macro and portrait all in one


ewen_r

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 16:22
Hi folks. I'm now in the market for my first serious non-kit lens purchase and looking for some advice and recommendations.

I have A GX20 with the kit 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses and a Tamron 70-300mm (although I hardly ever use this lens). I am looking for a macro lens that would also be suitable for the portrait range. so my questions are:

1) Is a macro lens suitable for portraiture?
I realise that a macro lenses may be considered too "sharp" and unforgiving for portraiture but I don't mind adding a little help to the sitter in photoshop or using a suitable filter if that's the case.

2) What focal length would be a good combination for portraiture and macro?
A quick web-trawl gives me offerings from Pentax (at 50 and 100mm), Tamron (at 90mm) and Sigma (50, 70, 105 and a 17-70mm zoom)

3) Any recommendations...?


My first priority is for something nice and sharp in the macro range and then the ability to use for portraiture if that's not a silly idea. As a very minor point I also use a Pentax film camera so something able to handle full-frame would be a bonus but not essential.


Kind regards to all...

Anvh

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 16:30
These where done with the D-FA 100mm f/2.8 so you tell me link
100mm might be a bit too long for some portrait work if you don't have the room, 70mm would be a more sensable option.

Sharpeness can always be made less so don't worry about that, I even sharpend my photos to get some detials in the hair and combine it with a blurr to even out the skin just a bit.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
Last Edited by Anvh on 01/03/2009 - 16:31

beginner

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 16:52
Or the Tamron 90mm!.......not really razor sharp until 5.6!.......a superb portrait lens in my opinion..........Ken
K20D...ist DS ,DA18/55,DA16/45.DA* 50/135,"A"1.7 50MM..."A" 70/210..M 50mm f2...Tamron 90mm macro,28/300 Tamron,200/500 Tamron 6.9....A Pentax DA*300... Sigma10/20,FA31mm 1.8 Ltd*********,FA 77mm Ltd!

Tyr

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 18:06
The Tamron 90mm Macro makes a very good portrait lens as it is softer from f2.8 to f5.6 but had very nice bokeh. Then for macro work it is very sharp from F5.6 to F16 to get the depth of field required. At about F8 I get moire as it outresolved my K10. It is the lens that convinced me to not buy cheap lenses.
Regards,
Dan

https://www.flickr.com/photos/honourabletyr/

Anvh

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 18:34
All macro's are soft wide open I believe since you need a small arputure or else the dof is simply to small and since it is a specialize lens it's design for that right?

Something against the Tamron 90, the D-FA has quickshift and you know that's very handy!

To answer your fullframe question, I don't believe there is a macro that can't do that. They also have all a diafragma ring so far as i know.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

Offertonhatter

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 19:33
Any macro will be an excellent portait lens, being a prime. And as for softness wide open, personally I think that adds to a portrait.

Depends on what type of portraits you want to do, but any of the following would be a good combo

35mm Limited Macro
50mm F2.8 DFA Macro
100mm F2.8 DFA Macro (150mm effective FOV is good for close portaits)
Or
Tamron 90mm SP Macro
Sigma 105mm Macro.

Hold on, any Macro lens would be good.
Some Cameras

RR

Link Posted 01/03/2009 - 23:42
I thought the "F" in the Pentax lens designation ws to signify that it is designed for full frame. ie: The 100mm was updated from FA to DFA rather than DA as it covers a 35mm frame.

Also I would have thought that the Tamron 90mm & Sigma 105mm would cover full frame as they are updates of older designs also, whereas something totally new like the 70mm Sigma would be aps-c only.
My Flickr

johnriley

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 00:11
The F dates back further than any need to differentiate between full frame and APS-C formats.

As regards sharpness - all macro lenses should be sharp at open aperture and stopping down will really only change DOF. These are very high quality lenses for critical applications. I'm referring here to the Pentax macro lenses.

In the past some lenses for portraiture were designed to be soft wide open but then it became the trend to make them sharp even at open aperture. You could always add a soft focus filter.

Now the possibility exists also to use software such as PortraitProfessional8 to soften portraits - used with restraint this can be very effective.
Best regards, John

iceblinker

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 00:54
How about simply turning the camera's JPEG sharpness setting down (or not sharpening much if shooting RAW)?
~Pete

hefty1

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 00:56
RR wrote:
I thought the "F" in the Pentax lens designation ws to signify that it is designed for full frame. ie: The 100mm was updated from FA to DFA rather than DA as it covers a 35mm frame.

Some of the DA range also cover full frame (40mm, 70mm, 200mm) so the one thing that sets the D-FA's apart from the *all* the DA's is the inclusion of an aperture ring - essential if you're intending doing macro work with bellows / tubes / reversing rings.

I don't think Pentax nomenclature was ever really meant to make sense...
Joining the Q

iceblinker

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 02:09
RR wrote:
I thought the "F" in the Pentax lens designation ws to signify that it is designed for full frame. ie: The 100mm was updated from FA to DFA rather than DA as it covers a 35mm frame.

F was Pentax's first auto focus series, then FA was the next. I've always assumed that the "F" came from auto focus.
~Pete
Last Edited by iceblinker on 02/03/2009 - 02:14

ewen_r

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 09:37
Thanks guys (especially to Anvh for the images), lots of comforting and helpful posts on using a macro lens for portraiture.

For some follow-on questions.. how about:

4) What is a suitable focal length to consider given I'll be using it on digital 90% of the time and film 10%. Portraits are mostly head & shoulders, macro will be new to me.

5) The Pentax 100mm and Tamron 90mm both have aperture ring (which I think is virtually essential), but I can't determine if the Sigma 105mm does. Also the sigma has a DF (Dual Focus) system.. what is that? Is it the same as quickshift?

many thanks again
Last Edited by ewen_r on 02/03/2009 - 09:38

beachboy2

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 09:45
The Sigma 105 EX Dg Macro does have an aperture ring. It has a focus limiter which means the AF only searches over a limited focus distance. Speeds up macro focussing or alternately distance focussing. Can leave switched off also. From all accounts all three brands are very good. I have the Sigma.

K5, K20D, Bigma, Sigma EX 105, Sigma EX 10-20, Sigma EX 28-70 F2.8, Sigma Ex 1.4TC,
Pentax 135 F3.5, Pentax 30mm F2.8 , Pentax 50mm F1.7, Pentax 55mm F1.8,
Super Taks: 35mm F3.5, 50mm F1.4, 135mm F3.5, 200mm F4
Vivitar TX 200mm F3.5,Vivitar (Komine)135mm f2.8, Vivitar 2X TC, Vivitar T4 400mm F6.3
Tamron SP 35-80,80-210 F3.8, Helios 44M, Mir 1B 37mm F2.8, Jupiter 9 85mm F2, Chinon 28mm F2.8, 3M-5A 500mm F8 etc etc

johnriley

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 10:48
The most universally useful macro lens is probably the 100mm, with the caveat that it always depends upon your specific interests. So, for example, if you copied a lot of documents then you might find a 50mm or even 35mm macro more convenient. But for most other applications the 100mm is better.

For portraits the classic film length is 85mm. Personally I favoured something a little longer and useed a 100mm. On digital the classic would translate into 50 or 55mm, but again I prefer something longer so the 100mm (150mm equivalent) would still suffice.

Having said that, the 18-55mm is fine for portraits and is not so bitingly sharp at wider apertures, so there could be something to be said for it.
Best regards, John
Last Edited by johnriley on 02/03/2009 - 10:48

Anvh

Link Posted 02/03/2009 - 10:49
Around 55-70mm (80-105mm on 35mm format) is concidered to be the best range for Portrait.
Most off the time it's the farther away you can be the better because the proportions off the nose and ears would be better.
Some pro's shoot even with long tele lenses and use a walkie talkie to comunicate with the model
Think about the amount off room you have when doing a portrait and what you want to photograph with macro off course.
50mm for flowers and other still objects and 100mm+ for the living stuff, that's on digital btw.

I myself use the DFA 100mm, very light thing and it's on the camera 90% of the time. The only thing that I miss on it is the focus limiter but the quickshift makes up to that in my opinion.
The photos I took where taken from 6 to 8 meters away to give you an idea from the distance.

ewen_r wrote:
5) The Pentax 100mm and Tamron 90mm both have aperture ring (which I think is virtually essential), but I can't determine if the Sigma 105mm does. Also the sigma has a DF (Dual Focus) system.. what is that? Is it the same as quickshift?

They alll have an aperture ring so far as I know.
Have looked on the Sigma site for the DF and they told me this
Quote:
DF (Dual Focus) System
The DF (Dual Focus) system disengages the linkage between the internal focusing mechanism and outer focusing ring when the focusing ring is moved to the AF position. This system provides easy and precise handling of the lens, since the focusing ring does not rotate during autofocusing. The wide focusing ring also enables easy and accurate manual focusing.

Only the Pentax has something like quick-shift I believe.
Since I only use the AF button for autofocus, I most of the time press the button so that the camera moves the lens to the right focus range and then focus manual again, very handy I must say
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
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