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Archive 2016 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?
  
 
psmichael
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?



Hello again everyone,

I'm buying a 50mm f1.4 ZA and 85mm GM by the end of this year and I will be selling my 55mm f1.8 after considerations reading lots of reviews in this forum.

Which do you think of the two (50mm and 85mm) will be better for portraits ?

I am using a7rii and a7s. I have a photoshoot tomorrow for a album cover shoot. I don't know which to choose for portrait. I will be buying either one first, one later. So either I buy the 50mm vs 85gm first for this photoshoot tomorrow

Thank you.



Oct 13, 2016 at 02:36 PM
Mystik
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


The choice between whether to go with 85mm or 50mm for portraits is pretty subective. Both will get the job done, it depends on what you're going for. Very generally 85mm has a more compressed FOV than 50mm, so given an equivalent subject framing the 85mm will pull less of the background into the frame and will have a thinner DOF. 50mm is better suited for an environmental type portrait where you want some interaction between the background and your subject. 85mm is more suited for shots where your subject is the sole focus (pardon the pun) of your photo and you'd like to donwnplay the background.






Oct 13, 2016 at 02:55 PM
notherenow
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


I would buy the 85 for now and take the 55 with you too if you have not sold it yet.

I would actually prefer the 55 with the A7s anyway.

While not always used, it is just about the first lens in my bag for live music and also when shooting portraits at close range.

The 85 would be the choice for a portrait shoot though if not in the subjects face.



Oct 13, 2016 at 03:12 PM
JimUe
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


Mystik wrote:
The choice between whether to go with 85mm or 50mm for portraits is pretty subective. Both will get the job done, it depends on what you're going for. Very generally 85mm has a more compressed FOV than 50mm, so given an equivalent subject framing the 85mm will pull less of the background into the frame and will have a thinner DOF. 50mm is better suited for an environmental type portrait where you want some interaction between the background and your subject. 85mm is more suited for shots where your subject is the sole focus (pardon the pun) of your photo
...Show more

what he said.

go on to flickr. there's a gazillion gazillion photos posted there and you can filter by 50mm lenses, 85mm lenses, portraits, landscapes or whatever. you can develop your own judgement of what focal length you prefer.



Oct 13, 2016 at 04:05 PM
ecarlino
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


My only suggestion would be to make sure the people you are doing this for (hopefully it is not a paid gig) are aware that a/o 24 hrs in advance of the shoot that you were unclear on what focal length to use and did not own the lens you'll be shooting with and hence unfamiliar with the gear during the shoot.

If they're cool with that, then this could be good experience for you - but if they are not aware, then this becomes a risky proposition wrt to delivering on their expectations.

btw - this is your 3rd post on FM and the 2nd thread you've started - the other thread asked pretty much the exact same question (50 vs 85) a month ago - so what's going on?




Oct 13, 2016 at 04:41 PM
TheEmrys
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


If you have the 55/1.8 now, use it. Its a great lens.

For me, 55mm was too close for an 85mm for portrait work. But a 50mm and the 85mm is just right for a different look. Moreover, the 50mm and 55mm are both CZ lenses, and with have stronger microcontrast. The 85mm will still have amazing sharpness, but isn't going to have the Zeiss look. More of a classic Minolta look (which I love, and has more in common with Leicas than Zeiss).

There is a very good case for both lenses, but it really depends on the look you are going for. Higher microcontrast? One of the CZ's. Stronger color rendition? GM.

Myself, I might just go with the 24-70 GM.



Oct 13, 2016 at 05:47 PM
matthewm
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


Why would you buy a lens today that you're going to use tomorrow for a paid gig? What if it's decentered? What if it's broken? What if the focus is off a hair and you haven't had a chance to use MA to fix it? What if...

To answer your question from an art direction standpoint, I'd say go with the 55 that you already own since you know it works and gives good results (it's a stellar lens anyway and you don't have to use brand new gear that may hit you with unknowns on the day of the shoot). The 55 will allow you to get a little "environment" in your portraits which will be good for laying text over the image.

I have designed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 book covers and there's nothing worse than being given an image that has no "breathing room" for me to crop and move around to suit text. GIVE THE DESIGNER SOME ROOM FOR TEXT. Either above, below, to the side. Try to avoid showing any kind of writing or lettering in the photo so that if it's an awesome shot but they're on the right, the designer can just flip the photo to put them on the left and tuck the text over on the other side, etc.

And don't buy gear the day of or the day before a shoot. It's a terrible idea to be using equipment you're unfamiliar with, especially for a paid gig. If it goes badly, both you AND your client are screwed. It's bad business.



Oct 13, 2016 at 07:00 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


matthewm wrote:
Why would you buy a lens today that you're going to use tomorrow for a paid gig? What if it's decentered? What if it's broken? What if the focus is off a hair and you haven't had a chance to use MA to fix it? What if...

To answer your question from an art direction standpoint, I'd say go with the 55 that you already own since you know it works and gives good results (it's a stellar lens anyway and you don't have to use brand new gear that may hit you with unknowns on the day of the
...Show more

Well said. Coming from a seasoned Pro



Oct 13, 2016 at 07:04 PM
 

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JimUe
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


matthewm wrote:
I have designed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 book covers and there's nothing worse than being given an image that has no "breathing room" for me to crop and move around to suit text. GIVE THE DESIGNER SOME ROOM FOR TEXT. Either above, below, to the side.


Off topic, in retrospect I wish I told this to my wedding photographer. would be fine if just looking on screen, but if you wanna print some photos, who actually prints and frames in 4x6 perspective?



Oct 13, 2016 at 07:45 PM
matthewm
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


JimUe wrote:
Off topic, in retrospect I wish I told this to my wedding photographer. would be fine if just looking on screen, but if you wanna print some photos, who actually prints and frames in 4x6 perspective?


Yeah....Super tight framing in native 3:2 format means grandma gets cropped out of an 8x10. !



Oct 13, 2016 at 10:00 PM
philip_pj
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


matthewn wins the common sense award for today. This is the secret behind disavowing the purist aspect ratio fiends in the digital era, and a key reason behind high res small format cameras. Best to shoot with your primary end use in mind. Not many magazines-books-pubs-online outlets use 3:2, do they?


Oct 13, 2016 at 10:57 PM
dmward
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


matthewm wrote:
Yeah....Super tight framing in native 3:2 format means grandma gets cropped out of an 8x10. !


Having shot a lot of projects for Art Directors teaches one to leave crop room around a subject.
One should remember that all the film aspect ratios were driven by technical considerations not aesthetic.

It just makes sense to leave breathing room.

As for lens selection. I can't remember the last time I went to a job with one lens.

As others have pointed out, there are so many considerations that can only be decided on location that taking one lens on a job makes no sense.



Oct 19, 2016 at 03:44 PM
JimBuchanan
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


Since no one has mentioned perspective (I don't think) then I will. Given the same field of view, the 85mm will give more compression to the face. Even though 50mm is considered a normal lens, it will exaggerate nose and possibly ear size compared to the 85mm.



Oct 19, 2016 at 08:33 PM
dmward
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


JimBuchanan wrote:
Since no one has mentioned perspective (I don't think) then I will. Given the same field of view, the 85mm will give more compression to the face. Even though 50mm is considered a normal lens, it will exaggerate nose and possibly ear size compared to the 85mm.


That's why I prefer 100 mm for portraits.
When I was shooting film, my favorite portrait kit was a Hassy with 150mm lens. For 35mm it was a 105 nikkor.

With my Leica I used the 90mm but framed a bit looser.





Oct 20, 2016 at 01:15 PM
philip_pj
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


100s are tougher to use for impromptu work, a little backing up is often required, which leads to 'you over there' syndrome, you lose a little touch with subject. But luscious focus roll off, and close up goodness. Dear Hubert Nasse - probably expressing the house sentiment at Carl Zeiss - was adamant 85mm was the one, the perfect trade-off.

I feel it is the individual lens that is a factor as well, probably controversial view. Some lenses, like FE55, 'shoot longer'. I don't understand 135mm at all - maybe studio? Stealth? The Canon 135/2L had a rep as the 'go to lens' of paparazzi.

I feel the viewing eye adapts somewhat to flattening or stretching of features, within a range of acceptability. And many other factors, principally cropping, camera-subject distance, aperture; all of which vary greatly (me at least) and have large scale impacts on the big visual cue of background blur. Another biggie (don't laugh at me) is head shape and size, even gender. Here is an animated gif showing rapid fire FL differences:

http://giphy.com/gifs/portrait-l46Cxn3DvFngmYzba?utm_source=iframe&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=tag_click



Oct 20, 2016 at 11:36 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Better Portrait Lens for album cover?


matthewm wrote:
Why would you buy a lens today that you're going to use tomorrow for a paid gig? What if it's decentered? What if it's broken? What if the focus is off a hair and you haven't had a chance to use MA to fix it? What if...

To answer your question from an art direction standpoint, I'd say go with the 55 that you already own since you know it works and gives good results (it's a stellar lens anyway and you don't have to use brand new gear that may hit you with unknowns on the day of the
...Show more
Great advice. I'd also add that the 55/1.8 on an A7Rii gives you a huge amount of cropping leeway (another reason to safely shoot 'wide'). The FE55 is a stunningly sharp lens and landscapes shots I've taken with it could be cropped at 1:1 (on A7rii) and you'd barely notice the difference. Generally I'd prefer an 85/100mm for this but not when you are shooting tomorrow (today) and you haven't used it before.




Oct 21, 2016 at 08:40 AM







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