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02-25-2011, 03:56 AM   #16
Ira
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I don't like something as short as 50/55 because of the shorter working distance involved, even on an APS-C.

Don't have the 77, but that seems great, so for me, it's the 85.

02-25-2011, 04:09 AM   #17
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After doing a bunch of portrait shots this evening, I think 50mm is too short unless you really do know them well.
02-25-2011, 05:22 AM   #18
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It depends on setting. Some sets need the close quarters due to space limitations. I use 31 and 43mm a lot for that. But I've also found the 55-300 versatile for outoor candids, and has enough DoF control for good results.
02-25-2011, 09:20 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleAu Quote
After doing a bunch of portrait shots this evening, I think 50mm is too short unless you really do know them well.
I would agree that it can seem too close if it is an adult and they are not that comfortable with having their photo taken, but with children, getting closer to them can help to keep them focused, especially girls. I shoot a lot of little girls these days that are totally in to having their photo taken. I rarely have to give these girls direction as they have put a lot of thought into it before I even arrive. They are really quite good and it makes my job very easy. I think it's the exposure to pop media these days. They already know how to pose and how to look natural. Being closer to them with a shorter lens reminds them that it's "showtime". Obviously, kids that are not as at ease sometimes require more distance. Shorter lenses also work really well with pet portraits.

02-25-2011, 09:36 AM   #20
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55 works well for upper body.

You have to get too close for heads and shoulders - thats where the 70 / 77 / 85 comes in.

Nonetheless, these cheap 50's do a hell of a job for their price. I think the K 55 at f 2.8 is just marvelous for this kind of stuff... but it is no match for the ones I just listed.
02-25-2011, 10:24 AM   #21
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Starting from scratch I have ordered a 50mm f1.4(Might even be in today) for portraits. But when my K-5 came in and the 50mm and 18-135WR didn't... I couldn't have a naked K-5 and wait for lenses so I bought the former shop owners mint condition 43mm Ltd. and I definitely do not regret it! I'm not sure if I want the 50mm now since its so close to the 43mm. Personally I'm leaning towards a 70mm/77mm LTD or even a 90mm Tamron Macro.
02-25-2011, 10:25 AM   #22
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I love my Vivitar Series 1 105mm/2.5. I have achieved the best portraits with this lens. Although it is manual focus, it is a fantastic lens.
02-25-2011, 10:48 AM   #23
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I'll just add that depending on the type of portrait--and keep in mind that I hate the smiling into the camera type of shot-- you get more interesting stuff when you're further away with a longer lens and pull the trigger when you're subject doesn't know it's being pulled.

Same person on the same stool, but when they "act" for the shot and give you that big smile, it's usually pretty boring stuff.

02-25-2011, 10:51 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I'll just add that depending on the type of portrait--and keep in mind that I hate the smiling into the camera type of shot-- you get more interesting stuff when you're further away with a longer lens and pull the trigger when you're subject doesn't know it's being pulled.
Words of wisdom.
02-25-2011, 11:30 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I'll just add that depending on the type of portrait--and keep in mind that I hate the smiling into the camera type of shot-- you get more interesting stuff when you're further away with a longer lens and pull the trigger when you're subject doesn't know it's being pulled.

Same person on the same stool, but when they "act" for the shot and give you that big smile, it's usually pretty boring stuff.
This is true, Ira. However, there are times when a photographer is *required* to take that "regular bust shot."
02-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #26
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my 2 cents is if cost isn't an issue the FA77 seems perfect, it can be used for portraiture on both digital and film and ff digital if it ever comes out. compliment it with a 55 for digital and a 100-105 for film, maybe even a 135
as fast as you can afford on any of them because there are times where it is nice to have the really narrow DOF for portraits (not for kids though they move to damn much unless you sedate em)
02-25-2011, 11:44 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I'll just add that depending on the type of portrait--and keep in mind that I hate the smiling into the camera type of shot-- you get more interesting stuff when you're further away with a longer lens and pull the trigger when you're subject doesn't know it's being pulled.

Same person on the same stool, but when they "act" for the shot and give you that big smile, it's usually pretty boring stuff.
Couldn't agree more. In fact, I always have to make myself remember to get some shots of the kids smiling (which almost always means candids, very few kids can fake a natural-looking smile) because that's what the parents usually want. Very few of these smiling shots end up being what I would choose, but to quote Joe Dirt "it's not what you want, it's the consumer."

My earlier point was that a lot of these little girls know how to be "on" without giving you a pasted-on smile or a typical pose. Now, it may be because my typical clientele is pretty affluent and maybe their kids are exposed to more than most kids are, I don't know, but I'm telling you, many of you would be pretty shocked at how sophisticated these kids are, and I'm talking about kids as young as six or so.
02-25-2011, 12:17 PM   #28
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Sharp or soft for portraits? I just came upon a quote from one PH Emerson, enthusiastic amateur and founder of a major photo-artistic society. Around 1885 he wrote:
"If the work is for scientific purposes work sharply, if for amusement please yourself, if for business do what will pay."
IOW the Golden Rule: Them with the gold, makes the rules. Whatever a customer wants, we must deliver, or else. And if they aren't paying customers, do what you want.

Last edited by RioRico; 02-25-2011 at 12:23 PM.
02-25-2011, 12:45 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
The reason I hold the FA77 in such high regard as a portrait lens is because of it's somewhat un-conventional character. It has a warm, romantic style of rendering that is perfect for a lot of portrait work. It also has the sharpness that I consider a portrait lens must-have. You can't fake sharpness later in PP. I would much rather have the best possible image to work with. I also don't think you're going to find too many folks using a soft focus filter in the digital age. The FA43 is about the widest lens I use for portrait work (though when I get an FA31 eventually I'll probably use that, too). The 43, the 55, and the 77 have all served me very well in my portrait work (and twitch is right, the 50-135 is no slouch, either) and all 3 of these are known for their sharpness. The only other lens I am tempted to add (besides the 31) is the Sigma 85 when it becomes available in K-mount, but I'm not really sure I need it.
I'm sure your lenses are just fine for the sort of work you like to do. I'm just encouraging the OP to think outside the box. I realize that, if you are doing portraits for money, many customers have certain expectations and assumptions. Presumably people hire you because they like a certain style of portrait. There is lots of admirable work done by the tack-sharp school of portrait photographers, but that ain't the only way to go.

If the OP indicated that he or she wants to do commercial portraiture of a certain type, I've missed it.

Therefore my suggestions were based on encouraging the individual to explore the creative potential of a less regimented approach to the field.

I like sharp lenses too, having worked many years as a technical photographer.

However, there is something to be said for exploring the potential of lenses with quite different character. (From my perspective, while the FA77 may have characteristics that make it an admirable portrait lens, it is not "different" in the way that a 1930s Leica 90mm is different.)
02-25-2011, 02:58 PM   #30
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I am saving up for the DA 70 myself, but the DA 40 works ok if you stand back a bit and crop the image to avoid facial feature distortion.
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