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04-28-2011, 02:00 AM   #1

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30mm vs 85mm 1.4 for full body shots

Which one will be the preferred focal length for full body shots and good subject isolation - assuming one has enough space to use both the focal length.

30mm (or 31/35mm) will allows me to shoot from closer distance but will be sufficiently far for full body shots to avoid any facial feature distortion (correct me). In case of 85mm I have to move a bit further.

04-28-2011, 02:13 AM   #2
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with 35mm you can have no visible distortion. But for portraiture it can be a bit anoying for your subject because you have to be quite close and that can be a bit disapointing.

85mm is good for portraiture but a bit too long for full body.

50 is a good middle, with good results
04-28-2011, 02:23 AM   #3

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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
with 35mm you can have no visible distortion. But for portraiture it can be a bit anoying for your subject because you have to be quite close and that can be a bit disapointing.
Not interested in portrait, just like to know which is better for full body shots and why.
04-28-2011, 03:44 AM   #4
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I like a 30-ish mm lens for full body shots better than longer lenses, just because the working distance isn't so great. You really don't get a lot of distortion with these type of shots. On the other hand, if you would take head and shoulders shots, it would not be so flattering and you would have to be pretty close (about a meter away maybe). With an 80-ish mm lens to get full body, you have to stand so far back that you sort of lose contact with your subject.

04-28-2011, 05:11 AM   #5
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With a 85mm, assuming you have the space to frame a full body shot, you will be too far away from your subject to have a good link with him/her. A wider lens will ensure you can have a good connection with the subject.
04-28-2011, 05:54 AM   #6
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Full body with 85mm is like candid. I prefer 50mm for full body.

Like this (@f2):

or (@f2):
04-28-2011, 09:02 AM   #7
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you need a lot of space for an 85mm. although I prefer an 85's rendering and resolving power.
04-28-2011, 10:07 AM   #8
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This one is made with FA*85mm.

It is long for full body, so a DA*55 would do a great job to. To be honest anything from 40-85 will do a good job. Maybe FA31mm is even great but I'm not very much liking hte shorter end shots due to distortion. just looked into my stag and I really don't do full body very much.

04-28-2011, 12:47 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Portraits can be shot at any distance with any focal-length lens. You specified full-body shots, so I won't consider the headshot scenario.

On an APS-C sensor, a lens around 28-32mm gives least distortion. (Rectilinear distortion is noticeable at 24mm.) Lenses longer than 60mm start to 'flatten' subjects, although that's not significant till you get above 100mm -- and some subjects *need* flattening, eh? My old Kodak portraiture manual suggests 40mm for 3/4 body shots, so 28-35mm would be good for full-body work. However, we see lots of good full-body portraiture with 50-55-58mm lenses.

Using 75-85-100mm lenses means being further from the subject. I like a slow old 100/4.5 for street portraiture -- it's a tiny Enna Tele-Sandmar, half the size of a SuperTak 55/1.8, rather stealthy. But I digress. What focal length you use depends on your style; your (and the subjects') comfort levels with shooting distances; the background (BG); and the light. Longer lenses better isolate subject from BG. Shorter lenses either require a more distant BG, or include the BG as context. Controlled light affects visibility of subject vs BG.

Any photo is a multi-variable equation to be solved. How you solve it, all depends on how you want the image to LOOK. So, you can't go wrong with having a kit of 28+35+50+58+85+105+135mm lenses. Better start saving-up now, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 04-28-2011 at 03:41 PM.
04-28-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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For full body, I would go with the 30mm unless you are shooting in a massive studio or unsuspecting targets. 30mm will have no distortion at full-body distance.

I used to use a 28mm lens for this purpose with great results. In fact, I even got away with much tighter compositions. Headshots are out, though. That is even true of a 50mm lens, generally speaking.

85mm lens is likely to be a little better as far as sharpness goes, once again, generally speaking. Also the bokeh of a mid-tele like an 85mm is to die for... but just need ample space.
04-28-2011, 11:31 PM   #11
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It's all a question of getting the best-looking perspective, so that your subject's features aren't excessively flattened (too distant) of accentuated (too close).

With this in mind, the best shooting distance turns out to be about 3-4 feet for a head and shoulders portrait, which corresponds to about a 50mm lens. Now, for a whole-body shot, if you wanted to preserve the same perspective, you'd need to go to a pretty wide-angle lens, and you'd run into problems with lens distortion. So, I think that a 30mm lens would be a good compromise.

I don't think you'd want to go much longer than 30mm, unless you specifically need to be a long distance from your subject. 85mm is far too long, IMO.
04-28-2011, 11:37 PM   #12
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If you have the room, the 85mm is what i would use, if not then the 30mm would be better.
Soloution.... get both

FWIW i use the 77 LTD alot for full body and even group shots, granted that if there is room of course
04-29-2011, 12:38 AM   #13
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Full body @300mm and @400 using Sigma120-400 non-OS. Room? outdoor is better ;-) All 'full body' can be done.

@300mm, @f9:

@400mm, shallow DOF even @f10:
04-29-2011, 07:35 AM   #14
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as others have noted, the real issue is space, although depending on the pose, i.e. all parallel to the plane of focus or at an angle to the plane of focus the different perspective of each focal length causes a change in the relitive size of different parts of the subject.

this is rectalinear distortion, as noted by RioRico. Some people want the distortion, some don't. Distortion gets worse (increases) the wider you go. Longer lenses tend to compress space and have reduced "flatter" distortion. Some people thing this produces more pleasing pictures and more flattering portraits.

For me, I use 28-50mm lenses indoors for shots because of space limitations, but outdoors I like 85-135mm lenses for portraits,

I use an 85mm lens for walking around doing candid street shots of people. I like the focal length and it is short enough that I don;t have to worry too much about people walking in front of me, and long enough that i am not in my subjects face.
04-29-2011, 09:33 AM   #15
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In case you're wondering, the FA 31mm makes an awesome full body lens.

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