hmm.. curious why no one mentioned slower AF on macro lenses ( yup, despite with USM and focus limiter).
Be it macro or general purpose lens, if your shot is sharp, the pores, the texture of the face will surely be seen. And needless to say, any flaws on the skin as well.
Now, as for AF speed, they are not slow at all, especially for portraiture, as the range of distance is pretty small. Moreover, unlike sports or any fast actions, you don't need fast AF.
Do not be afraid [of ghost and bullies] Shoot them......
haha. for me it's just the focal length that stops me from using it. too long for use indoors. if not it'd be the perfect portrait lens. oh, i'm using 60mm btw, guess most of the peeps here are on 100mm.
The micro lens and the ordinary lens biggest distinction is the Maximum reproduction ratio, focusing distance nearer the differ is bigger, the depth of field is also shallower. Because of the Closest focusing distance and the reproduction ratio differ , so you can use the 60mm or 55mm micro lines to take a face close-up shoot, if use the normal 50mm lens you may only got up to shoulders shot.
here's a point made by someone on photo.net, who obviously took more than just a moment to dwell on his logic:
There is nothing like a razor sharp portrait that has no flaws.Just ask several decades worth of hasslblad users....
another person arguing against "macro lenses being too sharp", logic does make sense:
http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00SMcDWhether facial flaws will show up depends more on your lighting than the relative sharpness of your lens. Nowadays, softening effects can be easily and quickly applied in post-processing to make this a moot point anyway. Finally, I don't think you can have a "too sharp" lens.
you want sharpness? then you are going to get more resolving of detail.
it's weird, first we care about whether a lens is sharp, then we ask if it's too sharp.
Sharp? Don't you all love glass eyes? But still macro lens is hard to produce the creamy bokeh portrait lens have.
if you are referring to depth of field effect, then yes, fair enough, most macro lens have limited maximum aperture compared to normal lens.
bokeh, or the quality of blur is based on many factors.. there is really no such thing as a "portrait" lens. but i am sure that most macro shooters demand good bokeh - hence it is reasonable to expect a macro lens to produce good bokeh, rather than a normal lens.
take for example the pentax 100mm WR macro lens.
special attention to:
Pentax 100mm WR macro lens? Never used before, sample photo from link looks poison to me...
Anyway "portrait" lens is a habits of people who name it after the lens they mostly use for taking portrait shots...
Mostly a 35mm onwards, its something like "walkabout" lens.
Last edited by wootsk; 18th February 2010 at 08:45 AM.
There are many aspects to a lens performance than sharpness... there is the rendering of out-of-focus areas (hate to use the word bk), contrast, light fall-off (or vignette).
Sharpness can be achieved through higher resolution, higher contrast, or at the pp step introducing sharpening.
So conventional wisdom goes: portrait lens should have high resolution, but lower contrast to render the features but not in an ugly sense. Take a photo and up the contrast and progressively you'll see increasing perceived sharpness but it gets ugly, ditto with unsharp mask.
And conventionally macro lenses are designed to have higher contrast than portrait lenses - for the intended purpose a bit more contrast is good. And back in the old days macro lenses are typically optimized for the intended range, which is from 1:2 to about 1:4, the rest of the range are a compromise. So the wisdom goes portrait is ok, as the distance is still relatively close, but infinity performance would not be good for macro lens.
The converse is also true - push a non-macro lens to do macro work like using an extension tube to get 1:1, you will see corners softening - not obvious if you chase bugs, very obvious if you do copy work.
I am sure we all love sharpness, but if the perceived sharpness comes from higher level of contrast, we may not love it. And portraitures - one of the functions, is to put things nicely, or put in a rose tinted glasses, so to speak; or to emphasize the lines on the face of the subject....
For the longest time I've used the Nikon AiS 105mm f/2.5 for portraiture, then the AF 85mm f/1.8. In recent months I have used the AFS 60mm f/2.8G Micro Nikkor and was surprised by the nice oof rendering, and pleasant skin tones. So far I perceive my AFS 105mm f/2.8G Micro Nikkor as "harder" - more contrast than desired when used for portraits - but have not investigated thoroughly.
My point is - macro lens could have too high a contrast for your liking when used as portrait lens, but then this is also lighting dependent. You need to try out to see if it will fit the purpose, go to CS BnS, test it out, don't like, sell it. Like it, go ahead with it.
But I do have the luxury of choosing between AFD 50mm f/1.8, AFS 50mm f/1.4G, AFS 60mm f/2.8G Micro Nikkor, AF 85mm f/1.8, AiS 105mm f/2.5, AFS 105mm f2.8G Micro Nikkor, AFD 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor. So you will pardon me if I normally grab a portrait lens to do portrait, a micro nikkor to do macro...
Last edited by diediealsomustdive; 18th February 2010 at 09:59 AM.
Home is where the heart is.
For everything else, there's Photoshop.
There are filters to solve most of the problems mentioned.
Alternatively, I borrow mondocheesemonster answer
"For everything else, there's Photoshop."
Anyway, I don't really get the problem.
Not sharp enough also complain (thats normal mostly), too sharp also complain.
Too high contrast also complain, Too low contrast also complain, contrast average also complain.
Whether using macro lens for portraiture is a advantage or not, there is no general answer as it is up to each other style and personal preference. Also limited to many other factors like where and what they are shooting.
The only rule that is required is that the photo turns out to be something good and you are comfortable with it. Else if even you are not comfortable with the photo and post for critic, you are just asking those evil goats to flame you off your roof...