These are the advantages and challenges of shooting portraits with a 50mm f/0.95 lens

Aug 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

These are the advantages and challenges of shooting portraits with a 50mm f/0.95 lens

Aug 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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The first two things that come to my mind when someone mentions an f/0.95 lens are “bokeh” and “low light capabilities.” And sure, these are both great. However, shooting with a lens this fast isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In this video from Manny Ortiz, he’ll show you the good and the bad sides of photographing portraits with a lens like this, and he’s using a Mitakon 50mm f/0.95.

YouTube video

The Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 is a manual focus full frame lens for Sony E-Mount cameras. Manny paired it with his Sony A7R III and hit the streets to take some outdoor portraits. He points to both the good and the bad sides of the lens, and let’s start with the good ones.

Advantages

As I mentioned, one of the first thoughts when it comes to a lens like this is “bokeeeeh.” And indeed, the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 will give you creamy bokeh to die for.

While the background is blurry, the subject in focus will maintain decent sharpness. If you nail focus, that is, but we’ll discuss that later.

The Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 has smooth focusing rings, so you can fine tune the focus, which sure is necessary if you open up the aperture.

Finally, with a lens this fast, you sure get some great low light capabilities. So, you can shoot in low light and keep your ISO lower and the shutter speed faster.

Challenges

Of course, a lens with an aperture this wide doesn’t come without its challenges. First of all, the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 is a manual focus lens. This means that nailing focus is quite tricky, and focusing manually at f/0.95 is a pain in the… You get the point.

If you want to get the focus right, focus magnification is necessary. This can slow you down, although, shooting at a slower tempo isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Another minus side of the lens is that it’s really heavy and “built like a tank,” as Manny puts it. Finally, it’s not free from imperfections: it produces chromatic aberration and some distortion.

Conclusion

While the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 has its advantages and disadvantages, it can find its purpose in portrait photography. Manny says it should be “an artistic lens,” with the unusually wide aperture and the flaws you can also call “character.” But, it probably isn’t something you should choose as a go-to portrait lens.

[TAKING PORTRAITS at F0.95| The REAL Bokeh Master | Manny Ortiz]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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