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Compare oly 45 and 60 for portraits.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by wanderenvy, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012

    Has anyone compared the Oly 45 and 60 for portraits using the same subject and lighting conditions?

    The dof is in the same ball park if you compare at f2.8 and vary the distance to get the same approximate composition.

    I don't have the 45 or the 60, so I am wondering if I can get away with just a 60mm macro in the bag. Or is the character sufficiently different that you really can't compare the two. I realize the technical tradeoffs, but the thought of just having one lens do double duty is tempting.

  2. Sanpaku

    Sanpaku Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    I've tried working with the 60 (my 45 is in transit) and its 1) clinically sharp, in a way that's rather unkind to faces "of a certain age", 2) too long for indoor portraiture, and 3) I wouldn't mind another 1 ⅓ stops of depth of field control.

    My experience with the 60 actually deterred a purchase of the 75 and directed me to the 45 as my next lens. Wish I could offer a more direct comparison, I'm sure others will.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Many love the Zuiko 50mm f/2 Macro for portraits, even though it should technically be too sharp for portraits. All depends on the photographer. As far as focal length, longer is better if you have the room. It creates a more flattering compression. In fact, I wouldn't even use 45mm on anything but a full-body portrait. Anything tighter (ie, torso, bust, or head), and my preference is in the 75mm to 200mm range. A 45mm headshot is going to show some perspective distortion (nothing too noticeable, but it'll be there).

    If it's a portrait lens you're tossing about, have you considered the 75mm f/1.8?

    What kind of environment will you be shooting your portraits in? If you have limitless space (ie, outdoors), then go longer. If you are in an enclosed space (ie, a studio), then go as long as remains comfortable for your space.
    • Like Like x 6
  4. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    Ned, I am just glad that you are more active on this forum. What a wealth of info you are!

    Thank you.

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks. :3
  6. noohoggin1

    noohoggin1 Instagram: @tomnguyenstudio

    May 21, 2012
    I have the 45mm, but the 60mm macro is on its way. As you said, the DOF will be similar, but I imagine the first thing one would notice is the biting sharpness of the macro compared to the 45mm. As Ned said, the longer focal length will be ever-so-slightly more flattering, but most wouldn't be able to tell.

    I used to shoot portaits with the ol' 4/3rds 50mm macro, so I imagine the new 60mm will be similar. Sharpness is not a bad thing, in my opinion; it's easier to tone it down than the other way around, that's for sure.
  7. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    I don't understand these comment. First, the 45mm is very sharp. So is the 75mm. Saying the 60mm is "too sharp" to use implies that it is very much sharper than either. Shots and measurements do not support this.

    Besides, there is no such thing as too sharp for portraits. It's a piece of cake to remove detail, in any number of interesting ways.
  8. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    Er, sorry, bit of a redundant post. Which makes this one even more so. :biggrin:
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    All focal lengths at the same aperture and on the same sensor will have the same DOF, if you move to keep the subject size the same in the frame (the movement compensates for the difference in focal length). So the 45 is still capable of a stop and a bit shallower DOF given the same subject size in frame.

    The angle of view will be different as will compression and perspective. If you want the same DOF you'll need to shoot at the same aperture.

    personally, I'd still prefer the longer lens though.

    • Like Like x 2
  10. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Basically what Ned and Flash already said... note Flash's remark about compression too.

    Damian Mc Gillicuddy has tested the 60mm on portraits, if you want to see a couple of examples:

    Damian McGillicuddy Photographer - Journal

    I have no experience with the 60mm but have used a OM Zuiko 50mm f/3.5 macro for portraits, either adapted or on OM film cameras. It's sharp. It's sharper than I need sometimes. I suspect the signature "macro look" (virtually void of any distortions) has something to do with the final results too.
  11. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    I am also saving up for the 75mm f/1.8 for portraits. When I finally moved into 35mm photography in the early 70's my photography mentors told me that 90mm was good for body portraits and 135-200mm for head shots. I suppose that's why I can't remember attending a wedding in recent decades without seeing a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom on at least one wedding photographer's camera. For now I use legacy lenses: Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 macro and Pentax 135mm f/2.5. Alas, I traded the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 for several lenses...
  12. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    Yup. If you frame the subject the same f/2.8 is almost exactly 50% more DOF than f/1.8 no matter what lens you use. However, as is obvious from portraits with the 75 f/1.8 vs the 45 f/1.8 (Same DOF), the longer lens shows less background and so give a smoother bokeh, and of course has compression advantages as well.

    I generally would prefer the longer lens too, but in this case I think it is almost a complete wash. 60mm is just not enough extra focal length to clearly offset the DOF change. I would be right where wanderenvy is if I had to decide between the two, needing to see some samples of the same shots taken with each so I could analyze the rendering and bokeh to decide which I preferred.
  13. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    That little problem can be fixed in lightroom with a little reduction in clarity. -25 clarity can do wonders on that front.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I don't have a head to head comparison with the Olympus 45mm but I've taken a few portraits with the 60mm and it can do very nicely with the right background and working distance. I quite like the bokeh with this lens wide open and I don't consider sharpness a detriment. With any lens, for portraits I typically use a little softening adjustment (reducing clarity), particularly on female subjects. It's a lot easier to soften than to try and bring back in detail that isn't there when you want it :smile:

    Here's some canine and human portraits with the Olympus 60mm macro.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024782716/" title="Norah by jloden, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "600" height="800" alt="Norah"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024784536/" title="P1010598 by jloden, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "600" height="800" alt="P1010598"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8021145361/" title="Marlana by jloden, on Flickr"> View attachment 239589 "600" height="800" alt="Marlana"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8041814551/" title="ANF Meetup 2012-10 by jloden, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="ANF Meetup 2012-10"></a>
    • Like Like x 2
  15. hankbaskett

    hankbaskett Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    Yeah... I own the 45, 75 and 60, and IMO, the 75 is the sharpest of the bunch. The 45 and 60 are very similar.

    I also agree with you that "too sharp for portraits" is a silly concept. For some portraits I want all of that sharpness. For some portraits I don't. I can easily soften a shot, but can't gain detail on a softer lens. If post processing didn't exist, yes, all 3 would probably be "too sharp" for a lot of portraits and we would have to go buy an additional softer lens for that application and choose which one of our equivalent focal length lens to use based on complexion. Through the wonders of technology, we don't.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    I will "personally" go for 45mm Oly for portraits. Macro lenses will at times render unforgiving on micro details for portraiture. Not to say the 60mm can't do portraits, but i will prefer a dedicated portrait lens than a macro lens to double duty as a portrait lens.
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