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08-17-2011, 09:35 AM   #1
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Dual purpose, Portrait/Macro Lens?

Hi there
I have been adding to a Ďwatch listí, various lenses that have a reasonably large quantity of favourable reviews. The list is getting a bit long Ė and beyond my budget if I try to get a lens for every occasion. So Iíve narrowed my sights down to two purposes for now.

Is there a single lens I can use on my K20D which will perform well for portraits and also for macro? One of the lenses Iíve set my sights on is the D-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR. How would this one fair as a portrait lens?

What makes a macro lens a macro lens? Is it just its ability to focus at a short distance?

Thanks
Ross

08-17-2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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I bought a 90mm Tamron which is called the 'portrait macro'. 90mm is great for portraits, but take a step back and 100mm is great too.
08-17-2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
I bought a 90mm Tamron which is called the 'portrait macro'. 90mm is great for portraits, but take a step back and 100mm is great too.
I have the 90mm Tamron as well (AF SP) and it is very lovely for portrait shooting, but especially because it has very nice bokeh. I'm not sure if the 100mm's bokeh is as smooth, but I can't imagine it being bad for portrait shooting.

Also, there's the 50mm macro which is a good focal length for portrait shooting
08-17-2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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What kind of macro work do you intend to do? I love my Sigma EX DG 70mm f2.8 macro, but it's not a great choice for "true" macro, i.e. reproduction ratio of 1:1 or greater, because at 1:1 the working distance is very small. Great lens for closeups of small-ish (not tiny) objects; I use mine for wildflowers a lot.

70mm with crop factor is right in the middle of what is usually considered the classic focal length range for portraiture, and the Sigma has nice bokeh IMO, making it a fine portrait lens.

Re macro lens: some lenses designated 'macro' are not true macro lenses in the 1:1 sense.

08-17-2011, 09:56 AM   #5
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This question arises often. A macro or enlarger lens both focuses close, and has edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. Modern AF macro lenses are actually general-purpose lenses with excellent macro capabilities, that can also be used for non-macro AF work. Note that AF is NOT useful at macro distances (1:2 or greater magnification); serious macro work requires manual focus.

Yes, a macro lens in the 90-105mm range can be a fine headshot portrait lens, IF extreme sharpness is your goal. Many classic 'portrait' lenses are NOT super-sharp, are intentionally soft wide-open, to give a more 'romantic' look. Some people don't LIKE having all their zits and wrinkles show up! Super-sharpness can be softened in PP of course, so a super-sharp lens needn't be ruled out for that reason.

Another point: It depends on what you mean by 'portrait', and how close your working distance. Group shots: 14-21-28mm. Full- and 3/4-body shots: 30-37-45mm. Head+torso shots: 50-70mm. Headshots: 75-105-135mm or beyond.

Yes, the DFA100WR is a fine lens and I wish I had one, mostly for the WR feature. You won't be sorry if you get one. Just don't expect it to be your only portrait lens, not unless your portraiture is pretty limited.
08-17-2011, 10:03 AM   #6
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One other suggestion for portrait -> macro is getting a portrait lens and then a corrected diopter for it to do the macro feature that you want. For instance, on crop sensor, a Pentax A 50/1.7 with a Raynox 250 would be about $150 (I suppose you'll need an adapter to get it to stay on the 49mm filter thread, hm).

Last edited by icywindow; 08-17-2011 at 10:11 AM.
08-17-2011, 10:15 AM   #7
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For portraits, I often use a 50 mm lens, I find it's quite comfortable on APS-C. But a 100mm macro like the DFA WR is an excellent choice for narrower composition, like head shots.
08-17-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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Wow, is this ever an active forum! So many replies, so quickly. Thank you all!

RioRico, thanks for the enlightenment on the various 'portrait' scenarios. I have an M50, 1.7 which works for the head/shoulders shots. I also have an F28, 2.8 which should work for small group shots. Since I'm looking for a dual purpose lens, sharpness is a high priority. I have Elements to soften the portraits where needed. The WR is a feature I'd like to take advantage of, although it seems (lucky for me, I guess) that the 100 macro WR is the only one that is highly rated.

As an aside, I'm really disappointed to read all the horror stories of the HDM lenses. Several of those would be on my watch list, but I'm not going to take a chance on spending big bucks on what appears to frequently turn into a problem lens.

Ross

08-17-2011, 10:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yukoner777 Quote

As an aside, I'm really disappointed to read all the horror stories of the HDM lenses. Several of those would be on my watch list, but I'm not going to take a chance on spending big bucks on what appears to frequently turn into a problem lens.

Ross
I've also been building a watchlist for lenses I eventually want to buy and I have also had to eliminate the DA* lenses from the list. The lack of consistent reliability and the avaliability of cheaper, often equally good lenses has made the decision easier. For example, I'm probably going to pick up the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 instead of the DA* 16-50 f/2.8.
08-17-2011, 10:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yukoner777 Quote
Wow, is this ever an active forum! So many replies, so quickly. Thank you all!

RioRico, thanks for the enlightenment on the various 'portrait' scenarios. I have an M50, 1.7 which works for the head/shoulders shots. I also have an F28, 2.8 which should work for small group shots. Since I'm looking for a dual purpose lens, sharpness is a high priority. I have Elements to soften the portraits where needed. The WR is a feature I'd like to take advantage of, although it seems (lucky for me, I guess) that the 100 macro WR is the only one that is highly rated.

As an aside, I'm really disappointed to read all the horror stories of the HDM lenses. Several of those would be on my watch list, but I'm not going to take a chance on spending big bucks on what appears to frequently turn into a problem lens.

Ross
Hello Ross, are you only looking for something for headshots? if that's the case, anything from 50-100mm would give you that. 50mm will give you a much closer space to shoot and a 100mm a bit longer to shoot. if you need something with a backdrop, a 50mm macro would be advisable. a 70mm is an intermediate focal length and a 100mm for longer shots. so depends on what you need and work around.
08-17-2011, 10:50 AM   #11
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A situation where WR is useful:

08-17-2011, 10:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
What kind of macro work do you intend to do? I love my Sigma EX DG 70mm f2.8 macro, but it's not a great choice for "true" macro, i.e. reproduction ratio of 1:1 or greater, because at 1:1 the working distance is very small. Great lens for closeups of small-ish (not tiny) objects; I use mine for wildflowers a lot.

70mm with crop factor is right in the middle of what is usually considered the classic focal length range for portraiture, and the Sigma has nice bokeh IMO, making it a fine portrait lens.

Re macro lens: some lenses designated 'macro' are not true macro lenses in the 1:1 sense.
1:2 is the "consensus" for the cut off to be considered true macro. Otherwise, Zeiss would be in trouble trying to sell their 100mm macro lenses.
08-17-2011, 10:53 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yukoner777 Quote
Hi there
I have been adding to a ‘watch list’, various lenses that have a reasonably large quantity of favourable reviews. The list is getting a bit long – and beyond my budget if I try to get a lens for every occasion. So I’ve narrowed my sights down to two purposes for now.

Is there a single lens I can use on my K20D which will perform well for portraits and also for macro? One of the lenses I’ve set my sights on is the D-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR. How would this one fair as a portrait lens?

What makes a macro lens a macro lens? Is it just its ability to focus at a short distance?

Thanks
Ross
In part. Many have a helicoid that functions sort of as a built in extension tube to achieve 1:2 or more ratios. That is why they extend a lot when in the 1:3, 1:2 and 1:1 range. The Sigma 105mm/2.8 EX DG and the D FA 100/2.8 WR do this as do the Tammy 90 (all various models).
08-17-2011, 11:15 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
1:2 is the "consensus" for the cut off to be considered true macro. Otherwise, Zeiss would be in trouble trying to sell their 100mm macro lenses.
In that case I'm not so badly off with my 70mm. At 1:2 I have all of about 5.5" (14cm) working distance.
08-17-2011, 11:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I have the 90mm Tamron as well (AF SP) and it is very lovely for portrait shooting, but especially because it has very nice bokeh. I'm not sure if the 100mm's bokeh is as smooth, but I can't imagine it being bad for portrait shooting.

Also, there's the 50mm macro which is a good focal length for portrait shooting
Another vote for the dual-use Tammy 90 Di Macro. It is cut-your-throat sharp and has an absolutely gorgeous bokeh too. f2.8 is nice to have as well.

100% crop - Portrait (street)


Macro - Bokeh


100% crop - Macro

Last edited by Frogfish; 08-17-2011 at 11:30 AM.
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