Help with Portrait lens for EM-1

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Dennis Mansour, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Dennis Mansour

    Dennis Mansour Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2015
    I have the 14-40 f2.8 now. I see many use the 45. 1.8 but thats so close to what I have now,
    Is the 60 Macro or 75 1.8 better ? Thanks
  2. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    What is it about the 12-40/2.8 that you find lacking for portraits? That will help determine which lens would be a good candidate.
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Lots of people use lots of different focal lengths for portraits. Except for styles that go specifically for perspective distortion, the conventional idea is to get the camera far enough away to eliminate the "big nose" effect. In 35mm lens terms, an 85mm was considered to be a good lens for 3/4 length portraits while something like a 105mm was thought better for head shots. In both cases, then, the camera-to-subject distance was similar. Read the "Angle of view of the capture" section here: for a little more information. The authors there consider 135mm to be an acceptable portrait lens, though many would consider it too flattening.

    So ... there is no right answer. It depends on your photographic style. My style is very tight head shots, so in film days my 105mm Nikkor was my favorite. Now with zooms I don't keep such close track. I manage my distance from the subject, then zoom to suit. Goldilocks distance: Not too close, not too far away.

    Bottom line, I think, is that the usual goal is to produce the same sense of facial proportion that one sees when meeting the subject face to face. This means that the nose is somewhat exaggerated compared to a totally flat perspective shot from a long distance away.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    My go to portrait lens on my FX kit is the 70-200, I have both the f/2.8 and f/4. I tend to do outdoor portraits and there are times when I don't have the option to backup or get closer. So my first choice would be the Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8, I also like the size and weight. I've never used the 40-150 so I'm not sure if I would take it over the combination of the 45 / 60 / 75. But if I already had the 12-40 I guess I would skip the 45 antway. That would leave the 60 and 75. If get the Sigma 60 instead of the Oly Macro 60 then the 60 & 75 combo would be less than the 35-100. But I'd probably still spend the extra and opt for the 35-100.
  5. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Out of those choices,

    #1 - 75mm f/1.8, an obvious perspective difference from the 40-45mm FLs while a small difference in perspective compared to the 60mm. There is a lot of difference in the control of DOF with the f/1.8 compared to f/2.8 and out of focus areas to match. World class lens.

    #2 - 45mm f/1.8, although the perspective is very close to that 40mm, the DOF at F/1.8 is significant compared f/2.8 and the out of focus areas can set portraits on a new level. This is a very small lens that is amazingly good! Best value.

    #3 - 60mm f/2.8 Macro – in the same category as sharpness at the other two lenses but the DOF control and out of focus areas due to the aperture just doesn’t quite live up to the other two lenses. Now if Olympus had made this at f/2.0 or faster, it would probably be one of my favorite lenses. Great midrange telephoto, very sharp, and excellent macro lens – it just lacks the wide open FL of a great portrait lens.

    With all three lens when I use them for portraits the first thing I do is set a -10 on clarity!

    If I did not do monthly portraits for several companies I would have been extremely happy with the 45mm. The 60mm macro makes it very worthwhile for those that do a lot of macro work. Since acquiring the 75mm, the 45mm and 60mm do not get a whole lot of use. The 45mm comes out when I know my shooting area is very limited, and the 60mm is pretty much restricted to macro work.

    If you are in the states with the sale announce today, now is the time to buy any of these lenses. If buying all three, the savings could be treated as buy the 75mm and either the 60mm or 45mm, and get the other one free.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Dennis Mansour

    Dennis Mansour Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2015
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    40mm f2.8 on your zoom is right there in the classic portrait lengths. Is that not working for you? If not, what isn't meeting your expectations or needs?
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    The Oly 60, the 75 and the Sigma 60 are all technically better then the 12-40 at 40mm (if and when this difference matters in practice is to be seen). All these three lenses will give you more background blur, especially the 75.

    A long lens usually works better for headshots and outdoor shots simply because a lot of space is required to get a full body shot with a 75 (about 10 meters). What could be fine for street candid shots can be problematic for studio shots and reverse.

    This tool can give you an idea of how much distance from the subject you need for different framings:

    You can use longer lenses for portraits, even a 300mm equiv (150 native):

    (obviously not all pictures are @300, it's just a google search).

    The 75 is quite a big lens, while the 45 is more pocketable and less scary. And works in smaller spaces so it could be a good option even if it is so close to the 12-40. Anyway both the 60mm lenses are small too. Enough confusion? :) 
  9. Lionroar

    Lionroar Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 10, 2014
    I agree with this question.

    Or as I would state it, you can't determine what lens you should buy until you determine what kind of pictures you would like to take.

    Also, the least expensive way to experiment with longer focal lengths is the Olympus 40-150 which is on sale right now for only $99. You should consider that before spending a lot of money for a specialty lens like the 75mm prime.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. So Thankful

    So Thankful Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2015
    I currently have the 45 1.8 and is an absolute gem of a lens. It is one of the best lenses I have ever owned in fact. I have owned some classic Nikon portrait lenses in the past. The 105 f/2 DC and the 85 f1.4. The Oly beats them both IMO.
    The 75 is said to be one of the best lenses made for Micro 4/3. I will be getting that as soon as funds allow.
    As far as length goes in the past I enjoyed the 105 a bit more for portraits, there is no lens available now the equals that length, so I just adjust my distance from the subject.
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I would prefer a 100-110mm equivalent also. I'm surprised we haven't seen a native 50/55mm f1.4.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Bravo! This should be a banner on the mu-43 homepage.
  13. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Clint said it.
    Wot Clint said.
    OP : go read Clint's post again.
    (I don't think Datagov's four examples illustrate any lens' capabilities with so much post-processing : clean photos would have been better in this thread.)
  14. MikeB

    MikeB Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    The Oly 12-40 f2.8 is great for wider shots, but I've started using the Panny 35-100 f2.8 for longer focal lengths. The zoom range is very flexible, it has similar sharpness to the Oly pro lenses, the lens is reasonably sized and easy to work with, and you have a fast enough aperture to get blurred backgrounds.
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