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Senior portrait session ft. Oly 17mm f1.2

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Matt Leppek, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Matt Leppek

    Matt Leppek Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2017
    Recently I rented the Olympus 17mm f1.2 to see how it would preform for wedding videography. I was pretty disappointed with its uses for video, operating its short 100 degree focus throw at f1.2 isn't enjoyable. The MF clutch works well enough for the Oly pro zooms, but definitely needs a longer throw in the primes. However the 17mm f1.2 was fantastic to use for photography. The autofocus is stupid fast, undoubtably the fastest I've ever had on m43.

    I also recently purchased a Godox AD200, and this was my first shoot with it. I used an Olympus Em5 Mkii w/ 17mm f1.2 and 40-150mm 2.8 along with a 24" gridded soft box for all of these shots.
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.5    1/2500s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    40mm    f/2.8    1/800s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8    19mm    f/2.8    1/500s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/3200s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.17mm F1.2    17mm    f/2.0    1/4000s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    150mm    f/2.8    1/1250s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    46mm    f/4.0    1/2000s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    40mm    f/3.5    1/2000s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    40mm    f/4.0    1/2000s    ISO 200
    E-M5MarkII    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8    40mm    f/4.5    1/1600s    ISO 200
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  2. Nice range of shots, some of the highlights look a little too bright though.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  3. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    17mm focal length is not an ideal lens for portrait work due to problems with foreshortening (enlargement out of proportion) effect you get on any part of a person that is closer to the lens than the face. I see it in the shoulder that is closer to the camera in several shots, the knee that winds up closer to the lens, in one shot where the camera is positioned low the hip area appears a bit out of proportion to the rest of her.

    This lens would be OK for full length if you were careful of angle, or even small groups.

    For the kind of perspective you seemed to be after in your images above, a 25mm lens would have been a better choice. You would still have had to be careful to avoid foreshortening by not getting too close but in what you did the effect would have been lessened. This is one reason why portrait photographers who knew what they were doing favored the perspective they got with 90mm to 105mm optics or slightly longer 135mm to 200mm on 35mm film and 150mm/180mm and longer on 120 rollfilm.

    For m4/3 format the 45mm, 60mm, and 75mm focal lengths would be ideal for half length, head & shoulder, and tighter headshot images. Proportion and perspective look a lot better with your 40mm to 150mm

    And skintone highlights do look "blocked" to me.
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  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I agree with what others have said. Some of the highlights look a bit hot, and waist-up or chest-up portraits with a 35mm lens cause some pretty severe feature distortion. It’s a great lens for full-length shots, but a 25 or 45mm lens would be better for half-body shots due to the lower distortion present.

    If you didn’t care for the lens for video, and plan on using it in a staged portrait scenario for photography, the Voigtlander 17.5 may be a better option. You’re already familiar with the 25 if memory serves me right. It’s a wonderful lens as well.
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  5. Matt Leppek

    Matt Leppek Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2017
    Thanks for the responses. I’ll definitely tone down the highlights. Nothing but the background is close to clipping on the histogram, but the face is too bright in most of the images.

    I know 35mm suffers from distortion, but I think they’re completely useable. The 7th picture probably suffers from foreshortening the most, but even then I’m certain her and her parents won’t notice or care. Clients tend to surprise me and pick the technically worst shots anyway... I’ve shot portraits with the Laowa 7.5mm (the senior wanted a few pics with a herd of cattle behind him). I wasn’t fond of the images, but they ordered a few prints from the ultra wide angle.

    I shot the majority of the portraits on the 40-150 pro, only the ones I shared are with the 17mm. I had the 17mm 1.2 in the bag for the wedding and was curious to see how it would perform as it’s the first pro prime I’ve held.

    After working with 17mm 1.2 I’m pretty set on owning all of the Voigtlander primes. I do more wedding videos than wedding photography, so I’ll provably just rent an Em1 mkii w/ 25mm or 45mm pro for wedding photography.

    I think I’ll get the Voigtlander 17.5mm first for glidecam use, and pick up the Sigma 56mm 1.4 for portraiture once it’s released.
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  6. bbarnett51

    bbarnett51 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 23, 2015

    I’m not sure I agree. The 35mm focal length is extremely popular in the portrait world now. What you say is true about distortion but when used correctly it really adds a unique perspective. Again, you have to watch noses and features that might not look right when distorted but assuming those are controlled, the focal length offers a unique look that is very much in style.
    I shoot with traditional portrait FL’s like the 50, 85, and 70-200 but I’m adding the Voigtlander 17.5 or Sigma 16 1.4 just for my wedding portraits.

    The highlights are a little strong but overall Inlike the photos and suspect the customer will be thrilled.
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  7. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    That focal length/perspective has it's place. In the 1950s and 1960s before zooms got popular it was a favorite of photojournalists as being a bit more flexible when photographing 2 or more persons to illustrate reporting. It also allowed them to work closer to interviewees and in slightly tighter quarters. I lived through that era and did a bit of pj work, equipped with a Nikon with 50mm, 35mm, and 135mm primes.

    When I went professional on my own, my primary line of work was portrait and wedding with a bit of commercial assignments thrown in now and then. To compete in the world of professional portraiture the ideal focal length for us to work with routinely was that which gave us approximately 2X magnification over "normal". In the 35mm film format that was around 100mm. I had the Nikkor 105mm for those rare occasions when I used 35mm film format.

    Most of the portrait work I did was with 70mm long roll in electric advance production SLR cameras with a 180mm lens and 120 rollfilm in Mamiya RB 67 with 180mm and the soft focus 150mm lenses. The 2X magnification perspective provides an easily applied and managed degree of subject isolation which is still a mainstay of classic portrait work.

    I've noticed it as a trend. It allows a bit of a more casual look. Maybe I'm a "dinosaur" but the few folks I do portraits as a favor for (I'm retired now and no longer in business so I don't charge them) come to me for the more "classic" look I still maintain in portraiture.

    Now, that ought to work well for you. When I was doing weddings I used a pair of Hasselblads with the 80mm Planar f2.8, many of us couldn't afford 'Blad wide lenses and a guy named Bill Stockwell was teaching coverage of weddings with just the "normal" prime. There were times when some use of a wider lens would have given me more flexibility in some very small churches and chapels.
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