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  1. #41
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Ben:

    I don't disagree with you that many of us do use our experience with the common "portrait" focal lengths for 35mm film when we consider this issue. The problem that occurs, however, is that trying to covert that experience for use with other formats can be both complex and subject to error.

    I shoot several medium format formats, and in at least one case I have to add close-up accessories to my lenses to attain a close up headshot using an appropriate lens. In the end, for me it is simpler to arrive at a single, standard working distance for each intended result (full body portrait, 3/4 body portrait, upper torso and head portrait, shoulders and head portrait, close up headshot) and then choose the appropriate lens to match.
    On Mamiya 6X6 TLRs I use the following lenses 80mm (52mm) 135mm (88mm) and 180mm (117mm),( the bracketed numbers are the 35mm equivelents ) which are fine for full length, head and shoulders, and tight headshots respectively, I move the tripod in the studio to get the correct distance and framing for that lens, I don't use close up lenses or any other afocal devices because unless they are the highest quality they can degrade the lens quality, and I have never found any need for them.
    Ben

  2. #42
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Ben:Perspective is determined solely by distance from your subject.
    How true and how important in composition.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #43
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Ben:

    I'm with Mark on this.

    Perspective is determined solely by distance from your subject.

    The focal length of the lens and the size of your film (or sensor) determines how large the image is on the recording medium.

    If the format/film size/sensor size is first determined, you can choose a lens that allows a tight crop on the area of interest long with a good working distance.

    Your examples of 85mm through 135mm lenses apply well to 135 film cameras. But they may not be long enough for medium format cameras, and would be wide angles for LF.

    They could still be used with those larger formats, but in order to get a result with flattering perspective the photographer would need to stand far enough away for that, and the resulting image would be small on the film.
    I'm aware of this Matt, perhaps perspective isn't the right word, what I meant is the relationship between the foreground and the background and the tendency of standard and wide angle lenses to distort the human physiognomy if used at too close a distance and misrepresent the relationship of one facial feature with another, and the opposite effect of using too long a lens tends to flatten the features.
    Ben

  4. #44
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    Matt and Ben, I think you guys are using different expressions of the same fundamental point of agreement! Perspective is determined solely by distance from your subject. The focal length of the lens and the size of your film (or sensor) determines how large the image is on the recording medium.


    Long distance with any lens, when reframed in the darkroom, would have the same flattening of nose regardless of the FL used to take the shot...and on that point your statement is in error, Benji, "effects of different focal lengths on the way that the human face it's shape and the relationship of one of it's feature to the other".

    This post on another forum illustrates that it is NOT the focal length per se. Note the SAME PERSPECTIVE (relationship of subject to its surroundings) taken with three very different FL from the same camera position, when cropping in the darkroom brings us to same framing (photos 4,5,6 in the linked post)...

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...13&postcount=4

  5. #45
    marciofs's Avatar
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    I try to be a near as I can with a no wide angle lens. With 35mm cameras for example, I usually shoot with 85mm lens.

    To me, the near I am the better it is during the shoot and also for the result.

    Even if you take a head shot with tele lens you feel a certain distance way from subject when liiking at the image, compared with lenses with less focal length.

  6. #46
    jnanian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    You make a very important point here John I.M.O, too many novice portrait photographers approach portraiture as if it's still life, or landscape and instead of interacting with them and producing pictures that have a spark of intelligence and interest in their sitters expressions and eyes instead of one of boredom, and the hope that the ordeal will soon be over.
    i couldn't agree more with you benjiboy!
    all i can say is it is an acquired skill to be able
    to have a conversation with the subject and i can understand why some folks don't / can't do it.
    for someone who isn't used to it, or isn't used to the situation .. it can be frightening,
    and the resulting photographs endup worse then .. well, the last thing you described.

    john

  7. #47
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i couldn't agree more with you benjiboy!
    all i can say is it is an acquired skill to be able
    to have a conversation with the subject and i can understand why some folks don't / can't do it.
    for someone who isn't used to it, or isn't used to the situation .. it can be frightening,
    and the resulting photographs endup worse then .. well, the last thing you described.

    john
    I.M.O John portraiture is less about technique and more about being able to help your sitter put down their defences, relax, and show who they really are.
    Ben

  8. #48
    wiltw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Ben:

    I don't disagree with you that many of us do use our experience with the common "portrait" focal lengths for 35mm film when we consider this issue. The problem that occurs, however, is that trying to covert that experience for use with other formats can be both complex and subject to error.

    I shoot several medium format formats, and in at least one case I have to add close-up accessories to my lenses to attain a close up headshot using an appropriate lens. In the end, for me it is simpler to arrive at a single, standard working distance for each intended result (full body portrait, 3/4 body portrait, upper torso and head portrait, shoulders and head portrait, close up headshot) and then choose the appropriate lens to match.
    Matt, you're making things more difficult than they need to be. Simply understand the ratio of your [favorite 135 format FL:135 frame height], and perpetuate that ratio for all other formats, choosing the closest real FL lens!!!

    Example...
    You like 85mm at 9' distance for 135 format head and shoulders; 85:24 = 3.55:1. Use
    • 150mm (3.55 * 43) on 645
    • 200mm (3.55 * 56) on 6x6 or 6x7
    • 320mm (3.55 * 90) on 4x5"
    • 65mm (3.55 * 18) on half frame (e.g. Olympus Pen)


    You like 150mm at 9' distance for 135 format headshot; 150:24 = 6.25:1. Use
    • 270mm (6.25 * 43) on 645
    • 350mm (6.25 * 56) on 6x6 or 6x7
    • 560mm (6.25 * 90) on 4x5"
    • 110mm (6.25 * 18) on half frame (e.g. Olympus Pen)



    ...results identical framing and identical perspective at the identical subject distance
    choosing the closest real FL lens.

  9. #49
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    I.M.O John portraiture is less about technique and more about being able to help your sitter put down their defences, relax, and show who they really are.
    I did some employee-of-the-month shots where I work earlier this year. It was a lot of fun getting the guys to relax a bit. They would typically walk in, square up to the camera, clasp their hands in front of their balls, and cringe like I was going to kick them. It took a moment to pose them and get them to giggle but the shots came out nice.

    I was too expensive for the company's taste so after two months they went to iPhone shots with the guys covering their balls again, oh well.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #50
    cliveh's Avatar
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    In terms of distance to control perspective, just look at this shot by HCB and the way he makes his viewpoint of the line on the wall equal the angle on the cart.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=hc...31%3B505%3B337

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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