A standard test I like to do when looking at new lenses is a simple interview setup. What I like about this is you can see how the lens does with skin tones, sharpness and bokeh. 99.9% of my shoots has people in it so being able to see how this lens does in an interview situation allows me to quickly gauge the strengths and weakness of particular lenses.
Personally, I like to keep it simple. I’m not testing for flairs, highlight roll off, etc. This test is to just see how skin tones look, the bokeh of the background and the sharpness of our talent.
So, what light (in my opinion) gives the best results with skin? Arri tungsten fresnel. There’s no arguments that these produce great results without any spikes in green or magenta. I used a 650w through a chimera and bounced a 300w in the background to lift the room. Again, simplicity is key here to get the accurate results I’m looking for.
This was all shot on the Canon C300 with Clog. Due to the flicker of the Gibson neon sign, I changed my shutter from 180 degrees to 144. When the lens was wide open (t/3) my ISO was 850. When the lens was a t/5.6 my ISO was 2000. Why didn’t I shoot after a t/5.6? I’ve very rarely shoot past a 5.6 and didn’t see the need to.
The only addition I did in post is add a little contrast and pump the saturation to 110. I didn’t want to mess with color balance and I wanted the overall look to be neutral.
For this test we used (click on links to read more):
You can check out my testing of the 100mm Macro lens here