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03-07-2011, 04:22 PM   #1
eccs19's Avatar

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Do I need to fill my void?

I'm starting to get into doing some portrait photography, and I'm wondering if I've got a void that I should fill, and if so, what would be recommended? Currently I go from a Takumar 55mm to a Takumar 100mm & Sigma 105mm. I don't have a decent zoom, so I've nothing in between. Seems 70mm to 85mm is used commonly for portraits. Thoughts?

03-07-2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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question is how do you feel about the lenses you have and their focal lengths...
Now, 55/1.8 is a great portrait lens IMO (I used to have the K series version), the 100 I don't know but for outdoors portraits I'd say it's good, and Sigma I'd use the same. One thing you would gain with 70-85 lens of this or that speed would be the narrow DOF at certain level of magnification. If you feel comfortable with 55-100/105 set up, there is no need to spend money...
If you feel like you are missing something than yes, there is a good range of lenses to fill the gap
03-07-2011, 04:38 PM   #3
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Thoughts? Deep thoughts. Dark thoughts. Glassy thoughts. But I digress...

Portraits are shot with any focal length. What's used depends on how much of the subject is in the picture, and from what distance, and what effects are wanted. Whether with a 6x6 or 645, 135/FF, or APS-C camera, I like lenses around 75-85mm because of the roundness. Longer, like 135mm and up, flattens features a bit -- and some features NEED flattening.

Effects: Faster lenses have thinner DOF and thus a softer feel wide-open, and more isolation of subject from surroundings. Stopped-down, you can control sharpness quite well. But you knew that. Anyway, many folks prefer an 85/1.5 or thereabouts, which ain't cheap. I do quite well with 85/2, or even 80/3.5 for more inherent crispness. Or a 90/2.8 macro. Or a 100/4.5 period lens. Or a 127/3.5 projector lens. Whatever.

Point is, there's a lot of leeway there. Your 55 and 100 Taks should do just fine for many or most portrait situations. If you think they don't offer enough coverage, try this: Look for a cheap 35-135 or 55-150 manual zoom -- something modest in that region. Get a manikin or a patient subject, and shoot from various distances and angles with various focal lengths. Explore your comfort level for distance -- too close? Too far? Just right? Take notes. That should inform whatever lens-buying decision(s) you make, if any. Good luck!
03-07-2011, 05:48 PM   #4
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Run with that 55mm f1.8. It's a pretty flexible length for portraits, and a great lens to boot.

If you really want to "fill the void", please do so with a zoom. A f2.8 zoom that goes between 50 - 80 (I would go with the Tamron 28-75) would be a really nice portrait lens when you aren't sure what focal length you will need. Filling the void with primes is almost impossible, impractical, and it can be expensive. But it is fun, collecting, isn't it?

I'm in the process of whittling down my primes. I kept the 55 1.8 specifically for portraits, and I rarely feel like I need anything else for that particular duty.

03-07-2011, 06:26 PM   #5
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I like primes. Primes are nice, and I like short teles for general portraiture..
Consider the DA70/2.4 if you really feel you need something a bit longer.
03-08-2011, 04:04 PM   #6
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Original Poster
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I guess for now I'll just see how I manage with what I've got, and if I find I do have a void, I'll fill it as needed.
03-08-2011, 08:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Consider the DA70/2.4 if you really feel you need something a bit longer.
Great advice.
03-08-2011, 09:04 PM   #8
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If you are looking for a portrait zoom it is very hard to go pat the Da*50-135. I know people will say don't get it because of SDM problems, but I've had 2 copies and never seen a hint of a problem.

It's an absolutely cracking lens.

03-10-2011, 04:54 AM   #9
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If you might run into a K 45-125, thats a very good one too.
I bought one for only $60 and I'm very happy with it.
Use it for sports and portraits.

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