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Thread: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

  1. #1
    MetroStyles
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    Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Hello all,

    I am interested in using my G1 to take nice photos of friends during get-togethers and parties. I'd like something with a pretty narrow depth of field to really highlight the people I am focusing on.

    I did a few searches on the forum and while I did find a very good thread on G1 portraits using different kinds of lenses, I'd like some opinions on what I should get for my exact situation. I do not know much about photography so I apologize in advance and please bear with me.

    My friend uses a Canon with the 50mm/f1.4 fixed lens. It is amazing - exactly the kind of shots I want to be taking. However I am not sure how well the Canon 50mm/f1.4 works with an adapter on the G1. I have also heard good things about the Sigma 50mm/1.4 but it seems a bit pricey.

    So two questions to be specific:

    1) What is a good lens to get for basic portraiture and small groups in the 10 foot range? Narrow depth of field is a must. Very fast lens is a must.
    2) What is a good adapter to get for this? I understand that different lens families require different adapters to work with the G1 micro 4/3 system - so the answer to this depends on the answer to number 1.

    Again, thanks for bearing with me - I am new to "serious photography" and I have not been able to get the effects I want with the kit lens or the G1 tele lens.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Well, if you use the search function and browse some threads here, you´ll find literally hundreds of suggestions, from ordinary SLR lenses like the Canon to exotic cine lenses requiring machining and exotic adapters.....

    My personal favourites are 50 mm Leica lenses: 50/2 Summicrons for M and R, and as an interesting twist, my 1936 vintage uncoated Summar 50/2. But they´re lenses I already owned and have used a lot, not new acquisitions.

    I´d say: take any 50-or-so lens you did like in your film days (assuming you´re old enough to have experienced film I´m 67 myself....), get an adapter and enjoy it! They´re all even better than they ever were with film (seriously!), and once you learn their personality and way of drawing, you´ll produce great results!

  3. #3
    MetroStyles
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Thanks for your advice, Per. You overestimate my skills and experience - I am 25 and have never owned a good film camera. This is my first camera that is not a basic point and shoot.

    I agree that there are plenty of brilliant lenses out there for this purpose (from the pictures I have seen posted on this forum). That is the problem in itself though - there seem to be so many that I am at a loss about which to purchase. I notice that a lot of people use their 50mms for real close up portraits - which is not exactly what I am looking for. Of course I don't know, maybe those lenses will look just as good taking small group shots from 6-12 feet away.

    Basically there is so much out there that I would appreciate some (gulp) hand-holding in the process, given my lack of experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    Well, if you use the search function and browse some threads here, you´ll find literally hundreds of suggestions, from ordinary SLR lenses like the Canon to exotic cine lenses requiring machining and exotic adapters.....

    My personal favourites are 50 mm Leica lenses: 50/2 Summicrons for M and R, and as an interesting twist, my 1936 vintage uncoated Summar 50/2. But they´re lenses I already owned and have used a lot, not new acquisitions.

    I´d say: take any 50-or-so lens you did like in your film days (assuming you´re old enough to have experienced film I´m 67 myself....), get an adapter and enjoy it! They´re all even better than they ever were with film (seriously!), and once you learn their personality and way of drawing, you´ll produce great results!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Quote Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
    Thanks for your advice, Per. You overestimate my skills and experience - I am 25 and have never owned a good film camera. This is my first camera that is not a basic point and shoot.

    I agree that there are plenty of brilliant lenses out there for this purpose (from the pictures I have seen posted on this forum). That is the problem in itself though - there seem to be so many that I am at a loss about which to purchase. I notice that a lot of people use their 50mms for real close up portraits - which is not exactly what I am looking for. Of course I don't know, maybe those lenses will look just as good taking small group shots from 6-12 feet away.

    Basically there is so much out there that I would appreciate some (gulp) hand-holding in the process, given my lack of experience.
    OK, first things first... I assume you got the 14-45 mm kit lens with the G1; don´t underestimate it! Compared to what you call "basic point and shoots", the G1 has vastly superior high ISO performance, so if you use ISO 1600 (or even 3200), you´ll still get much better results than a P/S under the same light conditions. And then, the rather slow zoom will still work, without flash, giving you both AF and image stabilisation.

    So, I´d suggest you shoot this way for a few months at least, learning tha camera and the technique. After that, you may well feel the desire for more shallow depth-of-field or higher shutter speeds, and willing to cope with manual focus in order to get it (or, quite likely, some new mFT lenses will be introduced within a few weeks...). Then you have more experience, and know better what you really need. Also, you can keep an eye open for bargains in old, manual lenses for just about any old SLR or RF system, and get the adapter after that.

    Just as an illustration (not a top-notch shot by any means), this one´s shot free hand at 1/6 s, ISO 800, handheld with the 45-200 lens at 103 mm in a very dark cabin on a February night. So, it´s quite possible to get results...
    Last edited by Per Ofverbeck; 23rd August 2009 at 12:01.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    My advice would be to get a Pen-F 38 f/1.8. It has a close focus distance of around 14 inches and nice bokeh. You can get an adapter on ebay from Jinfinace. Lens plus adapter should be a little less than $300. The lens is small and fits nicely on the G1.

  6. #6
    MetroStyles
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Thanks Per and Cindy. I will check out that lens or at least put it on my shortlist. A nice bokeh is a must!

    Per, that was the answer I knew I was going to get but didn't want to hear! As a sometimes impulsive hobbyist I get the tendency to get deep into things before I know what I am doing. Maybe the 45-200 does have some promise in this regard. I would say one thing though: I was playing with it yesterday and even in decent lighting I couldn't get the shutter speed on low aperture to be fast enough and there was blurriness from my hands moving. Either way, I will take your advice and really get comfortable with both lenses I have before buying a new one. I spent 3 months taking pics with the 14-45mm kit lens in Asia this summer so perhaps its time to play with the 45-200.

    All that said, I'm not sure that either can get me the results I want (please tell me I am wrong). Some examples:

    http://www.anyarena.com/en/photos/album/recycle
    http://www.anyarena.com/en/photos/al...ustrie-night-2
    http://www.anyarena.com/en/photos/album/born-to-chill

    Pretty sure that the photographer there uses something like a 50mm/f1.4 with a flash diffuser.

  7. #7
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    While a really fast lens will be great I would also wait a week or so until we hear from Panasonic about the 20mm and 45mm lens. The 20 will be very fast and the 45 looks to be f2.8. Both of these will AF and will not need an adapter which could help on the "all in pricing". For a small group of people the 20mm could be just right. Also, for pictures like the those in the first link, you probably won't print them huge so you have room to crop a bit (and feel closer).

    While the photographer of those shots may use a 40mm lens it will depend on what size sensor in in the camera being used and one has to think about the crop factor.

    As you know there are an overwhelming number of choices and right now give you have the 14-45, I would wait.

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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Good recommendation from Terry!

    Personally, I would take the faster Panasonic 20/1.7. Just get closer to the subject!

  9. #9
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    If you don't mind using adapters you can try the Voigtlander 50/1.5 and 75/2.5. I have a 50/1.5 and it works for me.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    I think you have received a lot of good advice.

    I have a lot of Nikon manual lenses so I went the adapter route. For example you can get a Nikon adapter here in the UK for about £50. There is also a series of cheap Nikon lenses (the E series which so far have worked well on my G1). I picked up a 50mm E (f1.8) for £14. The E series are very light lenses (mostly plastic which is why they are cheap). The 50mm is nice for portraits:



    As others have said don't underestimate the kit lens even at high ISO. This one is at 1600 with window light:

    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
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  11. #11
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
    I am interested in using my G1 to take nice photos of friends during get-togethers and parties. I'd like something with a pretty narrow depth of field to really highlight the people I am focusing on.
    ok ...

    I do not know much about photography so I apologize in advance and please bear with me.
    noted ... I'll try

    My friend uses a Canon with the 50mm/f1.4 fixed lens. It is amazing - exactly the kind of shots I want to be taking.
    yep ... they are fine ... so what canon is he using? If he's using a Rebel, 20D/30D yadda then they are APS sensor cameras not full frame ... if he's using a 5D then that's a full frame. Knowing the answer to that is important.

    However I am not sure how well the Canon 50mm/f1.4 works with an adapter on the G1.
    pretty darn well ... an even cheaper alternative is the 50 f1.8 and you could get an adaptor from Ciecio7 and a 50f1.8 for the same money as the 1.4

    worth thinking about, as you could then consider getting a 35mm and / or a 28mm ... KEH is a good source (assuming you live in the USA) and lists 35mm o 28mm FD lenses ranging from about US$30 to $130.

    personally after buying a 28mm lens I just use my Kit lens as I really can't tell them apart and the kit lens has more features which I find useful in making more succesful images (like autofocus, manual focus triggering the onscreen focus assist zooming...)


    So two questions to be specific:

    1) What is a good lens to get for basic portraiture and small groups in the 10 foot range? Narrow depth of field is a must. Very fast lens is a must.
    well, as you've mentioned the 50, but its quite a head and shoulders tight lens at 12feet, looking at some of the images you posted I think the 28 would be more you.

    Also don't let the numbers carry you away, the difference between the lens at f1.8 and f2.8 is not that much at that focus distance (12feet) ... the bigger difference will be how nicely the image cleans up in terms of contrast and general "quality"

    2) What is a good adapter to get for this? I understand that different lens families require different adapters to work with the G1 micro 4/3 system - so the answer to this depends on the answer to number 1.
    it does ... I've got RJ camera adaptors and Ciecio7 this page isn't exactly a comparison of them, but it'll sorta do the job.

    My personal feeling is that unless using extension tubes for macro, I'm just as happy with the lack of aperture ring control provided by the RJ Camera adaptor and happier with the $25 less on the Ciecio7 adaptor ... its also a single piece of alloy so it won't break or have the screws come loose either.


    Again, thanks for bearing with me - I am new to "serious photography" and I have not been able to get the effects I want with the kit lens or the G1 tele lens.
    interesting .... if you're after something funky looking and easy to use perhaps you might try a C mount lens ... won't cover the full frame but give effects like this:

    this one is a 12.5mm ... so its nearly as wide as the kit lens.




    notice the change of focus from center to edge ... gives great background separation but you have to get in close.

    Has nice soft effects and looks better in 16:9 format




    Its fairly forgiving in focus, and if you just prefocus to 12feet then you can leave it alone and start shooting based on how far you know you are from the subject.

    This is the sort of thing you'll get with the Kit lens at 17mm and the sort of shooting distance you mentioned



    while this is the sort of thing you'll get with the 50 at f2 at the same distance



    I hope that helps in your choice a little
    Last edited by pellicle; 24th August 2009 at 05:03.

  12. #12
    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Quote Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
    1) What is a good lens to get for basic portraiture and small groups in the 10 foot range? Narrow depth of field is a must. Very fast lens is a must.
    Pellicle's observations about framing at around 10ft are important. For single head and shoulders shots (or a couple) you could work in the 35mm to 50mm range. For small group shots you'll need much wider. For the group shots, a very narrow depth of field will be less important. In fact, it can be problematic unless everyone is lined up at the same distance from the camera (compositionally, not very interesting).

    Your friend uses a 50mm f/1.4, but on what Canon body? On full-frame, it is 50mm of course, but with many DSLR's the effective framing is 80mm. On a G1's sensor, a 40mm focal length lens will give you the same sort of framing. In that range...

    Pen F 38mm f/1.8, 40mm f1.4, 42mm f/1.2 ($$!)
    Konica 40mm f/1.8
    Summicron 40mm f/2
    Rokkor 40mm f/2 (Leica-mount, copy of summicron)
    Cosina-Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.4 (leica-m-mount)
    CV Ultron 40mm f/2 (Nikon or Pentax Mount)
    ..and a few others.

    A 50mm lens will give the equivalent of 100mm framing, which can be OK for singles or tight-framed couples at that working distance. At 50mm, there are many choices, including the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4.

    Trying to tackle both singles and small groups with a single lens would be challenging, and perhaps frustrating in the end. There aren't many inexpensive options in the fast 24/25mm range. The Canon FD 24mm f/2.0 is one option. The 25mm Pan-Leica f/1.4 is a wonderful lens, but very expensive and quite large/heavy. The Olympus 25mm f/2.8 is relatively inexpensive, but more limited in delivering a very narrow depth of field.
    Best regards,
    John.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Y.B.Hudson III's Avatar
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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Yehh... my two ¢ents... frum metrostyLes eXamples...I w0uld recommend using a Summilux 35mm pre asp and/or a Jupiter 3 KMZ to get that type of lens signature...

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    Re: Good portrait lens recs for G1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Y.B.Hudson III View Post
    Yehh... my two ¢ents... frum metrostyLes eXamples...I w0uld recommend using a Summilux 35mm pre asp and/or a Jupiter 3 KMZ to get that type of lens signature...
    YBH - That's interesting: I have a Jupiter 3 from my film days. What do you like most about it, bokeh, sharpness, etc? I'm going to try it out again this week.

    Keith

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