portrait lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Matt.H, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Matt.H

    Matt.H TPF Noob!

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    I would like to try my hand at some basic portraits. What would be the best lens for portrait taking? (that would fit a Minolta bayonet mount(x-700))
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your 50 should just about do the trick.
     
  3. Frequent Traveler

    Frequent Traveler TPF Noob!

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    My favorite "strictly" portrait lens for my Minolta film cameras is a Rokkor-X 135mm F3.5 - though my Rokkor-X 50mm F1.4's are wicked sharp too.

    For B&W, i favor my older 58mm F1.4 - which i think is a little sharper than my Rokkor-X 50mm's have been.

    As for the 135mm F3.5's, they always seem to sell cheaper than the "faster" 135mm F2.8's, but my copies have also always been sharper at every F stop than my 135mm F2.8's. I dunno why, maybe better optical formula.

    The Rokkor-X 85mm and 100mm lenses are very, very popular and prices reflect that popularity as well.

    However, my fave's (50/58 F1.4's and 135mm F3.5) have taken some superb portraits - sharp, that perfect Minolta color, beautiful bokeh (out of focus - OOF - part of the portrait), and have nice contrast.
     
  4. lkavaney

    lkavaney TPF Noob!

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  5. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    First of all, you have to be clear what type of portraiture you are interested in.

    Wide angle lenses can be very useful if you want to include other elements...surroundings, things that can tell a story about the person. This type of environmental portrait is very cool when done well. It´s seen a lot in photojournalism...and many of these photos have become famous.
    But...in general, don´t shoot too close beacuse the face will be distorted, for example resulting in a big nose.

    The 50mm is very useful...you can do nearly everything with this, and the wide max aperture is a big advantage...especially when used wide-open to minimize the depth-of-field.

    The 80 - 200mm is also very useful. You can achieve tighter crops where the subject´s head & shoulders fill the frame, without the distortion that would be seen in close shots made with wider angle lenses. Your Vivitar has a max aperture of about 4.5, right? Use it like that at 150 - 200mm and you will throw the background nicely out of focus, and in addition the lower optical quality when used wide-open will be an advantage...reducing some blemishes and giving you a softer, creamier effect.

    If you are wanting to get the traditional head and shoulders, and raise your standards significantly then I would look for something like an 85mm or 105mm with an aperture around f2...optimal, and it was considered the industry standard. The results should be really beautiful.
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree that for head & shoulder shots the 85 or 105 are great lenses for film, to get a similar prospective in digital, use the 50 or 85. All these lenses should be good, tack sharp and give great results. If you have the space, the 70-200 can give spectacular results. I really like the space compression a 200 can give a portrait. The longer lens shot wide open will blow out the background isolating the subject. Focus should be tack sharp for this to be effective, but the results are worth it.
     

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minolta x-700 portrait lens