Hi Steve 

I was looking at your whats new article (20th of October)   and it reminded me of some hard learnings I had on minimum focal distance last weekend with my new 85mm lens.  

Attached is one shot of several that I took, obviously a bit to close.

 

I was looking at your whats new article (20th of October)   and it reminded me of some hard learnings I had on minimum focal distance last weekend with my new 85mm lens.

 

So what are the learnings here? Obviously I was too close but is there a rule of thumb for this lens when taking portraits (lets call it that for the moment)?  

You know I like taking head shots so is the way out here to move back, take the shot and crop it back to the full frame head shot that I am looking for? 

Really enjoy reading your site - keep up the good work.

Peter

 

Hi Peter -

Yes, you're just too close.   With MFD (minimum focusing distance) it will be listed in the lenses specifications.  I'll mentally note this distance, and then use it to judge my distance from the subject.  A good technique, is to set your lens at its MFD (all the way to the stop), press down the shutter release half way, and then slowly back up until you here the focus confirmation beep.  That will get you as close as you can possibly be to the subject.  I'll back up a few more inches at least and let the autofocus do its job from there, over riding it as necessary. 

And yes, if you can't get close enough for the framing you want, then you simply crop in post processing.  If you're going to stay with that style (very close in head shots) you might want to look at a simple macro lens.  This will allow you to get as close as you want, give you very sharp images, with the only limitation being the bokeh isn't that smooth until you move into the high dollar macro lenses.  Another lens to consider would be your new 70-200..  At 200mm and a MFD of right under 4 feet you should be able to as close as you desire and still get good bokeh.  The 85mm F1.2 is a specialized lens, designed to get you as close as most people would want to go, with the best characteristics for portraits.. which is 3 feet 2 inches at 85mm.. not as close as the 70-200mm will get you with 200mm at 3 feet 9 inches..  Even your 24-105mm will get you in closer with 105mm at 4 feet 2 inches.. Where a macro like the 100mm F2.8L Macro.. 100mm at 1 foot..  or the 180mm F3.5L macro at 180mm and 1 foot 6 inches..  

Though.. with 21mp's and your 85.. you could crop 50-60% of the frame away and still have enough for a stunning 11x14..  

Every lens has it's variables adjusted/compromised to meet its designed purpose.. so it's a matter of picking the right lens. 

I hope this helps 

Steve  

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