35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

Started Mar 5, 2014 | Discussions
Bouddha Regular Member • Posts: 349
35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?
1

Hi all,

I am using my X100s and my d600....

one says that usually for portrait 85mm or more is the way to go.

Is the 35mm of the X100s that bad for portrait of head and shoulders ?

rgds

Fujifilm X100S Nikon D600
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57even Forum Pro • Posts: 11,319
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?
1

Bouddha wrote:

Hi all,

I am using my X100s and my d600....

one says that usually for portrait 85mm or more is the way to go.

Is the 35mm of the X100s that bad for portrait of head and shoulders ?

rgds

Its not so good for a close up, but its great for a more relaxed composition. Hard to isolate background though if that's what you want.

Whether it suits a particular subject rather depends on their face.

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OP Bouddha Regular Member • Posts: 349
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

Thanks.

Do you think the 50mm teleconverter will solve that ?

John Gellings Senior Member • Posts: 2,921
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

Why not just try using the lens to see if you like the results?

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OP Bouddha Regular Member • Posts: 349
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

I did that and am fine with the 35mm equivalent.

honestly other than out of focus background, I don't really see the difference with my 85mm 1.8.

also I find the 35mm f2 brings enough isolation but still keeps the possibility to understand the environment in which it was taken, which I find IMHO cool.

Brad Evans Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: it's great if you lik context
5

If you like  context with your portraits, 35mm is ideal.

These street portraits  were all taken with a 35mm lens, in one San Francisco neighborhood (the Tenderloin).

............
Brad
Urban photoblog: http://www.citysnaps.net
.

LaFonte Senior Member • Posts: 2,763
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

Bouddha wrote:

Thanks.

Do you think the 50mm teleconverter will solve that ?

That would be one of the main reason for the 50mm Tele.

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LaFonte Senior Member • Posts: 2,763
Re: it's great if you lik context
1

Brad Evans wrote:

If you like context with your portraits, 35mm is ideal.

These street portraits were all taken with a 35mm lens, in one San Francisco neighborhood (the Tenderloin).

............
Brad
Urban photoblog: http://www.citysnaps.net
.

superb portraits Brad!

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OP Bouddha Regular Member • Posts: 349
Re: it's great if you lik context

Thanks, nice shots.

a few of yours are portraits head and shoulders, so should I assume a 35mm is still ok for that ?

headofdestiny Veteran Member • Posts: 9,226
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

Bouddha wrote:

Hi all,

I am using my X100s and my d600....

one says that usually for portrait 85mm or more is the way to go.

Is the 35mm of the X100s that bad for portrait of head and shoulders ?

rgds

Ultimately, the closer you stand to the subject, the more bulbous facial features become, and, the further you stand from the subject, the more compressed features become.  It's up to you to decide the look that you prefer, and it may vary, depending on the subject.

A lot of people like shooting wide angles up close on kids, because it makes them look a bit more cherub-ish.  Heck, Platon uses wide angles up close for portraits of adults all of the time. When I use a 35mm lens, I tend to stay far enough away from a subject that I still see their bellybutton or chest area, but it depends.

mr moonlight Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

It's fine for waist up portraits, but if you want close ups (head and shoulders or closer) you're going to run into compression issues. 35mm is a bit wide so you end up have to be quite close to your subject. This will create often unflattering distortions of the face such as a larger nose and fatter cheeks. A longer lens like an 85mm will flatten out these features making your subject look thinner and less distorted. So if you're going for a headshot with a 35mm lens, pull back a little and crop in if you want to avoid facial distortions.

t3htriste
t3htriste Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: it's great if you lik context

Whoa, those are some really cool photos you got there!

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ketsang
ketsang Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

It depends on your subject too. Some people looks nicer with a bit of distortion

You know those selfies you see on Facebook taken using iPhone? Some of them looks quite nice. IPhone 5s has a 29.7mm equivalent focal length.

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Brad Evans Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: it's great if you lik context

Thanks!

............
Brad
Urban photoblog: http://www.citysnaps.net
.

Brad Evans Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: it's great if you lik context

Bouddha wrote:

Thanks, nice shots.

a few of yours are portraits head and shoulders, so should I assume a 35mm is still ok for that ?

You do need to exert a little caution. A subject's hands held out in front when shooting that close with a 35mm lens can appear unusually large. Also, shooting closer, depending on face orientation can result in largish noses.

If all you are going to be making are head and shoulders shots, a 50 or 85mm would probably be better. But... If environmental context is important to your portraiture (important to me- helping release narrative in a viewer's mind), then a 35 is a good choice. A 50mm would work fine, too. You just need to be further away. For my kind of street portraiture, many times that would put me off the sidewalk and into the street - not a place I want to be considering traffic! A 35mm lens is also a good choice for candid street shooting.

One more thought... For me, good portraiture comes from the relationship you establish with your subject; i.e. conversation, humor, trust flowing in both directions. Shooting closer rather than farther away helps establish that.

............
Brad
Urban photoblog: http://www.citysnaps.net
.

esmall Contributing Member • Posts: 653
Re: it's great if you lik context

Brad Evans wrote:

Bouddha wrote:

Thanks, nice shots.

a few of yours are portraits head and shoulders, so should I assume a 35mm is still ok for that ?

You do need to exert a little caution. A subject's hands held out in front when shooting that close with a 35mm lens can appear unusually large. Also, shooting closer, depending on face orientation can result in largish noses.

If all you are going to be making are head and shoulders shots, a 50 or 85mm would probably be better. But... If environmental context is important to your portraiture (important to me- helping release narrative in a viewer's mind), then a 35 is a good choice. A 50mm would work fine, too. You just need to be further away. For my kind of street portraiture, many times that would put me off the sidewalk and into the street - not a place I want to be considering traffic! A 35mm lens is also a good choice for candid street shooting.

One more thought... For me, good portraiture comes from the relationship you establish with your subject; i.e. conversation, humor, trust flowing in both directions. Shooting closer rather than farther away helps establish that.

............
Brad
Urban photoblog: http://www.citysnaps.net
.

Brad your street portraits are amazing.  I'm working up the courage to attempt this style of photography my self.  Do you have any other tips to share for a newbie to street photography.  By the way, I'm in San Jose and I'm hoping to make may way to San Francisco to try my hand at some street shooting so if you have any suggestions on places to visit in the city that would be great!

Thanks!

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rjx
rjx Contributing Member • Posts: 917
Watch this video -- Effects focal length has on the face
1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRoqNx9rlVA

Video shows the effects different focal lengths have on the face.

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Lisa O
Lisa O Senior Member • Posts: 2,499
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?
1

35mm focal length is good for environmental portraits and perhaps small group portraits. 85mm to about 135mm is classic portrait focal length. The longer lenses compress space a bit making for a more pleasing look with no foreshortening of features you get with a wide angle lens. With a wide lens features that are closer to the lens often appear much larger, so if you ltook a head and holder port rail with a 35mm the nose or the forehead could be out of proportion.

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allineedislight Regular Member • Posts: 338
Re: Watch this video -- Effects focal length has on the face
1

it is not the focal length that cause the distortion, but rather it is the distance of the camera from the subject that is crucial.

if you get to close then the face is distorted (long nose etc).

so don't get to close to your subject, then everything is fine.. and if you don't like the surroundings - crop!

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slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,071
Re: 35mm equivalent not good for portrait ?

For head & shoulders I would say 'yes' 35mm is too short. It won't give you a nice perspective. You'll get distorted features simply because you'll be too close to your subject.

You mention 85 as being ideal. I would put that at minimum. 105 or even 135 are the classic portrait focal length for head & shoulders. 85 is good for upper body. 35 for full body or environmental portrait.

It comes down to personal preference though, so try it and see for yourself.

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