For Christmas, Jer surprised me with a new lens. It is the 85 mm lens and I was literally petting it like Ceelo does with his pimp cat. yeah. I said that.
bribed kindly asked Will to come out one particularly sunny afternoon for me to give it a whirl.
I’ll explain this in layman’s terms (so all you professionals chime in if you have something else to add)…
I have a DLSR – which means I have a camera that I can switch out the lenses on. Not a point n shoot. I can control pretty much everything manually. Specifically I have a Mark II – which I call Markie Mark…sometimes Wahlberg
This lens is a prime lens. Prime lenses are ones you can NOT zoom in or out. It’s fixed at a certain focal length…basically if I want to zoom in on Will, I gotta move my feet forward. BUT the great thing about prime lenses is that they are typically very sharp.
So the conditions here were full sun…middle of the day type shadows…
and my subject was moving…a lot…
I wanted to test out the lens for portraits (which generally move less than a toddler who is a little too excited to get outta the house and throw sticks)…so under my conditions I went with an ISO of 400. I set to AV (which means that I set the ISO and the aperture and the camera spits out the shutter speed for proper exposure) - that way I can make sure Will isn’t putting harmful fungus into his mouth while I check my settings…
I tend to do that when shooting kids…use AV. It helps especially if you are responsible for their safety (like a toppling baby who may not catch themselves if they are still learning to sit up by themselves) or for when you are alone in the snake-infested woods behind our house
Okay – so based on my very limited knowledge of prime lenses (I have a nifty fifty – great prime lens for the price & a 50mm 1.4 – sharp sharp lens that I love), this one was a little more tricky for me.
First – it’s 85mm…which means that I have to stand like 6 feet away to get this shot. And to me, that’s far away when dealing with a toddler who I generally like to be within grabbing distance of…especially when in nature. Hello! I mentioned the snakes!
And I found it a little tricky to get it to ‘grab’ more depth in focus. I had it set to f/4.0 which would normally get his lips, eyes and to his ears in focus with my normal lens…but with this lens, I probably need to play more to find that sweet spot of getting just that right focal point.
I found it especially sharp all the way back to this full length shot – which is nice because it would remind me to take more full-length portraits vs. all close ups.
BUT when it got too far away – not my favorite. I think it just proves that it really goes by it’s reputation of being a portrait lens.
There were some moments when literally it was really easy and it captured the sharpness perfectly…
I loved it especially with back lighting – which I struggle with…so this encouraged me.
Of course, we had some shadow issues with the full sun…so it was a challenge to get far enough away from Will and still be able to manipulate him into being in shadows. Imagine me saying – HEY Go get that stick over there! a million times…and then running away and running back to show him which stick and then runnning away to get the shot again. It was a workout.
But you know that sweet blurred background that 50mm delivers – yeah…to me, it’s even more of a soft blur with the 85mm when you do closeups. It’s purty.
Overall – I love it. It’s gonna be great to use for outdoor shoots with more manageable subjects…like senior photos or maternity pictures. I don’t think it would work for my newborn shoots – just simply because most of the times I work indoors for those. And handling a toddler alone and running back far enough to get the shot didn’t make it ideal for me for Will’s photos. I think in the end, the really sweet spot for it will be waist up portraits and closeup shots because the sharpness when set up correctly is AMAZING.
Okay – so there you have it – one little gal’s review on the lens.
Anyone else wanna chime in?
p.s. For all of you starting out, I highly recommend beginner DSLRs like the Canon Rebel (Xsi
or Tsi) and READING YOUR MANUAL. Also, Nifty Fifty
would be hands down my recommendation for work beyond your kit lens…