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Author Topic: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2  (Read 5172 times)

axeri

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Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« on: August 30, 2013, 04:55:28 PM »
I have some doubts about portraits, I'm not sure if these are technical questions about lenses or about my skills as a photographer.

I recently purchased the canon 100mmL 2.8 macro lens and I am loving it, also for portraits. It is very sharp, also wide open. The thing is that even at 2.8, I often have problems having everything I want on focus, in the example I attach one eye is not perfectly focused. I have previously used the 50mm 1.4 and 100mm 2.0 and would often avoid using them wide open for that reason.

I guess the questions are: ¿What advantages do you find in lenses such as the canon 85mm 1.2L or even the sigma 1.4 over the canon 100 2.8 for portraits? I can understand it may be easier with those to blur the background or they may have nicer bokeh, but do you use them wide open for portraits?

Thanks!


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Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« on: August 30, 2013, 04:55:28 PM »

Eldar

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 03:19:40 AM »
I have both lenses and I use them both regularly, but the 85 1.2L II is my preferred portrait lens. It is very challenging to use wide open, because of the very shallow DOF. But that is where you get the results you can´t get with any other lens. You really have to think what you want in focus and move yourself or your object to make sure you get it. To get a pair of eyes in focus requires that they are totally parallel to the focus plane. You can get get some really exceptional images with it and it gives the most beautiful bokeh I know.

But if you want the whole face, from nose tip to ear, to be in focus, you need to stop it down and then it, in my view, looses its magic and there are other lens alternatives that are easier to work with.

It may be that you should check the micro adjustment for your 100 f2.8L. It does not have to be much off to give you the problem you are describing.
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bycostello

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 04:26:19 AM »
its a depth of field issue....  as the macro lens lets you get close you can get some very shallow dof...

drjlo

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 04:47:58 PM »
IME pretty much any good lens works fine in stopped-down studio situations with controlled backdrop and lighting.  I prefer the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II for its excellent IQ and IS.  100L works just fine, too.

For pretty much any other portrait needs, I far prefer the 85L which I like to shoot at f/1.6 to 1.8 range most of the time.  Below at f/1.6.


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Pi

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 09:06:21 PM »
F/1.2 from a close distance is too much, IMO. F/2.8-4 would be fine. On the other hand, if there is anything like too much contrast, the 100L does that.

If you are doing half of full body portraits, then the 85L would be a good choice. In a studio environment however, I do not see the need for using fast apertures.

Etienne

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 09:45:01 PM »
As others have mentioned, if you're doing head and shoulders in a studio use f 5.6 - f/8 on a FF, and make sure the backdrop is 6 - 10 feet behind the subject.

jdramirez

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 11:56:05 PM »
I have some doubts about portraits, I'm not sure if these are technical questions about lenses or about my skills as a photographer.

I recently purchased the canon 100mmL 2.8 macro lens and I am loving it, also for portraits. It is very sharp, also wide open. The thing is that even at 2.8, I often have problems having everything I want on focus, in the example I attach one eye is not perfectly focused. I have previously used the 50mm 1.4 and 100mm 2.0 and would often avoid using them wide open for that reason.

I guess the questions are: ¿What advantages do you find in lenses such as the canon 85mm 1.2L or even the sigma 1.4 over the canon 100 2.8 for portraits? I can understand it may be easier with those to blur the background or they may have nicer bokeh, but do you use them wide open for portraits?

Thanks!




You might be too close to your subject which is shrinking your depth of field and so if it is a side shot, then one eye will be in focus, the other won't at f/2.8.  At f/1.2 and Minimum focusing distance, at a side shot, the front eyelash might be in focus and the back eye lash won't be.  With really wide open primes like that, you really should have a body that has auto focus micro adjustment and even that can be hit or miss.  And the really shallow depth of field photos can look incredibly nice and f/2.8 won't give you that. 

I had the 100L and it was my favorite lens for a year and I really regret having sold it, but for portraits, both the 135L and the 85L have difficult to describe why... but they are noticeably better and more pleasing than the 100L.  Why is a super model hotter than a normal model... it's hard to put your hands on (fake boob joke), but they just are.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 11:56:05 PM »

pwp

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 12:32:59 AM »
I'd be leaning toward the 100mmL Macro for *two important reasons. The first is it has much quicker AF than the 85 f/1.4 and the second is the reality of the IS advantage. The best portraits will usually have elements of spontaneity and the 85 with its glacially slow AF may work against you. Technically successful 85 f/1.2 portraits shot at the bigger apertures are often pretty static...though when it all works perfectly it does deliver a great look.

WickedWombat who used to post here a lot (he's probably getting a lot of work) would have weighed in here and advocated at least considering the Sigma 85 f/1.8. From all accounts it's a fantastic value lens.

Personally, I'll be selling my 135 f/2 and my old 100 EF f/2.8 macro and replacing both with a 100mm L f/2.8 macro. IS and fast AF are important to my shooting style. I had an 85 f/1.4II for a short while but it's limitations just didn't work with my portrait shooting style which is fluid, dynamic and with moments of spontaneity that frequently deliver the "money shot".

edit: *make that three important reasons...you can put a collar on the 100 L 2.8 Macro.

-PW
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 01:30:58 AM by pwp »

alexturton

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 08:08:15 AM »
I love my 85 1.2 to full length and head/shoulder shots. but I've never really liked it for headshots as it can't get close enough.....

.....until you add an extension tube. add 12mm and then the dof becomes hyper thin, you can get in closer and the results are fantastic. check this out



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The Mad Kiwi

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 04:58:34 AM »
I use the 100L for head shots and head and shoulders when I'm using lights, stopped down to f11 and the 85L for full body natural light portraits, usually at between f1.6 and f2.2. They're completely different lenses for completely different jobs. The 85L is crap anywhere near it minimum focus distance, it's soft as, but for full body it's sharp as from 1.2. The 100L is sharp up close and doesn't really throw the background out of focus enough for full body natural light shots.

RLPhoto

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 09:02:26 AM »
85LII > 100L

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Re: Portrait lens: Canon 100L 2.8 vs 85L 1.2
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 09:02:26 AM »