Friday, November 6, 2015

Fuji's 90mm lens at f/2 for beauty photography

Every now and then, on rare occasions, I happen upon a lens that produces exceptional results. I once had a 150mm Sonnar C lens for my old Hasselblad 500 cameras. It produced a creamy smoothness while maintaining great sharpness and contrast. I used it whenever I was shooting beauty assignments on film. Recently, I have been noticing another lens that is delivering exceptional qualities in a variety of situations, but is particularly good when use for beauty photography. It is the Fuji XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR lens and at $999 for the quality you get, it's a steal.

Fuji also makes the 56mm f/1.2 lens, which is sensational for portraits, very sharp with good bokeh effects . The 56mm is pretty much the perfect portrait focal length falling right in the middle of the full frame equivalent portrait range of 75-105mm. The lens was so sharp with great color, contrast and a dynamic range so extensive that when I would pick up my film from the lab I was often asked what I had used to get such a great image.

Fuji's 90mm is a little long  (equivalent to a 135mm lens) to be considered a true portrait lens, falling as it does at the beginning of the telephoto range. But I soon discovered that it focused even closer than the Fuji 56mm ( 1.97' with a magnification of .2x for the 90mm vs. 2.30' and .09x magnification for the 56mm). Most amazing of all is that the 90mm is tack sharp even at its maximum aperture of f/2. I began using it for portraits, beauty, and close-ups wide open to achieve really beautiful bokeh effects. What surprised me the most is that I could use it at f/2 on a beauty shot and still have enough depth-of-field on the face.

Below is a series of photos I did of a model, Samantha, in our studio this past week. They were all taken at wide open at an aperture of f/2 giving me plenty of selective focus in both the foreground and background.

This is the setup used to take the two photos above it -- nothing more than one 650W tungsten lamp behind the model, a black background and an assistant blowing in some canned smoke. There is no front fill. The contrast quality of the Fuji 90mm lens can handle a situation like this. 

1 comment :

  1. Great post - particularly the BTS shot, as it's nice to see how simple your setup is. I find that the Olympus 75mm 1.8 has the same qualities - sharp, contrasty and creamy bokeh. Only problem is that 75mm on micro four thirds is 150mm equivalent, which I find a tad long. Can't have everything, can you?