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Getting the Medium Format Look > Utopy on small sensors ?

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Hi everyone

I am seeking advice on lenses which can generate on a X mount a middle format look

What I am seeking is the eyes in focus and the cheeks out of focus, I am seeking the f. 0,95 effects which separates subject from the background

 

I have read few reviews about the 0,95 options (mitakon) and found frequent references to flaws

Worth 1300€? Not sure

The 90mm seems an option but I wonder if anyone has a better suggestion

 

I am trying to avoid moving to SONY which offers a much wider set of options and much bigger (80M) sensors

Thanks in advance

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If you want an 85/90mm the Canon 85/1.2 FD should supposedly be really really good.

 

But if I were you I'd go for a longer lens, like a 180 or a 200/2.8 (assuming you have the space to back up, obviously).

 

This because the medium format look depends as much from the thin dof than from the compression given by a longer focal length.

 

Please keep in mind that you might want to have the tip of the nose in focus as well (it's a matter of taste, but I certainly do), and if so shooting at f/1.2 will not feasible, and you'll probably need at least f/2.8 anyway.

 

And lastly for the best results (not for a tight portrait, though) I'd use the "Brenized method": http://ryanbrenizer.com/category/brenizer-method/

 

It's the only way IMO to achieve a proper mf look on small sensors (small = not medium format, so Sony/full format as well). I've shot mf for years (still do), so maybe I'm a bit overcritical, but just using a shallow depth of field it is not gonna cut it.

 

EDIT: I just noticed you listed "80Mp" as one of the features of the Sony sensor that could help with the look. Sorry, but megapixels have nothing to do with this. The "look" is only linked to the physical dimensions of the sensor, regardless of the resolving power. A 20 years old 6 megapixels medium format back can still produce "the look" effortlessly!

Edited by addicted2light

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Mostly Medium format lenses aren’t that fast. Some have a max opening of ‘only’  f/2.8.

 

One can realize exactly the same field of view and depth of field, here is an example (rounded numbers):

- Medium format, 80mm lens, shooting at f/5.6.

- 35mm format, 50mm lens, shooting at f/4.

- APS-C format, 35mm lens, shooting at f/2.8.

 

So, when you refer to a certain medium format shot and know the applied lens and opening you can directly convert this to an APC-C format getting exactly the same results (apart from the pixel quantity).

 

 

 

It all boils down to a few basic optics rules:

When you double the length and height of the sensor (4x the size) then you’ll need to double the focus length of the lens in order to get the same field of view.

When you also want to get the same depth of field then you need to increase by one f-stop.

Edited by JaapD

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I have to stop down my 56 1.2 often to f2 or smaller, just because so little is in focus. I'm talking iris sharp, and the eyelashes already unsharp. F0.95 is for bragging rights mostly, or very dim conditions with slowish film. I still shoot medium format film. I shoot it for the colour and skin tones, not the dof.

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publish the picture that we are taking now because we discuss hot to take them?

 

Wait, cameras take pictures? But what about endlessly discussing spec lists and starting fanboy wars? When on earth do you find time to take pictures after that?

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Folks, I have had the chance to test the mitakon

It's a very heavy lens. Very difficult to focus with. It's really not appealing.

 

I tried the 90mm too but, if you're accustomed to remain close to a subject when making portraits, it obliges you to move back a good 3/4 steps

That changes the relation. Good to shoot models or weddings

The best solution - I found during these tests-  remains a 56mm or a 55 Zeiss FE on a Sony A7RII

I realise I have compared a 85 with a 55 but still in my quick test the Sony comes out as the winner of the two. In a very convincing way. 

It's the sensor.

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These were shot with the Mitakon 35mm (mk II) @ f/0.95 (on an X-Pro2):

 

Another eyes session 1 by Pascal van Gerven, on Flickr

 

Eyes session 1 by Pascal van Gerven, on Flickr

 

I like this lens a lot! It's a bit heavy, yes, but compact and who cares about that anyway with this type of photography? Manually focusing the lens can be a challenge, but less so if the subject cooperates... ;-) The lens is tack sharp wide open. No complaints. These were shot very close to the subject, by the way: 0.5 to 1 meter. Note that the DOF of this lens at maximum aperture is essentially comparable to that of a 50mm f/1.4 lens on FF.

Edited by PascallacsaP

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Folks, I have had the chance to test the mitakon

It's a very heavy lens. Very difficult to focus with. It's really not appealing.

 

I tried the 90mm too but, if you're accustomed to remain close to a subject when making portraits, it obliges you to move back a good 3/4 steps

That changes the relation. Good to shoot models or weddings

The best solution - I found during these tests- remains a 56mm or a 55 Zeiss FE on a Sony A7RII

I realise I have compared a 85 with a 55 but still in my quick test the Sony comes out as the winner of the two. In a very convincing way.

It's the sensor.

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I have to stop down my 56 1.2 often to f2 or smaller, just because so little is in focus. I'm talking iris sharp, and the eyelashes already unsharp. F0.95 is for bragging rights mostly, or very dim conditions with slowish film. I still shoot medium format film. I shoot it for the colour and skin tones, not the dof.

 

I am not sure  what the look of larger formats is mainly made of, I guess a combination of

- sensor/ film size

- focal lenght (thus more distant objects thrown out of focus)

- aperture

- design of the lens (a more "relaxed" or more tight/ corrected design

 

The Fujifilm 56/1,2 and 56/1,2 APD are certainly nice portrait lenses, however there can be (too) sharp borders in the blurred background

In FF, it is generally easier to get bokeh with more modest lenses.

 

I used to have a Mamiya ZD SLR (36x48mm sensor), with an 80mm f2,8 I got gorgeous photos, but I sold it long ago due to general cumbersome operation of the camera.

 

The closest I got to a really "classic look" in portraits was with the Zeiss 135mm 1,8ZA on my a7rII.... At f1,8 and  f2 if gave me this smooth unsharpness with yet some character and structure in it that is different from that perfect and a bit boring bokeh of lets say Sigma Art lenses (85/1,4 an 135/ 1,8).

 

Unfortunately the Zeiss 135mm 1,8 weighs roughly 1,4kg with the adapter and looks like a deadly weapon on the a7rII. Also the AF is quite quirky and unreliable of that camera....

 

Best is probably to shoot with what you have and not hunt the ultimately shallow DOF. The Fuji 35/1,4 for example is a wonderful imagemaker!

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