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Thread started 07 Aug 2016 (Sunday) 21:04
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85mm vs 135mm f2

 
asr10user
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Aug 07, 2016 21:04 |  #1

I recently came back from a month long trip and took only my 35/40/85 primes. I took very few shots with my 85mm 1.8. I thought I would use it more, but I guess not. My question is, since I am using the 85mm strictly for portraits, would I miss the 85mm focal length if I get rid of it in favor of the 135mm f2?

The 85mm does well, but I have curiosity in the 135mm F2 as its pictures look magical and people generally agree its a lens they cant get rid of. I thought I was a prime 35/85 guy, but this trip made me realize that size matters and I used the 40mm way more than I thought I would, but that is another topic. I thought I could walk around with the 85mm, but I just couldn't do it. Since it has such a specialized job for me (portraits) I think I might be better suited with the 135mm. I would have a pretty big FL gap between 40mm-135mm Any opinions?


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FarmerTed1971
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Aug 07, 2016 22:05 |  #2

Yes, big gap. Keep the 85 1.8, it's cheap.


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Aug 07, 2016 22:15 |  #3

The 135F2 will be a better choice for portraits than the 85 1.8 but the Sigma 85 1.4 or the Canon 85 1.2L are the better choices IMHO. The 135 just gives you a regular telephoto look that is matched by using a 200mm 2.8 will get similiar results but I found using the 85 at 1.2/1.4 you get a very 3D pop that to me is just very unique. I love the 85 period. Don't get me wrong I love the 135 as well but the 85 just has a special look to it.


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Post edited over 2 years ago by CheshireCat. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 07, 2016 22:38 |  #4

For portraits:

I would swap the 85/1.8 for the 135/2 anytime.
I would swap the 135/2 for the 85/1.2 anytime.
I would swap the 85/1.2 for the 200/2 anytime.

Is that confusing enough ? ;)


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Talley
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Aug 07, 2016 23:05 |  #5

CheshireCat wrote in post #18089392 (external link)
For portraits:

I would swap the 85/1.8 for the 135/2 anytime.
I would swap the 135/2 for the 85/1.2 anytime.
I would swap the 85/1.2 for the 200/2 anytime.

Is that confusing enough ? ;)

You mean I made it to the end lol


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Aug 07, 2016 23:11 |  #6

Talley wrote in post #18089380 (external link)
The 135F2 will be a better choice for portraits than the 85 1.8

...IF you can afford to have the 59% more distance for the same shot with the same framing as with the 85mm.

Lots of folks who shoot indoors do not have sufficient shooting space to change from a 9' shooting distance to a 14.3' shooting distance for portraits.


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Charlie
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Aug 08, 2016 00:14 |  #7

135f2 is the poor man's 200f2.

If you want distortion free supermodel like looks, the the 135 is the best bet.

85 is great in limited spaces, it absolutely shines.


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Aug 08, 2016 01:42 |  #8

CheshireCat wrote in post #18089392 (external link)
For portraits:

I would swap the 85/1.8 for the 135/2 anytime.
I would swap the 135/2 for the 85/1.2 anytime.
I would swap the 85/1.2 for the 200/2 anytime.

The above statement precisely describes my feelings on this matter as well.


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James ­ P
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Aug 08, 2016 07:09 |  #9

For outdoor portraits, I wouldn't trade my 135L for anything. It's in a class by itself.


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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 2 years ago by MalVeauX. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 08, 2016 07:42 |  #10

Heya,

It comes down to working distance. Portrait isn't just some predefined genre that requires long focal length and really wide aperture. Some say they are doing portrait but really they're just doing family photojournalism with wide aperture to get a look they like, while also blurring out most of the unsightly uncontrolled environment. Nothing wrong with that, but, if that's what you're doing, longer and wider aperture is a good way to do it outside. But if you take that out and you consider other forms of portraiture, especially studio work, posed portrait, etc, there's just a lot more to it. 35mm is just as good as a portrait lens as 85 or 135 depending on what you're doing with it, the kind of portrait you're doing, etc. Again, portrait work isn't strictly long and fast.

So look at what you do with your 85mm. Look at how you approach portrait, and what portrait even really is for you. If you want more isolation and you want to work from even farther away from the subject, then the 135 is a great way to do that. But if you like being closer to your subject, and you want a smaller, lighter setup, 85 is a good way to go and ultimately is much more versatile as a general lens. The 135 is very, very specific and requires the working room for it to do what it does, unless you're doing strictly face or bust portrait, and even then, that is still assuming it's virtually always outside with lots of background to subject distance, which is where you see the creamy bokeh come in--otherwise, it's not going to do anything out of the ordinary.

I used to shoot 85 F1.4, and I contemplated 135 F2, but ultimately I got rid of my fast long lenses and I have 90mm F2.8 with image stabilization (macro) that I use for 99% of my portrait work outdoor, and I have a 200 F2.8L if I really want to get that telephoto look, but more and more, it's just too much working distance, so I literally use my 90 F2.8 most of all. It covers everything for me (macro, portrait, etc, and has image stabilization). I still get plenty of isolation with F2.8.

I literally use 35mm & 90mm for almost all my portrait and general family photojournalism. I don't think I could do 35 & 135 though, I like the middle ground, I don't want to stand back 20 feet or more all the time.

From a recent shoot, where I had my daughter and her cousins together. I used 35 F2 & 90 F2.8. To me, portrait isn't about just blasting out a background, it's about the feel of the mood, the environment, and really, to me, portrait is about lighting.

I put a lot more into my lighting than I worry about a lens. But I'm just a dad with a kid and a camera, this is a hobby for me.

35mm:

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90mm:

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IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KiQi​S6  (external link) IMG_7328mark (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

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Aug 08, 2016 07:45 |  #11

I LOVE my 135, but more and more I reach for my 90mm macro because of the working distance. Personally, I wouldn't want a gap between 40-135mm.


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asr10user
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Aug 08, 2016 10:18 as a reply to  @ CheshireCat's post |  #12

I didnt even know what the 200/2 was. Now I see its a downpayment.

You guys are probably right though, 85mm 1.8 might as well stay for indoors.


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Aug 08, 2016 12:43 |  #13

I prefer 85mm for portraits of women and children, because I find that perspective in the 70-100mm range looks natural to me. When you start to get into longer focal lengths, you get a flattening and widening of the head that I personally don't like. It may be flattering for some people, for example if they have a thin face, but that is an exception in my experience, and generally more true for men. Using a 200mm or longer lens, you get a perspective of the subject that you don't see in person, because it's not normal to be staring at someone head on from 100 feet away; you are use to how people look at conversational distance.

Here is one of the many examples on the web. Like the author of this article, I too prefer the 100mm shot. The 200mm and longer shots just make the woman's face too small for her head, it looks odd to me.

https://www.ormsdirect​.co.za …f-tele-to-wide-portraits/ (external link)


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Aug 08, 2016 13:46 |  #14

Well you can collect quit a collection, I could as well use a 50 1.4 MKI & 50 1.4 Art :)
85 1.8 is best price/quality, but for more wow/pop effect I would save for a secondhand 135L & 85 1.2LK MKI like I did.

asr10user wrote in post #18089656 (external link)
I didnt even know what the 200/2 was. Now I see its a downpayment.

You guys are probably right though, 85mm 1.8 might as well stay for indoors.


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CheshireCat
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Aug 08, 2016 13:56 as a reply to  @ absplastic's post |  #15

Well, that example is for headshots.
For larger framings, you will be about as far with a 100mm as you are with a 200mm for headshots.
This means that the perspective will be the same (and you won't like it).

Again, as has been said by others in this thread, it really depends on the type of portrait, subject, and personal preference.

There is no "right lens" for portrait. I have seen beautiful environmental portraits shot at 21mm.


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85mm vs 135mm f2
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