Is 85mm really ideal for portraits?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by adamhiram, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Quick update - I decided to go with 135mm, specifically the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art lens for Nikon F-mount, adapted to Z-mount for use on a Z6II. 105mm probably would have been more useful for indoor shoots, but I already have an 85mm that I am happy with and I didn't feel like 105mm was enough of a difference in perspective to justify the cost. I think the longer focal length will be great for outdoor shoots, particularly when maintaining social distance is needed, and the large aperture should come in handy when I want a shallow depth of field. Thanks for the great discussion!


     
  2. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recommend you take a look at the 135 2.o dc. Rockwell considers it the bokeh king. Angry photographer considers it only slightly second best to the 105 dc for portraits and he detests Sigma. This is a real art lens. Only 7 elements instead of 13 and it will render depth and a 3d look instead of flat and with way better micro contrast will captures more low energy shadow detail sucked out and reflected away by nearly twice as much glass. Color of skin is gorgeous based on how the reds are captured. Oh, and a used one can be had for less than $700. They are built like a tank and can be used on your film slrs as well. It is still made unchanged since 1994 for a reason, because folks that know a killer lens still buy new ones. I am teaching a class tomorrow and will be shooting outdoor natural light+reflector shots with the backgrounds in my back yard, a 200 yd long pond with docks and trees, an oak tree the size of the Keebler tree, shrubbery and a board fence with character. The lens is super sharp and renders backgrounds like budda. One of my favorite lenses. Don't listen to the folks who don't know how to use it with the CA issues. CA is minor and can be corrected in post. Can't add depth rendition, missing shadow detail and that bokeh in post.
     
  3. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have been intrigued by the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC for years, and would have considered it for a DSLR. However it is manual focus only when adapted to work on a Nikon Z body, which made it a non-starter for me. The only film SLR I still have is a Minolta X-700 that just sits on a shelf looking pretty these days.

    I had a chance to try the Sigma 135mm when I picked up my Z6II, and other than being quite heavy, I liked it a lot. It is incredibly sharp even wide open, albeit a bit clinical, and relatively fast autofocus for f/1.8.
     

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