Portrait lens thoughts

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by modafoto, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I am now considering a portrait lens again as I soon will hit the amount of money needed to buy one (I have thought of getting one before, but the money was needed somewhere else :sad:)

    I have always been hooked on the Canon EF 85 f/1.8, but before heading out and getting it I am looking some other options. I do that because I am thinking of getting a lens that both will be usable for portraits and macro work. Are some of the following lenses anything good for portraits or should I get individual lenses for portraits and macro?
    • Canon EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
    • Sigma MACRO 105mm F2.8 EX DG
    • Tamron SP AF90MM F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1

    Greetings Morten
     
  2. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Thanks for the reply. I use a 70-300 lens now for portraits, but would a prime because of the extra speed f/1.8, f/2.0 or f/2.8 gives me. I am almost happy with my zoom, but a prime is ideal for portrait I think.

    Morten
     
  3. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Honestly, I used two zooms for a long time. One being my primary portrait and that was a 70-300.. Very useful for kids and parties and people junk... For my more set up shots, I find that my 85mm 1.8 is perfect. I think a 105mm would be a nicer focal length but having that 1.8 is nice... My AF is supposed to work a lot quicker too, but I haven't tried it really...
     
  4. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    This may be more of an issue on MF, I don't know, but make sure that if you don't get the macro, it focuses close enough for your taste. I need to get an extension tube for my Mamiya 150mm f3.5 to do head shots. The macro will definately do it and might be just the thing.
     
  5. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    The 90mm tamron macro used to be outstanding.
    It gave 1:1 magnification which can be a plus if you decide to do macro.
    Very flat field as well.
     
  6. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Good point. The 85 mm from Canon has minimum distance from camera to subject of 85 cm. (a bit less than 3 feet) so it should be ok for headshots.
     
  7. Dial911

    Dial911 Member

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    Try a Zeiss Planar. I think you can get an adaptor for it to be used with EOS.
     
  8. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    The Zeiss is a bit too expensive for me...:sad:

    But thanks for the tip.
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've got the Sigma MACRO 105mm F2.8 EX DG that I use for macro. It is tack sharp, the focus motor is fast and quiet; the lens is just an all round pleasure to use.
     
  10. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

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    I have used both of the Canon lenses that you mentioned and found them both to be great lenses. When shooting the 1.8 wide open I soon learned what shallow depth of field means. I prefer to have my subject's entire head in focus when doing portraits and I often did not when using the 85 1.8 (no need to point out that it was highly likely my error, not the lens') and found that using the 100 2.8 wide open still did a great job of throwing the background out of focus, but freed me from having to think about how much, what parts of my subject were in focus. For my taste, I would go with the 100mm Macro.
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The Canon 85/1.8 is a splendid lens. If you want a portrait lens first, and a macro lens second, you can add a 'close up lens' that works very well. I picked up a Leitz Elpro a few years ago that, with an adapter ring, gives great results. The Elpro series, Nikkor and Zeiss Proxars are VERY good for this purpose ( a world of difference between these and the cheapo sets). For me, this is a better choice than using a macro lens which too often has a wiry, and harsh 'look' for faces. But that's just me :rolleyes:
     
  12. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If I can add the thoughts of a Nikon-ite.

    I have the 85 f1.8, and it is a good lens. I do find that sometime close-up that the depth of field is too shallow wide open. I like the 80-200mm, but it is a bazooka, and it only focuses to 6'.

    Matt
     
  13. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I prefer a 90mm to a 100mm or longer for head shots, the slightly flattened perspective can be flattering without being too obvious. I agree that primes are best. Aside from the added speed and the fact that, even today, they are often a bit better optically, you can get narrower depth of field, which can be nice.

    David.
     
  14. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I have and use the legendary Nikkor 105 f/2.5. It's a fantastic lens. I also have and use the phenomenal Kiron 105 f/2.8 macro lens. It goes 1:1 without any adapters of any kind, and is sharper than the Nikkor 105 macro. When using it for portrait work, I always add a touch of diffusion, due to its extreme sharpness.

    Kiron Kid
     
  15. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Ill second the Sigma 105mm/2,8 although I got rid of mine.
    Reason is it lacked just the last tiny bit I wanted compared (unfair) to a friends 200mm nikor. another thing was the out of focus areas that I found ugly when stopped down. Notice however this was doing macro which it is designed for and the few portraits I have done didn't suffer from these drawbacks so I think it would make a great portraitlens also I did color only at that time so I don't know how it behaves with B&W. In spite this I was happy with mine for some years and I don't feel sorry for buying it.
    Another thing although expensive is the T/S lenses. Canons own 90mm might be to expensive in your taste but you can find cheaper BIG-lenses that might be worth a try. The point is the ability to play with the plane of focus which could bring in a new dimension to your fetish shots and prepare you for your inevitable move to LF :smile: But thats just a thought.
    Regards Søren
     
  16. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    I use Canon 100mm Macro for portrait and some close focus work, very good lens. worth considering.
     
  17. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I would throw my hat in the 85 USM ring - a friend of mine has one, and I have used it and seen his results, and WOW! I love that lens! Not only is it wondrful otpically, it is a joy to use, you get the feeling its good qualityitem (unlike many new Canon glass...) and the focus is whisper quiet and seems fast and accurate even on AF. I have a 80-200mm "L" zoom for the FD system, and can tell you that for the type of shooting I like, it gets too long and too slow (f4) pretty quick - so that is a general issue I would look into with longer, slower glass. But if you can get away from hand holding most of the time (I seem to never be able to...) - a slower lens may be fine.
    Do look at that 85 though, I mean take in hand at a store - you may fall in love with it!