ZUIKO DIGITAL 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 for portraits? VS ZUIKO DIGITAL 75mm f/1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mesmerized, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Hello there,

    Just out of curiosity. Is there anyone here who would consider skipping the 75mm f/1.8 lens in favor of a 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5? I suppose that the latter one could pull off nice portraits as well + function as a great zoom with decent aperture. What do you think? I'm simply curious about your approach towards these things.

  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Different beasts. One is huge, heavy and decent to autofocus on the E-M1 (and terrible on the rest) in terms of speed. The other is one if the best lenses in the system, smaller, and significantly faster.

    I have the zoom, but if we're serious about portraiture the 75 would be the no brainer for me, since it's the 'right' focal length and size for my tastes.
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It would serve well as a portrait lens, depending on the type of portraits you would like to take. If having just an eyeball in focus and everything else all blurry is your thing, then it's not going to achieve that. But it will also serve as an excellent lens for a wide range of photo activities.
  4. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012

    I guess the upcoming 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO might be THE one!
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The 50-200mm isn't all that large and heavy, I guess everything is relative, but it is an extremely good lens throughout its range and fully weatherproof. If you have an E-M1, and can find one for a good price, it's not a bad option to consider.
  6. BobbyTan

    BobbyTan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 26, 2013
    Long Beach, CA
    Both the Panasonic 35-100/2.8 or 40-150/2.8 PRO would be a better lens than the 50-200 because of the AF speed and constant f2.8 aperture, but if you are looking for a really great portrait lens there is no better lens than the Nocticron or 75/1.8 because of their sharpness and ability to throw the background really out of focus … so your subject pops.
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's a pity that some seem to only consider portraits as those consisting of 'head shots'. Portraits also include three quarter/full body shots, family portraits, as well as group portraits, large and small. I've never had to do portraits where fast AF is an imperative; it's not like the subject is about to bolt unannounced.
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  8. leuallen

    leuallen Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 26, 2010
    Mackinaw, Il
    The 50-200 is a great lens. Hardly comes of my EM1 nowadays. I have other lenses that cover the portrait range, the best being the 35-100. But I have used the 50-200 at outdoor events for sniping candid head shots from a distance. Works great. That being said, the 35-100 is the lens you want for portraits. The 45 is also great but not as versatile. The 75 is a little long for general use.

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  9. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Nocticron is way too expensive. I'd have serious second-thoughts if I bought one. No matter how great this lens might be.
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  10. portadiferro

    portadiferro Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2013
    I have 75mm and 50-200mm, but now I am considering selling the 75mm. I'm not professional photographer and I've noticed I just use the 75 so rarely so it does not warrant the price even though it is an amazing lens. 50-200mm on the other hand is much more versatile for the type of photographs I take most of the time, which is mostly kids, along with nature and some street stuff. I just like it how I can just stay back and still get great action shots.
  11. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    I think the only drawback to the big zoom is bokeh. Sometimes it can be a bit jagged. Besides that, it's as good as it gets for a 100-400 equiv.
  12. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    For traditional portraits where you have a model standing and posing sure, but what about candids? Or less malleable subjects like small children? IMO fast AF can often be a factor in capturing a unique unplanned moment or expression, even with posed models, a quick laugh or a certain look, if you're not pre-focused you may miss it with a slow to focus lens.

    I don't think anyone has suggested that portraits can only be of the headshot type in this thread. Personally for anything with more than say half body in the shot, I like a bit shorter focal length. For full body shots or group shots, I like 25mm or 17mm, sometimes even 12mm if its a large group. So a good prime(25/1.4, 17/1.8, 12/2) or a 12-XX 2.8 zoom is what I will grab in those situations.

    Now, to the OP: If I wanted a prime for portraits, I would go 45mm, Nocticron or 75mm (I own all three and they are excellent). The 45 is a fantastic choice for the money, and the 75 is very good but you need to have quite a lot of working distance, to get a full body in the frame at 75, you need to be outside or in a very large indoor space. Of all 3 I like the Nocticron the best, because I get the working distance that I prefer with an 85mm-equiv and the shallow DOF like the 75.

    If I wanted a zoom for the extra versatility, I would go with the Pana 35-100/2.8 because of the small size, weight, and fast AF. I don't see anything extra the 50-200 would give me for portraits over the 35-100 (portraits at 100+ (200mm-equiv) mean you need to have a huge amount of working space, and you're so far from your subject that its difficult to communicate, not sure its really useful for anything other than press/paparazzi style shooting), though it may make a good wildlife/general purpose telephoto lens going all the way out to 200mm.

    The 40-150/2.8 seems interesting, but it looks like it will be double the size and weight of the 35-100, so I would probably pass on that. I sold off my FF gear +huge 70-200/2.8 and I'm not eager to get back to gargantuan lenses. For that matter, the 50-200 is roughly 3 times the weight of the 35-100, surely not an insignificant difference. The 35-100 and 100-300 would give you more range with less weight than the 50-200 alone, if you want a long reach lens for wildlife etc, just something else to consider.
  13. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Faster AF speed is handy for candids, but for posed portraits it doesn't really factor in much for me, unless I'm shooting toddlers.

    Still, I'd avoid the 50-200 for portraits for AF accuracy. The 50-200 is a great lens, and AF is a strong suit, but CDAF is a big improvement, and the 50-200 is PDAF only.

    Shooting M43 has greatly improved my focus accuracy overall, thanks to CDAF, and for people shooting especially now that I've fully embraced face detection AF. My wife helps me grind through all our family pictures in Lightroom and she commented the other day how she misses the days of the 5D2, because it was an easy bet that when looking at a folder of 1000 images, that 200 of them would go right in the trash for missed AF, saving some real processing time. Now I'm getting very nearly 100% AF hits shooting people, and her workload has gone up because I'm still in the "double tap" frame of mind from my DSLR days.

    Anyway, CDAF is awesome for portraits, especially if you are willing to use face detection and/or touch AF. It's quicker than focus/recompose with PDAF systems, more accurate, and more consistent.

    I prefer getting close to my subjects for portraits, and I really enjoy shooting with my 12-40/2.8. If I needed to shoot longer I'd probably go with the 35-100/2.8. Primes generally have a nicer rendering for portraits, and they're easy enough to use for posed shots, but I prefer zooms for candids (which is mostly what I do these days) because it's faster to get the look you want with zoom.
  14. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    So here are a couple of examples shot with the 50-200 -


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  15. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    And a couple of others (I really tried to find some not at the long end of the zoom and I can't - sorry).


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  16. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I agree. I have the original 50-200 and I use it with an E-M5. It is my standard portrait lens. Unless I am chasing kids around, I do not worry about the speed of focusing. A lot of times I work at the 100mm length for family groups outside.
    Beautiful bokeh and perspective!
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