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Lenses for portraits

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by alaios, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Dear all,
    it is the time to start looking for a second lens, rather than the kit one.
    I want something for portrait shooting that would also allow me to take improved pictures under low light conditions.

    Most people would say that what I need is something like a 50-55mm but I find it that I have to be too close to take and a portrait and usually most people do not want to "cooperate".
    I was thinking for a lense in the order of 80-120mm. Are there any manual focus lenses that will not cost a fortune?

    Regards
    Alex
     
  2. Grisu_HDH

    Grisu_HDH TalkEmount Veteran

    397
    Dec 16, 2012
    Southern Germany
    Markus
    For portraits you really have two complete different ways to go:
    #1 Autofocus:
    for example Sony SEL 50F1.8 with OOS
    #2 Manual Focus
    for example a Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.4 or many many other legacy lenses

    These lenses have a 75mm equivalent focal length which is perfect for portaits.
    The Sony 55-210 isn't that fast, so not really good at low light...
    Manual lenses are a good and can be found cheap too, but remember: No image stabilzer!
     
  3. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    135mm:s are cheap. I have 105mm Tamron that I like but it is rare. One possibility is a long zoom but most old zooms weren't very good and good ones tend to cost something and be heavy. I have tamron 58A 70-210 mm zoom (8 GBP) coming from England (that is probably worst of Tamron SP:s, at least I haven't heard anything good about it [nor do others as the price was so low] ) and then Vivitar Series 1 70-210 mm f:3.5 that is supposedly pretty good even by today standards. Lately I have taken my portraits with Tokina 80-200/4 and it works ok. Nothing very good to show as I have been quite busy and images have been pretty much just testing.

    The 50 mm is ok. You can crop the images and it is much more creative to take more than head shots. There is even a term for this kind of photograph, mugshot.
     
  4. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    468
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    I find that both my 50mm and 90mm lenses do a wonderful job. Only difference is how close I have to stand. Maybe look at one of the Minolta 85mm f/1.7 lenses. If I didn't already have my 90mm Tamron, I'd probably grab one up myself. I might still someday since my Tamron is only a f/2.8...the f/1.7 would be nice for dimmer lighting.
     
  5. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    ...

    These lenses have a 75mm equivalent focal length which is perfect for portaits.
    ...[/QUOTE]

    Why do you call that as perfect? With that focal length the other side needs to "cooperate" and I find it really tough for portraits :(
     
  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I've been following your questions here, Alex, and I'm beginning to suspect that something may be getting lost in translation. So perhaps it would be good for you to tell us exactly what it is you mean by the word "portrait." Because I believe that you may have something other than a portrait in mind when you use the word.

    Usually a portrait is a simple head and shoulders shot of a person, and yes, the subject must "cooperate", or to put it in other words, pose for the picture. Often the background (what little there is) is blurred. There are exceptions, of course, such as an "environmental" portrait, where some of the surroundings are included. But more often than not, a portrait is a posed image of a human head and little else.

    Is that what you mean?
     
  7. Grisu_HDH

    Grisu_HDH TalkEmount Veteran

    397
    Dec 16, 2012
    Southern Germany
    Markus
    Think so too...
    What he means sounds like to snapshot people from a bit a distance without being noticed...
     
  8. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Sometimes they "cooperate"...
    DSC05483-001 (ρυθμ.χρ.).

    ...and sometimes they don't
    DSC04777.


    :D
     
  9. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    ...and it does indeed sounds like Alex is talking about "street photography" :)
     
  10. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    I don't know how much Jupiter 9 85mm f/2 lens is going for nowadays, but it is a good option for nex. It is soft wide open, but it has very nice bokeh with its 15 aperture blades... You can use both m39 or m42 mounts on nex with right adapters.

    Flickr: Jupiter 9 85mm lens
    LZOS Jupiter-9 MC 85mm f/2 M42 Lens Reviews - Russian and Zenitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database


     
  11. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    245
    Sep 20, 2012
    Don't forget that the longer the focal length the higher your shutter speed will need to be to avoid blur from camera motion. With an inexpensive lens like the Minolta 135mm f2.8 you will be aiming for a shutter speed of 1/200 or higher (as 200mm is the equivalent focal length in 35mm terms) and you will have no OSS with a longer lens. With a 50mm 1.8 your shutter speed would need to be around 1/80.
    The longer lens may also be harder to manually focus as the image on the screen 'moves around' more especially if you magnify it to check focus. Something faster like a Minolta MD 85mm f1.7 or Olympus OM 85mm f2.0 will be around 3 or 4 times the price of a 135mm 2.8.
     
  12. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    This one is taken with Pentax M 28/2.8

    DSC00601_zps119379a5.
     
  13. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    245
    Sep 20, 2012
    From £50 to £80 on ebay UK according to completed listings - not bad for an 85mm f2.0:
    Jupiter 9 85mm lens | eBay
     
  14. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Ebay price is about 100 - 200 USD. Too much for me as I have Tamron 105mm/2.5. Will probably get a Tamron 90 mm macro some time.
     
  15. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    On APS-C, with the 1.5x crop factor, 55mm - 58mm are great as they have the similar field of view as full frame 85mm. Some candidates:

    * Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm f/1.8
    * Minolta MC 55mm f/1.7
    * Minolta MC 58mm f/1.4
    * Konica Hexanon 57mm f/1.4

    Of course it also depends on the distance to the subject and whether you want a head shot, head and shoulder shot, half-body, or full-body. I've even used 105mm (Nikkor 105mm f/2.5) for full body shot, example:

    DSC01920.
     
  16. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Yep, you might call it street photography or any other name. Let|s say that I am having you sitting at the other side of the living room, or playing in the garden and I want to zoom to your face and capture it. OF course you might not be looking on me (Camera) but I will be able to capture your expressions while playing. If I use the 50mm I need to come so close that you will notice me which I do not. The idea is even to not notice me so I can capture something more "authentic" of you.

    This is the reason I was considering something like 80-120.
     
  17. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Thanks I might try this one. What is the adapter I need for that lense> One more question, when you find your self needing a new lens, how you search what is available outside, where do you find reviews?
     
  18. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    245
    Sep 20, 2012
  19. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    Well friend, if you're looking for some good lenses for portraits, for less than 50 bucks, let me mention, I love my old Industar-69 28mm f/2.8,essential for street photography and is good for portraits if you want to take something more intimate, the mean too close. This 28mm lens on nex 7 is like 42mm, I like the compact size, cheap and is good.

    Nex7 and Industar 69 f/2.8 28mm
    8375028088_9630118488_b.
    Alexandra by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr

    8373874809_49f2498705_b.
    Alex by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr

    but now, if you want something faster, better, we could mention the Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 or f/1.4, which are very good for portraits and street photography, I have also now the Yashinon-dx 50mm f/1.7 and Industar-50 50mm f/3.5, could do better with the Rokkor f/1.4 being is faster and in low light conditions.

    Nex5n and Minolta Rokkor 50mm f/1.4
    8319526349_35b325abdc_b.
    Untitled by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr

    Nex7 and Yashinon 50mm f1.7
    8347315333_1a34da4737_b.
    Alexandra by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr

    Nex5n and Industar-50 50mm f/3.5
    7778191920_cfd57e08ee_b.
    Indecision, which direction to take, left or right. by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr

    7778192488_85d8f5d7a6_b.
    Cashier 4 by Freddytto Robles, on Flickr


    Well friend, under 50 bucks you Could have a lot of fun, so start searching by ebay and good luck.
     
  20. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    468
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    I'm glad to see that the Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 is such a great lens because I ordered one last night...lol...I hope to have my NEX-6 early next week so I can't wait to get the lens and body paired up and see what happens.

    Also, another lens that I personally love is the Nikon 50mm f/1.8. Cheap and sharp and very light weight.

    This is from my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8...
    CharlyEyes.

    and

    ColdZander.