What does the 85mm f1.8 offer apart from portraits?

Started Jun 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: What does the 85mm f1.8 offer apart from portraits?

tamasine wrote:

Thank you both for your replies.

I know my question was a bit strange but actually some of your pics seem to help. I would use it as a portrait lens but I mainly shoot landscape and still life, so what I was trying to ask (and not doing a good job ) is could you use the 85mm for landscape and still life?

Especially still life. When I've shot pics of objects before I've used the 50mm f1.8 so I was thinking would the 85mm be any better or not worth it? Again, I know it seems a naive question but to me 85mm might be a difficult focal length to use for still life...

For me it would depend. If I wanted to climb into the still life and show space and depth, then I'd use a very wide angle lens. If I wanted compression and a flatter look from the outside looking in, then the 85mm is superb.

I use the 85 often enough in landscapes. Again, a lot depends on the scene. Sometimes I have to climb higher and be farther away from the image I want. With a wide angle I might be in a valley and be too far below the scene, so climbing higher on a hill or mountain and being farther away with a short telephoto might get exactly what I'm looking for.

Here's an example of a landscape I shot in Arizona. I wanted my position to be around 2/3rd the way up the butte in the center area. I had to hire a Navajo guide to drive me up a path on top of a fairly high hill or small mountain to a little flat area. I had to use a Sigma 150 lens in order to frame the area I wanted from that far back. I was also hoping the 150mm would enlarge the moon a little.

So, yes, the 85 can make a great still life or landscape lens. You just have to consider how far you need to be away from the scene and still get the framing you want. You see in the photo below how if I'd have used a wide angle, I'd have had to be a mile in front of where I was. I would have had to point my camera up at that butte. All the other background components might have been hidden behind the butte, including the moon. I would have had nothing in the foreground like I have here. See what I mean?

Have fun and take care.

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Cheers, Craig
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