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Ridulously unanswerable question, maybe...
Old 03-12-2003, 11:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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Hey all.

I'm saving every penny I can for a Fuji S2 Pro... which will be my very first "real" camera.

I know NOTHING about lenses.

I have NO money to buy them, but I GOTTA buy at least one killer lens to do what I want to do.

What I want to do is this: Fashion/portfolio/commercial/catalog type stuff.

Since I ain't gonna have a large enough studio space anytime soon to do that "right", I'll be shooting outdoors/location.

So....... the images I really dig the most have way-totally blown out backgrounds and good control over VERY shallow DOF at medium/long distance shots. Where full-length shots have the entire model in sharpsharp focus, but everything else is a mystery blur.

This will allow me to shoot just about anywhere.

(Who cares about the background if it's a blur? As long the COLORS and FORMS of the background are co-ordinated with the outfit, it'll work.)

So, the question...

If you were forced to buy just ONE all-purpose GOOD quality lens, that fer sure will be compatible with the Fuji S2, that will definitely do what's described above VERY VERY WELL, what would that lens be.

Lens should not cost more than the camera BTW... I am NOT rich.

I currently shoot with an Olympus 3020Z 3.1MP... even at F2.8, DOF is STILL too deep to be of any use with what I want to do.

What ONE lens, ever so specific, oh Gurus of expensive hobbies?

(Like this flower DOF, except a pretty girl wearing pretty clothes. Shot with a CoolPix 950 in Macro.)

 
 
Re: Ridulously unanswerable question, maybe...
Old 03-13-2003, 02:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Two ways to get depth of field as shallow as that flower, either use a rediculously long length lens (like 400mm or more on a 35/DSLR) or get really really close to the subject (like close enough to have her nose mostly fill the frame). Otherwise it's just not going to happen. I think I understand your plight, but in my opinion an f/2.8 medium tele (135 is a good length, 200 is better for your purpose but not exactly versatile) is as good as you're going to get without breaking the bank and allow you some versatility in the way that you shoot. Besides, do you really want to shout instructions to your model and wave your hands emphatically from across the street with a 400+mm lens to get a shallow DOF full-length shot?
 
 
BTW..
Old 03-13-2003, 03:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You'll notice that in most location fashion and much commercial work (as well as portfolio stuff, which tends to try to mimic the above to albeit with a slightly greater emphasis placed on the model) you'll notice that the background usually isn't exactly blurred to oblivion. In fact, it's usually made an element of the photo, and almost always the model is placed in that environment for a purpose, she's interacting with it somehow. (Very often fashion and advertising deliberately send a message that either their products belong in this environment which you should belong to, or else that you belong in the environment that surrounds their product, hence environment is actually quite important). Most lenses that are readily available and not too expensive and exotic and which you probably have are more than capable of shooting this.

It's good to see, though, that you're thinking critically about your technique (what is my technique saying? what is it accomplishing?), and that you're seeing gear as a means to the end of your visualized image. That much is encouraging.
 
 
Tamron 28-105 2.8..........
Old 03-13-2003, 07:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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its a nice lens [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Consider.
Old 03-13-2003, 08:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Nikon D 24-120mm zoom, which is about the film equivalent of 35-180mm. It also has a macro ring, which will enhance the ability to minimize depth of field for small stuff.

Add a B+W NL3 and/or NL5 to that, and you can get really close, with really minimal depth of field.

Works for me on the D1X. (I shoot really small stuff on a daily basis.) [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: Ridulously unanswerable question, maybe...
Old 03-13-2003, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Kurt,
DOF has a tendency to be greater on a digital camera as well. Not sure of the physics behind it, but it's something I have noticed and read about. The above post concerning a long telephoto is right on though. The longer the lens when shot at wide open, the shallower the DOF. With a shorter lens, you may have to look at larger aperatures, i.e. greater than 1.8, to get a really shallow DOF with digital...
Just my opinon, I may be wrong...
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Probably ain\'t gonna happen ...
Old 03-13-2003, 11:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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To get the sort of compression you are asking for, you would probably have to go well into four figures for something like a 500mm f2.8. Then you'll find yourself so far from the model that you'll be communicating via walky talky. I've done that; it works but really isn;t fun.

You would be better off just softening the background to reduce distraction and making it part of the overall composition. Instgead of fighting the background into submission, work with it; include it and make it work for you.
Distinctive Images
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My favorite Nikon lens is . . .
Old 03-13-2003, 01:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My favorite Nikon lens (and the one that give me the most shallow depth of field) is the 85MM f1.8

I often shoot this lens at f2.0 (the attached image was shot at f1.8)

On the Fuji S2 it will give you an effective focal length of approx 150mm.

 
 
My lens
Old 03-13-2003, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I use a Tamron 28-105 f2.8. I prefer this lens a bit more (for now at least) due to it's slightly longer range than the Nikon's (28-70 f2.8). Everyone will give you a different answer as to their preference. If I can give you once piece of advice. Don't buy a Fuji S2 then go cheapo on the lens. Get a quality lens if its your primary "everyday" lens.

If you really want to reduce DOF then you need to use a longer lens than you would normally use if you were shooting film. If you can rent or borrow lenses then try that and see which you like.

Lastly if you want to reduce the DOF then you can shoot at a lower aperature. But be warned that many lenses (even the quality ones) may not be sharp all the way around at the lowest aperature settings.

Just my 2 cents worth of info (for what its worth [2 cents]).
 
 
Re: Ridulously unanswerable question, maybe...
Old 03-13-2003, 04:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Both the Nikon 24-120 and the Tamron 28-105 have poor to mixed reviews by people on the net who own them. The Nikon lens has a reputation of being soft and the Tamron, well, it really depends on who you talk to - it's either a terrific lens or crap, no in-between.

The performance of the S2 is very dependent on the lens, so you need to get something that is very sharp. I like the idea of the Nikon 85mm f 1.8, that would give you an effective 130 mm (rounded) lens which is nice for shooting outside. I personally use a Sigma 90mm f2.8 macro and that's sharp enough to see every blemish on a models face.

I also started shooting with a good ol' 50mm f1.8 recently. Again it's very sharp. Takes me back to the days when I was shooting with my SRT-201, but I like it, and the price is right.

As far as zooms go, I tried my Tamron 28-200 lens, it was beyond crap. I haven't tried my 80-200 f2.8 lens yet, I'm kinda scared it may be crap too. But, amazingly, the cheap-o Nikon 35-70 f3.5-5.6 works pretty well.

I guess I would recommend borrowing a friend's lens and using it for a shoot before you buy something.
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