Portrait Lense Recommendation for E-500 SLR

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by ferd_isaac, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Hi there!

    I am VERY new to the SLR world, let alone photography. :p In any case, I would
    like to ask this very knowledgable group as to what Olympus lens they would
    recommend that would take the best or good PORTRAIT shots. Please keep in my
    mind that a $1200 lens is a little out of my price range at the moment...

    Basically, I would like to take modeling shots of people but I do not know
    which lens to use for which application.

    I currently own the E-500 2 lens Kit. Thanks for the help!
  2. Portraits are done with a range of lenses usually starting with a focal length of 1.5 times the diagonal length of the film or sensor. About 35mm in your case.

    At the far end about 2.5 times the diagonal or 90mm.

    I would say you have this covered with two zooms unless you need a faster lens either to work in low light or blur backgrounds, which can be blurred on photoshop anyway.

    If you still think you need something, the 50 mm f2.0.

    Work with what you have for a while.
  3. It depends on what sort of portrait you want, but if you are just starting out, I'd suggest experimenting with the kit lenses until you figure out what you like. For "environmental" portraits, usually you'll want something wide, but the 14mm end of the standard kit lens is probably OK. If you want something a little more dramatic, the 11-22mm is a very nice lens; it runs $600-$700. For head-and-shoulders close-ups, something around 50-75mm should give a nice perspective. You can try either the standard kit lens at full zoom, or the telephoto kit lens at the wider end. I tried the (out-of-production) 40-150mm kit lens for this sort of portrait, but ultimately wasn't happy with it and bought the 50mm. I like it much better, but it'll set you back about $400.
  4. The 35mm/3.5 is $200. I just bought one today. Not as bright as the 50mm, but it has gotten very good reviews. It is very light (read plastic), but not cheap feeling. Picked it up at lunch so I haven't been able to try it out yet.
  5. Hey thanks guys! It gives me something to look into for sure... :) From my other research, it looks like I am possibly looking at the 50mm.

    To clarify, the type of portrait photos I am looking at are modeling pics that involve headshots as well as full figure.

    If I am going in the wrong direction, please let me know. :p
  6. ADDENDUM: What are your feelings on this lens for portrait/modeling use (head shots and body shots) ->>> Olympus Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f3.5/4.5 Zoom Lens for E-System
  7. The 50mm f/2 would be a good choice for throwing the background out of focus. Many people like that effect with portraits.

    Didn't your kit come with the Olympus 40-150 f/3.5-4.5? Or the 4.5-5.6? Either way, I don't think you would see much difference between pictures taken with the 2 lenses. The step up lens it the 50-200 f/2.8-3.5, which would be sharper and more capability to blur background, but is quite a bit more expensive.
  8. The ZD 35/3.5 Macro works astonishingly well as a portrait lens. It's small, light, inexpensive
    and non-intimidating. Keep it wide open or at most stopped down to f/5.6 to get some
    background defocus.

  9. As I mentioned, I tried the older 40-150 (the f/3.5-4.5 one) as a portrait lens. It's OK, and certainly a more versatile overall lens than the 50/f2. I've seen some very nice portraits with it. But overall, I just like the rendering of the 50/f2 better, and obviously it has a much larger aperture. The 50mm is also weather sealed. If you happen to acquire an E-1, that's occasionally useful. I was splashing around in a water park the other day with our toddler, my E-1, and the 50. Whether the 50mm is worth the extra money is something for you to decide; it was worth it for me.
  10. I just made a similar recommendation on another thread today.

    If you are more adventurous, and have a normal eyesight, you may try getting the 4/3rd to OM lens adapter ($100).

    What will this give you is a wider choice of quality OM mount lenses (both from Olympus and third-partier), which can now be had for cheap, way cheaper than the *good* Digital Zuiko lenses. Caution: all manual focus and you compose using whatever aperture you chose (i.e. it's *dark* if you use f8 or smaller). But it's usable for me and many others.

    One thing I don't like about the kit lens (I have the 14-45mm) is that it produces patterned bokeh when I try to throw out the focus via opening up the aperture. I've yet to encounter an OM Zuiko lens that behave this way.

    Back to the OM Zuiko lenses, I'd recommend the OM Zuiko 35mm/2.8 (very cheap) which will become a 70mm/2.8 when mounted on your E500. Others are 85mm/2, 35-105mm/3.5, and myriad other portrait lenses from Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc.
  11. Hi. I am new at this hobby also but, I have used the 14-54mm OM ZUIKO lens and been very satisfied with the type of modeling shots you mentioned. I also use a soft filter on some of my head and shoulder shots. But remember, I am also new at this.
  12. "I'd recommend the OM Zuiko 35mm/2.8 (very cheap) which will become a 70mm/2.8 when mounted on your E500."​
    Does the lens focal length actually change on different cameras? It seems like an OM \lens and an Olympus E-system lens are the same focal length, that is a 35mm OM lens and an E-System 35mm lens are the same focal length, aren't they?

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