Flower Photography with Soft Focus Lens

Soft Focus SP13-161

Soft focus lenses enjoyed a brief vogue in the late eighties and nineties. The rise of Photoshop has pretty much made them passé. Nevertheless, they’re still fun to play with, especially for taking photographs of flowers, as the following images demonstrate. Note the rendering, the glow, and the colors. The lens used for the following images, the Pentax F 85 f2.8 soft, has only five elements (i.e., pieces of glass) in it. The sort of zoom lenses most people use nowadays often have anywhere between 12 to 18 elements. Less glass means better light transmission and, potentially at least, brighter, more vivid color. The F 85 f2.8 soft allows you to control the soft focus effect through the aperture. Wide open, the lens reduces most of the image, particularly the highlights, to a soft mush. By f4, the images are usable. Most of the images in this series were taken at about f4.7. By f5.6, most of the soft focus effect is gone and the lens works more like any other prime.

I added a fair amount of contrast to some of the images below. Otherwise, changes are minimal:.