Widest angle you use for portraits close up on full frame camera?

5 months 1 week ago #658394 by Otto F
Hey guys, what is the widest lens you will use on a full frame lens when shooting close up portraits?    **Before distortion kicks in?


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5 months 1 week ago #658397 by Nikon Shooter
Before distortion kicks in?

I don't even dare coming close to it because of the unflattering
effect on perspective… but it would be the 50 to 60 mm length.

In my book, the closer = the longer: 105mm +.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
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5 months 1 week ago #658399 by effron
Yup, 50 minimum, prefer 105 or more.....

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5 months 1 week ago #658409 by Otto F
Dang, I was thinking you all would say something under 20mm.  I was way off!


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5 months 1 week ago #658411 by Nikon Shooter

Otto F wrote: Dang, I was thinking you all would say something under 20mm.  I was way off!


The suggestions were merely what they are… suggestions,
No rule, however, should keep you from experimentation.

Have a good time! :P

Light is free… capturing it is not!
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5 months 1 week ago #658423 by fmw

Otto F wrote: Dang, I was thinking you all would say something under 20mm.  I was way off!


Not necessarily.  You didn't define the term portrait.  If it is a full figure shot that includes some interesting back ground then 20mm may be just right.  If you mean a head shot then 20mm up close would be unsaleable.  I've used wide angle lenses many times but I don't take what most people define as a portrait.

The last time I took head shots was individual shots of professional baseball players for use on the scoreboard.  If I remember correctly I used a 180mm lens on a 6X9 medium format camera.


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5 months 1 week ago #658434 by garyrhook
+1 on the above. It depends upon what you are doing.

You do say "close up" which, to me, implies head/shoulders. In which case, you want a longer lens to produce more pleasing geometry. 85mm or longer. 50 for a full body is fine, or even 2-3 people, and 35 or less for groups small to large.

Under 20? That's a superwide lens, not typically used for portraiture. One wonders where that idea came from. But still, it depends, right?

All IMHO, of course. I despise the large noses that result from short focal lengths. That includes most mobile phone selfies. Apparently no one looks at the nose, they only look at how wide (or not) their face seems. Self-perception is full of distortion.

So, basically: if you want realistic geometry in a face/head shot, you need to consider relative distance vs. the focal length. The longer the focal length, the smaller the relative distance between (say) the nose and ears. IMNSHO longer is better.


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5 months 6 days ago #658541 by fmw
Just a quick lesson on perspective.  Perspective and perspective distortion are not built into the lens.  What is built in to the lens is the angle of view.  Perspective is a function of camera to subject distance.  If you make a head shot with an 85 or 100mm lens and then make the same image with a 20mm lens from exactly the same place, the perspective will be same.  The angle of view will change and the head will be much smaller with the 20mm lens.  If you get closer to the subject to have the head fill the frame then you will have changed the perspective.

We change perspective when we change our distance to the subject, not when we change lenses.  The reason we prefer telephoto lenses for head shots is that they allow us to get further from the subject and reduce perspective distortion.


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5 months 6 days ago #658612 by Sharna Lee
Yep, depends on the distance you are from your subject.  You can use a 24mm for example with the right distance from you and the subject with the right background.  To close and you get bubble like look.  


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5 months 6 days ago #658615 by effron
I like the longer lens to separate my subject from the background, the 105 f/2.8 macro has pretty good bokeh near wide open....

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