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Thread: Portraits lens

  1. #1
    Member Kel's Avatar
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    Portraits lens

    Hi all

    i looking at getting a portraits lens that is a bit all round to do family, child close up and in doors and suggestion would be great

    thanks

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    The Commander mikew09's Avatar
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    Can you give a little more detail. Camera body it will be used on etc - for example the choice of lens with a FF may vary to the choice with a crop sensor. Also budget would be a help on advise also.

    For example, I really do love my 24-105 but often go to my 70-200 on my 5D but on my 50D I wasnt so chuffed with it as a protrait lens and favoured my 50mm.
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    Canon 5D3 - Gripped, EF 70-200 L IS 2.8 MkII, , 24-105 L 4 IS MkI, 580 EX II Speedlite, 2x 430 Ex II Speedlite


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    I have a nikon D7100, was looking at some $1000 dollars or under as I only have the kit lens and want to start getting some better quality lens.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Mike has asked a very pertinent question - but I can go further. What brand of camera are you using? Are you after fixed FL or a zoom? The reason I ask this is there a good and bad in all brands, and some favored over others in particular brands.

    As Mike suggested the 24-105 is an all alrounder and certainly capable of taking a portrait shot. If you want to specialize and still want a zoom then maybe you could be looking at one of the many variant 24-70 F2.8 zooms. These both assume you are shooting inside - but if you want to do a portrait outside then certainly the 70-200 is the preferred focal length.

    If you are looking at fixed focal length then the inside favorite is either the 50mm or 85mm. Even the nifty fifty (Canon 50 1.8) is a very capable portrait lens. Some photographers also use the 35mm but you need to be careful with distortion at close range. If you are outside then I would suggest either the 85 /100 / 135 focal lengths are the most popular - and experienced portrait photographers would sometime use the 200mm where the need arises.

    All the above I refer to I am assuming a full frame body - but of course zooms have a little more flexibility over fixed focal lengths when it comes to crops.
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    I have a nikon D7100 with a crop sensor, was looking at some $1000 dollars or under as I only have the kit lens and want to start getting some better quality lens. I mainly trying to buy something that will do close up as well indoor and outdoor even I have to get 2 lens. I have been reading the reviews on some of those lens and price I really like the 70 to 200 f2.8 up just unsure if I can stretch the budget that far

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kel View Post
    I have a nikon D7100 with a crop sensor, was looking at some $1000 dollars or under as I only have the kit lens and want to start getting some better quality lens. I mainly trying to buy something that will do close up as well indoor and outdoor even I have to get 2 lens. I have been reading the reviews on some of those lens and price I really like the 70 to 200 f2.8 up just unsure if I can stretch the budget that far
    Kel I cannot give you any particular advice on Nikon as I am a Canon shooter so my advice is general.

    If you are looking at a zoom for inside then you want a fast 24-70 (2.8) and outside you want a fast 70-200 (either f4 or f2.8). Now in Canon each of these lenses will cost you $1500+ each although there are some third party lenses a lot cheaper.

    If you want to start taking good portraits at a cheap price then I would invest in a 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8. You could pick up both of these lenses in one brand or another for less than $600 (cheaper second hand). They should be in every portrait photographers kit.

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    Hi Kel
    If I were you, I'd start with a 50mm f/1.4 The Sigma Art would my pick if you could work with one quality lens now and get used to it first. On your Nikon crop body, that would be the equivalent of 75mm.
    Then I'd buy the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG Art when it becomes available - it is supposed to be launched at Photokina in September and commence shipping in late 2016. This would give you the equivalent of 127.5mm (and some months to save up).
    Apparently the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM is unofficially discontinued but you might still find one new or get a good deal on ebay.

    You could also look at the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC which has the advantage of Vibration Control.

    If you want to go for two cheaper lenses now, check out 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 deals where you normally shop and online.

    The 70-200mm would translate to more like 105-300mm on your crop body. Would you want that as your only lens?
    This lens is commonly used on FF bodies for aloof candid shots at weddings and other events or head shots in portraiture.
    Last edited by Babu; 15-06-2016 at 12:21pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babu View Post
    Hi Kel
    If I were you, I'd start with a 50mm f/1.4 The Sigma Art would my pick if you could work with one quality lens now and get used to it first. On your Nikon crop body, that would be the equivalent of 75mm.
    Then I'd buy the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG Art when it becomes available - it is supposed to be launched at Photokina in September and commence shipping in late 2016. This would give you the equivalent of 127.5mm (and some months to save up).
    Apparently the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM is unofficially discontinued but you might still find one new or get a good deal on ebay.

    You could also look at the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC which has the advantage of Vibration Control.

    If you want to go for two cheaper lenses now, check out 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 deals where you normally shop and online.

    The 70-200mm would translate to more like 105-300mm on your crop body. Would you want that as your only lens?
    This lens is commonly used on FF bodies for aloof candid shots at weddings and other events or head shots in portraiture.

    Thanks for your lovely information, I mainly looking ofr one to do portraits and family shoots for work (which is child care as we do a fun fundraiser at Christmas and family photo's), and I also shoot sport campdrafting which at this point I just have a kit lens 200mm but would like to up grade it as well at some point

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    The Nikon 85 f1.8 G is an excellent and reasonably inexpensive portrait lens on full frame, and I expect it would be even better on your D7100. It's about the right focal length, very sharp and has good bokeh.

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    I have the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses, and I have to say they're both very good for portraits. I did realize you mentioned the shots will be taken indoor. May I ask how much space you have? I live in a tiny apartment, so to photograph someone in the livingroom, I often have to stand in the kitchen, and that's with a 24-70mm lens. Especially if you're going to use backdrop & lighting then you'll need more space to consider the distance between the subject & the backdrop, subject & lighting, and subject & camera to mind the lens distortion.

    On the other hand, I also realized you mentioned close-up children. It reminded me of a time when I was photographing a friend's child who is SUPER conscious of a big scary camera. As soon as she spotted my camera, she lost that natural smile and acted all shy and oddly unnatural. That's when I took out my secret weapon the 70-200mm, and hid in crevices like a stalker (with the parents' permission of course). The end of the day, I managed to capture her natural cheerful behaviour on photos thanks to the telephoto lens. Of course, not all children are like this, but for most, I found the farther you are, the more natural they are behaving.

    That said, I have to admit that I have the soft spot towards the 24-70mm more than the 70-200mm, because of one main reason - the weight of 70-200mm is too much for my shoulder and wrist to carry for a long time. Maybe I need to start bench pressing. LOL

  11. #11
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I think 24-70 is a little wide to get the right DOF and compression for portraits.

    If it was me, this is how I would be looking at it:

    1. Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 VC or non VC (which is a Macro)
    2. Nikon 70-200 f/4
    3. Nikon 85 f1.8
    4. Tamron 90 f/2.8 Macro

    If you can afford it, the 70-200 f/2.8 is probably the most versatile of the lenses. Whilst it often considered a sports lens, it's an incredible portrait lens and you'll see almost every wedding photographer using them. I have the 70-200 permanently attached to my camera 90% of the time and I find most of my portraits range between 100-150mm which would be in line with a DX crop. I would be looking at the Tamron 70-200 with VC if you can afford it. It's about $1300. If you can't afford that, look at the non-VC version but having VC will help you get a couple of stops if you are shooting in lower light. The non-VC version is a macro lens but this is goodfor close ups and Macros are generally pretty sharp or great for close ups of eyes. If you do an image search for Tamron 70-200 Macro portraits on google you should see some good examples of how good it is as a portrait lens and it's about $1000 so it could be within budget. The downside with Macros (as with the 90mm) is that focus is always a little slower so my first preference would be the VC non-Macro version because you are dealing with kids and they need fast focus speeds due to being unpredictable and fast moving.

    The 70-200 f/4 costs the same as the Tamron 70-200 so I don't see much value and you lose the f/2.8. Realistically a lot of portraits are taken at f4 because the DOF is too shallow on f2.8, but having the extra couple of stops for low light is very valuable along with the ability to add a converter to extend the focal lengths for the occasion when you need something longer. You also lose DOF with the DX cameras so a f4 is going to look more like an f5.6 which may not be ideal.

    The 85 f/1.8 is incredible as a lens, but you are limited to the 85 f/1.8 and the focus speed isn't as fast as something like the 70-200 for things that move quickly (like children) but I would say it's faster than a 90mm Macro and doesn't hunt as much. That said, the size of the 85 f/1.8 makes it great for travel and easy for handholding.

    The 90 Macro, as with the 70-200 non-VC Macro, despite being a macro is a great lens for portraits as well as it is incredible sharp. It's also has the versatility of Macro which is great if you want to get close to the eyes. Again, slow focus speed compared to the 70-200. The upside with the 90 Macro is that it does have VC.

    Anyway, thats my 2 cents worth.
    Last edited by MissionMan; 05-07-2016 at 11:16am.
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    Nikon 85 G series lens is a lot of fun to use
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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    I have a full frame camera and my go to portrait lenses are:
    1. Sigma 85mm f/1.4
    2. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
    3. Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8
    4. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

    Love them all but I have to say my 85mm and the 70-200mm are standouts. I find the 24-70 gives you distortion at the lower focal range but its great for group shots.
    Last edited by NikonNellie; 10-06-2017 at 8:39am.
    CAMERA: Nikon D800, Nikon D7000
    LENSES: AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Macro, Sigma 10 - 20mm F/4 - 5.6, Sigma 150 - 500mm F/5 - 6.3 APO DG OS, Nikkor 18 - 200mm F/3.5 - 5.6 VRII,
    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
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  14. #14
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I would go with a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 due to the kids. Kids move faster than sportsmen and they are less predictable, so having faster af is a big advantage. I also think the 70-200 is a little more versatile.

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Just to add, if you are considering a 70-200, the Nikon f2.8 VR1 version works very well on DX. Its main weakness is into the FX corners so it won't really affect your D7100.
    If you don't mind buying used, prices have more or less leveled off so you're not likely to loose much if you sell it later.
    It's a bit over your budget though and I'm not entirely sure how it stacks up with third party options.
    Nikon FX

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