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Thread started 24 Sep 2010 (Friday) 02:49
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Portrait Lens for 7D

 
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Sep 24, 2010 14:53 |  #16

Thanks for all the replies, guys! Definitely food for thought.

Maybe I should hire out a 50mm and a longer lens and see how I go. My only fear about the longer lens is space in the studio (though I only have infrequent access to a tiny studio space at the moment - most would be outdoors).

Decisions decisions!




  
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Sep 24, 2010 15:59 |  #17

I love the 85mm on my 7D but was also considering a 135mm


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Sep 24, 2010 19:15 |  #18

Here is a series of shots at different FL. Note the facial contours at 70mm and 100mm, shot at subject distances of about 8-10' typically during indoor shooting of portraits providing facial perspective that we are accustomed to seeing at normal viewing distances standing in a room with the person. Now look at WA shots and also longer telephoto shots. WA distorts the face due to persective distortion of shorter shooting distances, making near features (like noses) big and making the face appear slimmer than normal. But long tele distorts the face, too, appearing to make it fuller looking due to long shooting distances.

http://www.stepheneast​wood.com …/lensdistortion​/index.htm (external link)


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Sep 24, 2010 21:10 |  #19

Wilt wrote in post #10972983 (external link)
Here is a series of shots at different FL. Note the facial contours at 70mm and 100mm, shot at subject distances of about 8-10' typically during indoor shooting of portraits providing facial perspective that we are accustomed to seeing at normal viewing distances standing in a room with the person. Now look at WA shots and also longer telephoto shots. WA distorts the face due to persective distortion of shorter shooting distances, making near features (like noses) big and making the face appear slimmer than normal. But long tele distorts the face, too, appearing to make it fuller looking due to long shooting distances.

http://www.stepheneast​wood.com …/lensdistortion​/index.htm (external link)

If I connect the dots on the earlier posts and yours, this is what I gathered - whatever lens (focal length) creates the most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 85-135 range on a 1.6x crop camera.

I have no ego qualms to be told I am having a blonde moment but need to get my facts right, so please educate me :)


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Sep 25, 2010 00:00 |  #20

nikmar08 wrote in post #10973551 (external link)
If I connect the dots on the earlier posts and yours, this is what I gathered - whatever lens (focal length) creates the most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 85-135 range on a 1.6x crop camera.

I have no ego qualms to be told I am having a blonde moment but need to get my facts right, so please educate me :)

I'll modify one part for APS-C...

"(the lens that captures the) most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 55-95 range on a 1.6x crop camera".

55mm on APS-C captures waist up from 8-10' (4.0' x2.7')
65mm on APS-C captures had & shoulders from 8-10' (3.4' x 2.3')
95mm on APS-C captures tight headshots from 8-10' (2.3' x 1.5')

The requires availability of 25-26' long shooting area (2.5' backdrop, 5' separation to backdrop, 2' subject, 10' camera-to-subject, 2.5' camera, 3' photographer. If you have more distance (luxurious indoor shooting or outdoors), simply multiply the above FL by the proportional factor (e.g. 20' camera to subject = 2 * FL in above paragraph)


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Sep 25, 2010 00:21 |  #21

nikmar08 wrote in post #10973551 (external link)
If I connect the dots on the earlier posts and yours, this is what I gathered - whatever lens (focal length) creates the most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 85-135 range on a 1.6x crop camera.

For anybody basing decisions on the images in the link Wilt posted. note that they were all taken with a full frame camera.


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Sep 25, 2010 09:57 |  #22

Wilt wrote in post #10974222 (external link)
I'll modify one part for APS-C...

"(the lens that captures the) most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 55-95 range on a 1.6x crop camera".

55mm on APS-C captures waist up from 8-10' (4.0' x2.7')
65mm on APS-C captures had & shoulders from 8-10' (3.4' x 2.3')
95mm on APS-C captures tight headshots from 8-10' (2.3' x 1.5')

The requires availability of 25-26' long shooting area (2.5' backdrop, 5' separation to backdrop, 2' subject, 10' camera-to-subject, 2.5' camera, 3' photographer. If you have more distance (luxurious indoor shooting or outdoors), simply multiply the above FL by the proportional factor (e.g. 20' camera to subject = 2 * FL in above paragraph)

Wilt, thanks for the excellent explanation.

I have a follow-up question regarding one more of my understandings (mis-understandings if you may) that I was given to form based on responses I got on other threads on this forum.

My understanding is that primes do a better job in terms of sharpness/IQ than zooms - but based on your response above, one would require 3 primes just for portrait situations. Wow, is that really true?

The more I research, the more I am inclined to buy the "TAMRON AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC Lens for CANON" as it seems to be a reasonably ok do-all lens for a beginner like me. It does not have a really wide-aperture F-stop side to it and the so-called L quality of Canon's high-end lenses, but then it fits well in my budget.


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Sep 25, 2010 10:43 |  #23

nikmar08 wrote in post #10975562 (external link)
Wilt, thanks for the excellent explanation.

I have a follow-up question regarding one more of my understandings (mis-understandings if you may) that I was given to form based on responses I got on other threads on this forum.

My understanding is that primes do a better job in terms of sharpness/IQ than zooms - but based on your response above, one would require 3 primes just for portrait situations. Wow, is that really true?

The more I research, the more I am inclined to buy the "TAMRON AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC Lens for CANON" as it seems to be a reasonably ok do-all lens for a beginner like me. It does not have a really wide-aperture F-stop side to it and the so-called L quality of Canon's high-end lenses, but then it fits well in my budget.

It certainly is what pro portrait shooters needed to do in the days when zooms were close to optical junk. Now, because of computer design of lens optics (and PCs which have the computing power of the Cray supercomputer of 25 years ago!) and exotic glass, some zooms can be superior to fixed focal length lenses.

Keep in mind that it is relatively easy to design 3:1 ratio zooms with optical excellence. The Tamron 18-270 is a 15:1 ratio zoom...just based on its zoom ratio I know the lens will not be stellar in performance, even without reading detailed reports like those found on the web in places like Photozone.de test of this lens (external link) and elsewhere. I do NOT condemn such lenses as a group...in fact I still own a modest (in comparison with 15:1) 7:1 zoom ratio 28-200mm lens from my film camera days, just for plunking around as a one-lens snapshooter. But my expectations of the lens are not high, but are tempered by its large zoom range and relatively affordable price.


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Sep 25, 2010 10:45 as a reply to  @ nikmar08's post |  #24
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50mm is too short for head shot.
On 7D, 85 and 135 are good portrait lens. For zooms, the following two are great.
Tokina 50-135mm
Sigma 50-150mm


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Sep 25, 2010 11:16 |  #25

On a 7D I would say +1 on the Canon 50mm 1.4.


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Sep 25, 2010 15:03 |  #26

Wilt wrote in post #10974222 (external link)
I'll modify one part for APS-C...

"(the lens that captures the) most normal-looking perspective of the face from the most usual distance we see people from (that being 8-10 ft) is the best one to use for portraits and that usually happens to be the 55-95 range on a 1.6x crop camera".

55mm on APS-C captures waist up from 8-10' (4.0' x2.7')
65mm on APS-C captures had & shoulders from 8-10' (3.4' x 2.3')
95mm on APS-C captures tight headshots from 8-10' (2.3' x 1.5')

...

amobnaij wrote in post #10975738 (external link)
50mm is too short for head shot.
On 7D, 85 and 135 are good portrait lens. For zooms, the following two are great.
Tokina 50-135mm
Sigma 50-150mm

chen5108 wrote in post #10975900 (external link)
On a 7D I would say +1 on the Canon 50mm 1.4.

Thanks again for your posts. As I wait for my 7D to arrive, I am yet to sell my P&S SX10 IS. Knowing that the SX10 has a 1/2.3 inch CCD sensor (something like a 25 sq.mm.) and 5-100mm (17-350mm APS-C-equivalent) focal length range, I decided to apply the above principles on it since morning with my friend's kid as my subject. Finally she ran out of patience, a 5-year old after all. So here I am, back with my curious questions. I know I am testing your patience now but please bear with my nagging and be kind to answer.

From your earlier posts, here's what I have understood -
1. 8-10 ft is the ideal distance a portrait should be shot from
2. From this distance, 55-95mm range would be the ideal focal length range to be used with an APS-C, as it would appear to be 85-150mm which is just about the right focal length range for portraiture on a full-frame.
3. These focal-length ranges are the ideal but not cast in stone. Good portraits can still be got by varying the subject-camera distance a bit in the same 8-10ft range based on the focal length range available on your lens.

If all of the above are correct, I have narrowed down on the following lens to cover most of my shooting needs, portraits being the area of focus:
1. EF 17-40mm f/4L USM - wide-angle
2. EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - standard + waist-up portraits
3. EF 70-200mm f/4L USM - tele + head & shoulders & tight headshot portraits

Seeking your suggestions/comments on whether this selection would cover it all. Of course, I am on a budget as you can see the f/2.8 or faster and IS are missing in my list. The catch-phrase for me is "reasonably above-average pics" if not pro-like as I am not one.

Wilt wrote in post #10974222 (external link)
...
This requires availability of 25-26' long shooting area (2.5' backdrop, 5' separation to backdrop, 2' subject, 10' camera-to-subject, 2.5' camera, 3' photographer. If you have more distance (luxurious indoor shooting or outdoors), simply multiply the above FL by the proportional factor (e.g. 20' camera to subject = 2 * FL in above paragraph)

By that measure,

1. Would it be correct to apply a multiplication factor of 0.5 if the subject-camera distance is cut to half i.e. 4'-5'? Or would that start making the faces distorted?
2. What other distance variations you would suggest.

I am almost sensing that you are tempted to answer - "learn some on your known buddy, do you want all your answers in one day?" :lol:


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Sep 25, 2010 15:16 |  #27

nikmar08 wrote in post #10976779 (external link)
1. Would it be correct to apply a multiplication factor of 0.5 if the subject-camera distance is cut to half i.e. 4'-5'? Or would that start making the faces distorted?
2. What other distance variations you would suggest.

I wouldn't recommend any distance mods in the shorter direction...

  • 5' background separation permits independent lighting, and space to position background lights and booms, etc.
  • Getting to 5' shooting distance gives a bit of 'big head' proportion (see shot with 50mm lens vs. 100mm in the earlier link, and make note of head size vs. shoulder size...this effect is even more noticeable at the 35mm shooting distance with FF)
  • Some subjects get uncomfortable with the camera being 'in your face', and it can interfere with subject lighting placement vs. camera position.

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Sep 25, 2010 15:20 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #28

Thanks for your time Wilt. I can bet that is just sheer experience speaking.

Do you have any thoughts on my lens list? I am planning to order later next week, by when my bank account would be more decent looking for a short time :)


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Sep 25, 2010 15:23 |  #29

What lens list are you referring to?!


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Sep 25, 2010 15:27 |  #30

nikmar08 wrote in post #10976779 (external link)
...
From your earlier posts, here's what I have understood -
1. 8-10 ft is the ideal distance a portrait should be shot from
2. From this distance, 55-95mm range would be the ideal focal length range to be used with an APS-C, as it would appear to be 85-150mm which is just about the right focal length range for portraiture on a full-frame.
3. These focal-length ranges are the ideal but not cast in stone. Good portraits can still be got by varying the subject-camera distance a bit in the same 8-10ft range based on the focal length range available on your lens.

If all of the above are correct, I have narrowed down on the following lens to cover most of my shooting needs, portraits being the area of focus:
1. EF 17-40mm f/4L USM - wide-angle
2. EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - standard + waist-up portraits
3. EF 70-200mm f/4L USM - tele + head & shoulders & tight headshot portraits

Seeking your suggestions/comments on whether this selection would cover it all. Of course, I am on a budget as you can see the f/2.8 or faster and IS are missing in my list. The catch-phrase for me is "reasonably above-average pics" if not pro-like as I am not one.
...

Wilt wrote in post #10976874 (external link)
What lens list are you referring to?!

Thanks for your attention...


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