Portraits with small field of sharpness: 75mm f/1.4 or 90mm f/2?
Old 04-24-2005   #1
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Wink Portraits with small field of sharpness: 75mm f/1.4 or 90mm f/2?

Hello everybody,

My goal is making portraits with an very small field of sharpness/depth (*). So only the eyes, or the nose for example are sharp.
What is an better lens to use on an M7 0.72? The SUMMILUX-M 75mm f/1.4, or the APO-SUMMICRON-M 90mm f/2 ASPH.?

Another question:
(*) In dutch, we use the word 'scherptediepte'. Who can tell met what's the right word in English, for 'field of sharpness/depth'? Allready thanks.

Last edited by Klikk... : 04-24-2005 at 16:50.
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Old 04-24-2005   #2
MCTuomey
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Hello Klikk. The term in English is "depth of field" or "DOF" acronymically. Can't help you on the comparison, sorry. Never have had the pleasure of using either lens.
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Old 04-24-2005   #3
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I had the 90/2 summicron, very sharp! I would say that the 75/1.4 (wide open) would obviously throw more out of focus but I have never used one due to the cost.

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Old 04-24-2005   #4
Doug
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There are Depth of Field calculators on the 'net... Here's one that's easy to show comparisons of multiple results: http://www.dudak.baka.com/dofcalc.html
Use inches for the distance input.

One thing that complicates this particular comparison is that for equivalent portrait coverage you will be closer with the 75mm than the 90mm.

At the same distance, the 75 at f/1.4 and the 90 at f/2 have almost identical DoF, but bringing the 75 in closer gives it the nod for narrow field!
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Old 04-24-2005   #5
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I like how that site's layed out.

My Noctilux has a greater DoF wide open than my Elmarit 135 does at f/2.8!

You want shallow DoF, get yerself an Elmarit 135. Very shallow at 5 feet. Silly shallow.

I have the 90 f/2 AA. I like it. Takes nice pictures, and is easy to focus. It's also got an attractive look to the pictures.
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Old 04-24-2005   #6
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Jupiter 9. 85mm/f2.0 Look in the gallery for many good examples (avoid my username - I said _good_ examples afterall.)

'Nuff Said.



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Old 04-24-2005   #7
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The 75 lux -- if you are doing portraits it simply cannot be beat. It is a stop faster, and it has an incredible mix of sharpness and softness that is hard to beat. The iron fist in a velvet glove so to speak...
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Old 04-25-2005   #8
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..with your coffee cup the focus is borderline to off (front of the object), visible at the table. Other than a portrait, this is not a moving target, right? ;-)

I prefer for *fast* portrait lenses (I speak of faster than f/2) SLR lenses. My RF 1.8/85 is at a limit. Out of focus area is better to control. Anyway its a continuos job focussing such a lens demanding excellent eyesight. I know people therefore preferring autofocus lenses. Some newer lenses are too sharp and unpleasing for portraits of non-perfect human beeings ;-)

A real portrait with my manual focus Zeiss Planar 85mm at f/1.4. One of two shots (both sharp)

While this isn't really a lightweight and everyday lens, it's quite compact in its class and handy to focus. To the question; leaving out the exorbitant price I would vote for the f/2 90mm-Asph. for it's excellent overall performance. See the figures and diagrams at Erwin Puts website. Although you can see there the Summilux 1.4/75 is a progress to the older Summarex

Cheers, Frank

Isa in my dining room

Last edited by Sonnar2 : 04-25-2005 at 23:27.
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Old 04-25-2005   #9
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Thanks so far people,

I understand that i will be more close on the persoon, with the 75 mm. But StuartR, your photo of the cup of coffee does look like an macro-photo. Do you remember ± the distance to the cup?

Interesting link, Doug gave.
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Old 04-25-2005   #10
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A beautifull shot, Sonnar2.

But the text at my internet-browser is not easy to read anymore. Before uploading, it's good to reduce the image-size of your photo.
Advantage for you: I and other forum-visitors will see the complete photo.
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Old 04-25-2005   #11
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Klikk -- It was .7m, the close focus range. The focus is on the rim of the cup. In any case, here is another example with a clearer plane of focus. It would post a portrait, but it appears I do not have any taken with the lens posted online...
And by the way, I think portrait lenses are one area where if you go by MTF numbers, you will be exceedingly disappointed.

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Old 04-25-2005   #12
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If your primary criterion is narrow DoF, then the 75/1.4 Summilux is the winner. When shooting wide-open @ the minimum focus distance (0.75m), I believe it has the narrowest DoF of any Leica lens (incl. the Noctilux @ f/1, since the Noct' doesn't focus as close). However, the focal length is a little weird (for me, being between 45/50mm & 85/90mm) & it can push the 0.72 VF's focusing abilities to the edge (I always use it w/a M6 TTL 0.85 or M3, though I was able to use it successfully once on a 0.58, though not @ super close distances).

As far as other characteristics, I have the 75/1.4, but not the 90/2 Summicron ASPH, so I can't give you a comparison of the 2, but I agree w/StuartR that the 75/1.4 has a very smooth look @ all apertures (& good boke if that matters to you) that I imagine would be good for portraits. That said, I haven't really used mine for portraits: (1) I don't really do a lot of portraits, period; & (2) I use it mainly as a telephoto "Noctilux" for dark lighting situations, like performances, etc., when I need a little more reach than the Noctilux can give me (e.g. http://photos8.flickr.com/6402610_8c6100a8ca_o.jpg).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klikk...
Hello everybody,

My goal is making portraits with an very small field of sharpness/depth (*). So only the eyes, or the nose for example are sharp.
What is an better lens to use on an M7 0.72? The SUMMILUX-M 75mm f/1.4, or the APO-SUMMICRON-M 90mm f/2 ASPH.?
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Old 04-25-2005   #13
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I use both the 75 Summilux and the 90 Summicron Apo ASPH lenses. At maximum aperture and at the closest focusing distances, the DOF is approximately equal. The 90 SAA is "sharper" wide open and probably until F4, at which point the 75 Summilux is very close to the 90 SAA. Both lenses have their much discussed attributes; I like them both, and it is fun to use them at maximum aperture - but it takes a lot of practice (and some luck) to nail the point of focus consistently. The 90 has been called brutally sharp, and it is the sharpest lens at maximum aperture that I have ever used. But if I was forced to choose between them, I would opt for the 75 Summilux: the 75 Summilux gives such beautiul results that are so different from the results yielded by other lenses. Yes, many decry the size or the focusing throw, but the results are outstanding. Many will jump on the new 75 Summicron ASPH bandwagon - and I am sure that it will be outstanding optically and more diminutive, but I would not consider it a replacement for the Summilux. You pay your money and you make your choice. Try them both if you can and decide which to buy first. You might just be like me and decide that they are both different enough so that you want them both.
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Old 04-25-2005   #14
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I'm quite sure a good screwmount Nikkor-P 2/85 of the 1950's will give such good results as every newer excellent lens in available-light portraits. I don't think you need the higher sharpness/ micro contrast of newer lenses wide open for that applications in most light situations. Even my Zeiss Planar, made around 1980 (I remember the Summilux 1.4/75 was constructed 1980) is something harsh in sharpness wide open - what brings difficulties with out-of-focus unsharpness in very near neighborhood. With all due respect to Leica glass this Zeiss lens was considered the sharpest high-speed portrait lens of that era in SLR and RF.
My Nikkor-P at f/2 isn't unsharp but much more creamy and pleasant for the eye (though more a piece of plumb handy as my Planar). It's a question what to show on your pictures: Every wrinkle and impurity (maybe impressive centenarians :-) go for the newest, sharpest and expensivst lens.. very young girls (I mean 16 or younger).. the same, and sell the pictures to Vogue afterwards.
All in between don't need that overkill :-)

just my 2c, Frank

Last edited by Sonnar2 : 04-25-2005 at 23:57.
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Old 04-26-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartR
Klikk -- It was .7m, the close focus range. The focus is on the rim of the cup. In any case, here is another example with a clearer plane of focus. It would post a portrait, but it appears I do not have any taken with the lens posted online...
And by the way, I think portrait lenses are one area where if you go by MTF numbers, you will be exceedingly disappointed.
What do you mean with MTF numbers?

Beautifull shot!! I'm in love with the 75 mm/1,4...

Last edited by Klikk... : 04-26-2005 at 00:46.
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Old 04-26-2005   #16
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I'm not StuartR, but MTF = modulation transfer frequency, a technical method to analyze and measure sharpness/ contrast at film and show it on a diagram (as you find them at Leica/ Erwin Puts/ Zeiss website plus a detailed technical description of that approach).

It's a nice game evalutating lenses by MTF research, but highest MTF figures are needed for landscape, architecture and applications like that..not portraits. Although very low MTF caused by uncorrected optical errors in a bad design will also result in bad bokeh or lack of "glance". But the lenses considered as "good for portraits" don't have that failures... no rocket science here to figure it out.
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Old 04-26-2005   #17
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Stuart very good photos. The Lux is and amazing lens. You have a very fast lens. I love too your hexanon 1.2...
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Old 04-26-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonnar2
I'm not StuartR, but MTF = modulation transfer frequency, a technical method to analyze and measure sharpness/ contrast at film and show it on a diagram (as you find them at Leica/ Erwin Puts/ Zeiss website plus a detailed technical description of that approach).

It's a nice game evalutating lenses by MTF research, but highest MTF figures are needed for landscape, architecture and applications like that..not portraits. Although very low MTF caused by uncorrected optical errors in a bad design will also result in bad bokeh or lack of "glance". But the lenses considered as "good for portraits" don't have that failures... no rocket science here to figure it out.
Thanks.

[patriotic mode]Erwin Puts: I know his name from an dutch photomagazine, where he used to review about Leica-products.[/patriotic mode]
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Old 04-26-2005   #19
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I basically agree. However, I would characterize the overall "look" of the 75/1.4 Summilux as closer to the 85/2 Sonnar in Contax/Contarex mount (or the Nikkor-P Nikon RF copy) or any of the other "classic" high-speed short telephotos of the 1930s-60s (e.g., Canon 85/1.8 or 100/2, 105/2.5 Nikkor-P, etc.). IMHO, the advantages that the 75/1.4 brings to the table (mine is c.1982 BTW) is improved flare-resistance from the more modern design & coatings & a fully useable f/1.4. As I wrote earlier, I don't have the 90/2 Summicron ASPH, but my understanding is that its look is more in the clinically-sharp "modern" mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonnar2
I'm quite sure a good screwmount Nikkor-P 2/85 of the 1950's will give such good results as every newer excellent lens in available-light portraits. I don't think you need the higher sharpness/ micro contrast of newer lenses wide open for that applications in most light situations. Even my Zeiss Planar, made around 1980 (I remember the Summilux 1.4/75 was constructed 1980) is something harsh in sharpness wide open - what brings difficulties with out-of-focus unsharpness in very near neighborhood. With all due respect to Leica glass this Zeiss lens was considered the sharpest high-speed portrait lens of that era in SLR and RF.
My Nikkor-P at f/2 isn't unsharp but much more creamy and pleasant for the eye (though more a piece of plumb handy as my Planar). It's a question what to show on your pictures: Every wrinkle and impurity (maybe impressive centenarians :-) go for the newest, sharpest and expensivst lens.. very young girls (I mean 16 or younger).. the same, and sell the pictures to Vogue afterwards.
All in between don't need that overkill :-)

just my 2c, Frank
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Old 04-26-2005   #20
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Consider a 75 Summicron. It focuses to 28 inches and is staggeringly sharp -- wipes the floor with a Summilux.

More on the 1st when the embargo comes off...

Cheers,

Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
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Old 04-26-2005   #21
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Yes, I am sure it is sharp enough to show wrinkles on a 26 year old super model....

When is the Thambar ASPH coming out? That's what I want to know...
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Old 04-28-2005   #22
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Hi furcafe,
with all due respect to Zeiss glass, speaking of the Nikkor-P 2/85 as a Sonnar copy is a (common) mistake. The Zeiss design (1936) has a rear cemented triplet (7 elements) whereas Nikon decided in 1948 to make it with a single element, but a very thick third element - makes them quite heavy in the front (5 elements in 3 groups). The Nikkor 1.5/85 however was a 1-3-3 design like the 2/85 Zeiss Sonnar -- but unfortunatly Zeiss hadn't such a fast telephoto at that era...
From characteristics, the Nikkor RF 2/85 is similar to the 2.5/105 (which precursor it was) but not to the Canon 1.8/85 of the 1960's. There is a generation between. The Canon is quite perfect in detail sharpness like my Zeiss SLR 1.4/85, but not as excellent in micro-contrast. But compared to the older Nikkors it lacks the warmth and overall softness (not unsharpness) of the older fast portrait telephotos. That to say, the Canon 1.8/85 is better to use for technical applications, the Nikkor for something where atmosphere and glance is of more importance.
I think this is common with newer lenses. From the women pictures at E.Puts website - I do enjoy his writings and technical expertise very much - it looks to me like an example how new (and expensive) lenses can make human beings more ugly than they actually are... :-)

cheers, Frank
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Old 04-28-2005   #23
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Frank:

Thanks for the correction re: the 85/2 Nikkor-P v. the Sonnar--I had based my opinion on element diagrams of the Nikkor & Sonnar which looked identical (as w/the 50/1.4 Nikkor-S & 50/1.5 Sonnar). The 85/2 Nikkor-P & 50/1.4 Nikkor-S may not be Sonnar "copies," strictly speaking in the same way as the Soviet Jupiters, but their resemblance to the Sonnars is pretty darn close & hardly accidental.

Regardless of difference(s) in design, in my experience using both the 85/2 Nikkor-P & 50/1.4 Nikkor-S, they render scenes the same as the corresponding Sonnars, to the extent that they even flare the same way when a strong point light source is just outside the frame when shooting @ night (what I call the "Sonnar ring").

Re: the Canon 85/1.8, I agree that it does provide a more "modern" look than the 85/2 or 105/2.5 Nikkors, but would still classify it as more "classic" than the 90/2 Summicron ASPH (from shots that I've seen taken w/that lens). Again, despite the difference(s) in designs, I see a family resemblance w/the 100/2 Canon. As an aside, I wonder how much lens characteristics are due to glass types & coatings as distinct from the configuration of the elements, etc., as I see a some differences between my post-WWII 85/2 Sonnars for Contax RF v. the same lens in Contarex mount.

I have no personal experience w/the 85/1.4 Sonnar, although I would dearly love to own the original Contarex version.

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonnar2
Hi furcafe,
with all due respect to Zeiss glass, speaking of the Nikkor-P 2/85 as a Sonnar copy is a (common) mistake. The Zeiss design (1936) has a rear cemented triplet (7 elements) whereas Nikon decided in 1948 to make it with a single element, but a very thick third element - makes them quite heavy in the front (5 elements in 3 groups). The Nikkor 1.5/85 however was a 1-3-3 design like the 2/85 Zeiss Sonnar -- but unfortunatly Zeiss hadn't such a fast telephoto at that era...
From characteristics, the Nikkor RF 2/85 is similar to the 2.5/105 (which precursor it was) but not to the Canon 1.8/85 of the 1960's. There is a generation between. The Canon is quite perfect in detail sharpness like my Zeiss SLR 1.4/85, but not as excellent in micro-contrast. But compared to the older Nikkors it lacks the warmth and overall softness (not unsharpness) of the older fast portrait telephotos. That to say, the Canon 1.8/85 is better to use for technical applications, the Nikkor for something where atmosphere and glance is of more importance.
I think this is common with newer lenses. From the women pictures at E.Puts website - I do enjoy his writings and technical expertise very much - it looks to me like an example how new (and expensive) lenses can make human beings more ugly than they actually are... :-)

cheers, Frank
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