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'3 Jars' - 305mm Kodak Portrait vs The 286mm Variable Positive Meniscus


Discussing the way these two lenses handle this shot is like talking about the difference between a car that goes 97m.p.h. and one that goes 100m.p.h.   Having shot quite a bit w/these lenses, I can probably see more differences/a lot more going on between the lenses than somebody who hasn't.

I acquired an old style LF Artar barrel/shell w/its glass removed but w/its iris diaphragm intact, which had been used for several focal lengths which were available for that lens, along w/several meniscus lens elements, the 286mm meniscus being one of them, in an attempt to create my own Pinkham/Struss.

Knowing a LITTLE more now about optics than I did years ago, I knew there was a likelyhood of this ending badly, soI hoped for the best, and expected the worst.

It may be 'wishfull thinking', but I believe this lens to be in the same ballpark, you be the judge.

In purchasing various diopters/lens elements, particulary positive meniscus lens elements, it seemed that the ones that had more of a pronounced curve like the 286mm meniscus that I adapted to back of the Artar to do this shot was in the right direction, Pinkham and Strusswise.

The Positive Meniscus and the Kodak Portrat are similar w/the iris diaphragm in front, w/my lens, the bulge of the menisucs is pointing toward the front of the lens, w/the Kodak, the bulge is pointing backward.  The glass on my lens is definitely uncoated, the kodak glass is coated.

The Positive Meniscus configuration is about a stop slower than the kodak, my lens is a little more 'brutish' and not as nuanced or as sparkly or as 'pearlescent' as the Kodak.    I cannot call a winner, and I don't think you should, but I'll be uploading my Positive Men shot to my personal website.   That's because of that 'something' whatever it is that I see in this shot.

I'm surprised at this choice because the Kodak Portrait happens to be the easiest of the Pinkham Semi-Achromatics to use(and it is a Pinkham SA in everything but name only and usually price), and it has an 'edge' in that it tends render a pearlescence about the subject matter to a degree that other soft focus/portrait lenses CAN'T. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that these particular lenses are close enough to where there's never going to be a consistent winner when talking about using any of 'em on any particular shot, because what lens does best on what shot, will always depend on the subject matter/lighting/contrast/focus et al.


The top shot is the Kodak, and then the Varibalbe Positive Mensiscus





Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 11:26PM by Registered CommenterJonathan Brewer | CommentsPost a Comment

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