Lens size for street portrait v studio

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hair Bear, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been doing and enjoying some deviant street shots.

    I read Chris Walkers PDF and really dig his stuff, I cant afford the camera he uses and recomends so I'm usingthe trusty Nikon F-601 with a 30-70 lens

    Now he suggest a 30mm max and get in tight to the subject style approach.

    In this months Digital Photographer they have a section on Portraits and they are shot in the main (studio) with a 150mm.

    Some of my street stuff is a little small in the face, upgrade lens to large and its more intrusive and obviuos (sp?)

    Is the 150 really a portriat studio lens? Can you get good on the fly street with that size?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,451
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I don't know from experience but from what I have read the 150 is more of an outdoor portrait while 50 or 85 is more of an indoor portrait.

    But I might be completely wrong :)
     
  3. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    0
    For portraits, in-studio or outside, longer is better.
    1) Because of less 'wide angle-ish' distortion, 2) because you can stay further out from the subject so they don't feel their 'private space' is invaded; an important 'relaxation factor'.
    In this case the 150mm (35mm equivalent) is the preferable portrait lens. 200mm would be better still.
    50mm to 85mm lenses distort too much for portraits. And they force you to come in close to fill the image which will make most subjects uncomfortable. Not recommended. For portraits! They have their uses. It just ain't portraits.
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hmm, I have never seen a 50mm distorting any portrait, 50mm is not wide angle (at least on FF). I brings out the features quite naturally... which of course is not charming for every face ;) But it pretty much shows the truth.

    longer portraits make things a bit flatter. therefore we work a lot with light and shadow to still bring out the face's features.

    JMHO, but I am not an expert on portrait ...
     
  5. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    2,078
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Ok, what are you looking to get? A 30-70mm would work for street, so in that case you would then just have to get a 150mm.

    If you can only have one lens the best compromise would be to a 50mm prime. It's a good lens for street and can do good portraits.
     
  6. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    0
    What does prime mean Darin?
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    prime (fixed focal length) as opposed to zoom (variable focal length)

    primes are more simply built as they need not to compensate for all the dirty effects which varying the focal length brings.
    therefore it is much easier to build a prime lens with superior optical quality. for much less money you get very good image quality.

    they are just less versatile with respect to focal length ;)
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    137
    There are rules of thumb, but they aren't rules. Full figure portraits normally want a shorter focal length than tight head shots. Environmental portraits may work best even with a wide angle lens. I've used 300mm telephotos effectively on portraits and I've used 18mm wide angles.

    The rules of thumb call for using a short to medium telephoto so that the foreshortening will tend to make head portraits more flattering. But flattery may not be your thing. They are just rules of thumb.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I recently took a shot of a friend at a distance of 30 cm using 17mm at full frame ... unfortunately I cannot post it here as then I'd have one friend less ;) .. but it would demonstrate what the opposite of flattery means pretty well !
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
best street and portrait lens
,
best street portrait lens
,
lens for street portrait
,
nikon what does prime mean
,
street portrait lens
,
street portrait rules
,
street portraiture pdf
,

what does fmw mean on facebook

,
what does prime portrait mean