As promised in my last blog entry, below are a number of test images shot with my Karl Struss Pictorial Lens I adapted for use on a Mamiya or Phase One camera. The lens is a 9" f5.5 version as sometimes found on early 20th century Graflex SLR cameras.
I resorted again to some vintage enamel coffee pots on an equally vintage dining table at my sister's Kokopelli Cafe in Lovendegem, Belgium.
A carbon fiber tripod kept my Mamiya 645AFD II camera stable over the course of the test. Images on a medium frame digital Leaf 10 back (56MP) and color to B/W conversion with the default NIK Silver Pro 2 preset. Nothing fancy. I used the camera's lighting meter guide me to set shutter speed. Lighting was all natural. Window from the left and one behind me. Artificial light from right top towards the camera.
As expected and shown over and over again in literature, the soft focus effect of this lens is aperture controlled. The soft focus effect is mostly gone by f8 and at f16 and f22 the images are tack sharp but with a pleasing roundness.
All by all the lens is fairly easy to use, I didn't experience any focus issues although the viewfinder of the Mamiya 645AFD II is fairly small compared to the ground glass from a 4x5 view camera. I did use a viewfinder loupe though for accuracy as it is difficult to achieve perfect good manual focus with progressive glasses and camera optics.
I'm very pleased with the results. Especially at f5.5 the soft focus effect is not overbearing as experienced in some other soft focus lens topology implementations. Since the lens is a single element meniscus and not an achromat, color performance suffers somewhat as the edges in the image can be a bit mushy. Use filters during the image take or shoot B&W only. Digital capture with digital B&W/monochrome conversion takes of course care of this also.
Observe .... and cheers !