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Author Topic: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens  (Read 35434 times)

RLPhoto

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2013, 12:16:50 PM »
I love it when a user says "it's only one stop" while they forget its only one stop that separates the super-teles from L grade zooms.

Eh, no. Not hardly. Not even close.

Except for the not-yet-available-for-sale 200-400, the fastest 400 you're going to get in a Canon zoom is f/5.6. The supertelephoto 400 is f/2.8. That's not only two stops of light, it's the difference between Group A autofocus (all points doing everything they can) and Group E autofocus (no dual-cross points, no high-precision points, cross points only in the center, mostly just horizontal-only points) with the 1Dx and 5DIII. Even the 24-105 f/4 has better autofocus performance than a zoom that reaches 400. Indeed, the 400 f/2.8 with a 1.4x teleconverter still has better autofocus than a zoom with 400mm -- and no zoom will cover 560 or autofocus worth a damn there if you somehow kludge it.

And context is key, too. Few people doing telephoto portraiture are doing so in conditions so dark that they're ISO-limited with a 5DIII or a 1Dx, with the rare exception of theatre and concert photographers. And DoF at standard portrait distances is already so insanely shallow at f/2.8 (let alone f/2) that most portrait photographers are going to be stopping down to at least f/4 if not f/8 to maintain sharpness of more than a single eyelash.

In contrast, typical shooting distances of a Great White are much longer. Typically, you're taking a whole-body portrait if not even a group shot, as opposed to a head shot. By the time (before, actually) the action is close enough for a head shot with a Great White, you're dropping it and picking up your second body with the 70-200. Depth of field is still shallow, but you've got more room to work with at those distances. That, and you need much faster shutter speeds than you do for portraiture or even the theatre or concert hall.

There's a reason why you'd always shoot a Great White wide open on the field and often wish it was even faster, but few successful studio portrait photographers are often pushing the aperture limits of their lenses.

Cheers,

b&

Don't be naive.

200mm f/2 - 70-200 f/2.8

300mm f/2.8 - 70-200 f/2.8 + 1.4 TC

400mm f/4 DO / 200-400 f/4 - 100-400 4.5-5.6

400mm 2.8 and upwards have no zoom equivalents in the range.

A stop is a lot. Don't belittle that fact.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 12:19:36 PM by RLPhoto »

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2013, 12:16:50 PM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2013, 01:03:51 PM »
Don't be naive.

200mm f/2 - 70-200 f/2.8

300mm f/2.8 - 70-200 f/2.8 + 1.4 TC

400mm f/4 DO / 200-400 f/4 - 100-400 4.5-5.6

400mm 2.8 and upwards have no zoom equivalents in the range.

A stop is a lot. Don't belittle that fact.

Except for the 400s, those aren't supertelephotos. And the 200-400 doesn't officially exist yet.

Your original quote specified "super-teles" versus "L-grade zooms"

Check the EF Lens lineup here:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup

You could maybe make a marginal case for your original point by comparing the 400 f/5.6 against the 100-400, but the 400 f/5.6 is really just a 300 f/4 with a built-in teleconverter. Generally, "supertelephoto" really only applies to lenses with a physical aperture of 120mm and bigger.

But your original statement, that it's only one stop that separates supertelephotos from L zooms, is quite misleading. Those zooms all have apertures of about 70 mm. Indeed, that's almost a constant from the 70-200 f/2.8 all the way through the 100-400, as well as the 300 f/4 and 400 f/5.6 primes, and even the 85 f/1.2. In contrast, the majority of the supertelephotos have apertures twice that size, which is why they're in a league all unto themselves.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2013, 08:03:26 PM »
Don't be naive.

200mm f/2 - 70-200 f/2.8

300mm f/2.8 - 70-200 f/2.8 + 1.4 TC

400mm f/4 DO / 200-400 f/4 - 100-400 4.5-5.6

400mm 2.8 and upwards have no zoom equivalents in the range.

A stop is a lot. Don't belittle that fact.

Except for the 400s, those aren't supertelephotos. And the 200-400 doesn't officially exist yet.

Your original quote specified "super-teles" versus "L-grade zooms"

Check the EF Lens lineup here:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup

You could maybe make a marginal case for your original point by comparing the 400 f/5.6 against the 100-400, but the 400 f/5.6 is really just a 300 f/4 with a built-in teleconverter. Generally, "supertelephoto" really only applies to lenses with a physical aperture of 120mm and bigger.

But your original statement, that it's only one stop that separates supertelephotos from L zooms, is quite misleading. Those zooms all have apertures of about 70 mm. Indeed, that's almost a constant from the 70-200 f/2.8 all the way through the 100-400, as well as the 300 f/4 and 400 f/5.6 primes, and even the 85 f/1.2. In contrast, the majority of the supertelephotos have apertures twice that size, which is why they're in a league all unto themselves.

Cheers,

b&

One stop of light is the same difference between the 135L and 100L. Which is the same one stop which seperates a 70-200L to a 200 f/2. Some are willing to pay the 5000$ for a stop yet, you belittle the twice the light advantage of the 135L as not a reason to chose it over the 100L. Super tele, meh, I use that term loosely for big expensive glass that 99% of people won't own.

The principle is still there in my comment, a stop is big step and enough to choose between lenses.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 08:08:05 PM by RLPhoto »

bycostello

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2013, 08:10:13 PM »
only maybe if you take pictures of lens targets... i think it is a great lens

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2013, 09:18:48 PM »
The point of the one stop difference in portrait shooting is quite different from the point of one stop faster for telephoto shooting, your comparisons are weak and your argument disingenuous.

Shooting telephotos: compare a 300mm f4 at 1/125 second to a 300 f2.8 at 1/250 second, that extra shutter speed could well make the difference in subject motion or camera shake and is the primary reason for fast telephoto lenses, being able to achieve higher shutter speeds.

Shooting portraits: 135mm f2 at 11 feet, for a 3" dof; 100mm f2.8 at 8 feet (for the same framing though fractionally different perspective) for a 4" dof.

Now you can argue this as much as you like, but I know that practically nobody could tell the difference between the two images shot in the portrait scenario. Sure people will pay thousands for an extra stop, I have two 300 f2.8's and have never touched a 300 f4, but in portrait shooting, unless you are plying the one trick pony of ultra narrow dof, the one stop faster turns out to have very limited functionality, the macro IS on the other hand has functionality in bucket loads.

Yet again, I am not saying the 135 is a bad lens, is isn't, it is a superb lens (though long overdue a makeover), indeed Zac Arias stated that lens alone is worth owning a Canon system for, though he ended up not using it much, favouring the 85 f1.8 ( http://zackarias.com/for-photographers/gear-gadgets/canon-switch-update-all-is-well/ ). But unless you are going to primarily shoot at f2 then there is nothing the 135 has over the 100 macro, indeed once you do go to f2.8, a mere inch difference in dof, then the 100 macro has many advantages over the 135.

If you have that mentality, go shoot the 70-200 f4L IS. No one will be able to tell the difference between the 2.8.

RLPhoto

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2013, 10:13:03 PM »

If you have that mentality, go shoot the 70-200 f4L IS. No one will be able to tell the difference between the 2.8.

Most people couldn't tell the difference between f 2.8 and f4. Getting to the difference between f2 and f4 then we are getting into an area where I would hope most on here could, so no, if narrow dof is what you are trying to achieve then f4 is not particularly effective.

You seem to take offense not at the content, which is well backed up with maths, but at the contrary message. This is a forum, a place for ideas, nothing you have put forward supports your opinion, you can't point to an image, anywhere, that is unmistakeably shot with a 135 f2, that is not confrontational, it is just the truth. Don't forget I have a 135 f2 and used it for years, though all on film, I now have the 100 IS macro and know I couldn't tell the difference.

The 85 f1.2 does the narrow dof field well for two reasons, it is fast, obviously, but because it is a medium focal length you automatically move closer for the same framing, this also narrows your dof even more, however when comparing the 135 f2 and the 100 f2.8 the tables turn, you stand closer to frame the same for the slower lens, because you are closer your dof is less, seriously, we are talking 1" difference in dof on a wide open portrait from the two lenses.

If your buisness model is based on ultra narrow dof and you are getting lots of buisness then obviously the $5,000 more expensive 200 f2 makes sense, if you are anybody else the difference between a 135mm image shot at f2 and a same framed 100mm image shot at f2.8, well, that 1" dof difference is marginal at best.

My clients don't care between f/2 or f/4. That's my job and If I can see the benefit for f/2 I will use it.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 10:31:11 PM by RLPhoto »

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2013, 10:32:42 PM »

If you have that mentality, go shoot the 70-200 f4L IS. No one will be able to tell the difference between the 2.8.

Most people couldn't tell the difference between f 2.8 and f4. Getting to the difference between f2 and f4 then we are getting into an area where I would hope most on here could, so no, if narrow dof is what you are trying to achieve then f4 is not particularly effective.

You seem to take offense not at the content, which is well backed up with maths, but at the contrary message. This is a forum, a place for ideas, nothing you have put forward supports your opinion, you can't point to an image, anywhere, that is unmistakeably shot with a 135 f2, that is not confrontational, it is just the truth. Don't forget I have a 135 f2 and used it for years, though all on film, I now have the 100 IS macro and know I couldn't tell the difference.

The 85 f1.2 does the narrow dof field well for two reasons, it is fast, obviously, but because it is a medium focal length you automatically move closer for the same framing, this also narrows your dof even more, however when comparing the 135 f2 and the 100 f2.8 the tables turn, you stand closer to frame the same for the slower lens, because you are closer your dof is less, seriously, we are talking 1" difference in dof on a wide open portrait from the two lenses.

If your buisness model is based on ultra narrow dof and you are getting lots of buisness then obviously the $5,000 more expensive 200 f2 makes sense, if you are anybody else the difference between a 135mm image shot at f2 and a same framed 100mm image shot at f2.8, well, that 1" dof difference is marginal at best.

Thank you for illustrating my point, people will know which image they prefer, but they can't accurately and consistently tell the focal length or dof used for each image.

They're not suppose to privatebydesign. That's why they hire us photographers because we can discern these differences for them and to give them our vision.

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2013, 10:32:42 PM »

RLPhoto

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2013, 11:04:35 PM »

They're not suppose to privatebydesign. That's why they hire us photographers because we can discern these differences for them and to give them our vision.

I know, that is exactly why they do!

You can try and hide behind veiled superiority, I have worked for some pretty discerning clients too, I know definitively none of them know the difference between a 100 shot at 8 feet and f2.8 and a 135 shot at 11 feet and f2, they know lighting, posing, framing, they demand on time results of a high enough quality to do the job, they don't give a damn how I achieve that.

But we are getting off point, as I keep saying, both lenses are very good lenses, however for me, and I would suggest the majority of users, the functionality that the 100 IS Macro L has that the 135 f2L doesn't have are more useful than the functionality that the 135 has that the 100 doesn't have.

I can well understand people buying either lens without considering the other, but if people are considering both I believe in a toss up between the two most people will get more out of the 100.

And that's your decision. I like the f/2 look and my clients don't know what exactly that is but they like it as well.

In the end, there is nothing the 100mm macro can do for portraits that the 70-200LII cannot do. I'd wouldn't buy the macro solely based on this fact. The 135L may not have IS, but it gives a unique look at f/2 that neither of these lenses can give.

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2013, 11:46:18 PM »

If you have that mentality, go shoot the 70-200 f4L IS. No one will be able to tell the difference between the 2.8.
Most people couldn't tell the difference between f 2.8 and f4.

Let us see. Can you tell me which one here is f/2.8, which is f/4, and which is f/2? All shot on crop.

https://picasaweb.google.com/102280064689407386179/Test?authkey=Gv1sRgCNeyraywjY3cBg#5837981280973351058

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2013, 11:49:12 PM »
In the end, there is nothing the 100mm macro can do for portraits that the 70-200LII cannot do.

I actually asked this very question recently and got this exact opinion (don't recall from whom) and was expecting to sell my 100L upon arrival of a 70-200 IS2.

FWIW, the reality is my 100L has notably better color rendition, better contrast and miles better bokeh than my 70-200 IS2, so it stays.

IMO, it's tough to go wrong with either the 100 or 135 and given the resale, it's not worth sweating the decision too much since you can always buy one, turn it for a good price and buy the other if it comes down to that...probably cheaper than renting both of them before buying.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 11:51:47 PM by skitron »
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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2013, 12:15:48 AM »
But you are missing my point, direct comparisons are easy, BUT, can you definitively give the focal length and aperture of RLPhotos' three images?

No. But I do not buy lenses to look at other people photos. I can definitely tell the focal length and the aperture of a lens (assuming that somehow I do not know it) after I have used it. I can tell what f/2.8 brings to my photography that f/4 does not, etc.

BTW, I think that both lenses are good in a different way, and I own them both. For interior shots, I would choose the 100L, especially on crop, for the FL and for the IS.

TrumpetPower!

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2013, 12:16:17 AM »

If you have that mentality, go shoot the 70-200 f4L IS. No one will be able to tell the difference between the 2.8.
Most people couldn't tell the difference between f 2.8 and f4.

Let us see. Can you tell me which one here is f/2.8, which is f/4, and which is f/2? All shot on crop.

https://picasaweb.google.com/102280064689407386179/Test?authkey=Gv1sRgCNeyraywjY3cBg#5837981280973351058

That's not the comparison under discussion.

Try again with a 100mm lens at f/2.8, a 135mm lens at f/2, and the subject filling the frame with both (meaning to zoom with the feet). And change the shooting angle so the background is different so you can't cue off of any background features.

By the time you've made those changes, it will be much harder to tell the difference.

Now, shoot one model on one set with the one combination and another model on another set with the other, and I doubt many here would be able to figure it out.

b&

skitron

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2013, 12:32:19 AM »
BUT, can you definitively give the focal length and aperture of RLPhotos' three images?

Assuming little or no cropping, I'm guessing the dog was shot with a 85@4.0 or something along those lines, maybe shorter. The ratio of very large nose to tiny eyes means it was a relatively short lens to get that perspective. The apeture had to be smaller to create enough DOF to keep the nose and eyes both in focus since the dog has a long snout. It will be interesting to see what the actual setup was.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 12:40:41 AM by skitron »
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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2013, 12:32:19 AM »

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2013, 05:06:31 AM »
Dear All,

I shoot a rebel t2i. I recently received the Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 L as a gift from a relative.

It is my second "L" lens, the 35L being my first. It is my only long telephoto prime lens, so I used it for a few portrait shots.

Well!

The color and overall IQ on this lens - is superb. Its AF is very fast and accurate. The skin tones and overall rendering for people shots - in my opinion - is superb - just as fine as the 35L.

It is a tad slow 2.8 compared with the 1.4 of the 35. It also requires quite a large working distance on a crop.

I highly recommend it for portraits. For crop users - I would be careful before buying a 135L - the working distance would be very LONG.

Jerusalem Photographer (canon t2i, 50 1.4, Tamron 17-50 non VC, canon 60mm, canon 35mm L,Samyang 14mm MF,Voigtlander 20mm MF)

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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2013, 08:05:14 AM »
My concern with the 100L macro for my intended use is that I've heard it is soft beyond 10-15 feet

This had my curiosity and after shooting new portraits yesterday and looking closer at older shots I must say:

Well, f*ck.

I shot two full body portraits from a distance of about 3 meters. They both show not "softness" but something that looks like slight movement or when you can't hold the camera steady in your hands:





I then crammed in my archives and found other shots taken in distance, here is a portrait that was heavily edited of course but you also can see it was not sharp in the first place



And in a winter shot this also applies



These are 100% crops.

This pulls my opinion on that lens down so much right now I think about selling it for a 135L.
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Re: 100mm 2.8L Macro IS as a portrait lens
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2013, 08:05:14 AM »