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Post your Portraits with Slow Apertures

Discussion in 'People' started by Gr8Tr1x, May 24, 2007.

  1. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    I would like to see some portraits posted here that dispel the myth that only fast glass can achieve a nice looking portrait. Any kind of condition, available light, studio, outdoors, whatever...just post the shooting info and lens too please.

    Note: these can be shot with a fast lens, but preferably stopped down to a slower f/4 or tighter...

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    I'll begin.

    50mm 1.8 at f1/10
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    Exposure Time 0.004s (1/250)
    Aperture f/10.0
    ISO 100
    Focal Length 50mm (75mm 35mm)

    55-200mm VR
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    Exposure Time 0.0166s (1/60)
    Aperture f/6.3
    ISO 200
    Focal Length 116mm (174mm 35mm)

    105mm VR
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    Exposure Time 0.01s (1/100)
    Aperture f/5.6
    ISO 200
    Focal Length 105mm (157mm 35mm)
  3. This was taken with slow glass, but it's one of my all time favorites... and the bride and both mothers-in-law requested prints and framed them. I was a guest, and it was the first time I used my dslr at a wedding. It was taken with the much maligned 24-120mm VR.

    Nikon D70 1/500s f/6.3 at 110.0mm

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  4. Took this at f8 with the beast. I was tired of having one of the two out of focus with a wider aperture.

  5. Here is one taken hand held at 1/60 sec. at f6.3. Lens was the 17-55mm f2.8.

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  6. ponykilr


    May 23, 2007
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  7. fjgindy


    Jan 21, 2007
    I really like this one! Great shot/colors...
    Nice job! A 28-70/35-70 2.8 look from the 17-55 2.8 :biggrin:
  8. Available light
    1/160 sec
    ISO 1600

  9. tomj


    Feb 5, 2006
    One of my first ever portraits with studio strobes done about 3yrs ago with my cheapo banged up 50mm 1.8 shot at f9.

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  10. Mitch, it's impossible to look at your photo and not grin :biggrin:. What a great picture!

  11. Joshua, f8, 1/250, ISO100, taken with the 17-55...

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  12. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Very nice samples folks. Thanks a bunch.
  13. Interesting thread. The original poster looked to prove this premise:

    There were 10 very impressive portraits submitted, but only 2 were from lenses that could be classified as "slow glass". Here's the tally:

    (2) 50/2.8
    (1) 55-200VR
    (1) 105/2.8VR
    (1) 24-120VR
    (1) 28-70/2.8
    (2) 17-55/2.8
    (2) no lens identified

    Based on this sample, one could draw the conclusion that fast glass is a very important element for making portraits.
  14. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Ummm.....no. Fast apertures had little to do with rendering these sample portraits Frank. That was the whole point of this thread.

    If a f/1.4 lens is stopped down to f/8, it ceases to be fast anymore, as it is letting in a limited amount of light. It only 'speeds' up as you open that aperture up to allow more light and thus, a faster shutter speed. I don't really need to explain this to you, do I?

    The fact that the lenses are fast max apertures is a moot point, because they are stopped down considerably from wide open. The 24-120mm is a very sharp lens at f/8 which refutes that point from another thread that fast glass is necessary for portraits. The exact quote was 'You just can't achieve decent portraits with slower glass.'

    That is simply not true, and the images displayed here show that.
  15. Joshua, I understand what you're saying, but I also understand what UF is saying...

    Would you say that my 85/1.4 is the same at f8 as an 18-55 at f8?

    Did you really want to see portraits at small apertures, or did you want to see portraits with less than "pro" glass. I think that's the disconnect. A "pro" lens at f8 will (IMHO) produce a sharper, better image than a consumer lens at f8.

    That said, a pro photographer using a consumer lens will (IMHO) produce better images that me using a pro lens...
  16. kwork


    Jun 8, 2006
    I think the point being made in the other thread is the quality of glass used in the making of a "fast lens" is considerably better than that found in a "slow lens" such as the 18-55 kit lens (f/3.5-5.6 if I recall correctly)
  17. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    This is a silly argument. To have proper DOF for a "normal" portrait we need f4 to f5.6. Fast glass in nice to have but it isn't required to make a good portrait.
  18. Charles, this was taken with the Cream Machine at f/2.2, and I considered it a normal portrait. Where did I go wrong?

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2007
  19. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Do you need a fast lens to make a good portrait? No, of course not.

    Alot of portraiture, especially studio work is done at f/8 and up, so just about any lens will yield acceptable results at those apertures. But John nailed it above...if you compare portraits shot at f/5.6-f/8 with a 5.6 lens and a fast prime, the fast lens will be superior in most cases.

    On the other hand, do you need to shoot portraits above f/4? Again, of course not, as Frank points out. But, in his example, if one of the subjects had leaned forward or back two inches, the shot wouldn't have worked. So in general terms it's a good idea to stop down for better depth of field, but not always required or even possible...(handholding at a slow shutter speed for instance.)

    Now, what if you want to do some selective focus portraits at f/1.4? Yeah, you're gonna need fast glass.

    So...while there are no hard and fast rules, if you want/need/can afford, etc. fast primes, you'll have more flexibility and will generally get better results.
  20. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    We almost always shoot portraits at f4-f6.3

    Fast Glass is a monicker given to lens that have f2.8 or smaller apertures, they are considered fast, so you can use them in less than ideal lighting conditions. They provide fsater shutter speeds, thus the term fast glass.
    These types of lens are not a prerequisite for obtaining quality images at smaller apertures.
    I have used a 24-120, and a 18-200 many times for portraits etc. they both provide wonderful shots.
    The challenge is can you tell me which lens was used. I would think not.
    This is the same as the RAW argument, I have often sent the exact same photo, taken in Raw+jpg. to a shooter friend and asked, which is the raw or jpg.
    More often than not, the difference is not discernable.

    Shoot your everyday glass at f4, f5 etc. you will have fabulous photos.
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