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hotrodman Feb 5, 2007 10:46 PM

I was wondering if anyone could tell me what would be the better lens for portraits the 35mm marco or the 50mm marco or is there something else out there for portraits. Thanks (PAT) :? useing e-500 camera.

kenbalbari Feb 6, 2007 12:35 PM

If you really need a dedicated portrait lens, I don't think you can beat the 50mm f2 for that purpose.

The 35mm f3.5 may do good portraits, but aside from the macro ability I don't think it really gives anything more than the 40-150mm f3.5-4.5. That lens is typically very sharp at 40mm. In the popular photogrphy SQF tests it tested better at 40mm that the new Leica 14-50mm did at 50mm.

The 50mm f2 is a stop and half faster, which gives you more ability to use a narrow depth of field to emphasize your subject by blurring the background (with some very good 'bokeh'). And, it's sharper. It had the highest scores on the pophoto SQF tests of any lens I've seen to date:

And this pretty much confirms what the photozome tests showed a year earlier:

But there, I'd also consider whether you might not be served as well by a more flexible zoom. The 50-200mm is only a stop slower, and also very sharp, with great bokeh. And it's alot more flexibile, covering a 100mm-400mm equivalent range. When you have the room to do so, you might even find it beneficial to use some of that zoom for portraits. You also might find you could get by with the 14-54mm f2.8-3.5.

For example photos for each lens, pbase is a great place to look. You get a good idea of what their capable of just browsing a bit through the results of each lens (just refresh a page to get more random samples from user galleries).

A few interesting examples I found quickly (first 2 with the 50mm, next 2 the 50-500):

hotrodman Feb 6, 2007 7:39 PM

thank you kenbalbari i order the 50mm marco i well be posting some photos in the future of some portraits. thanks again (PAT) :cool:

soccermax15 Feb 6, 2007 8:49 PM

I am using an E-500 and outdoor soccer season is coming up faster than I would like. There are going to be several night games that I am going to shooting at and I was wondering what would be the best lens to use for shooting night games because right now I'm using the 40-150mm but I am not sure if that is going to have a long enough range. any help would be greatly appreciated.

stowaway7 Feb 7, 2007 5:29 AM

soccermax15 wrote:

I am using an E-500 and outdoor soccer season is coming up faster than I would like. There are going to be several night games that I am going to shooting at and I was wondering what would be the best lens to use for shooting night games because right now I'm using the 40-150mm but I am not sure if that is going to have a long enough range. any help would be greatly appreciated.
I've used the same lens for my son's baseball games and while it is indeed good quality for the price the reach is a bit lacking for those across-the-field shots. No experience at night.

kenbalbari Feb 7, 2007 6:07 AM

You're not going to get too much shooting soccer at night. Hopefully the facility is well lit?

You've got a pretty big field to cover for soccer, so even a 200mm lens (400mm equivalent) there won't be as much as you might like. And you obviously need someting that's still bright at full zoom.

But, to get both long telephoto, and fast or bright glass, can cost a small fortune. A fixed 300mm f2.8 for example, whether it's from Canon, Nikon, Olympus or Pentax, runs in the neighborhood of $5,000. So does the pro level Zuiko 90-250 f2.8. And those still would have a hard time wih action at night.

Assuming that's a bit out of your price range, you would probably have to make do with the 50-200mm f2.8-3.5. But really that would be more of a good daytime soccer lens.

The other lens worth a mention is the 150mm f2. It wouldn't give you any more reach, but at f2 it would be about 5 times as bright as the 40-150 at 4.5, and it would be about 3 times as bright as the 50-200mm. You might find that that's what you really would need to get even useable action shots at night, even on a well lit field.

If you do decide to give it a go with the 50-200mm, to have a chance there you would likley need to shoot in RAW, use ISO 1600, and have good noise reduction software for processing.

Jason.Phuah Feb 21, 2007 4:30 AM

Hi ... I've been following this 35mm or 50mm for potraits discussion. Please do let us know your own findings. I'm also holding out between the 35mm and 50mm. Read in some other forum (can't remember which!) thatthe 50mm hunts a bit in low light at f2 ... is that true? Getting the 35mm f3.5 when the kit's already 14-45 f3.5 seems a bit silly ... or maybe not? Can't decide ... Jason

HarjTT Feb 21, 2007 5:04 AM

Regards the 35 and 50mm macro lenses from memory only the 50mm f2's actually been recommended for portrait work although why I'm not 100% sure.



:? :O

stowaway7 Feb 21, 2007 5:36 AM

The first lens for my E-1 was the 35mm (I've got a thing for primes). I don't do much macro work but got it as an inexpensive walk-around lens. I love the lightweight design (my E-1 with 14-54 can get very heavy on a long day of shooting) andI have found the results to be tack-sharp. I'll admit that the $200 savings over the 50mm was a driving factor in my purchase, but I have no regrets. The field-of-view is versatile for many situations and yes, it will get CLOSE when you need it to. To the comment from Jason.Phuah on the 14-45 being f/3.5 already...I think at the 35mm focal length you're more than 3.5 (someone with that lens chime in if I'm mistaken). The macro/prime is fixed at that aperture.

kenbalbari Feb 21, 2007 3:59 PM

The kit 14-45 lenses are only f5.6 at 45mm. Probably about f4.5 at 35mm. It's the second kit, the 40-150mm which starts at 40 f3.5 which will be nearly the same as 35mm f3.5. But keep in mind that the 40-150 kit for the new E-400 is only f4-5.6. The 14-54 lens would also do 35mm at f3.5 (or even about 3.1-3.2).

But I'm beginning to rethink my advice above a bit. I think the reason this isn't recommeded as much for portraiture may be simply that it's very new, and hasn't been tested as much. Wrotniak lists this as being available in 2005, but I think it may be one of those that (in typical Olympus fashion lately) was announced then and not actually available until fairly recently. I seem to remember it being a fairly recent item when Donna got hers.

If Olympus's MTF charts can be believed, however, this is arguably the sharpest Zukio lens available for under $1000:


The 11-22 and 14-54 are shown sharper in the center. But what's impressive is how sharp they have the 35mm f3.5 out past 10mm from center, with virtually no astigmatism. With a 21.5mm diagnol on the sensor, 11mm from center covers the entire image circle. Also, if comparing with others, note that Olympus uses 20lpmm and 60lpmm charts, where some others might use 10lpmm and 40lpmm.

But there's only so much you can tell from MTF. To really see how the lens fares I'd like to see what it actually does as a portrait lens. I only see 3 images on pbase from this lens, all macro shots. In theory, it could be very good, and is probably a steal at $200. And if you are picky, for serious work it may be worth it for the advantage in edge to edge sharpness over the zooms. The 50 f2 on the other hand is well proven as a very good portrait lens (though 100mm EFL might be a bit long in some indoor situations). And the 50-200 is maybey still top dog (without getting into the top pro line) for the things it's fast glass and 9 blade apperture can do with backrground blur.

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