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Portraiture lenses
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Apr 29, 2013 09:58:36   #
jhayden
 
hello all. i wanted to ask all you pros in the portrait world about lenses. For my head to shoulder shots, i normally use an 85mm lens (FX) and for my half body shots i use a 50mm. I have seen alot of pros use longer lenses like 120mm.. I don't own a lens that long so i was wondering if you could explain what advantages or artistic differences come with using a lens that long?

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Apr 29, 2013 10:04:04   #
rpavich
 
jhayden wrote:
hello all. i wanted to ask all you pros in the portrait world about lenses. For my head to shoulder shots, i normally use an 85mm lens (FX) and for my half body shots i use a 50mm. I have seen alot of pros use longer lenses like 120mm.. I don't own a lens that long so i was wondering if you could explain what advantages or artistic differences come with using a lens that long?


First...using the 50mm for "half body" shots is pushing it for distance...I'd say that "full body" is more like it to avoid distortion. But...be that as it may....

Longer lenses allow more working distance, which equals more pleasing compression of features.



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Apr 29, 2013 10:23:57   #
Annie_Girl
 
Sorry rpavich always seems to forget not everyone here is using a full frame camera. On a crop sensor you can use a 50 or 85 with pleasing results.

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Apr 29, 2013 10:25:31   #
rpavich
 
Annie_Girl wrote:
Sorry rpavich always seems to forget not everyone here is using a full frame camera. On a crop sensor you can use a 50 or 85 with pleasing results.


Using a crop sensor doesn't fix distortion issues when close up. 85 is fine...50 is not. (for waist up portraits)

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Apr 29, 2013 10:36:17   #
Annie_Girl
 
rpavich wrote:
Using a crop sensor doesn't fix distortion issues when close up. 85 is fine...50 is not. (for waist up portraits)


I think you need to speak with many, many professional photographers that use crop sensors that also use the 50 for portrait work.

The test/sample you posted is somwhat valid, but the sample can be very misleading espeically to people new to photography. It's teaching photographers to associate perspective with focal length instead of your distance from the subject. As I said, the 50 can be used for portrait work, you just have to be aware of the distance from the subject to the camera, as with any lens the closer you get to the subject the more distoration you will create.

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Apr 29, 2013 10:42:08   #
Pepper
 
I use a 105mm Nikon Micro lens which gets me a little further away from my subject which seems to put everyone a little more at ease especially the kids. For full body and small groups of 3-15 I use a 24-70mm f2.8 and find it does a remarkable job, so good in fact I may start using it more often (haven't had it long).

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Apr 29, 2013 10:44:13   #
rpavich
 
Annie_Girl wrote:
I think you need to speak with many, many professional photographers that use crop sensors that also use the 50 for portrait work.

The test/sample you posted is somwhat valid, but the sample can be very misleading espeically to people new to photography. It's teaching photographers to associate perspective with focal length instead of your distance from the subject. As I said, the 50 can be used for portrait work, you just have to be aware of the distance from the subject to the camera, as with any lens the closer you get to the subject the more distoration you will create.
I think you need to speak with many, many professi... (show quote)


Agreed...it's the distance and not the focal length that does it.

PS: I don't care who uses a 50mm for head shots...lol...it doesn't compress enough at the head shot distance for a pleasing, distortion free head shot.

Do you need to speak to those pros that don't? :)

In other words...the "argument from authority" doesn't cut it...they might do it...but that doesn't change it's distortion characteristics at that distance.

PS: I just re-read this reply and I don't mean it to sound harsh....it's not supposed to come off that way...so don't take it that way please.

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Apr 29, 2013 11:16:48   #
Dave Johnson
 
I think a pretty typical length is anywhere from 85mm to 135mm. I've seen a number of photographers (myself included) using their 70-200mm zooms. I think the only reason I would use a 50mm is if I were working in a confined space. The closer you are to your subject the more chance there is for distortion. I personally use a Canon 70-200mm but my favorite is a Sigma 105 Macro. I should also say I'm shooting a full frame camera.

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Apr 29, 2013 11:32:26   #
Lens Cap
 
I have always ( even in 35mm days) liked the 105 mm lens.

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Apr 30, 2013 06:01:26   #
cockney greg
 
I use AN 85mm 1.4 on a full frame camera. Aperture of course is important to 'pull' the subject out of the background.

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Apr 30, 2013 06:54:21   #
DPFotos
 
cockney greg wrote:
I use AN 85mm 1.4 on a full frame camera. Aperture of course is important to 'pull' the subject out of the background.


NICE FISH :thumbup:

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Apr 30, 2013 07:03:35   #
cockney greg
 
DPFotos wrote:
NICE FISH :thumbup:


:thumbup: :thumbup: Thanks!

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Apr 30, 2013 09:02:32   #
PhotoGator
 
Annie_Girl wrote:
I think you need to speak with many, many professional photographers that use crop sensors that also use the 50 for portrait work.

The test/sample you posted is somwhat valid, but the sample can be very misleading espeically to people new to photography. It's teaching photographers to associate perspective with focal length instead of your distance from the subject. As I said, the 50 can be used for portrait work, you just have to be aware of the distance from the subject to the camera, as with any lens the closer you get to the subject the more distoration you will create.
I think you need to speak with many, many professi... (show quote)



Written by Gregory Cazillo in the category Photography December 11, 2012

50mm Prime Lens is NOT a Portrait Lens

http://cazillo.com/articles/37-photography/281-50mm-prime-lens-is-not-a-portrait-lens.html

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Apr 30, 2013 09:41:59   #
ole sarg
 
As was Robert Capa once said “If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough”.

It is for this reason that I seldom more than a 50mm lens.

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Apr 30, 2013 10:17:01   #
ronz
 
Just keep in mind that getting too close to your client can make some uncomfortable. I like to stay about 8-10 ft away and I prefer a zoom so I can shoot at those distances and not be walking around, just my preference. I shoot a lot of location shots so always use flash as well and about 8-10 ft with the flash. An 85 and 105 are both great I just don't like moving up and back. Three things that matter are aperture, focal length and distance to subject so you have a lot of flexibility as to your choices of a lens but it's all about your preference.

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