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Thread: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

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    Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    I am looking for anyone that has used this lens for portraits and general shooting. Can you shoot Hand held if needed or too heavy? My other thought is the S 70/2.5 for portraits and general walk around. Thank you. If you have any images to submit on either one of these lenses please do so, Thank you

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    I don't have any images I can share right now, but I can tell you that handheld shooting with the 120mm is very do-able. It balances well on the S. Now, you do need to keep your shutter speed up when handholding. I try to keep at no slower than 1/180 and preferably 1/250.

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    I am looking for anyone that has used this lens for portraits and general shooting. Can you shoot Hand held if needed or too heavy? My other thought is the S 70/2.5 for portraits and general walk around. Thank you. If you have any images to submit on either one of these lenses please do so, Thank you
    No problem shooting portraits with the 120, it balances well. It is extremely sharp (mature women don't like it ;-), and it is also a macro. The only downside is that it may hunt a bit in AF because of the long throw.

    The 100mm maybe the ideal portrait lens, it does not come in a CS version, and is lighter, I would say a walk-around, and a bit softer in its drawing but still sharp.

    Again a difficult choice: 100mm for dedicated portrait and walk-around, 120 for general purpose+macro (and heavier)...

    I have both ;-)

    But the 70 is also a fantastic lens. It is however a "normal", while the 100 and 120 are closer to the traditional 80mm type of portrait lenses.
    - ErlingMM

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    The 120 can be used very well as a portrait lens. The AF hunting is not that bad, compared with the 100 (which incidentally tends to hunt, too - Leica are aware of this and were going to address it through firmware - the latest update however did not mention anything regarding AF with the 100/2, which I consider a bit odd). Btw, I suggest you try also the 180 - doesn't hunt and works fabulously as a portrait lens (you use the elpro to get real close).

    One example of a portrait shot with the 120 (souvenir seller on top of the Transfagarasan highway):


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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    The portrait photographer Mark Mann uses the 120/2.5 macro for about 80% of his work. It's one of my favorite lenses, but I don't shoot portraits.

    --Matt

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    A number of years ago I did an in depth test with the S120 maxro which incidently only goes down to 1:2 reproduction ratio as opposed to some other true macros, which go down to 1:1. I suspect this was done intentionally in order to provide a good compromise on all around performance from infinity down to 1:2, unlike the Pentax 120 macro, which goes down to 1:1 and is biased in performance for closer distance subjects in comparion.

    The Pentax FA 120 macro, one of Pentax's best 645 lenses, held its own again the Leica S120 in close up testing in studo setting. At mid range and especially long distances, the Pentax could only match the Leica in the central part of the frame but its sharpness and resolution on quickly fell off in the outer regions in comparison.

    As others have noted, this made the Leica S120 a very good performer throughout it focusing range in part to probably restricting its close up min distance to 1:2. It handles very well hand held, but as other noted too, it had a tendency to hunt in af, especially at close range and I often resorted to manual focus during a portrait session in order to keep up. From what I recall, the Leica lens did not have a focusing range limiter on the barrel, which the Pentax does and greatly aides in quicker focusing its long foxus throw and hunting. Both the Leica and Pentax macros might be a bit too sharp for certain portrait subjects and this is where each manufacturer has another focal length lens more in line with strictly portrait work.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 30th September 2016 at 07:33.
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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    Perhaps the Leica is limited to 1:2 because it is an f/2.5 lens. The Pentax and Contax 120 1:1 macros are both f/4. BTW, I LOVED my Pentax 120 macro and found it easier to use even than the Contax. All three are superb lenses.

    I've never found the Leica 120 to hunt if you start it manually near correct focus. I try to baby the AF motor, so if I'm going between macro and normal distances, I do an approximate MF first.

    Best,

    Matt

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    I use the 120CS sometimes for my concert work. Here's one of Seal earlier this year.

    S(006) 120CS handheld ISO 400 1/125th (no flash in the Pit of course)

    Charlie


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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    I just posted two portraits in the proper S-system topic using the 120S if you want to take a look: S Is For Show Us Your S2 Shots

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Perhaps the Leica is limited to 1:2 because it is an f/2.5 lens. The Pentax and Contax 120 1:1 macros are both f/4. BTW, I LOVED my Pentax 120 macro and found it easier to use even than the Contax. All three are superb lenses.

    I've never found the Leica 120 to hunt if you start it manually near correct focus. I try to baby the AF motor, so if I'm going between macro and normal distances, I do an approximate MF first.

    Best,

    Matt

    It's not the motor that breaks down. It's a gear that is spun by the motor. I also prefocus and finish off with back button AF. But not to baby the motor :P
    I think it's faster/easier to do it that way.

    The 120S really isn't that bad for static subjects. And can even capture the occasional street candid without much issue/technique.. TBH none of the S-lenses are really up to the task AF wise. So the "slower" AF on the 120S is usually a non-issue.

    Let's put it this way.. The way I use to use the S for work. I never felt the AF was lacking. Simply put, I don't try and use the camera like I would a Canon or a Nikon DSLR.

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    Re: Leica S 120mm 2.5 Macro For Portraits

    I have a S 120 Macro that I use on my SL. The focusing is pretty slow but otherwise I really like the lens.

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