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03-11-2011, 07:55 PM   #1
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55mm vs. 77mm for portraits on a crop sensor

title says it all.

concerned about possibly too much compression with the 77 for portraits (unflattering)?

03-11-2011, 08:18 PM   #2
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The 77mm is 'the' portrait lens for Pentax. I had a play with one last weekend, but it's owner refused to let me steal it I loved it and if I could afford it, I would get it. This was taken with that 77mm.

Last edited by NicoleAu; 03-11-2011 at 10:17 PM.
03-11-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
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Ummm are you talking about comparing the focal length in general?
Or lens vs lens? If so what lens of 55mm?
03-11-2011, 09:56 PM   #4
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My opinion is that you can shoot portraits with most any focal length from 28-150 in the right conditions, lower even but it's all about the set up. If you are doing an in-studio set up then I would go with a 77. If casual (no studio) then the 55 will do just fine.

03-11-2011, 10:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Ummm are you talking about comparing the focal length in general?
Or lens vs lens? If so what lens of 55mm?
Just the focal length. I have no doubts that the FA 77 is one of the best primes available for pentax. However, I do also wonder if it would be a little long for some subjects, in that it might flatten someone's features out too much. (If used on film this would not happen).
03-11-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
concerned about possibly too much compression with the 77 for portraits (unflattering)?
You mean, like the unflattering portraits that this guy took?
03-11-2011, 10:18 PM   #7
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It's certainly not too long for portraits IMO.
03-11-2011, 10:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
You mean, like the unflattering portraits that this guy took?
Interesting!

I was only curious because of images like this one...


(My personal favorite here is at about 100mm).

You have got me thinking otherwise now...

03-11-2011, 10:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Interesting!

I was only curious because of images like this one...


(My personal favorite here is at about 100mm).

You have got me thinking otherwise now...
Holy Smokes Paoerbag, you may have just set off a whole new trend in portrait shooting. Surely, with the various effects achieved in your demostration at various focal lengths, every woman could find a shot of herself with which she was happy--Think of It!!!
03-11-2011, 11:02 PM   #10
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I have used my 50mm, 55mm, and 58mm lenses as well as my 77mm Limited and 85mm Jupiter-8 for portraits on APS-C and feel that they all work well. The shorter lenses allow for a little closer working distance, but the two longer lenses are just fine, particularly if you need shallow DOF. Back in the day, portrait lenses for 35mm film started at 75mm and went up to 135mm. 50mm was also an option, but was a pain for tight cropping due to volume anamorphosis.

Translation...if it works, use it.


Steve
03-11-2011, 11:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Interesting!

I was only curious because of images like this one...


(My personal favorite here is at about 100mm).

You have got me thinking otherwise now...

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?
03-12-2011, 12:13 AM   #12
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personally, on a tight APS-C sensor, anything from 28mm and above should be fine. although at wider focal lengths, you need to work out the lens a bit due to distortion and other shortcomings that a wide lens would create. DOF varies and depends on your preference. longer lenses are shallower as you may have already known, plus the difference on bokeh illustration.
I wouldn't worry about the image being flat due to focal length, and I'm not quite sure how would it flatten the features of the subject unless you made it look flat?
03-12-2011, 01:44 AM   #13
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focal length doesn't flatten the features, standing further away from the subject does. so you see what you do in the above pics. the photographer moved further and further away from the subject to get the same number of pixels on the head and shoulders of the subject and it resulted in further flattening the further away teh photog got.
03-12-2011, 05:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheers Quote
focal length doesn't flatten the features, standing further away from the subject does. so you see what you do in the above pics. the photographer moved further and further away from the subject to get the same number of pixels on the head and shoulders of the subject and it resulted in further flattening the further away teh photog got.
True. But it is most convenient to use a lens that lets you compose in the viewfinder rather than cropping later.

Here's a well controlled study by Steve Easterwood. He used a full frame camera so adjust the focal lengths appropriately (his 100mm -> your 67mm)


There may be cultural or personal preference for one perspective over another based on how far people tend to stand from each other when face-to-face. After many years in a research university environment I noticed that sometimes students (often from Asia) would stand "too close" for my comfort when engaged in casual conversation; this may influence what looks like a natural perspective to them - ie they might prefer portraits taken with shorter lenses?

Last edited by newarts; 03-12-2011 at 05:23 AM.
03-12-2011, 05:36 AM   #15
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I don't own the FA 77, but the DA 70 is close enough that I will comment. I own the DA 70 and DA *55 and I must confess, I don't see a lot of difference between them as far as "flattering features." The biggest thing is that I have to get a little closer to get the same photos with the 55 than with the 70. The lenses themselves render differently as well. I like the bokeh a little better on the 55 than the 70 (at similar apertures), but the 70 is pretty smooth in most situations. The 55 is also sharper at similar apertures.

Photo of my daughter with the 55 at f2.



My daughter again, but with the DA 70 at f2.4.



Obviously, theses are very different photos. However, the biggest differences in these lenses have to do with colors and rendering (particularly colors). 55 seems to be a little warmer than the DA limited lens, which seems more neutral. Both are quite sharp from wide open, although the 55 opens 1 and a half stops wider.
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