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Poor results with 85mm 1.4

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by frede, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. frede


    Dec 9, 2006
    Princeton, NJ
    Somethings I feel like I'm getting to know this lens - sometimes I'm not sure about that. Are these results typical when using the 85mm 1.4 outdoors? To me, this and the other photos in the series seem rather drab and lifeless. Shot at 1/2000 @1.4.

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  2. Welcome to the 85 / 1.4 "club" Fred!
    By what I can see on this web version, the image looks fine, technically speaking.
    I believe that the somewhat drab look comes from the background, or in this case the absence of it. It is in the same color family as your subject and it has no features at all. Shooting with a BG that provides some contrast would make a world of difference. Try it. Even though we like the great bokeh of the OOF features with this lens, you must nevertheless work your BG carefully. I'd love to see such a version because otherwise this is such a lovely portrait.
    Just my 2 cents, of course.
  3. I don't sense a hint of sarcasm, but in my opinion the glass is great, the lighting in this photo is just tough, I think another example would help. A little fill would have gone a long way and maybe made you think differently about this shot. Lovely though!
  4. i601254

    i601254 Guest

    The 85 f1.4 is the one lens that spends the most time on my camera. Outstanding results, once I learned how to use it. I get great sharpness, contrast and color from mine.
  5. Yea, the lighting here is tough for any lens. A Levels adjustment would help but the blown out areas are lost. Shoot your outdoor "people pictures" in open shade or overcast days.

    It's all about the light.
  6. "Poor results with 85mm 1.4" - that sounds like an oxymoron... :biggrin: To my untrained eye the pic looks great with the exception of the blown highlights in her hair. I would probably move her to a background that would provide a little more contrast - it's almost like she's blending in...
  7. Fred, in looking at your histogram for this image I notice that it is slightly overexposed thus the washed out look. I made one simple change to the image and that was to move the left slider in Levels to the right until it contacted the data. This made an improvement IMO. The 85mm lens is fairly unforgiving but when the exposure and focus are right on it is outstanding. By the way, I like the image of your daughter.
  8. Send it to me, and I'll give it a thorough workout for a couple of weeks and then let you know what I may have found out from my investigation.

    We'll get to the bottom of this!! :biggrin:
  9. frede


    Dec 9, 2006
    Princeton, NJ
    Thanks Frits. I love what you do with the 85/ 1.4. Your comments make very good sense. I will keep contrasting BG in mind when I shoot this lens.

    Thanks Nate - I really like the lens and I have been able to get some great shots with it. Just that I was dissapointed with the shoot. I have to spend some more time with the lens.

    Thanks. My results are mixed at this point - mostly good though.

    Yea leave it to me right. :frown: Thanks Keith. I have learned a lot from this thread. Now I can't wait to use the lens on another shoot.

    Thanks for your comments and kind words Gordon. Like Frits, I love what you do with the 85/1.4. IMO "fairly unforgiving" is a spot on description of the lens.

    LOL - too funny Rick :biggrin:
  10. frede


    Dec 9, 2006
    Princeton, NJ
    Thanks Woody. I think you are right about the light. My daughters face was kind of turned away from the light if I remember correctly. It was an overcast day - maybe a reflector would have helped too. I am going to see if I can recreate the shot and do some tests.
  11. I find the 85 doesn't like low contrast outdoor light such as in your image.

    One thing I tried that helped was to extend the hood by about 15mm using black paper. On DX cameras, the stock hood isn't as tight as it could be.
  12. frede


    Dec 9, 2006
    Princeton, NJ
    Thanks for your comment and great suggestion - I will definitely keep the low contrast factor in mind from now on.
  13. I find the colour really picks up around f2,. it's sharp at all fstops but contrast / saturation esp outside try stopping it down a bit perhaps

  14. frede


    Dec 9, 2006
    Princeton, NJ
    Thanks Sil - I am going to be using the lens a lot over the weekend, so I will keep that in mind.
  15. it probably depends on the light direction / quality,. with such a large front element it can get a little internal flare even with the hood (which always should be used!)

    here's a couple from last year - have exif and not much processing https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=70324

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  16. Fred, hope you don't mind...

    All I did was a levels adjustment...as Gordon said...moved the black slider to the right until it met the histogram...


    Fantastic image...I looked at a 100% crop...spectacular...
  17. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Like Beezle said, you have to watch the 85/1.4 because it can flare easily in this situation. Hoods are required for fast glass in my opinion.

    Another easy fix for this image is to assign it a gamma of 2.5 instead of 2.2 that is sRGB. Do a search for Iliah's post on the power of gamma. He provided a link to a set of profiles from 1.0 to 3.0 for the common color spaces. I use them on a regular basis for many things.
  18. Wow John, you really made it sing.
  19. Fred, are you kidding? The image looks great! Although I have to admit, John's tweaking made it more punchy. I think it was the background that made it bland. If only the background was more colorful like green trees or blue sky or something else that's perhaps a little darker. Have you tried to make it black and white? But make the background darker. I actually like the light on her hair. There's a term for it. I can't believe I forgot it. It's not silhouette.. it's uh.. somebody help...:frown:

    BTW, awesome bokeh. Must be the lens :biggrin:

  20. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    I think it is a very nice shot, sure it has a bit of blown highlights in the hair, but everything else about this image is nice, very nice,

    A few tweaks i tried, just levels and sharpening and a slight desaturation after the levels adjustment.


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