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Which SLR camera and lens for portraits?
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
Steve M.
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Which SLR camera and lens for portraits?

It's almost January, and everything is blooming right now in Florida :]

I'd like to buy a 35mm camera and take some B&W flower shots, as well as portraits. My preference for IQ is the old Leica 90mm f4 Elmar, but for this use a rangefinder won't work.

Is there a vintage SLR 90-135 lens out there that may image in a similar manner? Since I'm starting from scratch, I can always buy a body to fit the lens. M42 mount would be nice, but I'm open to any mount that might give a similar look. I am fully prepared to hear "nothing", as that is what I suspect, but you never know what others may have used.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
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Pentax Spotmatic, and lens.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
Jake Mongey
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Try the ziess jena 135mm f3.5 and definitely on a spotmatic
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
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Canon FT or FTb with the 85mm f1.8 Canon lens.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
kxl
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Nikon FM3A/FM2N/FE2/F3 with

Nikon 85/1.4 AIS or Nikon 105/2.5 AI(s)
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
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I would go for a common SRT Minolta model body like the 101 and the like and the Rokkor MC 100mm f2.5 lens for that German made lens style look to the photos.


https://phillipreeve.net/blog/minolt...m-12-5-review/

Both camera and lens are relatively inexpensive these days .
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Which SLR camera and lens for portrais?
I use the following Nikon telephoto lenses for portraits on a 35mm camera (listed left to right in the photo):

105mm f/2.8 micro (excellent for portraits and flowers)
85mm f/1.8
180mm f/2.8
105mm f/2.5
80-200mm f/2.8
75-150mm f/3.5 Series E
135mm f/2 (not in photo)

All are excellent portrait lenses. The optical differences between them are very subtle.


Portrait Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Daryl J.
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I'm going to agree with the SRT and 2.5/100 Rokkor suggestion.
Minolta renders color beautifully.
The lens is "portrait soft".
In b&w one can get a vintage look.
The Rokkor extension tube turns it into a great closeup lens.
It's an unfound jewel in the 35mm world.


The Nikkor/Nikon 2.5/105 is an incredible lens indeed. But it shows every detail of lady skin. And that is generally considered not acceptable. And my guess is that less than 30-40% of your portraits are going to be adult males where the Nikon lens would perform well. I have it. I love the lens. But NoBody likes any photo I've made with it where there is a female subject. It's emotionally negative.

The 4/90mm Elmar is a decent suggestion however if the limits of rangefinders are not a issue for you and color film is not going to be used.

That's my two cents.

Last edited by Daryl J. : 3 Weeks Ago at 12:45. Reason: The fog tasted remotely of fudge
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
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It can only be a Canon F1 with an FD 135mm f/2.5, period.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
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The cheap option.
Since you mentioned M42 mount.
A Fujica ST605n and the cheapest third party 135 f2.8 in M42 mount you can find.
Problem. Most of these lenses focus to 5 feet, not really close enough for some flower photos.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Any Nikon manual-focus body with the 105/2.5 is a classic combination for portraits. Steve McCurry used this lens with an FM2 body to take the famous "Afghan Girl" portrait for Nat Geo.

For flower photography, it helps to have a waist-level finder capability so you can get the camera low to the ground and look down on to the focusing screen. Nikon F, F2, F3, F4 or F5 will give you this capability. My preference would be for the F3 body. Any of the Micro-Nikkor lenses will be very good, but the 105/2.8 Micro will let you shoot from a comfortable distance.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
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I, too, am partial to manual-focus Minoltas. The focal length will depend upon what you want to do. For tight head-and-shoulder shots, I find the 135mm focal length to be just right.

The Minolta/Rokkor lenses I use for portraiture are the 85mm f1.7 (my favorite and "normal" lens), the 100mm f2.5, and the 135mm f2.8. Minolta also made a couple of zooms in this range: 50 - 135mm f3.5 and 75 - 150mm f4.0.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #13
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Leicaflex.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Ihagee Exacta.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Just going to add my +1 for the 105/2.5 Nikkor, you can grab them all day in the 50-75$ range if you stick to n/AI. A classic portrait lens.

If you can afford more, I would grab the 180/2.8 for portraits. By far one of my favorite Nikkors it has such surreal out of focus areas, I'll try and post photos below.

I would add the 55/3.5 Micro which IMO is a stellar all around standard lens, you can get the 2.8 for a little extra, I could be partial! I paid a whole 10$ attached to a junk FM2 at a local auction. I still love this lens on my FT and adapted to a Fuji X-T1 it's my go to for close up.

Hmm... I do have some D3 shots with the 55 I'll try to post!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #16
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Do not neglect the 58/1.4 Nikkor: an amazing portrait (and flower) lens. The camera doesn't really matter so much.

For a cheaper option (silly cheap), try an 85/1.9 Pentax screw lens. Again, the body doesn't matter too much.

For REALLY cheap, consider a 58/2 Biotar or for that matter, and even cheaper, a 58/2 Helios. Avoid Exakta Biotars unless you're a masochist who likes Exaktas or Exas.

For a weird alternative, try the 135/1.8 sold as both Porst and Soligor.

Then there are REALLY CHEAP, nasty, old zooms like the 90-190/5.8 [sic] Yashinon that I used to have. Depends on how much you like (inadvertent) soft focus and distortion.

Finally, again in a search for quality so bad that it's good, stick an old, cheap teleconverter behind the fastest standard lens you can easily afford.

Beware of anyone who pretends that there's only one camera/lens combination that will meet your requirements, and that it's THEIRS. That's pure nonsense.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #17
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That old Yashica triplet zoom was the first zoom lens that I ever owned. It was a club. This old Yashinon 75-230mm is a baseball bat.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #18
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I've always liked the look of lenses in he 75-100mm focal length for portraits. Shorter lenses leave people's noses looking larger than what we normally envision in our memories when we think of the faces of our friends and family. My best portrait lens for my Leica is the LTM Elmar 9cm. The lens I use most for portraits on my Konica is a Vivitar 70-210 zoom. Longer lenses can work nicely too, but take me too far from the subject to interact with them, and this can be awkward.

Scott
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
Nikon FM3A/FM2N/FE2/F3 with

Nikon 85/1.4 AIS or Nikon 105/2.5 AI(s)
Plus 1 for this and an F would work as well.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #20
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As to lenses.... Perspective is defined by where you stand in relation to your subject, nothing else. So, for portraits you'll probably want to be roughly four-to-six feet from your subject, conversational distance. On the close side for subjects with wide faces, farther for narrower faces. Ideally, once you've settled on a subject distance, you then control framing by choice of focal length. This will result in wider lens for groups, full-length shots, etc, and longer lenses for head shots. No one focal length will do it all perfectly, but you can find a compromise centered on your expected primary usage.

Roger, anything to add?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #21
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F2 or F3 with a magnifying finder with a older 55/3.5 nikkor.

Swap out the finder for a plain prism and mount an early 105/2.5 or my favorite an 85/1.8 and you are all set.

B2 (;->
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
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These recommendation threads never lead anywhere... thirty people, thirty cameras.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
It's almost January, and everything is blooming right now in Florida :]

I'd like to buy a 35mm camera and take some B&W flower shots, as well as portraits. My preference for IQ is the old Leica 90mm f4 Elmar, but for this use a rangefinder won't work.

Is there a vintage SLR 90-135 lens out there that may image in a similar manner? Since I'm starting from scratch, I can always buy a body to fit the lens. M42 mount would be nice, but I'm open to any mount that might give a similar look. I am fully prepared to hear "nothing", as that is what I suspect, but you never know what others may have used.
If you don't want to buy a Leicaflex, or Minolta SR, then I'd suggest: try a «mirror box» / «reflex housing» for your Leica, see my thread here
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #24
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The Tamron Adaptall 90mm 2,5 Macro is an excellent lens for sharpness in both macro and portrait. It can be made to adapt to a vast array of camera brands.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #25
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These sorts of threads are completely useless without pics. As usual, a photography forum with no photographs.

Here's my suggestion: ISCO f4.5/100

Untitled by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Untitled by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Untitled by Berang Berang, on Flickr

Rather common and cheap long focus triplet. Gives a sort of old fashioned look sort of like that of the Elmar.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #26
David Hughes
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Hi,

Your question gets a couple of questions as the answer;

1, Portraits of people or of flowers or both?

2, My experience of flowers is that the exposure is tricky, so do you want a manual camera and a meter, or what?

BTW, if portraits of people then two lenses usually are needed, depending on the sitter; some like wishy-washy, vague not really sharp prints and some like razor sharp, warts and all prints.

The 90mm f/4 Leitz Elmar lens on an adapter and with some SLR or the other would give you the effect of an extension tube for close-ups of flowers...

Regards, David
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #27
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FWIW, what I use for classical portraits most of the time:

Pentax SMC-A 1.4/85 on K-3, at apertures 2 to 4.
Pentax SMC-67 2.8/165 on Pentax 67, at 2.8 or 4.
Leitz Elmar-C 4/90 on Fujifilm X-T1, wide open.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #28
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As stated above, any Nikon film body with the 105mm f2.5 would be great. Also a big fan of same body and old non-AI 85mm f1.8. And if you want to go exotic, try to find a 135mm f2.0 from Nikon, a superb portrait lens.

If you want to go "old Canon", I've always loved the portrait results from any F-1 and the 85mm f1.2L lens, but be aware that's a pretty heavy combination.

Best,
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #29
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Another +1 for the Nikon 105mm f/2.5 and a Nikon F/F2/F3.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
I would go for a common SRT Minolta model body like the 101 and the like and the Rokkor MC 100mm f2.5 lens for that German made lens style look to the photos.


https://phillipreeve.net/blog/minolt...m-12-5-review/

Both camera and lens are relatively inexpensive these days .

I will second this. A good SRT snd the 100mm F2.5 are not expensive and are fantastic tools.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bille View Post
These recommendation threads never lead anywhere... thirty people, thirty cameras.
What this should show the original poster, is that there are many ways of attaining his aim.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
What this should show the original poster, is that there are many ways of attaining his aim.
Except nobody has actually shown anything. Or even paid attention to question in half the replies it seems. There are a few good suggestions up there, but most of them aren't relevant.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
The Tamron Adaptall 90mm 2,5 Macro is an excellent lens for sharpness in both macro and portrait.
If you also need macro for your flower shots the above is an excellent recommendation.
If not and you go Nikon the 105/2.5 Nikkor is a good choice, any manual focus version.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #34
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Quote:
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..................... I'd like to buy a 35mm camera and take some B&W flower shots, as well as portraits. ...........
I think you hobbled yourself right out of the starting gate when you limited yourself to a 35mm camera. This is the area where Medium Format SLR's really shine. Even the cheapest and possibly worst Medium Format SLR will run circles around a 35mm image.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #35
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It depends.

For 35mm full frame digital or film I usually use an 85. I have a Zeiss 85 f1.4 for my Canon stuff. Love the lens but it's only manual focus. But, for groups, I have a Canon 24 to 70 f2.8 that works great.

For medium format I usually use a 150 lens on one of my Hasselblads.

But I make due with whatever I have on me.

I just made a group portrait of my daughters family using a 50 f1.4 Canon lens on my digital camera. Works with the right distance from subject to camera so things don't look too funny and wackey!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #36
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You like a Leica 90mm? Well why not get a 90mm Leica? There are Leica lenses in R-mount and there are R-mount cameras. Why not pick up a Leica R4 or R5 and a 90/2.8 (if you want something slightly faster, the 90/2.0).

If you think those are to expensive, most makes have good 85mm lenses that will do the job. Pick the one that appeals to you - I'm partial to the Minolta system and really like my 85/2 on an XD or X700, but if you prefer a mechanical camera, the SRT's are nice as others have mentioned.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #37
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If you are looking for just one camera and lens, an Olympus OM body and Zuiko 90mm f2 macro will handle both portraits and flowers nicely. Lower cost alternative lenses are the Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 macro and the Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5 macro.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
The Tamron Adaptall 90mm 2,5 Macro is an excellent lens for sharpness in both macro and portrait. It can be made to adapt to a vast array of camera brands.
This is the lens I would go with. I use it on my OM4T and RTS.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #39
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I can recommend the old 85mm f1.8 Nikkor, here it is wide open.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #40
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If you don't want to buy a Leicaflex, or Minolta SR, then I'd suggest: try a «mirror box» / «reflex housing» for your Leica, see my thread here

addendum:

You can use your Elmar the way I've shown, see:

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