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Thread: 85mm lens for portrait

  1. #1

    Default 85mm lens for portrait

    May I know why is a 85mm lens much favoured by photographers for portraits? I only have a 50 mm f/1.8, and sometimes I have to step back a steps to get the whole person in the frame. So isn't the 85mm lens a bit too long?

    Also, for closeup shots of the face, I find that most of the subject's head is cropped off a little in the pictures I see in magazines. Why is that so?

    Thanks for enlightening me

  2. #2

    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Well, it depends of what portraits you like to shoot. For me, I prefer head-shots that are tightly cropped. Hence I use a 105mm on my 1.6x crop body which then gives about 165mm. I almost never use 50mm as I find it too crop yet not wide enough for my purposes at crop factor of 80mm. I do also have a 85mm f/1.4 which gives an equilivant crop of 135mm. I use this for half-body to head and shoulders portraits. Full body portraits I use 35mm.

    I'm not a magazine designer so I cant claim to know much about why it is so, but the best guess I can make is that its usually shot quite wide with a high resolution camera and then tightly cropped to fill the magazine page.
    5D MII w/16-35L,Sigma 28-70&Nikkors(35f2,85f1.4,105f2.5,180f2.8ED)

  3. #3

    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Sorry! Laggy connection made this a double post.
    Last edited by JoshSiao; 7th November 2007 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Sorry! Laggy connection made this a double post.
    5D MII w/16-35L,Sigma 28-70&Nikkors(35f2,85f1.4,105f2.5,180f2.8ED)

  4. #4

    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    JoshSiao have highlight most of differences and applications of the 50mm and the 85mm. All in all it depends of what kind of portrait you are shooting to use which lens. Not all portraits need to be full body. Take creative liberty!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    85mm is longer than 50mm, it offers a narrower perspective, and makes the subject facial features more pleasing to the viewer's eyes, hence it is considered as "portraits lens". In the old days, the "portrait lens" was a 100mm or 105mm, but it seems to be too long for DSLR with a crop factor.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Astin View Post
    85mm is longer than 50mm, it offers a narrower perspective, and makes the subject facial features more pleasing to the viewer's eyes, hence it is considered as "portraits lens". In the old days, the "portrait lens" was a 100mm or 105mm, but it seems to be too long for DSLR with a crop factor.
    With a wider angle of view, you tend to compress features
    With a narrower angle of view, you tend to stretch features

    thus, in order to give a better proportion, most shooters would opt for a focal length in between 80mm - 140mm to give the most accurate definition.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  7. #7

    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    With a wider angle of view, you tend to compress features
    With a narrower angle of view, you tend to stretch features

    thus, in order to give a better proportion, most shooters would opt for a focal length in between 80mm - 140mm to give the most accurate definition.
    shouldn't it be the other way around?

  8. #8
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by J-Chan View Post
    shouldn't it be the other way around?
    My apologies... mixed up the 2 of them...
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    With a wider angle of view, you tend to compress features
    With a narrower angle of view, you tend to stretch features

    thus, in order to give a better proportion, most shooters would opt for a focal length in between 80mm - 140mm to give the most accurate definition.
    When u say 80 - 140mm, is it the lens focal length for 1.6 / 1.5 DSLRs or the actual 35mm crop?

  10. #10
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    i do not think he is referring to cropped sensors.

    Ryan

  11. #11
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: 85mm lens for portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by cykic View Post
    When u say 80 - 140mm, is it the lens focal length for 1.6 / 1.5 DSLRs or the actual 35mm crop?
    Film format... the crop does not affect this and thus, most users still opt for this range eve with a cropped sensor.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

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