85mm: too close??

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by JaimeGibb, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. lextalionis

    lextalionis TPF Noob!

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  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Say... if you have a person or persons in front of your camera. That would be a good time to reach for the 85mm.

    Think of it this way: With you format (camera) [I'm presuming you do not have a "full frame" sensor], the NORMAL focal length is approximately 40mm. So anything shorter than that can be considered as "wide angle" and anything longer than that can be considered as "telephoto."

    There are FIXED FOCAL LENGTH lenses (often times referred to as "prime" lenses), and there are variable focal length lenses which are called ZOOM lenses.

    A lens is also described by it's maximum aperture. So the lens you are questioning is a FIXED FOCAL LENGTH, TELEPHOTO lens with a maximum aperture of f 1.8, which is considered to be pretty "bright" or "fast" for a lens of that length.

    The brighter (or faster) the lens, the less light needed to make a proper exposure. ALSO... the wider the aperture you use, the SHALLOWER the depth of field you achieve. So, with your 85mm... shooting wide open at f 1.8, you will have very shallow depth of field.

    Personally, I feel f 1.8 is not a good choice for shooting kids... or groups... or most portraits. I would choose something between f 4 and f 8, favoring the smaller end of this range.

    Kids move. With a very shallow depth of field, it's likely they will move into and out of acceptable focus. And when posing groups, the subject will likely be too deep to shoot at anything brighter than f 5.6 or f 8.

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete
     
  3. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh... I wanted to add that, on your camera, the 50mm is considered to be a short TELEPHOTO lens, which is a great choice for candids. It would also be fine for full length or group portraits, especially when space is limited.
     
  4. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    The last time I took baby pictures--a two-day old--I used a 35mm lens. I don't like using a flash with babies so a faster--prime--is desireable. For some portrait work I use a 50mm, for some a 77mm, and for some--usually outdoors--a zoom.

    One consideration is how comfortable the subject is with your getting close. I saw a man standing about two feet from someone taking a photo and the subject was clearly upset. On the other hand, if you want a shot that has rapport with the subject, standing 35ft. away can be a problem.

    Keep the lens awhile and play around. See what you like and how it works--for you. You might also do some portrait work with a zoom--good light--and then review the shots and see what focal length you tended to use most often.
     
  5. tpe

    tpe TPF Noob!

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    50mm 1.4 plus 1.4 tc, sounds strange but works a treat, the best of both worlds, in low light keep it at f2 for both combinations, as 1.4 is just a bit to shallow for enough keepers on the 50mm and f2 75mm is still pdg for longer telephoto portraits. It costs less than a 85mm 1.8, is more flexable and I think gives more pleasing focal lengths. just mo 0.2c

    tim

    tim
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hopefully this can clarify prime focal lengths a little. All shots taken at f/4. Camera to subject distance is 42".

    ---------------35mm--------------------------------------50mm---------------------------------85mm-----------
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Apologies for the subject matter. :lol:

    BTW, no cropping or processing - straight out of the camera, just resizing for web.
     
  7. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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    Hahahahaha


    Wow, Kindalini, that actually sums up everything PERFECTLY. And I think I need a 50mm!! Thanks so much for ALL of you guys' help!!!
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I hope that means an addition. :D The 85mm is a sweet lens, you just have to get use to it.
     
  9. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    Is that a pint of Guinness I see before me?
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually, no. To illustrate what we've been discussing, we need shots made with differing camera-to-subject distances so that the head size, in relation to the frame, remains the same in all images. And, we need to know what format camera was used.

    -Pete
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a very good point, especially with adults.

    -Pete
     

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