopped trying. The lens already has amazing output if you just ignore the DC function completely.



Oct 26, 2022 at 07:29 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


Those old Hasselblad Softar filters were pretty nice if you can find them big enough for modern lenses. We used to make our own soft focus filters by using light overspray from black spray paint cans on an old clear or UV filter. Those worked quite well. Then you could get into stretching pantyhose over a frame. Usually black pantyhose worked better but it depended on what effect you were after. I think Tiffen and Harrison used to ;both make some pretty good soft focus filters as well.


Oct 26, 2022 at 09:45 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


Peter Figen wrote:
Then you could get into stretching pantyhose over a frame. Usually black pantyhose worked better but it depended on what effect you were after. I think Tiffen and Harrison used to ;both make some pretty good soft focus filters as well.

When I was at Art Center, I assisted Norman Seef and also was his darkroom tech.

Norman got his signature "black bleed" look by using nylon stockings stretched in an embroidery hoop. This was held underneath the enlarger lens for part or even all of the exposure. Norman was very particular about the stockings used, I had to go to Sears and request them by name. Another part of his look came from him developing his negatives in Dektol (a paper developer). Then we printed on Agfa 6 developed in D-76! He didn't give proof sheets to art directors; he'd go through the 30 or so rolls of film he usually shot and select a frame or two from each roll. I'd then print 16x20s of each and that's what he'd present to the client.

As for soft focus, I loved the Mamiya 150mm soft focus lens for the RB/RZ67. There were disks you'd put in the inside of the lens that afforded different levels of sharpness. I took lots of Senior Portraits back in the day and the packages were machine printed. Shooting soft focus helped keep down the negative retouching needed.

Nowadays I use Tiffen Black Pro Mist, either 1/8 or 1/4 when I want a soft-focus look.



Oct 26, 2022 at 10:33 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


dmacmillan wrote:
When I was at Art Center, I assisted Norman Seef and also was his darkroom tech.

Norman got his signature "black bleed" look by using nylon stockings stretched in an embroidery hoop. This was held underneath the enlarger lens for part or even all of the exposure. Norman was very particular about the stockings used, I had to go to Sears and request them by name. Another part of his look came from him developing his negatives in Dektol (a paper developer). Then we printed on Agfa 6 developed in D-76! He didn't give proof sheets to art directors; he'd
...Show more

Yep. I remember that Norman Seef "look" and I also remember putting diffusion under the enlarger lens to achieve that effect. Today you can get very similar effects by duplicating layers, blurring and changing the blend mode of the layer to lighten or darken or even using a negative clarity setting.

I used to work with an art director, who taught at Art Center, whose wife was a model in NY, who, at the time was doing show modeling for Penn, who would shoot one single frame of 8x10 black and white film, send it off to the lab for processing and proofing, wait for that to come back four hours later and then maybe shoot one more frame and repeat the process. I guess you didn't really art direct those guys.




Oct 26, 2022 at 10:56 AM
jacquesvroom
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


Peter Figen wrote:
"Then you could get into stretching pantyhose over a frame. Usually black pantyhose worked better but it depended on what effect you were after."



Peter,

Back in the day, it took me a while to get over the awkwardness of asking for left-over panty hose. It only occurred to me many years later that I could buy them at the store! Sheltered youth...

Best,

Jacques



Nov 05, 2022 at 09:00 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


jacquesvroom wrote:
Peter,

Back in the day, it took me a while to get over the awkwardness of asking for left-over panty hose. It only occurred to me many years later that I could buy them at the store! Sheltered youth...

Best,

Jacques


Yeah, but way more fun to get them off of one of your girlfriends - y'know - assuming they were wearing the appropriate style.




Nov 05, 2022 at 10:52 PM
BubbaJon
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


jacquesvroom wrote:
Peter,

Back in the day, it took me a while to get over the awkwardness of asking for left-over panty hose. It only occurred to me many years later that I could buy them at the store! Sheltered youth...

Best,
Jacques


lol same here. Then I discovered they make "footies" and I didn't need both legs
Party trick I was shown by a model once - you can pull the pantyhose through some kinds of plastic bags (polyethylene) and the static will cause the pantyhose to "fill out" and look like phantom legs.



Nov 06, 2022 at 06:04 AM
 


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Flash645
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


Dektol? Do WHAT?

That had to be highly diluted or I'd guess you would wind up with something resembling Kodalith...

Do you remember the details? It seems I tried something like that back in the day when I was writing for Shutterbug occasionally, but I could never get it to work as expected.

What was the film? Tri-X? Plus-X?

I miss that fun stuff!

Also, I have always been a fan of the Zeiss Softar filters. The #1 was perfect for just a hint of softness, and the #2 was really lovely and dreamy.



Nov 14, 2022 at 07:54 PM
macentropist
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


I think i will buy a pair of sheer panty hose! Wth, worth a try with my RF 85mm f1.2.


Nov 16, 2022 at 12:57 PM
jacquesvroom
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


I have written to Fred to ask him if clean, 9/10 condition panty hose might be added to the B/S boards, but have not yet heard anything back from him!! 😃😃


Nov 16, 2022 at 04:03 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


dmacmillan wrote:
When I was at Art Center, I assisted Norman Seef and also was his darkroom tech.

Norman got his signature "black bleed" look by using nylon stockings stretched in an embroidery hoop. This was held underneath the enlarger lens for part or even all of the exposure. Norman was very particular about the stockings used, I had to go to Sears and request them by name. Another part of his look came from him developing his negatives in Dektol (a paper developer). Then we printed on Agfa 6 developed in D-76! He didn't give proof sheets to art directors; he'd
...Show more

You all are making me feel very nostalgic! Takes me back to my college days, working in the darkroom, developing rolls of film in complete darkness... I doubt I could get that film wound around the little cassettes in the light, let alone in the dark these days.
dmacmillan: did you ever assist Norman when he was doing Joni Mitchell album covers? How cool.




Nov 17, 2022 at 01:19 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


Sharona wrote:
You all are making me feel very nostalgic! Takes me back to my college days, working in the darkroom, developing rolls of film in complete darkness... I doubt I could get that film wound around the little cassettes in the light, let alone in the dark these days.
dmacmillan: did you ever assist Norman when he was doing Joni Mitchell album covers? How cool.


No, but I have a few prints I kept when I was printing from the shoots. She was one of his subjects I wish I had a chance to meet.

Norman was renting a house in the Hollywood Hills back then. My wife was an account executive for a business management firm located in Beverly Hills and Norman was one of her clients. We'd go to his house and Deb would go over the paperwork and I'd deliver prints or talk about upcoming shoots. There was a pool there which was clothing optional. You never knew who would be in the pool when you stopped by! Since we were from the South, we wore our bathing suits when we swam. This mystified the daughter of Norman's girlfriend, who was 6 or 7 at the time. She asked me about it and I convinced her it was just how we grew up.

It was a fun time. We had a friend, who is still a FB friend, who lived in Laurel Canyon and worked for Warner Brothers Records. To get to her house you took a right at Frank Zappa's house and drove up the hill. We also had a friend who was Burt Bacharach's mistress when he was married to Angie Dickenson. While Patti was pretty, she wasn't the looker Angie was. She was younger, though. Through Deb's job, we met and became friends with a number of people in the entertainment industry, including Ned Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Jack Elam, Leigh Taylor-Young, Kate Jackson, Fred Huddleston, Fred Williamson, Rosie Greer and even the legendary director John Ford.



Nov 18, 2022 at 07:11 AM
Sharona
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Soft Focus Lenses ?


dmacmillan wrote:
No, but I have a few prints I kept when I was printing from the shoots. She was one of his subjects I wish I had a chance to meet.

Norman was renting a house in the Hollywood Hills back then. My wife was an account executive for a business management firm located in Beverly Hills and Norman was one of her clients. We'd go to his house and Deb would go over the paperwork and I'd deliver prints or talk about upcoming shoots. There was a pool there which was clothing optional. You never knew who would be in
...Show more

Wow! Those are great stories and memories, I'm sure. I was a rabid Joni fan, coming of age in the 1970s. I am sad I never got to see her perform live, but I did see Frank Zappa once. He was a genius, in my opinion! (Oh yeah, seems I read one time that the pool images from one of her albums were taken in Norm's pool. Hissing of Summer Lawns? I don't remember which one.)




Nov 18, 2022 at 07:24 AM







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