Best portrait lens on Sony a900

Started Feb 20, 2010 | Discussions
WMcCann
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Best portrait lens on Sony a900
Feb 20, 2010

Hi All,

I am sure this has been asked before but I have read through loads of posts but every time the answer seems to allude me (also the search function on DPReview sucks, seems to throw up the main post and all subsequent posts so a simple search returns thousands of results - useless....) so please don't flame me.

I have an A900 and the following lenses:

Sigma 12-24mm
Sony Zeiss 24-70mm
Sony 70-200mm G
Sony 70-400mm G
Minolta 100mm Macro (2.8)
Minolta 50mm f2.8 macro

I am looking to add a fast prime to the above for taking portraits of my kids, I have been using the 100mm but while the results are good they are not exactly what I am looking for (being a specialised macro lens etc).

I have narrowed my choice down to the CZ 85mm or the CZ 135mm.

The 85mm seems to have problems when used at f1.4 with purple fringing etc.

What I am really wondering is which is the sharpest lens?
Which has the best Bokeh?

Which woud you use for head/shoulder portraits (note not necessarily posed) on the A900?

Any help would be appreciated,

Thanks,

Walter.

dennismullen
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

On the A900 I like the CZ135/1.8
Both are good, I'd go with the field of view that suits you.

1/250s f2.8 at 135mm iso200

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lloyd007
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Re: Look at the 135stf
In reply to dennismullen, Feb 20, 2010

can't buy a lens with better bokeh if that is what you are looking for in portraiture

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m_appeal
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I find 135 to be too long on A900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

Why not try 100 f2 Minolta?

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William P
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

WMcCann wrote:

I have narrowed my choice down to the CZ 85mm or the CZ 135mm.

The 85mm seems to have problems when used at f1.4 with purple fringing etc.

What I am really wondering is which is the sharpest lens?
Which has the best Bokeh?

Which woud you use for head/shoulder portraits (note not necessarily posed) on the A900?

Any help would be appreciated,

Hi Walter,

cz135 is in a class of its own - can't be beat for head & shoulders portraits. In fact, can't be beat period! Unless you need more room Colour fringing does show up occasionally with the cz85 - but not to the extent that I wouldn't have the lens in my bag. I have both, prefer the 135 - but the 85 is my most used lens. Funny how that happens.

Cheers,
William

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Mark K
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

Walker

If it is the optical quality you are after , then the 135 stf must be the answer. This is the only one I do not have in hand
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DUSTY LENS
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

Any help , that is my invitation to go where I might not go .

I have the CZ 135 and the a-900 and I love the ability to isolate the background to a small area this lens allows , because it is a long lens .

You could easily find a small shaded area to place behind your subject , with this lens and you will also get very good background blur which really helps this kind of use .

My only argument against using this lens is the possibility of tiring of the weight , if you need to hold it for extended times . in that case you could switch to a 100 f2.8 if it is a light weight lens .

If you are planning to keep up with small kids you might do better with the 85mm because it is lighter and because it will have a focusing speed advantage over the 135 f1.8 .

Either lens will probably give you very great results at f5.6 or around f5.6 .

Try to shoot some test shots at a Sony Style Store with these first . Just call in advance to check the availability of demos and the best time .

I brought my own Flash Card and was allowed to use it in their a-900 .

Dusty

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Jim Cockfield
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ditto - Minolta 100mm f/2
In reply to m_appeal, Feb 20, 2010

m_appeal wrote:

Why not try 100 f2 Minolta?

Ditto. I'd try to find a Minolta 100mm f/2. It's a really good lens. Here are a couple of snapshots using one wide open at f/2 on a KM Maxxum 5D.

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lunartown
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

Try the Minolta AF 135 F2.8, weight: only 365 g

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Harry Lew
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Don't forget the Minolta 85 1.4G . . .
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

I own both the Zeiss and Minolta 85s. The Minolta may be a tad less sharp, but it has better bokeh. Plus the colors seem to be warmer. It's also cheaper than the Zeiss, understandably, since it's an older, out of production lens.
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Lyle From Canada
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

The CZ135/1.8 is sony's crown jewel, best lens period.

Sony A300 - Minolta 24-50/4 - Minolta 35-105(old) - Minolta 70-210/4 - Minolta 50/1.7 - Minolta 100-200/4.5 - Minolta 75-300 (new) - Kenko telepro 300 1.4 TC - extension tubes

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Docno
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I asked this before and I'm still confused
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=32447528

My lens lineup is very similar to yours (see my sig). I asked the question and received the same reasonable answers and, 9 months later, I'm yet to buy a new lens. I'm recently leaning toward the CZ135 because it could do double duty at night events (concerts etc) I sometimes go to. It also seems more distinct (but not greatly so) from other lenses I have: the 50mm and 100mm. I experimented with using my 70-300mm G at the two focal lengths to see which I'd prefer, but their was no clear winner. I'm usually not an indecisive person, so this is really bugging me... at these prices, I don't want to have any regrets.

So good luck... let us know what you decide.

Glenn

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joe_rogg
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Re: I asked this before and I'm still confused
In reply to Docno, Feb 20, 2010

I suggest the CZ 24-70. Works great for me.

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headofdestiny
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

It's really not about which lens is better, but, rather, which focal length you like better. Even though there probably isn't a better lens, optically, than the ZA 135, I shoot the ZA 85, because I like the working distance better, and it's a more portable lens. Great bokeh, too.
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AlphaDSLR
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Feb 20, 2010

WMcCann wrote:

The 85mm seems to have problems when used at f1.4 with purple fringing etc.

Are you going to be using f/1.4? None of the other lenses even have that aperture as an option.

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WMcCann
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Mar 4, 2010

Hi All,

Thanks for the help. Ended up getting a second hand Minolta 85mm on Ebay (arrived from Germany yesterday) and a new CZ 135mm from Hong Kong (arrived today).

What can I say - the CZ is amazing (it is now my main lens after only a few shots).

I take mostly people especially my kids, the control the 135mm gives is great. The 85mm is a lovely lens with great colours but not as sharp as the 135mm.

To anyone who has this conundrum all I can say is if you have the A900 then get the CZ if you have the A700 or other get the 85mm. The Minolta was £500 and in perfect nick which I think is quite a good price.

Now do I sell the 85mm or keep it.... Decisions Decisions.

Again thanks to everyone,

Walter.

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asiafish
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to lunartown, Apr 9, 2013

Agree.  The Minolta 135/2.8 is a real gem, small, light and quite a bargain.  While I own the 85/1.4 and 35/1.4, I usually travel with just the 28/2.8 (another much-maligned, but excellent lens), 50/1.4 and 135/2.8.  Those are my three cheapest lenses, my three smallest, lightest and by far my three most used.

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MediaArchivist
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Re: Look at the 135stf
In reply to lloyd007, Apr 9, 2013

For portraits on my a99, I use primarily the 135 STF, ∑70mm macro, and ∑50/1.4. 135mm is just a little long, but workable. The 70mm macro is just about right, and if I have less light the 50mm does a fine job (although perhaps better on my a77).

I have been looking at the CZ85 and the CZ135 as you have, but since I already have a 135mm lens (that I also think might be just a little too long) I am leaning pretty hard towards the CZ85. A small amount of fringing does not scare me, from what I have read and seen it cleans up nice in Lightroom.

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yakkosmurf
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Apr 9, 2013

I have the 135 and I'm happy with it. I'll probably get the 85 at dime point, as I find the 135 to be a bit ling for shooting in some of the smaller rooms in my house. Play around with your 70-200 to see if focal length matters to you.
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Brian_Smith
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Re: Best portrait lens on Sony a900
In reply to WMcCann, Apr 9, 2013

You've already got my favorite lens for portraits the Sony CZ 24-70mm.

Given what you've got I'd suggest the Sony CZ 135mm/1.8 - AMAZING GLASS!

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