View Poll Results: Are macro lenses too sharp for portraits?

66. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    12 18.18%
  • No

    54 81.82%
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Thread: Macro lenses too sharp for portraits?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Macro lenses too sharp for portraits?

    I'm not sure, but I don't think anyone was considering the overly soft, dreamy images of eras past. At least not me.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Macro lenses too sharp for portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by frederickykfoo View Post
    Love to use Macro lenses for portraits as it give very hard and well define images and details. It is easy to soften hard image with filters or PP. Very hard to harden or sharpen soft images.
    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    too sharp can make blur
    too blur cannot make sharp
    To each his own, but a portrait taken under excessive contrast situation or a lens that rendered excessive contrast is not pleasant to look at, if we use the classic defintion of portrait in the sense of perhaps a beautiful lady photo.

    But if we go away from that and look at some portraits that accentuate texture, like a very old person with strong lines in face, the situation may be the reverse.

    So to me it is not too sharp but too much contrast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Actually no rule to say one cannot use macro lens to shoot portraits.

    But macro lenses are super corrected to deliver maximum resolution, high contrast and very low or almost no optical abberations.

    At higher levels in the past, portrait masters look for lenses with specific optical balances to deliver still sharp, but not clinical results.
    I tend to agree with this observation.

    Speaking from Nikon perspective, I had used AF 60mm f/2.8 micro (both D and non-D versions) and I had avoided taking portraits with them. Think this lens did not give a pleasant rendition of a beautiful woman. Never used the AF 105mm f/2.8 micro but heard that it is the same.

    My view was affected my lenses as well, as I have AF 85mm f/1.8 and AiS 105mm f/2.5 at the same time as the micro, and my opinion (then) was that the micro nikkors then just don't compare well when used as portrait lenses. The two lenses never left me and still get lots of shooting time whenever portraits come up.

    This view has recently changed, with my acquisition of the AFS 60mm f/2.8G micro Nikkor, and even more recently the AFS 105mm f/2.8G micro Nikkor. The AFS 60mm f/2.8G gave beautiful bokeh and is not too contrasy, and definitely useful as a portrait lens. My more limited experience with the AFS 105mm f/2.8G micro Nikkor is also the same, and will certainly use it for portraits.

    I have to do more tests to determine if I might just pack the two micro nikkors for portraits, but in a pinch will not hesitate to use either of them for portraits.

    I can't speak about the Tokina, Sigma, Tamron or Canon, since I have no experience with them.

    So you need to do your own test, preferably with a true portrait lens like the AF 85mm f/1.8D or better still the f/1.4. Then decide. But sometimes you may have to decide to live with some limitation if you want lenses that do more than 1 function.

    A poll is just a poll, you get a result, but it remains a statistic. So what if many says you can use macro lens as portrait lens? So what if some say you should not? You have to decide, not based on uncle's opinion, or jack down the road, but based on your own shooting.

    BTW I refrained from voting.

    My 2c.
    Last edited by diediealsomustdive; 28th January 2009 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Pandan Gardens

    Default Re: Macro lenses too sharp for portraits?

    personally, i have used a macro lens for portraits.

    it was the canon 50 f/2.5 macro lens.

    i have to say, i didn't find anything too sharp about the lens. it was pretty soft wide open, actually. in fact, the non-macro 50 f/1.8 that i use now is much sharper than the f/2.5 one wide open.

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