Your Favorite Portrait Focal Length

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by elemental, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    When I started out, I shot mostly landscapes at 18mm (28mm equivalent) on my K100D.

    Now, I'm shooting landscapes, street photos, abstracts, and pretty much anything else that catches my eye at 50mm (on 35mm cameras, so it's a "true" 50mm. 50 on digital would be way too long). I have a telephoto that got thrown in with one of my cameras, but I have yet to shoot a frame with it. As far as I am concerned, 50mm (or equivalent) is the perfect focal length for my "everyday" shooting, to the extent that I think the reason that I don't shoot digital much these days is that I hate my slow kit zooms and the viewfinder just doesn't focus well. I guess I'm spoiled by my Ricoh's split-image finder.

    I've been looking to try shooting some portraits, since it's A) been sorely neglected in my photographic development this far and B) seems like more or less the only way anyone ever gets paid doing this. I'll probably end up splitting time between my 18-55mm at 55mm (f/5.6 ugh) and my 50mm f/2 manual K-mount lens (can you say "hit-or-miss?"). Actually, come to think of it, my 50-200mm is faster around 50mm than my 18-55mm, not that that's saying much.



    So, that rant notwithstanding, what is your favorite portrait focal length?
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    85mm.

    135mm would come in second I guess.
     
  3. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    My 105mm 2.8 macro doubles as a great portrait lens. The nifty-fifties are nice, but a little too wide IMO for portraits. The longer focal length gives a little better subject compression.
     
  4. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    if you can pick up a 85mm f/1.4 I highly recommend it. A friend of mine with k mount gear let me run a roll of film through his and it's spectacular. It may be a tad long on your sensor or it may suite you nicely. The only problem is that it can go from $750 to $1000. My frugal and forward looking friend picked his up when they were $450!

    If you are on a budget the Jupiter 9 85mm f/2 is a sweet little screw mount lens with a great reputation and the Pentax SMC M 85mm f/2 is a decent lens.
     
  5. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

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    I like 70 or 135
     
  6. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    about 80mm... nice and bright! :thumbup:
     
  7. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    85mm no doubt. It's a great length, and with a prime you can make the background disappear.

    [​IMG]
     

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smc-m 85mm