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03-12-2011, 08:53 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
From those samples, everything from 70mm upwards look best to me.
I know you didnt take those, but were they shot with a crop sensor or full frame?
Full Frame.

So the 55 --> 85mm, 77 --> 115mm

03-12-2011, 08:56 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Full Frame.

So the 55 --> 85mm, 77 --> 115mm
Yes i know how to convert, just wanted to know the sensor size
03-12-2011, 09:01 AM   #18
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Of the two, the 77 would be the nicer lens, but I find myself using the 70 more than the 55 and 77 combined.
03-12-2011, 09:04 AM   #19
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Only one more day, Bill.

03-12-2011, 09:32 AM   #20
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I realize people might be thinking about this in direct relationship to the primes available, but my concern is simply the compression effect of focal length.

I'm wondering if, since different models would be better complemented with a different focal length, that a good portrait lens should be a zoom?

In the other focal length example, the model was really complemented by the longer focal lengths, but in the example I posted, I thought her face was too round past 120mm.

Subjectivity aside, am I onto something here?
03-12-2011, 10:15 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
....
I'm wondering if, since different models would be better complemented with a different focal length, that a good portrait lens should be a zoom?....
Subjectivity aside, am I onto something here?
You are indeed onto something and the preference for one perspective or another may be different in the model's judgment from the audience' judgment. However, I doubt you'll see strong preferences until perspective gets "too close" and it is what's "too close" that will vary.

What a good psychology experiment this would be! One hypothesis is that people would prefer images of themselves with a perspective like they are used to seeing in their mirror - perhaps this varies with age and gender. While they may prefer close-ups of themselves, they may prefer more distant views of others.

Last edited by newarts; 03-12-2011 at 10:22 AM.
03-12-2011, 10:34 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
You are indeed onto something and the preference for one perspective or another may be different in the model's judgment from the audience' judgment. However, I doubt you'll see strong preferences until perspective gets "too close" and it is what's "too close" that will vary.

What a good psychology experiment this would be! One hypothesis is that people would prefer images of themselves with a perspective like they are used to seeing in their mirror - perhaps this varies with age and gender. While they may prefer close-ups of themselves, they may prefer more distant views of others.
true. aside from that is the shooting distance preference which contribute to one's shooting style.

as far as using zooms for portraits are concerned, I would believe it is more on the convenience/flexibility factor. some people prefer primes due to certain characteristics that certain primes give them to a particular image, not just aperture speed.
03-12-2011, 11:15 AM   #23
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On a 135mm I like 50mm, 85mm & 135mm. Any lens in that range is more than capable and the differences are going to be slight. The 50mm on my K-7 is a really good all around lens. 85mm = 127.5mm on the K-7 and is a really good focal length for people. If you are shooting in a studio where you control the background and have limited space then shorter is better. If you are working and event and you are trying to keep your distance then longer is better. I have rented the 200mm f/2 (Canon 5D) and shot a lot of outdoor events and really like the way the 200mm L renders.

50mm, 85mm, 135mm are all (75mm, 127mm, 200mm APS-C) are all excellent.

03-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I was only curious because of images like this one...
Those are a bit hard to evaluate: it doesn't look like they're taken from the same height - the camera seems to be at a lower position in the first shots than in the latter ones, where the subject seems to look up; the wide angle shots are framed tighter, which makes the effect even worse; the position of the model is always different. The series posted by newarts is better because the framing and position of the model is better controlled.

Anyway, I don't see terrible differences as the distance from the subject increases past a point. You get the obvious funny perspective when you're very close, but at the other end, the differences are harder to see and, as you've seen in that link I posted, you can get nice results from using a 1000mm lens combo.
03-12-2011, 01:10 PM   #25
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As I've mentioned before: Back when photography was my job, I shot many (un)official portraits with various format cameras, with frames ranging from APS-size to larger medium format. No matter the frame size, I found that lenses around 80mm had the best rendering of features -- not too rounded, not too flattened. By "around 80mm" I mean 70-75-80-85-90mm, even up to 100-105-110mm if the features *needs* a little flattening or the subject *needs* a bit more distance.

What lens to use depends on factors like:

* How big is the subject? Baby faces, and adult 3/4 body shots, are different.
* How far is the subject? Which relates to the comfort zone, for you and subject.
* How far is the background? Do you want that BG detailed, blurred, what?
* Formal or informal shots? Romantic or stark? Ambient or controlled lighting?

Fast becoming the favorite flexible portrait lens on my K20D is an old M42 Sears-Tomioka 55-135/3.5, which delivers over a wide range of distances and conditions. Just for portraiture: at 55mm, move the subject closer to the camera and further from the BG; at 135mm, just the opposite; and in-between is in-between. DOF at 135/3.5 is virtually the same as a 55/1.4 lens, and at 100/3.5 is about the same as a 70/2.5 lens, etc so subject separation and BG exclusion are pretty controllable. An AF 50-150/2.8 would be just about ideal, eh?
03-12-2011, 07:23 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
An AF 50-150/2.8 would be just about ideal, eh?
Wonder if that's why the DA*50-135 is so popular as a portrait lens
03-12-2011, 07:41 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Wonder if that's why the DA*50-135 is so popular as a portrait lens
The prices I'm seeing for the DA*50-135 are in the US$800 range. My old M42 Sears-Tomioka 55-135/3.5 cost US$8 shipped. I think I'll stick with what I have, eh?
03-12-2011, 07:45 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The prices I'm seeing for the DA*50-135 are in the US$800 range. My old M42 Sears-Tomioka 55-135/3.5 cost US$8 shipped. I think I'll stick with what I have, eh?
I was just commenting on the focal length range. Wasn't suggesting you get a 50-135
03-12-2011, 09:07 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I realize people might be thinking about this in direct relationship to the primes available, but my concern is simply the compression effect of focal length.

I'm wondering if, since different models would be better complemented with a different focal length, that a good portrait lens should be a zoom?

In the other focal length example, the model was really complemented by the longer focal lengths, but in the example I posted, I thought her face was too round past 120mm.

Subjectivity aside, am I onto something here?
It's kind of like macro. Some subjects are going to react to you being really close with the camera. The expression and reaction differences overwhelm the technical considerations. An extreme example: my mother-in-law hated any attempt at taking her photo, so 300mm was a good focal length for her portrait.
03-13-2011, 12:43 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
It's kind of like macro. Some subjects are going to react to you being really close with the camera. The expression and reaction differences overwhelm the technical considerations. An extreme example: my mother-in-law hated any attempt at taking her photo, so 300mm was a good focal length for her portrait.


Thanks for the input everyone. Interesting stuff.

I really need to get a screwmount adapter and start playing with my CZJ 80mm 2.8. I'm curious to see how it will do for portraits on digital.

The advice is really appreciated.
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