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Author Topic: portraits w/ full-frame: 85mm, 105, 135...  (Read 5015 times)
ohcaptain
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« on: January 01, 2008, 05:07:33 PM »
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hi,

about the 85 f/1.4 being the best - or one of the best - portrait lenses out there, don't you agree that it will change with the coming of full-frame?

i mean, if we want to buy now and when we think about full-frame, and the probability one eventually go that way in the future, maybe we should think not that much about the 85 f/1.4 (which will/would become kind of short) but maybe 105 DC or 135 DC.
don't you agree?
how about performance, are there major differences? sharpness? bokeh?
i hear wonderful things about any of these.

thanks in advance,
rui
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2008, 05:14:34 PM »
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about the 85 f/1.4 being the best - or one of the best - portrait lenses out there, don't you agree that it will change with the coming of full-frame?

The Canon shooters among us have been using 85mm primes for portraits with full-frame cameras for years. They work just fine, and are still quite popular.
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TMcCulley
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2008, 06:28:48 PM »
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The 85F/1.4 earned it's reputation before digital.  The special features of the other lenses could be a benefit but the most versatile lense in the portrait range is 70-200 F/2.8 VR.  For a long time 85 to 105 was the preferred potrait range with 135 on occaision but in more recent times you find many portrait shots done in the 175 to 200 range

Tom
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2008, 08:47:34 AM »
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The 85F/1.4 earned it's reputation before digital.  The special features of the other lenses could be a benefit but the most versatile lense in the portrait range is 70-200 F/2.8 VR.  For a long time 85 to 105 was the preferred potrait range with 135 on occaision but in more recent times you find many portrait shots done in the 175 to 200 range

Tom
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I used an 85 1.8 manual focus lens for portraits (and a lot of other stuff) in my full frame film days:) When I moved to digital and autofocus I bought a new one in ef instead of fd lens mount to use on a 5D. Probably my favourite lens.

85mm is the 'classic' portrait focal length for good reason. On a reduced frame camera it appears much longer, which may be more in keeping with the more recent trend of using longer lenses for portraits. I've heard of the use of very long (600mm) lenses for fashion work even.

Mike
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 10:50:37 AM »
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Funny how people claim this focal length or the other to be classics for portraiture.

In my time, I have seen Leica claim that the 125 Hector(?) was perfect, then the 90mm with the M series was perfect.

I have used both  85, 105, 135 and 200mm for this job and in the end, it all boils down to what turns you on regarding perspective. For what itīs worth, my own feelings are this: 85 is too short; 105 is passable but can still induce some unpleasant distortion and 135 is as close to perfect for me as is possible, whilst 200 flattened perspective too much. As I have never used a 125 I canīt comment on that.

The thing is, how do you define portraits? It makes all the difference what you intend to include. My own preference is tight head-shots, which means that on FF 35mm Iīm around 5 to 5.5 ft away from the subject. Which is close enough to communicate yet not so close as to crowd the poor model.

On occasion, I have used a 50mm lens to take waist to top of head shots, but this has been something forced on me because of circumstances such as being in hand-held mode and not wanting to risk losing the mood by changing optics or using a tripod. (A zoom would have precluded the shot anyway, because as you end up carrying the weight and weight distribution of its longest focal length, it would have been unlikely that an off-tripod situation would have arisen.)

Itīs a funny thing, but even changing camera format can create its own set of preferred focal lengths which do not necessarily tie up with/ equate mathematically with what you would have selected on a different format.

I think a hell of a lot more goes on in the brain in this business than one can identify or even articulate.

Expanding the thread slightly, Iīd say that even choosing between film or digital makes a difference, even when within the same type of body shape. That difference, I feel, is that digital encourages one to shoot a lot of rubbish which the film discipline would have stopped in its tracks.  Not so sure that such a waste of finger actions is ever a good thing. Though I had motor drives on all my Nikons other than the very first, the F, I think I remember only one time when I used any form of continuous firing. - their purpose was simply to do the winding on, leaving me free to concentrate on the picture without risking prising my eye out of my head with my thumb.

Ciao - Rob C
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macgyver
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 09:26:57 PM »
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I've shot portraits with every focal length between 16 and 300mm. Why constrain yourself to one look or one "ideal" lens?  There is no ideal lens. For the classic look you are describing a 70-200 covers just about every range you could need, whereas I shoot tons of "environmental" portraits with my 16-35.
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Hank
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 11:36:00 PM »
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My principal use for the 85 over another is when circumstances require me to sharply limit DOF.  Low light is nice, but I don't do much of that.  The 80-200 f/2.8 is a lot more versatile and therefore useful in my circumstances.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 11:57:57 PM »
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The late Herbert Keppler of Popular Photography claimed in an article not so long ago that 100 mm and 105 mm lenses provide the most pleasing and natural perspective for classical portraits.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2008, 01:43:30 AM »
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"I've shot portraits with every focal length between 16 and 300mm. Why constrain yourself to one look or one "ideal" lens? There is no ideal lens. For the classic look you are describing a 70-200 covers just about every range you could need, whereas I shoot tons of "environmental" portraits with my 16-35."

Absolutely! On 35mm I've used eveythiing from 16mm fisheye for a portrait of Thomas Dolby to 500mm reflex and everything in between. I shot a portraits of Dweezil Zappa and bass player P-Nut with the 37mm RZ fisheye. It alll depends on what you're trying to say.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2008, 04:10:31 AM »
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Choice is, of course, de rigueur; however, I do detect a slight criticism here about being crazy enough to decide that one focal length suits oneīs own ideas best!

Also, reading some of the above posts, I feel even more strongly the point I made in my last post: how do you define portrait?

For me, portrait IS head-shot. Anything else is environmental to some degree and stretches my PERSONAL notion of the genre beyond my own self-selected parameters. I have little liking for the artist-in-studio-with-his-brushes kind of - well, portrait - because it, as with the racing driver in his car, the athlete pumping his muscles wearing his pretty coloured pants, it all becomes about more than the person - no, less of the person and more about something OTHER than the person. You have to distil the thing to its essence.

You are free and entitled to think otherwise - it will make your life much easier and you donīt need to think as much at the time of shooting.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 12:32:12 PM by Rob C » Logged

Hank
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2008, 09:58:36 AM »
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I'll agree to a point Rob, but the general world of portrait photography recognizes full body shots and anything between as portraits, especially in travel photography.  Clothing and especially hands are so integral to "who" a person is that I think it's a valid inclusion.  In fact, it's only when you get down to chin-to-crown face shots that distortion from wide lenses becomes really problematic (or artistic, depending on your view and intent).
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KevinA
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2008, 11:22:20 AM »
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hi,

about the 85 f/1.4 being the best - or one of the best - portrait lenses out there, don't you agree that it will change with the coming of full-frame?

i mean, if we want to buy now and when we think about full-frame, and the probability one eventually go that way in the future, maybe we should think not that much about the 85 f/1.4 (which will/would become kind of short) but maybe 105 DC or 135 DC.
don't you agree?
how about performance, are there major differences? sharpness? bokeh?
i hear wonderful things about any of these.

thanks in advance,
rui
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=164455\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

30 years ago I worked at a photographers where we shot everything with an 80mm lens, weddings, portraits, shipping, PR, Press you name it ......... it was on a TLR Rolleiflex of course.

Kevin.
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Kevin.
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2008, 11:38:12 AM »
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Not that this is definitive by any means but the most standard lens used by studio portrait photographers for the film era for Hasselblad was a 150mm. Some used 180 and some used 120 but by far the most prevalent was the 150. This was generally true for head and shoulders as well as 3/4 length. Shorter lenses for head and shoulders would cause distortion of the face to a minor extent which could be unflattering.

But remember studio portrait photographers were trying to make the subject look their best, which is not always the case in different styles of portrait photography. Some styles are interested in clothes, their environment, a "look" or even to "not" flatter their subjects.

The 150 works out to around 90mm in 35mm format.

Michael
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 11:43:21 AM by blansky » Logged
Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2008, 12:10:26 PM »
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To create a true perspective one must shoot from a natural viewing distance of the subject ??

Maybe 5 feet - who knows - 3 feet for an intimate look - 10 feet for a more formal and offhand feel

I would suggest that one should choose ones distance first, then ones desired crop will define the lens chosen

An interesting excersise is to view a person close up with one eye covered (the photographers eye) doing this one will see 'distortions' of viewing something from an unusual distance

I would say on FF 35mm 50 for waist up, 85 for H+S 135 for face - I bet this is all acheived from about 5-8 feet a distance that is friendly close but does not invade the subjects space

I beieve there is often confusion that long lenses compress perspective - not true -viewing distance compresses perspective - the image from a 300mm and a crop from 35mm taken from the same point are the same (quality issues aside)

S
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 12:14:15 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2008, 12:30:15 PM »
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To go back to the OP, Iīd say that with a view to FF 35 format, yes, the 105 or 135 lenses will provide a good option for portraiture.

Blansky - yes, 150 with īblad was indeed the popular choice of anyone I knew anything about personally. However, this might have been for the same reason that I used it: the 180 was not introduced until quite a long way into the game, by which time my generation was already in bed with its choice and not willing to change...

The 150 was far from perfect as choice: you could not do those big-heads that I like with it without using a ring, forcing you too damn close for comfort and introducing some unwanted perseptive due to the closeness. Despite the inconvenience of the clumsy red line that indicated parallax error with the Mamiya TLR, the drawing for a head and shoulders with the 180 was much nicer IMO and I used it quite a lot for hairdresser work. But as a system, it really was just too inconvenient to use. Also, for the reasons mentioned elswhere, when I could afford the īblad thatīs where I went both for the system and the glory.

I see I am no nearer to finding out anything about the Chevrolet logo change. Are there no US car freaks on this site?

Ciao - Rob C
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Jim White
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2008, 02:24:48 PM »
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I see I am no nearer to finding out anything about the Chevrolet logo change. Are there no US car freaks on this site?

Ciao - Rob C
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Rob.
I'm no US car freak, but I have always been enamoured of them. But then almost anything that runs on wheels and uses petrol (but my current MG is a *Diesel*!!) turns me on.
I can't find your original question, something about the colour of the "bow-tie" changing from blue to gold?
Have a look at this:
[a href=\"http://books.google.com/books?id=WLcSGWCe8wsC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=chevrolet+emblem+change+color&source=web&ots=9lAUSNtlcz&sig=OkoXdgWNGyS4JJkEvG-_JS3h6u4#PPP1,M1]http://books.google.com/books?id=WLcSGWCe8...JS3h6u4#PPP1,M1[/url]

If that doesn't work, I Googled: chevrolet emblem change color.

Back in the '60s, I was told that I had to use 105 for portraits. 135 flattened the perspective too much.
Nowadays my D200 is fed an old 85 1.8 which gives me the "nicest" results, (about 127.5 I think), but I find that the 50 1.4 and even the 55 2.8 Micro give really nice perspective. But then that's mostly viewing on-screen or fairly small prints.

Was there a different perspective when we used to view transparancies on a screen or 10x16s on a wall?
I must admit to a certain lassitude when it comes to worrying about just which lens to use nowadays. I've recently bought the 18-200 Nikkor and it almost hasn't been off the camera since October. It certainly worked for its living with the family over Christmas!

Good luck with the Chevy Emblem thing, if I find anything else I'll post it up for you, but I think you'll find the different colours were used for different lines. THe current Gold is for the Daewoos, perhaps.

Jim
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Jim White
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2008, 02:33:49 PM »
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Hmmm. Try *this* link:
http://www.cartype.com/page.cfm?id=378&alph=ALL&dec=ALL

Then find Chevrolet down the left hand side.

Well, I can't seem to paste the link.
Copy it into your browser, perhaps. That works.

Jim
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 02:36:20 PM by Jim White » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2008, 11:46:13 AM »
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Hmmm. Try *this* link:
http://www.cartype.com/page.cfm?id=378&alph=ALL&dec=ALL

Then find Chevrolet down the left hand side.

Well, I can't seem to paste the link.
Copy it into your browser, perhaps. That works.

Jim
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166782\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jim

Thanks for the links - Iīve not been able to answer the colour change question but have had a lot of fun looking at that huge list of cars in the cartype link!

Thanks again - Rob C
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