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12-11-2011, 02:32 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone! I know this is an old topic for many here, but it's brand new for me and it's nice to get fresh answers from the Photogs.

That FA* 85mm is a bit of a holy grail lens from what I gather. It might be wasted on me, but I'd buy it anyway with no shame what-so-ever.

I'd have to save my pennies though!

12-11-2011, 04:24 PM   #17
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The DA*55 is the aps-c replacement lens of the FA*85.
An excellent portrait lens it is.
12-11-2011, 04:53 PM   #18
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Long story short, something between 75 and 150 mm FF equivalent. This lets you be far enough away to avoid perspective distortion, which can give the subject an enlarged nose, which few people really want!

For headshots on my K10d I like my 50mm Pentax A f1.2. It equates to about 75mm in FF terms, and the bokeh is fabulous. Focusing with a KatzEye is easy, without not much fun. With that maximum aperture I can easily regulate how much of the background is intelligible. A 50mm f1.4 would also be an excellent choice. On my LX I like the Takumar 135mm f2.5, since the wide aperture also lets me regulate depth of field.

My father did wonderful things with his AsahiFlex and its 83mm f1.9. Again, wonderful bokeh and great control over depth of field. However, that waist level finder was no fun in vertical format! Upside down and reversed left to right....
12-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #19
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DA* 55 is built for that stuff. The DA 70 Limited is also quite nice.

12-11-2011, 06:12 PM   #20
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Depends on the face, I'll currently use anything from 43 to 77 with a 50 and 55 in between. Some faces don't react too much to FL but others do. You can talk about separation and oof but what people want is what I call a mirror shot. They want to see themselves in a flattering light as they do when they look in the mirror. Your job is to figure that out
12-11-2011, 06:37 PM   #21
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This fellow DigMe has this input after I posted some 135mm portrait (APS-c sensor)
135mm is a good choice for female closeup portraits of this sort and definitely far better than 50mm. Anything under 100mm will have at least a little bit of perspective distortion on a face (though I think 85 is probably not that noticeable) and 50mm will have quite a bit even on an APS-C sensor.

See an example here:
Untitled Document
12-12-2011, 12:27 AM   #22
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Do note that the criterion for a given perspective is the camera-to-subject distance, rather than lens FL. Professional portrait photographers used to use 75-85mm lenses as "portrait" lenses in the days of 35mm film (i.e. what we call FF nowadays). (Corresponding to 50-57mm on APS-C.) For a head/shoulders shot, this corresponds to a subject distance of somewhat less than 3 feet.

If you want a similar modelling of the facial features, but with a wider view including some of the subject's body, you would maintain that distance, and reduce the lens FL. That's why "portraits" which include the torso can look very good with a 28mm lens (on APS-C).

Of course, there are plenty of reasons for not shooting so close as this (including the effects of lens distortion at the very short FLs), and in this case you would need a correspondingly longer lens. As Mr. Eastwood's series of shots shows, you still get acceptable results with longer FLs (and therefore subject distance) than the "optimum" 75-85mm and 3 feet.

As an example of longer-than-optimum subject distance, shooting from 6 feet, you'd need perhaps a 50-55mm lens for a torso shot, and a 100mm lens for head and shoulders.

Anyway, depending on your favoured subject distance, and how much torso you want to include, I'd say you could be using anything from 28mm to 100mm (and beyond, even).
12-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #23
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I use my Tamron 90mm for head shots.

12-12-2011, 11:28 AM   #24
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Here are a couple of examples, for the purpose of illustration. I have posted this in a couple other threads.


12-12-2011, 11:29 AM   #25
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Last edited by fuent104; 12-12-2011 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Correction
12-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #26
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12-12-2011, 12:13 PM   #27
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I like to use my FA 77 Limited or FA 50 f/1.4 for portraits. For a full body shot, the FA 31 Limited is wonderful.
12-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drom Quote
Thank you everyone. Sorry I didn't specify. I am interested in having one that would be good for head shots. Most of the lenses I will collect will be for wildlife images, because that is my primary interest, but I want to have one lens that will be great for images of people.
Get the D FA 100mm macro, it's superb for head shots and for nature shots.
12-12-2011, 03:08 PM   #29
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It really depends on the distance to the subject. I find any fast fifty is good for tighter shots, or 35mm (I use the DA ltd) for casual shots or to show more background. I like the DA 35 more & more for portraits, it really is outstanding for that and the normal field of view allows for a lot of flexibility. For either of these two options I would most commonly use f/2.8.
12-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #30
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I just tabulated the recommendations above. They're like this:

28 x2
50 x7
50-57 range
50-70mm range
50-85mm range
50-135 zoom x2
55 x7
55-135 zoom
70 x3
70-110 range
75-150 range
77 x3
85 x4
85-120 range
120-150 range
135 x3

They're overwhelmingly for 50-55mm. Your mileage may vary.

Where I'm surprised: Nobody mentioned a Helios-44 58/2 yet.

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