Why 50mm will ruin your face
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Old 02-05-2015   #1
sqw
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Default Why 50mm will ruin your face

In my post yesterday, some people were having trouble seeing what I was getting at with the full length figures, so here is a better example, concentrating on just a head shot.



This is shot at 105mm everything is well proportioned she looks human



This is shot at 50mm and the proportions are drifting off by comparing the two images you can see that things are not right at this focal length.



And to take it to the extreme this is 24mm obviously the distortions are greatly exaggerated but the 50mm is still showing the same distortion just not as strongly.

The reason for this is not a distortion in the lens, but a perspective distortion. It's caused because nearer objects will always appear larger in the frame. So, when you use a shorter focal length, in order to achieve the same crop you have to move the lens closer to the subject.

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Old 02-05-2015   #2
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

Are these images crops of the ones in your previous thread, or are they full-frame images? And are these taken with a full-frame or crop camera? It isn't really the lens focal length that causes the problem directly so much as the distance from the model at which the pictures are taken: the closer the camera is to the model, the greater the perspective distortion. At about 5 meters, perspective distortion for a standing figure is largely unnoticeable. It might start showing up a bit at 2 or 3 meters; definitely at 1 meter, which is about the distance that a "normal" lens would be to take a head-and-shoulders portrait with a lens with a "normal" viewing angle, e.g., a 50 mm lens on a full-frame digital or a 28-35 mm lens on a crop camera.

In the olden days well before digital photography, and I assume today as well, 85 mm on the film equivalent of a full-frame camera was about the minimum focal length considered suitable for high-quality head-and-shoulders portrait work.
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Old 02-06-2015   #3
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

I was about to post the same thing as scoundrel.

Here is a good link on the subject of why 5 meters or 15' is the "right" subject to camera distance. The link shows you what focal length lens to use for everything from a head shot to a standing portrait at that distance with either a full frame camera or an APS-C crop camera.

Ken Rockwell | Portrait Lenses
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Old 02-06-2015   #4
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

Quote:
Originally Posted by scoundrel1728 View Post
Are these images crops of the ones in your previous thread, or are they full-frame images? And are these taken with a full-frame or crop camera? It isn't really the lens focal length that causes the problem directly so much as the distance from the model at which the pictures are taken: the closer the camera is to the model, the greater the perspective distortion. At about 5 meters, perspective distortion for a standing figure is largely unnoticeable. It might start showing up a bit at 2 or 3 meters; definitely at 1 meter, which is about the distance that a "normal" lens would be to take a head-and-shoulders portrait with a lens with a "normal" viewing angle, e.g., a 50 mm lens on a full-frame digital or a 28-35 mm lens on a crop camera.
These are full frame, focal length as specified - adjusting the subject/camera distance to achieve the same frame.

You are absolutely correct - it is distance that is the issue.

However, to the less experienced photographer who has been told 50mm is normal, then they are often not aware of how they use the lens and the affect it has on their images.

Experienced photographers are typically aware of this
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Old 03-18-2015   #5
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

I purchased a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D specifically for portrait and small group shots because it was a good value for money lens. I also assumed that a 2m distance would have no noticeable distortions on a DX camera. An advantage I thought was that I'd have better natural light performance with a good bokeh even when stopped down a little.

If I wanted a tighter head shot then I'd crop in post processing. The cost benefits for a pro in lens purchase is clearly different.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mshoot View Post
I purchased a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D specifically for portrait and small group shots because it was a good value for money lens. I also assumed that a 2m distance would have no noticeable distortions on a DX camera. An advantage I thought was that I'd have better natural light performance with a good bokeh even when stopped down a little.

If I wanted a tighter head shot then I'd crop in post processing. The cost benefits for a pro in lens purchase is clearly different.
Ive been looking at getting that lens next, atleast im now aware of how to use it more effectively
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

Effective tips would be greatly welcome. Can you give details?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Originally Posted by mshoot View Post
Effective tips would be greatly welcome. Can you give details?
+1
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

It appears that the images that appeared when this thread was new have now been removed or relocated. At any rate, the links are now broken and the images no longer display. It is no wonder that the thread is now confusing to you, Photonewbie. mshoot has probably seen the original images.

For my own part, backing up a full five meters (about 17 feet) is a bit much for a head or a head-and-shoulders shot. For my ID shots, I have found that six feet (1.8 m) is satisfactory, for which I use my Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 macro with a Canon 40D (crop) camera. Lens-to-subject distance - more precisely, no-parallax point to subject distance - determines the perspective; camera's image size or lens focal length has nothing to do with it. However, you will need a lens with sufficient focal length to fill your image frame with the part of the subject you want without undue cropping. For high-quality photography, six feet (2 meters) is about the minimum you can get by with. You would struggle to get the full five meters, plus an extra two or three meters to allow room for subject, background, and working space for the photographer, in most residences.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
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Default Re: Why 50mm will ruin your face

`

Quote:
Originally Posted by mshoot View Post
I purchased a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D specifically for
portrait and small group shots because it was a good
value for money lens. I also assumed that a 2m
distance would have no noticeable distortions on a
DX camera. An advantage I thought was that I'd have
better natural light performance with a good bokeh
even when stopped down a little.

If I wanted a tighter head shot then I'd crop in post
processing. The cost benefits for a pro in lens
purchase is clearly different.
Sooprize ... especially concerning cropping.
2m works for most conventional head shots
but if you tighten up the frame, 2m may not
be very flattering ....

The nose on this uncropped [DX] "portrait"
[really actually a candid grab] surprised me,
cuz the distance is at least 2m. The very tight
framing emphasizes the nose !

I've shot "dead-on head-on" head shots, for
the "subject is in your face" directness that it
provides, but these were not candid grabs and
were shot carefully AND were at about 8m to
assure a "flat map" rendering of the face.

Anywho, here the "2m nose effect", 210mm
on uncropped DX [IOW, FF = 315mm]:

Nick 105X2 3533 E2 WS.jpg



`


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