Portrait lens

Started Jul 24, 2022 | Questions thread
ronscuba Senior Member • Posts: 1,994
Re: Portrait lens

Malling wrote:

ronscuba wrote:

Martin_99 wrote:

ronscuba wrote:

Orsonneke wrote:

Hi all , I am looking for a good 80-100mm ish lens for portraits.

Is the 85 GM a good option and would you still buy it now?

To be used on a1 and A7R4


I like my Tamron 70-180 2.8. For portraits, wide open 1.4-1.8 depth of field can be too shallow.

Can be for eg. head and shoulder portraits, but it's nice for half body/ full body portraits.

Background separation is nice, but not at the expense of blurry eyes.

Blurry eyes will be in case of wrong focus, not fast aperture.

I used to shoot all primes, but the latest 2.8 zooms are awesome. A lot of my portraits are shot with a Sigma 24-70 and the Tamron 70-180.

With portraits, I try to get both eyes in focus. Especially for head and shoulder shots. Depth of field at 1.4-1.8 with an 85 or longer lens is too shallow for that.


I already corrected one in that disbelief, it depends on the distance to subject, get up close then yes you won’t get both eyes in focus, back off then you will. That is certainly true with 85 at 1.4 that corresponds to 3.5 with a 135mm lens with same distance to subject. You won’t need to back off very much with 85mm to get the whole face in focus in fact at 1.4, there is reason why you can make it 1.2. 135mm on the other hand doesn’t really make much sense to make faster then 1.8 as you then would need to stand very far away from subject.

This is also why 2.8 really is plenty fast enough for a tele exceeding 100mm and why 70-200mm easily replace a 135mm lens because you rarely if ever shooting at below 2.8 anyway for portrait as you need to be way off from the subject.

Why the 75/1.8 Olympus m4/3 work (equivalents 150 f/3.6) it’s the same with a 70-200/4 if you stand close enough or zoom more.

Wrong!  ?    Relax.

85 1.4 depth of field is shallow. For head and shoulders portraits, it is too shallow for me to consistently get both eyes in focus. The subject face is not always square to the camera. Sure, I could back up, but that changes the framing and composition.

If I want to shoot a soft dreamy look, 1.4 works great. But for most of my head and shoulders portraits, I want both eyes in focus and it is easier to do that with 2.8 or above.

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