greenspun.com : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread


I have an AT-1. I want to take photographs of actors: i.e. faces only. Was using Cannon 50m, but it gives slight fish-eye. Read somewhere that 85mm = ideal portrait lens, but can I just use a doubler (already have) on the 50mm lens I already have to make it a 100mm? Is such a doubled 100mm lens good enough for portraits to mean I can get professional results without expensive 85mm upgrade?

Second question, were I to buy an 85mm lens, is the one for 249 in York Cameras (a Cannon lens) which is in Mint condition overpriced? Jessops are sending me one for 150 to inspect (both are F1.8)... and so that saving of 100 would be appreciated... is it likely to be naff? An maybe even buying a Tamron T90 (described as SHARP) or a Cannon 100 would be good ...

Hmm I'd appreciate any thoughts very much as I am not vastly experienced! Thank you in advance for any time spent pondering this.


Gwyn Evans gwyn@onebox.com London

-- Gwyn Evans (gwyn@onebox.com), March 02, 2001


I used to shoot actors' headshots with a Tamron SP 90/2.5 Macro and I quite liked the results. The actors sometimes found them a bit too sharp, so you might think about that. 249 UKPounds seems a bit much for an FD 85/1.8, but the lens should be fine for your purposes.

If you already have a doubler, try it out and see if you like the results at the f-stop you would likely use for this purpose and the planned enlargement size.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), March 02, 2001.

I have never used a 2x teleconverter, but from what I've read they take away 3/4 of the light and reduce the quality of the photographs.

I think you will need all the light you can get for photographing actors during a performance at a theatre where flash photography is usually prohibited and the actors are walking around.

I think you should be able to buy a used 100mm/2.8, 135/2.5, or 135/2.8 for around $100 US.

-- Howard Z (greenspun@howardz.com), March 06, 2001.

Thanks for the responses. In response to Greenspun's comments, the photos are for actors' portfolios and therefore won't be taken during a performance. They will be outdoors in broad daylight.

I fitted the tele-converter and it seemed to cut out a lot of light. The film is currently being processed and I will post what the results look like in order to enlighten any other interested parties.

Thanks all for taking the time to reply, I am very grateful!

Gwyn, London

-- Gwyn Evans (gwyn@onebox.com), March 07, 2001.

A 2x converter will cost you 2 stops based on the mathematical properties of the converter, sometimes a bit more due to transmissive loss from having extra glass, reflective surfaces, and such. I've found that the correction factor with the Canon FD 2x-B converter, for instance, is actually about 2.5 stops.

The good news is that if you meter through the lens, the meter compensates automatically. If you use an external meter or a non-dedicated flash system, you need to to compensate for the difference manually by opening up 2 stops. So if your external meter or the calculator on your flash says "5.6," you need to set the lens at "2.8" (or possibly a half-stop wider), which will really be 5.6 with the converter.

A teleconverter magnifies the aberrations of the main lens, so it will result in some loss of sharpness, but maximum sharpness isn't necessarily a virtue in portrait photography. It may be just right, hence the suggestion to try it out before buying anything new.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), March 07, 2001.

One disadvantage of using the teleconvertor versus a longer lens is that you can't go as wide open for depth of field control. Many portraits use a wide aperture for very shallow depth of field to blur the background.

With a convertor on a 50mm f1.8, you end up with a 100mm f4 (approximately), versus buying a 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.0 or even f2.8.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), March 18, 2001.

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