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10-14-2012, 03:08 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Lowell is so right. Back-in-the-day, for 35mm, a portrait lens meant any short to medium tele with reasonably large maximum aperture, That usually meant some where between 70mm and 135mm with f/2.8 at the long end and f/2 or wider at the short end of the range. The intent was to provide: Reasonable working distance to avoid freaking the model Adequate working distance to ensure low anisomorphic distortion Shallow DOF Good bokeh was usually not a concern. (Heck, I never even heard the term "bokeh" until well into the digital age.) Photographers would often use soft focus or doughnut filters to even out skin tones and give the photo that dreamy look, hence lenses like the 85/2.8 Soft
I remember photographers shelling out for Carl Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f/4 lenses and stretching white stockings over them*.. However I have to agree, I never heard the word "bokeh" until the mid 2000's at first I thought it was a joke. I love 135mm lenses on 35mm cameras I loved the focal length, to me 135mm of greater utility in terms of focal length than 200mm lenses (too long for portraiture, too short for wildlife) but I always hated the colour fringing they had - I never really warmed to the Pentax A*135mm f/1.8 because it suffered from rather bad LOCA. There is always the ticklish subject of camera to subject distance and personally I prefer to be around 6 to 12 feet away from my subject**

When it comes to portraiture there are many things, like personal taste, and preferences for colour rendition to be taken into account but for what it is worth: I think the Voigtlander APO 125mm f/2.5 Macro SLII is what I consider the "perfect" portraiture lens. Also the Leica 180mm f/3.5 APO-Elmar-S is simply sublime.

*Sonnar lenses have a tendency for being expensive but they are extremely contrasty lenses, hence the use of stockings to lower contrast and provide flattering portraits of female subjects. The old Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D had this characteristic - which has sadly been lost in the current iteration.


**Of course that depends on the format i'm using, the lens I most commonly use for portraiture on 8X10 is a schnieder 600mm f/9 APO Tele-Xenar which as one model said to me that from a distance of 6 feet gives the visual impression of being in a staring contest with the eye of sauron. On 8X10 this lens gives me a FOV roughly equivalent to the DA70mm f/2.4 on an APS-C camera - though the 8X10 camera is considerably bigger than a K5/wDA70 does make things a bit problematic.


Last edited by Digitalis; 10-15-2012 at 12:08 AM.
10-14-2012, 08:32 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
...the visual impression of being in a staring contest with the eye of sauron...
So much for not intimidating the model!


Steve
10-15-2012, 01:27 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
So much for not intimidating the model!


Steve
Yes I was a bit surprised at this observation. Fortunately, the Schneider 600mm f/9 Tele-Xenar is a modular lens so I swapped the rear cell with the 800mm f/12 rear group and I was able to increase my working distance but at the cost of lens speed - and I ended up using all three of my Elinchrom flash heads at their full 1200W of power. FYI the optimal aperture on the 800mm f/12 configuration of that particular lens is f/48.
10-15-2012, 01:40 AM   #34
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I've never had the pleasure of the 85mm Tak so I can't say as to that but of all the lenses I've tried so far digital or manual focus I'd have to say my 105mm Tak is the best. The Vivitar 75-150mm I bought a while back is no slouch though. I have a 100mm Viv that I'm looking forward to trying out for portraiture. I have a feeling it just may give that 105mm Tak a run for it's money...

10-15-2012, 02:11 AM   #35
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I prefer taking fairly tight, candid portraits so I lean toward the longer focal lengths. Many of my favourites have been taken with my Sigma 70-200.
The DA*55 is a bit short for me on APS-C, and the bokeh can be a bit busy.
I *love* the FA77. The rendering, and central sharpness even wide open is quite special.
Longer primes, like the FA*85 or a fast 135 would be very interesting....
10-15-2012, 04:13 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
The DA*55 is a bit short for me on APS-C, and the bokeh can be a bit busy.
you should try the SMCP-K(or A) 50mm f/1.2 lenses sometime - those two are the only lenses that can beat the FA31 when it comes to bokeh.
10-15-2012, 04:58 AM   #37
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I haven't used many of the lenses mentioned above and that is my loss. The A 85/1.4 has long been on my want list. Of lenses I have owned and used a lot I have two which have taken pride of place. In my film days my best portraits were almost always a product of the M 100/2.8. In digital format the DA 70/2.4 is currently my go-to lens for portraits.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 10-16-2012 at 04:32 AM. Reason: typo
10-15-2012, 08:17 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
In my film days my best portraits were almost always a product of the M 100/2.8. In digital format the DA 70.2.4 is currently my go-to lens for portraits.
Ditto, and ditto.
Maybe no surprise:
The DA 70 is the APS-C analogue of the M100/2.8,
compact, sharp, user-friendly.

10-15-2012, 08:38 AM   #39
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The 43 on APS-C.
The 77 on 35mm.
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