Sigma 105mm macro for portraits?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Johnboy2978, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  2. StreetShark

    StreetShark TPF Noob!

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    I heard the best thing to use for portraits is something close to a 70mm f/2.8 prime
     
  3. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    I've had this same conversation with someone recently. Apparently the point of most non-distortion at a "portrait" is 105 - 110mm... so therefore a 70mm lens for digital is what you want.

    However I've personally seen a LOT of people using the 50mm 1.8 lenses for portraits becauce they are cheap and fast.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know if there really is a specific focal length that is best for portraits. The important point is that longer focal lengths will 'compress' the subject which is usually more flattering for portraits. The opposite if course is that wide angle lenses tend to accentuate the distance between things which isn't so good for portraits.

    100mm gets recommended, I think, because if you start to get too much longer, it becomes less practical for portraits. I'm sure portraits would look good from a 600mm F4 lens...but you would have to be like 50 meters from your subject...and the lens would be really heavy.

    To make a long story short, I'm sure the Sigma 105mm is a good portrait lens.
     
  5. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    The two most common portrait lenses are 85 and 135. Anywhere in between there is fine.
     
  6. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    It might be a bit too sharp!! :)
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's actually the other way around. Macro lenses are designed with a flat field to be used up close. When you back up with them, the flat field is actually a slight detriment to sharpness. Don't misunderstand, it will be plenty sharp, but just a touch softer than a similar design without a flat field and not quite as sharp as it is up close.

    Incidentally, while I've done very, very little portraiture in my life, I have often used the equivalent of a 300mm lens on a 35mm camera. Of course, I've done some with wide angles too. You get the flattering perspective by backing away from the subject. Then you use a longer lens to fill the frame. How long a lens depends on how far back you are and how much of the subject needs to fill the frame. On a digital, I would think anything from 30mm for full figure up to 200mm for a head shot would be fine. As mentioned above, there aren't any rules.
     
  8. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    would 105mm be too long on a dslr sensor? Effectively it would crop as a 158mm on my pentax. Would I be better off going w/ a 70mm macro? I would really like the functionality of both the macro capability and something I could use for portraits. Thanks
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's only too long if you can't back up. So if you are shooting in tight locations, then it may be too long. It also depends on the size of your subject...are you shooting head shots or full body shots? etc.
     
  10. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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