Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Portraits with the D700

I've been reading a great blog by US photographer Kirk Tuck which inspired me to take a few portraits using the D700. The post that made an impression on me was all about Kirk's love for medium format and the way with, say, a 150mm lens at f3.5 on the 645 format, the focus drops off beautifully from the eyes. The portrait he uses to illustrate the post is fantastic and you can see it here.

I did a quick bit of research and it seems that the 85mm f1.8 Nikkor on the D700 has about the same limited depth of field as the 150mm on 645. I wondered if the focus would similarly dissolve with the Nikkor - hence the top and bottom shots of my daughter, Freya. Unlike Kirk I don't have access to a studio and sophisticated lights so they were done using light from a north facing window.

I think they show that the 85mm - a classic portrait focal length on the 35mm format - is very capable of matching the 645 when it comes to providing shallow depth of field. However, I'd need to shoot the portrait of Freya more straight on to see how well it compares with Kirk's 645 shot.

The photograph in the middle of the three on this page was added just because I like it so much. It shows our bichon frise Molly enjoying a cuddle - again shot with the same window light. The black and white conversions, in case you're wondering, were done using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro, the best way I've found of getting monochrome images from colour files.


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