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Best portrait lens for OM-D?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by majordude, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. majordude

    majordude Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Dec 28, 2012
    I don't care about the manufacturer. What would you suggest?
     
  2. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Oly45, Oly75.
     
  3. majordude

    majordude Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Dec 28, 2012
    In 35mm terms, isn't 70 supposed to be "perfect"? So, the 45?
     
  4. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    75mm. Exquisite bokeh, razor sharp wide open. Perfect for those lovely tight shots (shoulders and above). Also good for half body shots but you would have to move further back. The 45mm is also excellently sharp and bokeh is pretty good but the 75/1.8 just produces pure magic.
     
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Well you can shoot portraits in any focal length. It depends on what you consider 'perfect'.

    The 45 is more versatile but damn that 75 renders beautifully.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    45 is more like 90 and in 35mm (FF) terms, my understanding is that 80-90mm and 135mm are portrait FOVs so the 45mm falls in the first category while the 75mm lands just a bit on the longer side at an equivalent FOV of 150mm.
     
  7. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    135
    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Depends on the type of portrait - I've got the PL 25 f/1.4 and the Oly 45 f/1.8 and I really like them both for portraits. Could get those two for the price of a 75. Though the 75 produces some pretty nice images...
     
  8. majordude

    majordude Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Dec 28, 2012
    Hmmm. 75mm is 150 which is a telephoto! That seems inappropriate for a portrait. No one want's to see a model's sweat glands!
     
  9. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Obviously your working distance will vary depending on focal length. Nobody that knows what they're doing will stick a long focal lens in a model's face.
     
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Honestly, I'm going to have to go with the 45mm on this one and I own a 75mm. 75mm is just not flexible enough, especially working in tight spots. The 45mm works better in that regards.

    The best budget option is to pick up a cheap 50mm 1.8 and get an adapter. :smile:
     
  11. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'm a big fan of the 45/1.8, but I've also been enjoying my Zeiss Planar 50/1.7 lately for portraits as well. Lots of MF options out there, many of which are relative bargains, that work great on the E-M5.

    While I haven't had the pleasure of shooting the 75/1.8, it sure looks to be a cut above the 45/1.8. If that focal length worked for me I'd have one, but it is a bit too long.
     
  12. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    45mm Olympus f1.8 -- great lens and a good portrait length.

    75mm on m4/3 is a pretty long portrait lens, but will work well if you like close cropped head shots or larger working distances between you and your subject.

    I always thought 100mm was about perfect for 35mm portrait work and the 45 equates to a 90mm, so it's close to my ideal. It keeps you close enough to your subject to maintain some personal give and take.
     
  13. m43dude

    m43dude New to Mu-43

    7
    Oct 3, 2012
    Why would you want a razor sharp lens for portraits?
     
  14. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    269
    Jun 29, 2012
    Depends on who you talk to. I think most people consider 70mm to be the "minimum" for standard portraits, 85-100mm to be "typical", and 135mm to be the long end.

    However, a lot of people love to use an even longer lens if they can find the room to use it (outdoors most of the time). Long and fast lenses can really nicely obliterate a background while still being super-sharp when wide open. For instance, the 200 f/1.8:

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

    And the longest lens that you will probably see used for portraits with any frequency, 400 f/2.8:

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

    Canon Digital Photography Forums - View Single Post - Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

    Which is actually perfect? I think that varies with every shoot. But the best overall right now is clearly the 75 f/1.8. It is inarguably one of the top 10 best production lenses ever made.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    269
    Jun 29, 2012
    Because making a sharp image soft is a hell of a lot easier than making a soft image sharp????
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    826
    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    As others have mentioned, the olympus 45mm and 75mm(which I've only tried). I'd also like to add the 35-100 though, as even though it's slower than the two previous suggestions, the ability to go longer is useful, and for some reason it seems to produce a bit more bokeh than you would expect from it's aperture. I don't own that lens either, but I've seen this mentioned by several posters across various forums already.

    The 45 is the most practical and affordable, probably your best choice.

    I see the 75mm as being more of a specialty lens, lovely for outdoors. I don't own it, but from testing and seeing hundreds of images from it, it's one of those lenses that just seems to actually force any decent photo to look better than it should. Not to mentioned it's been reviewed over and over again as one of the sharpest, best performing lenses ever created.

    These two lenses are extremely "neutral" rendering, technically excellent(esp the 75) which I prefer 80% of the time. Still on many occasions, I find myself preferring my adapted Canon FD 50mm F1.4. Like most vintage lenses, it has a ton of personality(AKA endearing flaws). It can be rather soft and dreamy wide open at F1.4, but close the aperture to f2, and you've got decent performance. By f2.8 contrast has gone way up and as you stop down sharpness actually becomes rather incredible. I also consider it's 100mm equiv. focal length to be perfect(actually a bit more like a 105mm horizontally given the differences in aspect ratios).

    In fact, I like my FD so much, I was very close to selling my 45mm for some extra cash, but I figured the AF was too important for shooting events.

    So definitely get the 45mm and/or 75, but please get yourself a cheap adapted lens too, which should set you back less than 80 bucks. The Canon FD 50mm F1.4 is my favorite of these.

    Some examples with the 45 f1.8 and the Canon 50 f1.4.

    45, all wide open I believe:
    8240099245_9c0ed9b6e5_z.
    Kday-23 by napilopez, on Flickr

    7712887028_f8f5e0e4f4_z.
    reee-3 by napilopez, on Flickr

    7606390266_2ff0db2f00_z.
    Pups-3 by napilopez, on Flickr

    Now the 50:

    At F2 I think
    8321363260_9177ac9b97_z.
    Adelina-19 by napilopez, on Flickr

    F1.4
    7607810058_ac6bf08977_z.
    Bebes-7 by napilopez, on Flickr

    F2.8 I think
    7704534906_e70b7886fc_z.
    Hugs by napilopez, on Flickr

    Check that last photo at original size. You can see several places(hairs mostly) where this decades old lens clearly out-resolves the 16mp sensor of my old G3.
     
  17. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    You always need razor sharpness to get the eyes right. Also, so that when smoothening in post, it won't look artificial like most postprocessed portrait shots do.
     
  18. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    +1
     
  19. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    I favor tight shots and telephoto lenses actually are perfect for this exact purpose. Don't forget that telephoto lenses also force a thinner DoF thus separating your subject from his/her background better. By the same virtue, wider lenses have a harder time producing smooth bokehs even at lower apertures.

    Someone had commented earlier that the 35-100 produces better bokeh than expected for a f/2.8, my bet is that that observation happens at the tele end of this lens.
     
  20. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    The 45 is incredibly small, sharp, and versatile - for me, the 45 and the 20 are the two killer M4/3 lenses.