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Thread: Best Outdoor Family Portrait Lens

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    Best Outdoor Family Portrait Lens

    Hello hello,

    What lens would you use for outdoor family portraits? Prime over zoom - any why? Does a macro lens double as a good portrait lens? (eg the Nikon 105mm 2.8 or the sigma equivalent).

    Thanks in advance! :-)

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    Member flashc's Avatar
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    Hi...

    Prime lenses are always better as there are less moving parts (glass elements), the focal length is consistent, so a better tolerance is better for quality. You just don't get the ability to zoom in and out from your shooting position.

    I've used my f2.8 100mm macro to shoot low light night time photos (rodeos) too, and portraits, as macros are very sharp lenses..

    I have a f1.4 50mm FX fixed lens too, but would prefer to use it on a Nikon FX camera body such as a D610 or D800.

    Are you using a Nikon DX camera body and which lenses do you already have.
    Canon EOS 7D Mk II, Canon 70D, Canon G12, Canon EF-S 15-85mm, EF 70-200 L f4 IS, 580EX II


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    Depending on your shooting environment you might not have enough space to maneuver to get everyone in your shot if you have a prime 50 mm. But don't get me wrong. The 50 f1.8 is awewome for family portraits. If you have less moving space you could try a 28 mm f2.8 prime

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    Hey Flashc

    I've got a Nikon d7000 with the 18-105mm lot lens...but will be upgrading to full frame in a couple months hopefully to the d610, so am pre empting which lenses to get to suit the full frame.

    I guess my main purpose would be for work. Which will hopefully be outdoor portraits.... But do love beautiful close ups of flowers and bugs etc so it would be great if the one lens could somehow accomodate both needs to begin with :-) Of course if I'm better off having to buy two seperate one then I wi end up doing that Lol.

    A few people have commented on macro lenses being to sharp for portraits and theay they have to soften them sometimes..... What's your opinion on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinhtee View Post
    Depending on your shooting environment you might not have enough space to maneuver to get everyone in your shot if you have a prime 50 mm. But don't get me wrong. The 50 f1.8 is awewome for family portraits. If you have less moving space you could try a 28 mm f2.8 prime
    Yea that could be def be the case, perhaps a zoom would be better or is it best to stick to primes for typical portraiture?

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaz27b View Post
    Hey Flashc

    I've got a Nikon d7000 with the 18-105mm lot lens...but will be upgrading to full frame in a couple months hopefully to the d610, so am pre empting which lenses to get to suit the full frame.

    I guess my main purpose would be for work. Which will hopefully be outdoor portraits.... But do love beautiful close ups of flowers and bugs etc so it would be great if the one lens could somehow accomodate both needs to begin with :-) Of course if I'm better off having to buy two seperate one then I wi end up doing that Lol.

    A few people have commented on macro lenses being to sharp for portraits and theay they have to soften them sometimes..... What's your opinion on this?
    A macro would be an excellent choice as they generally have the correct focal length for portraits. The Nikon 105 f2.8 Micro is excellent, there is the new Sigma 105 f2.8 Macro which is also excellent and both would suit your Nikon D610 very well.

    If not a macro, the Nikon 85 f1.8 is also a gem and quite inexpensive as well.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Do you mean family portraits as in a portrait of an individual in your family or a whole family.

    My 70-200 probably gets the most work for portraits along with my 24-70. I'd be inclined to agree on the 50 f/1.4 as a starting point if you want something that is sharp and not too expensive.

    This is a shot from my 50/1.4

    Fuji XT-2, Fuji X-E3, Fuji X100T, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Fujinon 60 f/2.4 Macro, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T, Mefoto Q00
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    Member rookie's Avatar
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    Good reviews on the sigma 85mm 1.4f and at very reasonable price
    Wayne

    Canon 7D and stuff
    Olympus OMD - EM10

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/34371137@N03/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaz27b View Post

    Yea that could be def be the case, perhaps a zoom would be better or is it best to stick to primes for typical portraiture?
    Zoom gives you more versatility with shooting positions. But finding a low f-stop zoom can become very pricey very quickly. As MissionMan said, 50 f/1.4 prime is a good starting point for cost effective lenses which are sharp.

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    Hey Lance,

    Thanks for the info! Ive been reading up alot on the Sigma 105 f2.8 macro the past few days and it sounds pretty awesome... Some places even say its better then the Nikon 105mm, just slightly though. Id love either one LOL :-)

    I cant wait to see the difference in quality between my kit lens and a much better quality lens... I hope the sharpness is epic as i love super sharp details :-)

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    Hey Lance,

    Thanks for the info! Ive been reading up alot on the Sigma 105 f2.8 macro the past few days and it sounds pretty awesome... Some places even say its better then the Nikon 105mm, just slightly though. Id love either one LOL :-)

    I cant wait to see the difference in quality between my kit lens and a much better quality lens... I hope the sharpness is epic as i love super sharp details :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Do you mean family portraits as in a portrait of an individual in your family or a whole family.

    My 70-200 probably gets the most work for portraits along with my 24-70. I'd be inclined to agree on the 50 f/1.4 as a starting point if you want something that is sharp and not too expensive.

    This is a shot from my 50/1.4


    Hi MissionMan,

    Thats a beautiful shot!!! Was it a crop of a bigger portrait or was it just taken that closely?

    I mean family portraits as in other peoples family.... As a business (so not just for an individual in my family). Eventually i would like to have a collection of lenses of primes and zooms but just trying to figure out one to get me started with and then add from there in time. I know the Nikon 24-70 is a beautiful expensive lens..... but would it be worth saving for something like that as my first proper lens to use as portraits or better to start with something cheaper that is still great?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Do you mean family portraits as in a portrait of an individual in your family or a whole family.

    My 70-200 probably gets the most work for portraits along with my 24-70. I'd be inclined to agree on the 50 f/1.4 as a starting point if you want something that is sharp and not too expensive.

    This is a shot from my 50/1.4


    Hi MissionMan,

    Thats a beautiful shot!!! Was it a crop of a bigger portrait or was it just taken that closely?

    I mean family portraits as in other peoples family.... As a business (so not just for an individual in my family). Eventually i would like to have a collection of lenses of primes and zooms but just trying to figure out one to get me started with and then add from there in time. I know the Nikon 24-70 is a beautiful expensive lens..... but would it be worth saving for something like that as my first proper lens to use as portraits or better to start with something cheaper that is still great?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry guys for double posting.... still trying to figure it all out :-) I hit reply with quote and thats what keeps happening :-(

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    It was a slight crop but not much. The minimum focal length on the 50mm is 45cm. That said, it's not the fastest autofocus lens on the market so trying to get a shot like this can sometimes be tough if the child is moving.

    Personally, I'd say go with a 50mm now because the quality of your photos will jump substantially from a kit lens with something like this, and it'll force you to think about your composition because of the fixed focal length and you'll have the added benefit of the f/1.4

    From there, I'd definitely save for the 24-70. It's one of my best lenses and the one that sits on my camera most of the time.

    Maybe the 85 after that if you find yourself doing lots of portraits but the 70-200 is also a surprisingly good candidate for portraits and the focus speed is spectacular. This is the 70-200, not the greatest shot but it gives you an idea of the sharpness of the lens at 200.

    Last edited by MissionMan; 08-03-2014 at 11:47pm.

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    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    My 2c: for your purposes at this point, I think the 24-70 would give you far more flexibility. Particularly if it will be your only lens for a little while, and you're wanting to take whole family type shots. I just think you'll find the primes too restrictive when trying to include multiple people in the shot. You could go for the Tamron or Sigma version to save a little money.
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    MissionMan: Wow, that guys head looks amazingly sharp! I love it. Love the reflection of the people in his sunnies too, great pic. I like the idea of having a prime as yea it makes me have to think more about my composition and therefore should teach me alot the fact that i have to "think" about it. A friend has the 24-70mm and ive seen how great they look once actually having photos printed up also. Thank you heaps for your info and help too. Is photography your career or a great hobby?

    Nimrodisease: Thank you for your 2c :-) All input is greatly appreciated! If im lucky enough, my older bro will go halves with me in a second lens so i may just be able to get both, a prime and a zoom :-)
    Last edited by Jaz27b; 09-03-2014 at 9:33am.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaz27b View Post
    MissionMan: Wow, that guys head looks amazingly sharp! I love it. Love the reflection of the people in his sunnies too, great pic. I like the idea of having a prime as yea it makes me have to think more about my composition and therefore should teach me alot the fact that i have to "think" about it. A friend has the 24-70mm and ive seen how great they look once actually having photos printed up also. Thank you heaps for your info and help too. Is photography your career or a great hobby?
    Just a hobby for me. Not talented enough to make a career out of it. I do the odd bit of free charity work but that's about the extent of my commercial involvement

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    I have just bought three new lenses specifically for portrait work. The Tammie 24 - 70 which is great for small and large group photos, the Sigma 85mm for more full frame portraits and the 70 - 200 which I have used for both group and individual shots. I am still coming to grips with them but my favourite so far is the 85mm followed very closely by the 70 - 200. You have to be careful with the 24 - 70 that you don't get too close with the wider angle end of the lens or else you end up with distortion as you do with any wide angle at close proximity to your subject. I have also used my Macro 90mm (tammie0 for portraits in the past with great results.
    CAMERA: Nikon D800, Nikon D7000
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    Sigma 70 - 200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS, Tamron SP 24 - 70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX DG, Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm F/4 ED VR, Nikkor AF-S 200-500 f/5..6E ED VR
    MY WEBSITES: www.nawimages.com, http://nelliewajzerphotography.smugmug.com/, http://NellieWajzerPhotography.blogspot.com



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    Hi NikonNellie,

    3 new lenses, thats a nice selfie treat! Thank you for your input. Do you do a lot of portraiture work? Out of all your lenses, which would be your most used one for portraits?

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    I do mainly portraiture work Jaz27b. Before the purchase of my new lenses I mainly used my 50mm lens and occasionally used either the 18- 200 or 70 - 300 but as I also bought a new full frame camera I don't think I will be using these lenses as much now. I do have a little side business for newborn, children's, family, maternity and seniors portraits and this is the reason I wanted to upgrade my lenses. I do pose my family clients but if there are young children I tend to do more candid portrait's and this is where the zoom lens comes in to play as I can stand back a little out of the child's space which usually ends up with more rewarding results.

    If you have a look at the last thread that I posted you can see what the quality of both lenses:
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ses-meet-chris

    If you are only going to buy one lens I would suggest the 70 - 200 as I think you would it more versatile.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    So, it looks like the general consensus is buy the 24-70, 70-200 AND 85...start saving now
    Last edited by MissionMan; 09-03-2014 at 8:43pm.

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    I also still want to add that 50mm 1.4 to it also LOL, got lots of savings to do! Thank you all for your help :-)

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    +1 to Missionman.
    My personal experience with the Nikkor versions:
    50mm f1.4 which is a great portrait lens that allows creative use of DOF, but a slower AF (I use single point to ensure the correct focus point is used). I use this extensively for use with available (and often low) light.
    24-70mm f2.8 is on my camera most of the time. It is a really flexible, very sharp and high quality all purpose lens. The maximum aperture of f2.8 allows good subject isolation for portraits but as NikonNellie points out, you do get some distortion at the wide end.
    70-200mm f2.8 is a brilliant portrait lens that is great for candids, outside shoots or where you have a bit of room to move around. The IQ is great and the AF is really fast. I've used this for head shots across a boardroom table with great results. Whilst I find it OK, this is quite a heavy lens that some find tiring to use.

    Of course, all these options are great and unless funds are readily available, difficult choices need to be made. The 50mm f1.4 is a great starting point and covers a lot of the bases.
    Last edited by NikonNellie; 13-03-2014 at 4:38pm.

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    Hi CarlR,

    Cheers for your input! :-)

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