Thursday, 3 February 2011

Six of the best portrait lenses

From the British Journal of Photography

"Portrait lenses have come a long way since Josef Petzval’s first 19th-century design, but while photographers’ tastes have changed, the basic requirements are still the same. David Kilpatrick picks out six of the best currently available.

A hundred and fifty years ago, the best portrait lens was Josef Petzval’s f/3.6 design, which gathered enough light to allow a short exposure but, in the process, graded from a sharp centre to a gently darkened, softer margin. Its field of view was similar to a 135mm lens used on full-frame 35mm. Julia Margaret Cameron’s early portraits survive as the best known examples of this look, using a fixed aperture Petzval made by Jamin, Paris."

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