120mm soft focus for closeup chots

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by dave_cheng|1, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Has anyone ever tried Pentax's 120mm sfot focus lens for closeup shots? This lens can focus as close as two feet from the object. The soft focus characteristic of this lens produces very interesting bokeh. I tried it for the reason that it can focus very close and thought the bokeh may be interesting. It did turn out very unique. See the attached photo and look at the background scene. I think I did not close down the aperature enough or it was the lens not very sharp the flower is not as sharp as I would have liked. But the bokeh is so different from anything I ever experienced. I read from somewhere that this lens is intended for soft portrait and for closeup as well. I have not had good luck in shooting portrait with this lens yet. I never got really sharp images although background scene was always very out of focus and soft. But for closeup if I close down the aperature further the object may become much sharper. Just wonder if anyone has experience of this lens to share. Dave
    00AHc0-20693384.jpg
     
  2. Apologies for my poor spelling. It should be "shots". Maybe it's my
    typing skill or something is wrong in my head. I don't know.

    Dave
     
  3. According to the instruction manual of this lens the soft focus effect disappears if the aperature is smaller than f8. But I found even at f8 the object in focus is still not very sharp. I have been frustrated by not able to achieve a very sharp main object with very soft out of focus background. The lens will be not very useful if the main object is not sharp no matter how soft the out of focus area is. Some say it is because of incorrect focusing. The manual says to turn the focus ring a little, after visually set the focus, depends on the degree of effect of softness desired corresponding to two extra white lines on the barrel next to the red line. I could not figure out how this works so far. I still think I have not figured out how to use this lens correctly. Then I found this closeup application of this lens. I like the bokeh it shows. I have not seen any other normal lens that has this kind of Bokeh. This lens would be a perfect macro lens if it could produce very sharp in focus image. Closing down will increase sharpness but that will lose the interesting bokeh as a result. Now I have checked my spelling twice. If I still mispell that has to be something in the head that's not working today. My apologies again. Here is another s(c)hot with the 120mm softfocus lens. Behind the bird of paradise is a fountain.
    00AHpF-20697284.jpg
     
  4. Dave, the 120 is a portrait lens and is not really designed for other uses. I have not used this lens but these sort of lenses are only going to be as sharp as the other lenses in the line, when they are stopped down all the way. For your closeup that you are trying to do, I suggest using a 150mm at f/2.8 or f/4.
     
  5. Steve, I understood that 120mm soft is a portrait lens. But I also
    found that it is able to focus as close as 2 feet. Why is it designed
    to be like that? My 105mm lens could not produce the kind of bokeh at
    all. 120mm is too short as a portrait lens. It is too close for a
    tight head shot. Anyway, this lens is a strange lens. I think it is
    one not very well understood lens in the Pentax 67 lens line. I will
    try again and close down to f11 or ever f16 to see if I can produce
    sharp enough closeups. BTW, this lens is a 4 element one. There isn't
    that much glass area to be ground. But it is not cheap. I did get
    mine cheap though.

    Pentax 150mm is a rare one. I'll try it if I get a chance.
     
  6. Why the 2 foot close focus on the 120 soft? I don't know. I agree the lens should have been longer; I would have liked it to be 180mm. I believe the bokeh you get with this lens is from the uncorrected spherical aberration. I shoot portraits with my 150 Super-Takumar, 200 Pentax and 300 Takumar. I have never considered buying the 120 because it was too specialized. I rarely use the 120mm setting on my 90-180 zoom.
     

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