Would like recomondation for a Canon lens for portrait work

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Dave, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Dave

    Dave Guest


    I have a Canon 20D and would like a non-zoom lens to do portrait shots.
    Face, upper body, full body. I know that I have a 1.6 sensor ratio to

    I see Canon has a couple for 35mm and 50mm lenses with f stops of f/1.4 and
    f/2, etc. I like the USM feature and small f stop.

    My desired effect is to have a shallow depth of field (i.e.: subject's head
    shot, sharp, background blurred out).

    Would the lenses I listed work? Or, should I consider a longer lens? Most
    of my work will be outdoors, but some may be indoors so I don't want to have
    too long of a lens.

    Thanks for your advice,
    Dave, Apr 27, 2006
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  2. Dave

    Greg \_\ Guest

    A 75 mm to 105 mm focal length lens is considered optimal for
    head shots-On a 35mm principle.
    Greg \_\, Apr 27, 2006
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  3. Dave

    Bill Guest

    A 50mm effectively turns into an 80mm with the crop factor, so it would
    be ideal for typical portrait work. Even the inexpensive f/1.8 models
    are decent for this.

    For full body, a 35mm would become a 56mm which would be ok depending on
    the working range.
    Bill, Apr 27, 2006
  4. The 135mm soft-focus Canon lens looks great, but with the 1.6
    magnification factor, that would be a bit long for general use.
    Randall Ainsworth, Apr 27, 2006

  5. The 50mm f/1.4 would be a good choice. The f/1.8 has pretty poor bokeh so
    it's not ideal
    Simon Stanmore, Apr 27, 2006
  6. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    "bokeh", damn how I hate that term. Makes no sense to any English speaking
    person. I think it is time to come up with a good buzz word for what it
    entails, especially after reading the chiding comments by the originators
    of the word usage. Even BSF would be better.
    RW+/-, Apr 28, 2006
  7. Dave

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    I hate the b-word, too, and refuse to use it. The alternate "schmuckle" was
    put forth here a while back (Alan, I think). It failed to catch on.
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 28, 2006
  8. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    Glad to know I'm not the only one. :)

    BSF= Background Soft Focus
    or SDOF=Shallow depth of Field

    Hmmmm, I'll have to keep thinking on one....
    RW+/-, Apr 28, 2006
  9. Dave

    Taswolf Guest

    how about "softground" ?
    Taswolf, Apr 28, 2006
  10. What cracks me up is the people who are more concerned with how things
    look out of focus rather than how sharp a lens is. Psssst...you've got
    it backwards.
    Randall Ainsworth, Apr 28, 2006
  11. I don't think we have.
    Every area within the four edges that make up a creative photograph plays an
    equal role in its success or failure as a strong image.
    The OP stated shallow DOF portraiture was his use for the lens. Therefore
    its bokeh is more important than its sharpness. These are 50mm's we're
    discussing in any case. They're all more than sharp enough
    Simon Stanmore, Apr 28, 2006
  12. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    In which case the term SDOF makes far more sense and far more
    understandable. I agree with Randall, by and large all us fokeh's should be
    more concerned with fokeh than bokeh. Let those broke back types be
    concerned with the latter. ;)

    Regarding sharpness, why would anyone want sharp for a portrait? There are
    plenty of filters around that are/can be used for portraiture, some with no
    glass in the center, and that "hole" can be purchased in various sizes.
    Myself, I used a 100mm portrait lens for years, which also included disks
    to vary the SDOF and sharpness. The shot is further controlled by lighting,
    and speed. Not much good on today's dSLR perhaps but might still be useful.

    I haven't looked to see if the same thing was made in 50mm size, but given
    that photography is changing I see no reason why they shouldn't make one.

    Heh, I suppose it might just be wise to get a full frame chip camera and
    I'll have the best 35mm portrait camera around since I can use that 100mm
    portrait lens after all!

    If people want to shoot portraits in a phone booth then there is no lens
    with good SDOF. set up a studio properly with lights, distance etc. then
    SDOF shouldn't be much of a problem.
    RW+/-, Apr 29, 2006
  13. Dave

    JPS Guest

    In message <280420060543416255%>,
    JPS, Apr 29, 2006
  14. Dave

    C J Southern Guest

    Huh? You're kidding right?
    C J Southern, Apr 29, 2006
  15. Dave

    J. Clarke Guest

    No, he's not. Sharpness in a portrait is generally rather unflattering.
    J. Clarke, Apr 29, 2006
  16. Dave

    Paul Furman Guest

    SDOF is a different issue, 'Fast' covers that.

    BSF is pretty good or BQ [Blur Quality] if you want to go brokeback with
    it :)

    'Soft Blur/Harsh Blur'?

    Personally I think bokeh is fine, it just takes a while to get used to
    using it. There is a certain Zen mentality about the concept which makes
    Japanese perfectly suited for the term.

    OOF [Out Of Focus] just plain sucks... linguistically speaking.

    PS bokeh also refers to someone old, confused & fuzzy-minded so that
    works well with COC [Circle of Confusion].

    'Good Blur Blobs'
    'Bad Blur Blobs'

    : - )
    Paul Furman, Apr 29, 2006
  17. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    Possibly, but such a strange fascination with "quality or style" of part of
    a picture that is intended to not detract from the image. Now I suppose we
    will see people looking for a lens that specifically gives an ethereal
    aura. :)

    This is something that seems best left to post processing.
    Heh, some good idea's there!
    RW+/-, Apr 29, 2006
  18. Dave

    Paul Furman Guest

    Oh no, not superficial at all, it's religious man. It's deeep.

    That can work for adding a soft glow or taking excessive sharpness out
    of a sexy portrait but no way to fake overlapping focus planes with blur.

    Paul Furman, Apr 29, 2006
  19. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    This, in digital photography, was brought home rather strongly when after
    shooting some old tombstones on the floor of churches in France that were
    somewhat worn because of people walking on them over the centuries when
    viewed afterwards were every bit as sharp and detailed as when they were
    first made. At first I thought, WOW! what a great way of restoring old
    stone artwork, then I thought of what it was really doing to facial

    It reminded me of a time when I took a shot of my mother-in-law whose face
    had a lot of lines. It was really sharp, and taken with film. I loved the
    picture for its character, called that picture "old Indian woman" she was
    not a weather worn Indian, and she was *not* pleased with the picture.
    Everyone but her loved that picture. I don't think she ever forgave me for

    I still love that picture for its character.
    RW+/-, Apr 29, 2006
  20. Dave

    RW+/- Guest

    RW+/-, Apr 29, 2006
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