Portrait pictures with X-100?

Started Apr 12, 2012 | Discussions
Davidgilmour Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Portrait pictures with X-100?

What is the minimum distance you should keep if you want to photograph a persons face without getting any distortion on the X-100? Or is it mimimum head and shoulders photos?

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Anthony_in_SF
Anthony_in_SF Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

Great question (I have the same one)! Eager to read people's perspectives...

Anthony

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gava Senior Member • Posts: 1,032
6ft / 2m

2m is my rule. Of course rules can be broken. Mid telephoto on a DSLR gets youheadshots at that distance.

But in general this is NOT a headshot camera.

The weakest, easiest, least impresive portrait is one shot at a very wide aperture with a completely blurred background. Any idiot with a DSLR and a telephoto lens can do that.

I wrote a blog post about this subject almost exactly one year ago.

http://peri.org.uk/wp/?p=787

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Mike Arledge Senior Member • Posts: 1,745
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

I don't know what distance I work at, but I love the X100 for portraits, I had a thread sharing them here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1020&message=40746712

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Anthony_in_SF
Anthony_in_SF Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: 6ft / 2m

Thanks for pointing me to your site, very informative! And the 2m rule is helpful, too.

Quick follow up question. Looking at a b&w pic on your site, image 2 of 9, does it reflect the whole image capture, or has it been cropped? If the latter, to what degree? This will help me understand the suitability of the portrait photography I'm interested in using the X100 for. To illustrate, my hope is I can, for example, be sitting across a small table from my kids...and have them as the primary subject in the image, while avoiding any distortion.

Thanks,
Anthony

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lnbolch
lnbolch Senior Member • Posts: 2,329
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

Davidgilmour wrote:

What is the minimum distance you should keep if you want to photograph a persons face without getting any distortion on the X-100? Or is it mimimum head and shoulders photos?

Simple. Try it.

I might be more tolerant than you, and tend to trade a bit of foreshortening (not distortion) in exchange for a closer more intimate rendering of the person. Thus my advice would be potentially useless to another shooter. We all see in our own way.

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Mr Sincere Regular Member • Posts: 336
Re: 6ft / 2m

I've found it ideal for just the situation you describe. If you want an environmental portrait of someone sitting across the table from you (at about 3 or 4 feet), you probably don't want anything with a much longer focal length. Anything tighter and you won't have much interesting context. I used to use a 35mm (50mm equiv) lens on a DSLR for candid environmental portraits, but found it too tight in many indoor situations.

You'll have some distortion from that distance, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you play with the angles some (which is easier to do with a nice live view like on the x100), you may even find the distortion adds to the photo.

Also, I've found the lens is sharp enough that I'm not afraid to crop liberally, if you do want a tighter head shot.

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The Smoking Camera Senior Member • Posts: 2,114
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

Davidgilmour wrote:

What is the minimum distance you should keep if you want to photograph a persons face without getting any distortion on the X-100? Or is it mimimum head and shoulders photos?

I agree with others that you need to experiment a bit. Lots of factors such as the background environment, the shape of the person's face (round or narrow for example), lighting (side lighting helps), etc. However, in general you probably want to get no closer than head, shoulders and maybe chest. Here are a couple of examples:

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Paul CampbellCastle Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

This guy does a pretty good job of portraits with an X100: http://vimeo.com/33210785

Skip the first three minutes but the rest is gold.

samhain Senior Member • Posts: 1,474
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

I'd say 5ft. Can't say I've ever measured how far I was from the subject. Ever. I zoom with my feet, occasionally counting footsteps, but not accurately

gava Senior Member • Posts: 1,032
Re: 6ft / 2m

Anthony_in_SF wrote:

Thanks for pointing me to your site, very informative! And the 2m rule is helpful, too.

Quick follow up question. Looking at a b&w pic on your site, image 2 of 9, does it reflect the whole image capture, or has it been cropped? If the latter, to what degree? This will help me understand the suitability of the portrait photography I'm interested in using the X100 for. To illustrate, my hope is I can, for example, be sitting across a small table from my kids...and have them as the primary subject in the image, while avoiding any distortion.

Thanks,
Anthony

Hi Anthony,

I frequently crop square from 3:2, as I love the square format. Normally, it's a straight crop - not "zoomed" in, and usually with not exactly equal amounts taken from each side. But do whatever the image demands!

Across the table can be a little tight, but I have a lot of pictures at that distance, but here we are talking 3-4 ft, which is a little bit tighter than the X100 prefers. Some foreshortening is inevitable. Of course it's not always a problem, but you do need to be conscious of it.

Regards,
Craig

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Northgrove Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

I've made some close up portraits with this camera, but I think it's better suited for "environmental" portraits, including more of the environment and the person. Down to the waist rather than just down to the neck.

EDIT: Or down to the chest like in these examples - I think that's also enough.

Yes, it's a 23mm lens which is a 35mm FF equivalent, and standing back to take such a 35mm equivalent photo will produce similar results as such a full-frame lens, but the thing is that even that focal length is not really best suited for close-up portraits. I wouldn't recommend anything less than 50mm equivalent lenses for such portraits.

OP Davidgilmour Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

Paul CampbellCastle wrote:

This guy does a pretty good job of portraits with an X100: http://vimeo.com/33210785

Skip the first three minutes but the rest is gold.

Excellent video! 4 things

1. He calls the X-100 a cheap camera.
2. He takes some pictures at less than 2 feet away from the model!

3. When he composes the focus stays in the middle of the picture, not on the eyes of the model!
4. He does not use the viewfinder.

Is this a real photographer?

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Paul CampbellCastle Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

These remarks are entirely uncalled for and inappropriate. Please reconsider them.

lnbolch
lnbolch Senior Member • Posts: 2,329
Re: Portrait pictures with X-100?

Davidgilmour wrote:

What is the minimum distance you should keep if you want to photograph a persons face without getting any distortion on the X-100? Or is it mimimum head and shoulders photos?

Realize, you can see the distortion in the OVF, EVF and LCD. What you see, is what you get. The moment it becomes ugly, back off. Your eyes will give you much more reliable information than any forum ever could.

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