Portraits (and a new lens!!!!)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hillsong, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Hillsong

    Hillsong TPF Noob!

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    Today was a great day for me. These past few weeks i had been sorely temped by the nikon 50mm f/1.8. I was actually planning on purchasing it yesterday, but as a matter of habit, I typed in "Nikon" into craigslist, and to my great surprise, at the top of the list was an ad for a number of lenses, including a Nikon 50mm f/1.4d lens....for only $225. I called the seller up, talked with him for a bit about the lens, and made a quick, (yet very wise) decision to not buy the f/1.8, find some stuff to sell around the house, and come up with the extra $100. Things fell perfectly into place with a sale at lunch today, and just a few hours ago, I acquired my 50mm 1.4! I couldn't be more thrilled. It is in PRISTINE condition, and came with both caps, a UV filter, the rubber hood, the original box, and the manual. I am so excited to get out and shoot tomorrow!

    On that note, for shooting portraits with people, what aperture do ya'll shoot at with this lense or an equivalent lens? I know that the sharpness gets very close to its peak around f/2.8, but are there times (besides low light) to shoot wide open? Can the depth of field be too for portraits?

    -Hillsong
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Try anywhere from f/2.2 to f/4.8...that range offers shallow depth of field and pretty decent background control at normal to close subject distances. Shooting wide-open is always a +/- kinda' deal...the contrast drops at f/1.4,and the depth of field is pretty shallow as well...I really think stopping down from f/1.4 to f/2 is normally a good move unless one absolutely,positively needs the additional shutter speed that f/1.4 offers over f/2. Congrats on finding something you like for a good price!
     
  3. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Oooh exciting! With a 1.4 lens I will shoot anywhere from 1.8-3.2 typically. I mean if you can grab that awesome bokeh why not right? Typically the wider the better in my books :)
     
  4. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    More than likely, maximum sharpness will come in around f5.6, but that's beside the point. In any case, experiment. The amount of dof is a matter of preference. For portraits, I prefer the whole head in focus. Others like just the eyes. Regardless, for portraits, you should think about getting a 1.4 teleconverter, which will give you a 70mm f2 to play with. I'm sure your lens can take the hit in resolution.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Couldn't agree more, BUT make sure you understand just how shallow the DoF can be. Spend some time with DoF table (Good, on-line version here ) and get to know what the parameters for this lens are, especially in the relatively small camera to subject distances in portraiture. You could well be working with a DoF of less than 3"!

    With this sort of lens, focusing becomes critical, and ensuring that you have your focus point on the right spot (for instance if you're doing a 3/4 profile it's possible to have one eye in focus and one eye soft), which may not always be where you'd first think. You can do amazing things with a 1.4 lens, but it does take a little practice to get them right.

    Now, start saving for the 1.2!! ;)
     
  6. Hillsong

    Hillsong TPF Noob!

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    Do any of you happen to have examples with the data about the aperture, iso, and lighting? I'm just curious the results you all have gotten at various apertures and how they compare.
     
  7. michaelleggero

    michaelleggero TPF Noob!

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    good lens, it's one of the sharpest that nikon has available currently, do some practice shots at different apertures to figure out where you like the depth of field effects

    Mike

    http://michaelleggero.com
     
  8. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Now that you own the lens, go out and experiment. Shot at different apertures/iso/shutterspeed/distances (from subject-to behind subject) and varied lighting conditions. Write down your results...do not delete in camera, view it on your computer screen. The best results you will find are the ones you shoot and review.
    Have fun while doing so...
     
  9. mrshaleyberg

    mrshaleyberg TPF Noob!

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    I love my 1.4. It's amazing! Congrats on the purchase. Have fun with it!
     

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