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09-26-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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Portraits with the DA 55-300 ?

Has anybody tried? Good?

09-26-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
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i took a group photo with the lens at 55mm at f5.6
couldn't really tell the difference between that and the FA31 at 4.0 which is excellent
09-26-2008, 07:26 PM   #3
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In situations where the aperture works, I'm sure it would do just fine. I actually like my 50-200 just fine for portraits sometimes, too. But often, you want shallower DOF, and neither of these zooms have wide enough maximum aperture to get the kind of effects one might want at times.
09-27-2008, 05:36 AM   #4
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But shouldn't it be possible get some background blur/OOF using the longer focal lengths?

09-27-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
But shouldn't it be possible get some background blur/OOF using the longer focal lengths?
The 55-300mm is 4.0 and 4.5 up to about 200mm, which covers the entire portrait range. Those apertures are not too bad to work with.
09-27-2008, 08:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
But shouldn't it be possible get some background blur/OOF using the longer focal lengths?
Some blur, sure. But the difference between f/4.5 and f/2.8 can be pretty significant, and with f/2 even more so. And that assumes you want longer focal lengths for your shallow DOF shots - my own (limited) experience is kind of the opposite. That is, the situations where I might care about putting one part of the face in focus and another part out are the situations when I am especially close to the subject, thus producing the sort of perspective where this seems to make visual sense. When you are close to the subject, then the far side of the face is proportionally quite a bit further from you than the near side, so it seems more natural to me for their to be a noticeable difference in how "in-focus" they appear to be. As you move further away, the relative difference in distance between the near and far side of the face diminishes, meaning it makes less sense to make part of the face be in focus and part not. Which is why I am more likely to want a really wide aperture on a shorter lens.

Of course, if we're just talking about throwing the background out of focus, that's another matter. Long focal lengths are fine for that. But this can be tricky in that it requires considerable more working room to do this with a long lens at a given aperture than a short one. You'll need to be further from the subject just for framing, and as a result you'll need the background to be further from the subject to get it sufficiently out of focus.

It does seem to me 55-300 plus a fast 50 (even a cheap old MF one) could make for a pretty potent combo. That's pretty much what I do now with my 50-200 & 50. Except now I also have a 100/2.8, and while that might be long for some folks, so far I think it will work quite well as a portrait lens for me (with my relatively limited needs).
09-29-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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I'm gonna comment here since I've worked the whole weekend taking portraits of 18 girls (5 - 23 yo) in those days... only using a 50mm A 1.4 and switching to 55-300 DA.

All pictures were taken at f/4 (or around) since it was inside the studio with multiple flashes.


The findings: the 55-300 was generating VERY VERY VERY similar images as the 50mm!! I was actually very surprised!!


I even felt bad, because I want to use the 50mm a lot more, but the 55-300 was delivering so many great portraits that next session (tuesday) i may try to use only the DA.


Later


BB
09-29-2008, 08:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BBear Quote
The findings: the 55-300 was generating VERY VERY VERY similar images as the 50mm!! I was actually very surprised!!
What FL were you using with the 55-300mm? Which camera?

09-29-2008, 08:45 AM   #9
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My guess is...

It seems to me that a discussion of studio work, where you control the background and lighting, may give results that would be different than real world conditions. Group shots have so much going on and are usually framed tight on the group, so subject isolation is not really as big an issue, this may explain the Fa 31 vs 55-300 results mentioned above... Shoot in a studio, you can make a Montgomery Wards lens shine.

I agree with Marc that if you can use F4+ in good light and can Isolate your subject with backgound distance (far) then any lens should look ok.
My 50-200 is a good little portrait lens as is the tam 70-300... Its all about controlling background with those smaller f stops.
Hinman has some wonderful portraits of his boys with the DA50-200.

Tammy 70-300 at F5.6 a true snaportrait


My 28-75 and DA 40 at f2.8 is really the limit for portrait work in non-studio conditions, just my opinion....
09-29-2008, 10:13 AM   #10
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I have NO problems getting nicely blurred backgrounds @200mm f/4. Would f/2.8 be nicer? Perhaps....Would my wallet be lighter? YES

(I use the "other brands" 70-200mm f/4 IS, the white one)
09-29-2008, 10:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
What FL were you using with the 55-300mm? Which camera?
sorry about the missing info..

I used 55 mostly and around it... nothing that made the f/ drop to 4.5
09-29-2008, 10:20 AM   #12
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That's impressive BBear (that the 50mm @f/4 ~ 55-300mm @/f4) as the prime is already stopped down three stops and the DA is wide open. From what I've seen online, the 55-300 seems to be a GREAT lens!
09-29-2008, 10:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
Has anybody tried? Good?
Yes. I wish I could show you.

I've started taking gigs doing candid photographs and "natural" portraits of kids. So I have not used it in the studio, but I have used for portraits if you will. I know it is probably not what you are asking, but bear with me.

I will say this. The longish end lets me stand back significantly and not get in the kids' faces. This works well when you set them to playing and even some directed play or posing. It is less threatening and at times they kind of forget you are there. I have gotten some really beautiful stuff this way and word of mouth seems to be spreading as I am getting more and more gigs.

The quality is quite good. I have no issues holding it steady at the 300mm range (ummm... thanks probably to SR in part). I like the color rendition, have no issues with the IQ and generally really like it at both ends of the spectrum.

I started this with wishing I could show you. But they are kids and the parents are rightfully concerned. I don't blame them. From my standpoint it is the only lens I need for this kind of work. That, too, is nice.

As for shallow DOF, for whatever reason I find that a rather academic argument. I say that with all due respect and with the full and certain knowledge that I may have missed something. Be that as it may, I took the following with an FA 28-70 at f/4. The DOF seems pretty shallow to me. Look at the hand. Look at the ears. Pretty thin DOF. Maybe I missed something.



Kind regards.

woof
09-29-2008, 10:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
But shouldn't it be possible get some background blur/OOF using the longer focal lengths?
I'm beginning to feel like a curmudgeon here, but what can I do, I need to fight the good fight and keep the message alive: THE FOCAL LENGTH DOESN'T INFLUENCE THE DoF WHEN THE SUBJECT SIZE REMAINS CONSTANT.

So, if your subject's face is filling the frame, the DoF at f/5.6 will be the same whether you shoot at 55mm or 300mm. The perspective will be different as you'll be standing some 6 times further away from the subject when shooting at 300mm than at 55mm, but the DoF will be the same.

I expect that in 10 years or so the urban legend that longer lenses have a shallower depth of field will have been eradicated.
09-29-2008, 10:31 AM   #15
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Woof, that's a terrific portrait, the DoF is just perfect and the focus spot on.
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