85mm lens for portrait


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Sep 9, 2007
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#1
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
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.
 

Ah Pao

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#4
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! :)
 

Astin

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#5
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.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#6
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.
 

J-Chan

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Sep 21, 2005
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#7
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? :dunno:
 

cykic

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Feb 15, 2007
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#9
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?
 

giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#10
i do not think he is referring to cropped sensors.

Ryan
 

zac08

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#11
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.
 

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