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Archive 2013 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered
  
 
die_kruzen
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


a solid portrait lens on a FF? I have read a lot about the the 24-70 being good/great for this and that...but not so much for portraits. I am trying to understand why since the 50 (and a little more reach 85) and considered very good/great. I understand that 85+ is usually considered the standard..but there are a lot of people making good use of the 50 also. The 50 falls within the 24-70 range...but still doesn't seem to be considered a very good portrait lens.

Just wanted a little education on my part.

Thanks all, Pete



Mar 30, 2013 at 07:25 PM
snapsy
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Mostly because the longer focal lengths let you get further away from the subject, which produces a more flattering perspective of human faces. Longer focal lengths also provide more background blur.


Mar 30, 2013 at 07:27 PM
RobertLynn
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


I'm not sure why. I've used it at 70mm just fine on FF.


Mar 30, 2013 at 07:33 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


The 50 and 85 are at least 1 1/3 stop faster, depending on which lens you're talking about, so they give more flexibility when it comes to controlling DOF.

Just like any lens, it can be used for a portrait lens but there are better options for some people.

I'm a fan of 85mm minimum for portraits, and actually usually longer. A 24-70, to me, is a really boring general range lens. I'd rather own the Sigma 35/1.4 and a good 85 (I'll probably try a Sig 85 and if that fails, the 85/1.8) because I enjoy the DOF effects more than the convenience of not having to change a lens.

24-70, to me at least, is more of an event zoom where one absolutely must catch unpredictable action at various ranges, whereas there are better lenses for a more controlled, specialized use (like portraits).






Mar 30, 2013 at 07:48 PM
timbop
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


For full body, small groups, and up to 1/2 ports it is very good.


Mar 30, 2013 at 07:52 PM
deepbluejh
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


For me, the answer is because there are some truly great portrait primes in this range. Any 50 or 85 prime generally produces more pleasing results for portraiture than a 24-70 zoom if you're going for the thin DOF look. For most on-location portraits, prime are going to be better.

For studio portrait work where thin DOF is less desirable, I consider a 24-70 zoom lens to be just about ideal.



Mar 30, 2013 at 08:26 PM
GC5
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered



Yes - the idea that all portraits must have razor-thin depth of field baffles me.



Mar 30, 2013 at 08:59 PM
anscochrome
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Portrait lens length begins at 85mm and ends at 135mm for me in general, so the 24-70 is simply not long enough.


Mar 30, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Monito
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


die_kruzen wrote:
Why isn't the 24-70 considered


die_kruzen wrote:
a solid portrait lens on a FF? I have read a lot about the the 24-70 being good/great for this and that...but not so much for portraits. I am trying to understand why since the 50 (and a little more reach 85) and considered very good/great. I understand that 85+ is usually considered the standard..but there are a lot of people making good use of the 50 also. The 50 falls within the 24-70 range...but still doesn't seem to be considered a very good portrait lens.


There are many varieties of portraits and many focal lengths. Some people make the mistake of only thinking of head and shoulder composition as a "portrait", but actually portraits can go from a full length figure at the side of a frame to just the eyes.

The classic focal lengths are all based on positioning the photographer a comfortable distance from the subject to achieve a feeling of friendship and warmth. This works out to be about five feet (under 2 metres) for most portraits with varying distances for the more extreme angles of view (narrow or wide).

You can work backwards by associating classic focal lengths with particular types and you'll find yourself at reasonable working distances which will give a natural and flattering perspective. For full-frame they are like this (guidelines only):

24 mm figure at side of frame
28-35 full-length figure dominating the frame
50 mm torso or upper body
85 mm head and shoulders
135 head, hair, and neck
200 tight crop on face excluding hair

For beauty / glamour work, a more distant cooler sense is helpful to convey a feeling of unattainable beauty. So bump up the focal length on each type of shot to the next longer one. There are other exceptions, like a bride at 200 mm full-length from a great distance wide open to make a smooth background.

The basic set of steps is easy to compute any time if you remember 85 mm for head and shoulders.

Master the look of these focal lengths and then, as always, you can depart from them since they are only guidelines. But it is best to know what they are good for because if you blindly break them you might stumble on a good shot instead of making a good shot.


Edited on Mar 30, 2013 at 09:42 PM · View previous versions



Mar 30, 2013 at 09:37 PM
chez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


GC5 wrote:
Yes - the idea that all portraits must have razor-thin depth of field baffles me.


And who said all? It's just an option you have with a fast prime which you don't with the zoom.



Mar 30, 2013 at 09:41 PM
 

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EB-1
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


The primes are sharper and nicer to use when zooming by feet. Of course the 24-70 is fine for wider "portraits."

EBH



Mar 30, 2013 at 09:43 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


die_kruzen wrote:
a solid portrait lens on a FF? I have read a lot about the the 24-70 being good/great for this and that...but not so much for portraits. I am trying to understand why since the 50 (and a little more reach 85) and considered very good/great. I understand that 85+ is usually considered the standard..but there are a lot of people making good use of the 50 also. The 50 falls within the 24-70 range...but still doesn't seem to be considered a very good portrait lens.

Just wanted a little education on my part.

Thanks all, Pete



i thought it was?



Mar 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Monito
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Sharpness is generally over-rated as a virtue for most portraits, especially head and shoulder portraits.

Specialty portraits (such as carefully constructed 'environmental' on-location portraiture) and huge prints benefit from extreme sharpness.

Just about any modern lens stopped down one or two stops from wide open is plenty sharp for 99% of the portraits FM members would make.

Some astute pros use old lenses for portraits because of eccentric quirks in their optical behaviour. Don't forget to consider the Canon 135 mm Soft-Focus lens (which is sharp when the SF is turned off).

There is no such thing as "zooming by feet". Moving in or out with a prime lens is recomposing, not zooming. That's because changing distance changes perspective. With a prime lens you can zoom in by cropping or zoom out by stitching (hard to do with portraits).



Mar 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Perhaps this short video might help...Jerry

Which Lens for Portrait Photography?
http://digital-photography-school.com/which-lens-for-portrait-photography



Mar 30, 2013 at 10:18 PM
die_kruzen
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Hello all, and thanks for all the responses…and more importantly you shared knowledge.

Couple thoughts:

Zooming with your feet…I've always been puzzled by that. You can do that with zooms also. When I read that 24-70 is for full body portraits..can that not change to a head and shoulder shot by moving a bit?

Now, a 2.8 can't handle the dof a 85 1.2 (or others in that range can)….But, even the 70-200 can handle beautifully at 70 for portraits or whatever you throw at it.

I've seen some incredible portraits from photographers that stay in the 24-35 range and would never stray. Just seems a bit confusing...but I tend to agree -- you can shoot portraits at any range.

Again, thanks all.

Pete



Mar 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Monito
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


die_kruzen wrote:
When I read that 24-70 is for full body portraits..can that not change to a head and shoulder shot by moving a bit?


When you move in enough for a h&s in the range of 24-50 mm, you are so close that the perspective is very unflattering. At 70 mm you are sort of OK. 85 mm is better.

There is no such thing as "zooming with feet". Changing the distance is recomposing because distance controls perspective. You get a very different photograph by moving in closer, even if you compensate with focal length, because the ratio of the ear-sensor distance to nose-sensor distance gets bigger, resulting in seemingly grossly large noses.

At a single focal length, you can zoom in by cropping (at the cost of losing megapixels) or zoom out by stitching (gaining many megapixels) but the latter is very hard to do with portraits.



Mar 30, 2013 at 11:14 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


die_kruzen wrote:
)….But, even the 70-200 can handle beautifully at 70 for portraits or whatever you throw at it.

Again, thanks all.

Pete


I guess we have different definitions of "beautifully" 70mm at 2.8 certainly isn't bad, but even with a pretty background, I typically like to throw it out of focus for the most part. I'd rather shoot 85/1.4 than 70mm /2.8.

Also, consider the quality of the bokeh itself - some lenses lend themselves to a creamier look than others, and the 70-200 2.8 (either mk 1 or mk ii ) aren't exactly known for their creamy backgrounds. No bad, as I've owned both, but again there are better, though more specialized, lenses.

(I am assuming I'm doing outdoor work, not studio portraits - different story altogether).



Mar 30, 2013 at 11:35 PM
alexdi
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Most people look better from longer distances. By the time you stand far enough back to flatter them, you have trouble blowing out the background at f/2.8. I'm with the person above: the 24-70 is when you don't have time to use something more specialized.


Mar 31, 2013 at 12:19 AM
kezeka
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


It isn't a bad lens for portraits and you can certainly do them well with it. It just isn't as easy to get great subject isolation with it on the wide end (35, 24) and it can't annihilate a background like a wide aperture 85 can. Longer focal lengths flatten out the distortion, thereby making subjects look more flattering. That said, I have taken some great torso + face portraits with a 35.

If you like the portraits you are getting with the 24-70, don't worry about the opinions of others - just got and enjoy your awesome lens!



Mar 31, 2013 at 12:49 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Why isn't the 24-70 considered


Shooting distance not focal length controls near/far size perspective: how big the nose looks relative to the ears in a portrait. If you take any FL and shoot from min. focus distance out to about 15ft. you'll see the same perspective at the same distances. What will differ is the in-camera crop.

I find that a shooting distance of 8-9 feet produces perspective similar to what seems "normal" for most faces, but it varies with the shape of the face and view (full vs. oblique). What I do when shooting is start at 8ft, then move in and out and compare how the face looks, then pick the distance than makes the face look balanced and flattering.

The 35mm rule of thumb about using the 85- 150mm range for portraits is probably based on the fact that with FF camera an 85mm will produce a loose H&S portrait from 8ft and a 150mm will produce a tighter face only close-up.

From 8ft on a FF a 70mm lens would produce a shot that would need to be cropped down to get the same perspective and loose H&S crop. If instead the shooting distance was decreased to about 5-6ft to get the H&S crop in camera and compared with the 8ft shot you'd likely notice the nose nearest to the camera looks larger (relative to the ears) and less flattering.

But on a crop body the 24-70mm works just fine. I use mine most of the time for portraits with my 50D. I find the most flattering distance and with the zoom I can do anything from full length at 24mm to a tight H&S shot at 70mm from that distance. Shooting with the zoom from the same distance makes the nose /ears size perspective is the same for all the in camera crops.

If you look critically at any series of different crops of the same face taken with a single FL from various distances you'll see the appearance of the face change with the shooing distance. Unless you understand the cause and effect of shooting distance on perspective you might not notice it, but once you are aware of it the differences are obvious especially if a lens like a 50mm is used on a FF body for a tight face close-up cropped in camera. But you can make a 50mm work simply by shooting from the more flattering 8ft or greater distance and cropping loose in the camera and then doing the final crop in PP.




Mar 31, 2013 at 12:50 AM
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