Don - First, You're right - I''m happy to get any result at all. And was very surprised it went through Alamy - I actually uploaded it, out of couriousity, in a very small batch. According to David's explanation, they probably saw it - but Javelin is probably correct that they've turned a blind eye since Newspapers will use it anyway if they need (Alamy doesn't have any picture of this guy yet, and he's fairly well known, especially in professional circles). Although, I have better pics of him with other lenses, if not frame-filling face - this pic was taken with the Idea of "hell, let's see what will come out". And while this Isn't close to make the top ten of portraits, the fact that it was taken under such problematic condition and is still, IMHO usable for a small print, is nice indeed. DOF is extremely shallow - pic was taken at around 30 feet, and focusing with this lens under low-light means lots of hunting - but it did manage to get some pic. Conclusion - if someone attempts to use the 500 for such a portrait, burst mode is the way to go. Even a very small movement of the subject at 30 feet takes him OOF, so shooting a burst in AF mode will probably help.
As for the DR - I attempted to go for a high-iso film look, with strong contrast (the 'grain' is already there, although tmax 3200 is worse, grain-wise), and yes - that did blacken out much of the hair. but I don't feel i've missed much.
As Don asked, here's a 100% crop of Dr. Nagl's left eye and nose:
I took one more pic with that lens - of Prof. Bernard Lewis, the famous Middle East historian. This time I opted for 1600 ISO with flash (Minolta 5400, set manually of course). I used a diffuser and semi-bounced the flash (meaning, I aimed at the global direction of the ceiling above his head. Since I was more than 30 feet away, of course the results aren't exactly accurate, so it's only 'semi' and you could see a shadow behind his head). Again, It's not the best pic in the world, but the experiment was interesting nevertheless.
and his lips and nose. I think we can see some movement here, but probably it isn't camera shake but his lips moving too fast. 1/[email protected]
with flash, as said.
All pics processed by RawHide, Chroma noise removed afterwards.
All In all, I won't attempt to make the 500 into a portrait lens, especially not in low-light situations! but nevertheless, it can give usable small prints at high ISO when you don't have any alternative. Next week I'll be taking the lens and a friend's A900 to an Aerial show, I guess we'll see then the full capabilities of the lens.