macro for protraits?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by misol, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    Anyone using macro lenses for portraits? Could you post some examples?
     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    A macro is no different than any other lens at that length. Just a macro allows closer focusing than a normal lens. So if you have a 60mm macro, you will get the same results as a 60mm normal lens (as long as the quality of the lenses are the same). Same goes for a 105mm and 180mm. The differnece lies when you get in very close to say take a picture of just the subjects eye. The macro will allow you to fill the frame with the eye. The normal lens may only allow you to get close enough to fill 3/4 of the frame. But at portrait lengths, there is no difference.

    Have to remember with portraits the closer you get the more chance you will get unwanted distortions of prominent features like noses. The longer the lens the less the distortion but deppending on how close you get, it will appear.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All the time. I use the Sigma 105mm F/2.8 lens.

    It's basically just a really sharp 105mm lens that is good for portraits with an awesome macro lens.

    This is a macro shot of a memory chip (well as single cell of a memory chip... lol)
    [​IMG]

    I know it's not a macro, but I am not at home, and I do not have any portraits of this lens on flickr. But this at least serves as an idea.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. EhJsNe

    EhJsNe TPF Noob!

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    I dont see why not!

    A macro lens will focus anywhere between 1:1 and infinity....so as long as your subject is somewhere in between, you can get the shot you want!
     
  5. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    thanks. I remember reading somewhere that macros can be really great for portraits because of the versatility they bring. I was wondering if more people found that to be true.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Macro functionality doesn't define the level of quality that it can take a portrait. Some of the best portrait lenses IN THE WORLD do not have macro capabilities.

    A macro can get closer to a face, but like how close does one need to go to get a portrait? With the Sigma 105mm Macro, I can get to within 12 inches and make that zit on the bride's nose look like a volcano... if that is what you want, a macro is for you... lol

    What makes a lens a good portrait lens are:

    1. it is over 70mm and therefore doesn't introduce visible distortions to the face also known as chipmunk cheeks). 85mm and up make great portrait lenses.

    2. it is SHARP

    3. it is CLEAR

    4. it is CONTRASTY

    5. it doesn't introduce distortion or other artifacts like chromatic aberration, pin cushioning and so on

    6. it focuses quickly and ACCURATELY

    7. it is FAST. It has a constant aperture of F/2.8 or bigger (numerically smaller).

    These traits more than anything else define a good portrait lens.
     
  7. EhJsNe

    EhJsNe TPF Noob!

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    Soft focus is an option for portraits also, unless portrait photographers enjoy paying a lot for lenses that just plain suck :lol: (those camera companies must have AMAZING people working in marketing, the company design a lens and it doesnt focus to great, so sell it as an amazing "Soft focus" portrait lens and add a few hundred dollars to what its worth :p)

    Well I guess you would want sharp....then add any softening in PP, or use a soft focus filter....whatever works......most the time you dont want to use soft focus on male portraits....the soft focus gives the picture a "dreamy" look....heres an example I found on google images: http://static-p4.fotolia.com/jpg/00/10/76/17/400_F_10761798_1YMu2XdqC95HrmW3BSSplCaJLgRl7fjz.jpg Ive got a picture of my aunt that uses the soft focus a little better, I can send that to you if you really want a better example.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One always wants a lens that is sharp. You can take a sharp pic and make it out of focus in post or in camera... but you cannot take an out of focus shot and make it sharp. ;)
     
  9. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    You've all forgotten the most important defining characteristic of a Macro lens aside from the ability to focus 1:1 or greater. Macro lenses are designed to flatten perspective. That can be a downside to using them for portraits.
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ... only if you are trying to take portraits at macro distances otherwise, that flattening effect is not visible.
     
  11. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    What makes you think that?
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ^^ What makes YOU think that. I mean the Nikkor 105, for instance, is a killer macro lense IMO, but if I'm shooting it as a 105mm prime, why is there a "flattening perspective"? Something I've never noticed. As Ricky often said..... "You got some 'splaining to do".
     

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