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Old Nov 17, 2009, 10:10 AM   #11
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Then again, there's

(1/60", f/10, ISO 100, 17mm) and

(1/13", f/13, ISO 100, 24mm.)

P.S.: These are copied from Brian Smith's gallery in Sony's Digital Darkroom website.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
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Last edited by TCav; Nov 17, 2009 at 10:12 AM.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 10:11 AM   #12
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You are now running into an issue common on the internet. It's a challenge when trying to find out answers to questions on different aspects of photography. The reality is all 3 of us are trying to help but unless I missed something none of the three of us do studio photography. The best advice I can give is - when you want to do a specific type of photography - you want to seek out photographers who do that type. They're in the best position to give you good advice. You have to be careful when you say 'portrait' because there are all different types of portraits. Different types of portraits - outdoor, environmental, studio all have their differences.

You want to do studio work with backdrops. The path to the least amount of confusion is to find people that actually do that type of photography. And, shockingly enough - a Nikon, Pentax or Oly user who does studio work can give you better guidance than a Canon user who does not. It's why gear-centric forums are often a bad place to ask for that advice and why genre-centric forums are better.

So, I would suggest looking in the Studio and People forums here and look for people who actually DO studio work - preferably ones who post photos of studio results. Those are the people that are going to give the best answers without confusing you further like the 3 of us have done.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 11:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
"Most pros shoot portraits with a short zoom lens, and one of their most favorite focal lengths is the 85-100mm range. In fact, telephoto lenses in this range are often called portrait lenses because they let you shoot from a good working distance (10-12 feet from your subject, giving you and your subject some breathing room, while letting you still fill the frame with your subject), but more importantly, shooting with focal lengths between 85-100 eliminates the unflattering facial distortions wide angle lenses are notorious for, while avoiding the compression long telephoto lenses give. Some portrait pros swear that the 85mm focal length is the portrait sweet spot, others, at 100mm." Page 112.

He also writes:

"So now that you know which lens to use, believe it or not, there is a special aperture that seems ot work best for most portrait photography. when it comes to portraits, f/11 is the ticket because it provides great sharpness and depth on the face, which gives you a great overall look for most portrait photography" Page 113.
f/11 is 1/2 way between f/8 and f/16 so the author kind of splits the difference...
The concensus is that for 'studio' shoot the lens is usually required to be closed down for max. sharpness and contrast (coming from the brighter strobes output)
-> The f/2.8 only comes into play because one needs a bright lens to see and compose in the darkened studio (and for the camera AF to work in low-light with its higher precision focusing points)

With regard to the focal lenght there's no right or wrong for portrait:
1. For tight head shots then the longer lens will do - The issue here is if the studio is small then there's might not be enough room to step back with a 70-200
2. With a shorter focal lenght one can get 3/4 lenght headshot as well as walk closer to get a tighter crop on the face: Lady in Red

Outdoor outside the studio though, unlike the author, I would exploit fully "the compression long telephoto lenses" effect of a long tele to screen out the background... Here's an example with a 400mm: [Recovered Thread: 104309]

Last edited by NHL; Nov 17, 2009 at 5:03 PM.
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