Aperture and Portraits


I recently had the chance to photograph a good friend and fellow blogger Carmel Montgomery of The Journey Itself, and I used it as a opportunity to try out my new Fujifilm 60mm f2.4 Macro lens as portrait lens. I don’t really shoot much macro photography, none in fact, but a friend who does picked up the 60mm and happened to mention the reviews were really good as a portrait lens. So when I noticed they were on sale I couldn’t help myself, and ordered one…with next day shipping…because I’m all about immediate gratification.

Up until now, I’ve been using my Fujifilm 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 lens for portraits and have been shocked how much I love that lens, but my one “complaint” with it is that it’s not the fastest lens in town. Although the image stabilization works extremely well, it doesn’t have the super narrow depth of field that I sometimes want.

So fast forward to the other night, I have Carmel in the hot seat under my beauty dish, snapping away (she really is a good sport), and throw the new 60mm lens on. Since I have a Fuji X-E2 I’m shooting with a APS-C  sized sensor (crop sensor) so the 60mm focal length is the 35mm equivalent of 91mm, perfect for portraits! I spin the aperture ring over to 2.4 and focus on the eyes, and after looking the LCD I instantly love this lens. For this context, I really like the bokah and I think it just makes the picture much more interesting. For comparison, I put my 55-200mm on and zoomed it in to her face filled the frame approximately the same as the 60mm did and used the minimum aperture, which at the focal length was f4.8. It just doesn’t look as good to me. I really like my eyes lock eyes with her’s in the narrow depth of field image since even the ears are out of focus, not so much with the f4.8 image.


60mm at f2.4
55-200mm at f4.8










I know a lot of this is just my personal preference as well as the look of the image you’re trying to create, but I thought it was a good example of how something like a couple of f-stops can give an image a completely different look and feel.

So I’m really impressed with the 60mm as a portrait lens and it’ll have a place in my portrait kit from now on. It can’t replace the flexibility of the 55-200mm, but in the right context, the narrow depth of field just can’t be beat.

And if you’re interested in the Behind The Scenes of this image, see this post on the beauty dish

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