Portraiture with 85mm Samyang/Rokinon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Policar, May 24, 2012.

  1. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #1
    I am shooting some portraits for a friend and was wondering if anyone had any advice on shooting with this lens. I'm worried that it will be too hard to focus accurately (on Canon) without resorting to live view. Anyone have any advice on using this lens? Or is it really only for staged stuff?

    I'm also considering the 50mm f1.8, but it has poor bokeh and mine is a bit soft. Or the 70-200mm f2.8. I will probably go with the zoom, but the extra speed would be nice...

    Anyone have any advice (on lenses or in general) for a novice at shooting portraits? Hopefully will shoot outside and rely on backlight.
     
  2. slieu92 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #2
    i have a t1i and the only way i can get accurate shoots is with live view. manual focusing the rokinon 85mm 1.4 using the stock viewfinder is impossible. you could replace the stock focusing screen with a split screen focusing screen. i haven't done that yet so i can't help you there.
     
  3. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #3
    Thanks! How obnoxious do you find the focusing process? Wide open do your subjects move enough that you find you have to keep pausing and adjusting focus or do you focus once and it's good enough for a static portrait?

    I want shallow focus so I might take out the 70-200mm zoom and focus on the eyes...but then I need a lot more light (1/500 shutter rather than 1/160 shutter and two stops slower).

    What focal lengths do people like for portraits? And how do Rokinon owners like their lenses?
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    Do the Canon bodies not have a focus indicator, or does the lens not work with it?

    Paul
     
  5. Oracle1729, May 27, 2012
    Last edited: May 27, 2012

    Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #5
    I have the Nikon 50mm 1.8D and 70-200 2.8 VR1.

    First, when you say the 50mm is soft do you mean wide open? This is a sharp lens except that it has problems at the widest apertures. What shutter speed are you using? I had a lot of trouble with the 50mm when I got the 70-200 and I was comparing the two. Then I realized I was shooting at 1/15th of a second and the VR in the zoom lens was compensating but I had motion blur with the prime.

    Second, you say you want the extra speed from the 1.8. In my experience 1.8 @ 50mm gives you such a narrow depth of field it's only useful if your goal is that effect and not if your goal is more light. Add in the softness at 1.8 and I don't think the 50mm is good for what you're talking about.

    Another factor to consider is on a crop sensor camera even 50mm is very long for indoor use, a lot of times using the 70-200 indoors I wish I also had the 24-70.

    Edit: As far as your portraits question, I use the 70-200, shooting in a studio where I have enough room to be 15-25 feet from the model. You really don't want to shoot a portrait at 50mm, when you're too close to the model, you distort their features.
     
  6. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #6
    Just got mine in the mail... They don't have AF confirm chips on Canon, nor do they relay metering data of any kind.

    So you have to use live view with an inaccurate guess-and-check exposure to take photos. I'm sorry, but for a fast walk around lens and portrait lens I want AF and proper autoexposure.

    If your work is entirely staged (landscape or studio) I can sort of see these working. Maybe? They are kind of useless lenses for stills, but good for video once declicked and outfitted with focus gears.

    ----------

    I don't make mistakes with shutter speed; I just use 1/2*focal length at the bare minimum (since I've found digital has twice the linear sharpness of film, for which I used 1/focal length) and everything is okay.

    Also, you're contradicting yourself a bit here... 70-200mm is needed to get long enough for portraiture, but you want a 24-70mm for indoor portraits sometimes? I don't understand. I have MF primes to fill in the gaps if I need to go wider (24mm, 28mm, two 35mms, two 50mms, three 85mms, a 135mm, probably should put some up for sale...), but it sounds like you're not suggesting that and I want AF for stills anyway. I'll skip the 50mm f1.8. Really a garbage lens, anyway, terrible bokeh; the Nikon version is much better. I'm shooting with the 5D III so no crop.

    I don't want to use lights unless I really have to... I'll probably stick with the 70-200mm wide open and just increase the ISO as needed. These don't have to be great photos and they can't look lit--my friend just wants to look good in his social networking profiles and I figured it would be a chance to practice shooting portraiture....
     
  7. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #7
    Sorry, I see where I was confusing. I use the 70-200 for studio portraits where I can make sure I have the space I need. When I was talking about the 50mm being too long and wanting the 24-70, I was picturing a birthday party. Basically for casual indoor stuff, a home, banquet hall, etc, the 70-200 is useless and even the 50mm is too long a lot of the time, again talking about a crop sensor. I've used the 50mm with a film camera and it's a good length full-frame (as it was intended for).

    As far as you not wanting to use lights, I've borrowed a Nikon D700 to play with in the studio with my 70-200, and boosting the ISO I got amazing shots just off the modeling lights in an otherwise dark room. I don't know Canon gear as well but I'd imagine the 5D3 would be fine in the same lighting.

    You sound like you know what you're talking about, but any of this gear sounds like overkill for facebook profiles and to practice portraits.
     
  8. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #8
    I think I might just use the zoom and shoot outside, backlit late day. I don't have the IS model and it's very shaky; if I could afford the IS model I wouldn't be worried. I want a really out of focus background but 200mm requires crazy shutter speeds without IS. So I figured I'd use the 85mm wide open since I could shoot with much less light (slower shutter and two stop brighter) but then focusing is the issue.

    The issue with lights is that then the subject starts feeling self-concious and the photos start to feel "lit" unless one is very careful… And directing talent, especially directing talent toward apparent spontaneity, seems to me like the hardest part of portraiture.

    The gear is probably overkill for facebook photos, but that's what I use it for; I bought it to shoot video (hence all the MF primes) but my new job doesn't require it. So I have this ridiculously expensive camera sitting around and never use it except to take pictures of cats.

    On another note, naysayers are wrong...the 5D III is incredibly sharp. Kind of noisy sensor, though.
     
  9. WRP macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    Whenever I shoot with my roki 85 I use liveview with my LCDVF loupe. I have used it without but liveview is an absolute must. The 70-200 would be my pick unless you can deal with using liveview with the 85. It really isn't that hard but wide open, even the slightest move will send your image OOF.
     
  10. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #10
    I'd personally advise selling you MF primes and getting a more concise set of lenses, but then again I don't really know what's your situation... Shooting portraits with a wide open 85 f/1.4 prime is going to be a pain. Even with live view (a pain in it's self).

    If you want a shallow depth of field look, have you considered getting a canon 85 f/1.8? I don't own it but from what I hear it's a great lens at a reasonable price (not much more expensive than a Rokinon 85 1.4).
     
  11. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #11
    I bought all the manual focus lenses for video. I need the long focus throws and hard stops so I (or my AC) can pull focus. The zoom is for video, too, even though it's not very good for it (no hard stops on the focus ring). But I figured now that I have the camera I ought to shoot stills, too.

    I'll just stick with the 70-200mm for stills. The Rokinons are frustrating lenses--such good performance but the lack of AF is just annoying. I'd rather get a good expression than have the talent wait on focus.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #12
    Both of my Nikons focus confirmation indicators work with lenses without any electronics at all- I've tested with an old silver Hassy lens in an adapter and I get focus confirmation. You may want to double-check, I can't imagine Canon not being similar.

    Paul
     
  13. WRP macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    No, they absolutely don't on Canon. You can chip them and they will get focus confirmation. Or someone could buy the Nikon chipped version and use it with an adapter on their EOS body.
     
  14. slieu92 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #14
    well, i have magic lantern on my t1i. there's an option in magic lantern to have focus peak (show tiny dots on focused edges) and magic zoom (zoom box for checking focus).
    and to the OP, my t1i does correctly expose the image. for more help here's the flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/1464501@N22/
     
  15. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #15
    There's no magic lantern for my camera, but I have used it and it works pretty well.

    How do you get your camera to meter properly in live view? Video meters fine, but photo live view gets confused about what stop the lens is set to (due to the manual aperture ring and lack of AF chip, I guess) and gives me a really dark image. The meter itself is accurate, but I'd like to see a real-time histogram (and accurate image) in addition to it if I'm using live view. This happens with all my old adapted lenses, too, so if there were a way to fix it that would be nice...
     
  16. WRP macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    Maybe I missed it but I don't see what camera you are shooting with. On my 7D the setting you are looking to change is called exposure simulation.
     
  17. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #17
    Thanks! I'm shooting with the 5D III. It's probably the same setting and I should know what it is, but I'm not too technical with dSLRs yet. I'll look that up and try it.
     

Share This Page