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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by analoguey View Post
    I have a 105 f2.8 e and I find it ridiculously bad to use. Maybe it's just my copy.
    do you mean 100 f2.8 e? It's quite different from the classic 105/2.5 many of us have recommended.

  2. #32
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    I havent used one, but you might try a Nikon 135mm f2 DC. The DC stands for Defocus Control.
    I understand that it actually has a ring that allows you to control how soft it is.

    It sounds to me like you are very particular about the soft/sharp and bokeh of your lens. Having full control may be just the thing for you.
    Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.

  3. #33

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    Someone mentioned the Thambar, a lens which I have yet to see "in the flesh" but, I am told" gives unique portraits because it is. "Acceptably soft" and has a central stop mounted on a clear filter. I am also told that mirror lenses have terrible bokeh because the have the central mirror. For portraits that are "old school" I use an uncoated 135mm Tessar taken from a medium format Mentor camera. I have tried making a central stop by supergluing an old button battery onto a UV filter... it's a cheap Thambar. I can't say it made any difference. The "golden hour" available light does though.

    <rambling> David

  4. #34
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    Love my Tamron SP 90mm F2.5-easily my most used lens in 35mm.
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  5. #35

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    I ahve the 90mm SP also--it's great for picking out details on the street.

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by darinwc View Post
    I havent used one, but you might try a Nikon 135mm f2 DC. The DC stands for Defocus Control.
    I understand that it actually has a ring that allows you to control how soft it is.

    It sounds to me like you are very particular about the soft/sharp and bokeh of your lens. Having full control may be just the thing for you.
    From my understanding the DC lenses are not soft focus lenses at all. They are sharp lenses so your subject will be in very sharp focus. The DC lenses do have a ring on them (defocus control) that controls the look of the background blur or bokeh they have.

  7. #37

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    Hi! My name is Mike and I'm a portrait lens addict. (Room: Hi Mike!)

    Here are some of the lenses I own and have used with 35mm film in Nikon Mount for posed portraiture. You'll note that the 105mm f/2.5 is not on this list -- I decided to cover that focal length with a macro lens instead:

    Tokina 60-120mm f/2.8 AT-X. I actually bought this to use as a portrait zoom on a DX camera, but it works quite well on film as well for couples. At least in the U.S., this is a bit of a rarity, but it typically sells for under $150 when one hits the market.

    Nikon 75-150E f/3.5. This is a cult classic for good reason. While Nikon made it for the consumer market, it was embraced by studio professionals to the point that there was a call to make a Nikkor version of it. While f/3.5 isn't optimal for environmental portraiture, I find it especially useful when I take the camera "in hand" for photographing children.

    Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 manual focus, Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D, and Nikon 70-200mm VR f/2.8G zooms. I owned these lenses in sequence. Each of them did a reasonable job for portraiture, but I really prefer a smaller lens for the task. Not only are they ergonomically more difficult to use, but on a couple of occasions I could see that my subjects were slightly intimidated "looking down the barrel" of these.

    Nikon 85mm f/1.8D. I use this one when I want a fairly intimate perspective and either my subject gets a bit fidgity, or when I want to limit depth of field more than I can with the next lens on this list.

    Tokina 90mm f/2.5 macro. Another cult classic, and for good reason. I actually like the "look" of shots from this lens a bit better than the 85mm Nikkor, but because so much of the focus throw is dedicated to close focusing, it's harder to obtain precise focus at portrait distances.

    Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro. Obviously, I can't use this on my Nikon FA, but on the F100 it performs well enough that I haven't bought another 105mm. In the 1980's I also used the 105mm f/4 AI and 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro lenses, but that was more to save money than because they were nice portrait lenses.

    Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. I use this lens for more formal portraits and environmental portraits. As a portrait lens, it's only real flaw is Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration when used at f/2 and f/2.8.

    Nikon 180mm f/2.8D. I bought this to attempt to reproduce the more aloof look of 1950's promotional movie stills and glamour shots. Alas, I could never get the lighting quite right. The longer perspective made the shot look a bit flat, but when I tried to correct for it with split lighting I didn't like the results either. Just not my style, I guess.

    So no, I don't have difficulty settling on a portrait lens for 35mm. Instead, I choose one based on the perspective I wish to achieve and a bit of sheer caprice.

  8. #38
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    Hi Mike! My name's Jake and I've been an APUGer for 10 years..
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  9. #39

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    Trying to define what you like and don't about a lens is so subjective that it becomes an impossible task to recommend anything.

    What one person finds sharp another will find lacking or too harsh. And it's because we all want something different. It's why we shoot different cameras, different formats and different types of film ... if you shoot film.

    Perhaps, you're dissatisfied with your photos.

    I can tell you some things that generally are true.

    - Most "portrait" lenses in the 75mm-135mm are plenty sharp.

    - Women do not want to be photographed in hi-def ... ever.

    - Cameras that seem less intimidating can be better tools for portrait work when photographing people who aren't used to being photographed. That's why a TLR can be a nice portrait camera. They are very non-threatening, and people relax.

    - Cameras that take many shots in a sequence make most people tense.

    - The best portrait lens is both sharp and soft at the same time.

    My favorite lens (in 35mm format) for people is an 85mm Sonnar in Rolleiflex QBM. My second favorite is a Tessar at f/8 for medium format.

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    The Canon FD 85mm 1.2L is the best I've ever used.
    Yes, it's my favorite for 35mm.


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