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Choice for portrait lens

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Hi, i like to rent a lens for a portrait project that i have in mind. I would like to take 3/4 length portrait shots with the person holding a plate of food in their hands. Emphasizing the person and the food at the sam time. Also I would like to keep the person separated from the back ground and most likely would use a white wall or natural background color. What focal length would you recommend. I see that my choices are 50mm, 75mm and 90mm. I should have ample space to set the shot up and i am using Leica M240.

 

Thank you for your advise.

 

 

 

 

 

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35 or 50 Summilux or possibly Summicron with a white or solid color wall background.

Edited by jdlaing

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What lenses do you currently own for your 240?

You might try the frame lines in your camera to see exactly what lens will do what your thinking....before you rent.

 

From what you are describing, I would start with a 50.

If you see the shot in your head ....What focal length does your minds eye see it with?

 

Hope this helps ......
 

Edited by ECohen

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Thank you, I have an Elmar M 50mm f2.8  and an Summicron M 35mm f2. I think the 35mm is to wide for what i have in mind, the 50mm might be ok, although I am thinking more of a compressed shot, like to be able to keep the food and the persons profile nicely detailed. I like to be able to show lots of detail in the food too. I think i might try the 75mm focal length. I see that i could get the Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8 Hellar for $50.00 per week rental or the Leica 75mm f/2.4 Summarit-M for $110.00 per week. Anyone used the Voigtlander before?

 

Thanks,

 

Robert

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If you see the shot in your head ....What focal length does your minds eye see it with?

 

 

 

 

well said , for me I think this sounds like a 75 cron - a great lens btw 

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A person standing with a plate in their hands in front is going to ask perspective/proportion questions. Using a wide angle lens (e.g. 35mm), and standing so a 3/4 portrait fills the frame, I think the plate will look too big - though that may be what you want! For shots where I am not making a feature of disproportion, I think in terms of 90 for a head shot, 75 for head and chest, 50 for waist/three quarters and 35 for full body/environmental. In your shoes, and to avoid the plate looking too big, I would probably go for the 75 (and have a 90 to hand) and keep well back.

 

If you want both the plate and person to be in focus, but not the background, you'll have to do some playing around with aperture, distance to subject and distance to the background; a big space to do your shooting will be helpful.

 

Note that focal length does not determine proportion and perspective - they are determined by where you stand. So a photographer might think in terms of 'what focal length does this shot look like' but in fact you can achieve the same look (perspective and proportions) with any lens, depending on where you stand and how much you crop.

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I found the 75 being a superb lens for portraits. It is quite versatile and a great OOF area.

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[...] like to be able to keep the food and the persons profile nicely detailed. I like to be able to show lots of detail in the food too. I think i might try the 75mm focal length. I see that i could get the Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8 Hellar for $50.00 per week rental or the Leica 75mm f/2.4 Summarit-M for $110.00 per week. Anyone used the Voigtlander before? [...]

 

I have no experience with the Heliar but i would rent it in the first place to check if you need shallow DoF at f/1.8 or f/2. If you do, your choice will be limited to this Heliar and more expensive Leica fast lenses (75/1.25, 75/1.4, 75/2). 

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Thank you, I have an Elmar M 50mm f2.8  and an Summicron M 35mm f2. I think the 35mm is to wide for what i have in mind, the 50mm might be ok, although I am thinking more of a compressed shot, like to be able to keep the food and the persons profile nicely detailed. I like to be able to show lots of detail in the food too. I think i might try the 75mm focal length. I see that i could get the Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8 Hellar for $50.00 per week rental or the Leica 75mm f/2.4 Summarit-M for $110.00 per week. Anyone used the Voigtlander before?

 

Thanks,

 

Robert

I understood that the Heliar 75mm is based on the design of the Leica Hektor 7.3cm but with coatings. In which case, the characteristics of the Heliar may be quite different (softer, lower contrast?) to the modern Summicron or Summarit. I haven't used the Heliar but in your shoes I would be cautious about using it without further information.

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Thank you all for the helpful feedback. I started to do some test shots with my daughter and the 50mm over the weekend, will need some work but looks promising.

 

Again thank you all.

 

Robert

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Personally, I'd go with a 50mm Summicron, it offers all the versatility you need and will definitely get the job done. You said you have plenty of space, so I guess the 75mm Summicron would be another option. Its ideal for headshot portraits too, but the 50 can do that as well so I'd personally go with that.

 

Nobody mentioned lighting yet. It may be you're going to go with natural light, but if you're looking to studio light and want to take control, then my suggestion is two large soft-boxes, one either side of the subject at 90 degrees and then a plain white Colorama back drop which will appear a nice shade of grey if left unlit. Be careful to position the softboxes to avoid shadows on the backdrop but this is quite easy to resolve. You could of course light the colorama backdrop if you want to go full or semi high-key (white back ground). Maybe light the backdrop at f8 or f11 and the subject at f5.6 (or f8 if you want it sharper).

 

If the focus is the food, I might also be tempted to introduce a third light with a snoot to light up the food separately.

 

Just a few thoughts, feel free to use or ignore.

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