My product photography client got delayed so I thought I’d see how the 105 Micro lens works as a portrait lens. I’d also been meaning to try Translum diffusion on the beauty dish rather than the shower-cap that came with it for a while.

For a long time I used the 70-200 ƒ/2.8 for all of my portrait shots, it really is a fantastic performer. Also, because it mounts to the tripod via a collar it rotates really well which is a bonus, so you can flip between landscape and portrait on the tripod well, but it’s heavy.

A while a go I decided to get the 85mm ƒ/1.4, the lens that many people see as the ‘ideal’ focal length for portraits. This is the length I’d ended up shooting most portraits at and strangely enough motorbikes too! The lens is a stellar performer although to be fair the ƒ/1.8 would have saved me a chunk of money and probably have performed as well. It has become my go-to for a lot of work.

Recently I picked up a 105mm Micro, a lens that I thought about when I got the 85mm; it seemed like it might be a dual purpose tool. Although a bit slower it is a true macro lens (which I needed for product work) and the focal length that I used to target for portraits. So why not try it out and see whether I should have bought this first?

This is a simple shot lit with one strobe fitted with a beauty dish (with grid and diffusion) and no further lights (I frequently use four for a studio headshot). I did hold a bit of white poly-board in my lap to do the clamshell thing and lift the shadows a little. The lighting is slightly imbalanced, it’s always difficult getting it perfect on ones own with the digital release; a tad dark on the left.

I love using the 85 ƒ/1.4 for many things, particularly portraits, but if I was travelling light the macro ability of the 105 might tip it.

I like what the beauty dish has done and even with the diffusion the grid still seems to have done the job in controlling the light-spill. I’ve never liked the diffusion sock that came with the dish, seemed to rip the soul out of the dish.

Yes, I haven’t slept properly for months. I had one reasonable night’s sleep when I had my jab about a month ago. Hey-ho.