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Thread: Portrait lens

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    Portrait lens

    Would love to hear your favourite for flexibility and sharpness.
    My gear: Canon 450D, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, Canon 430EX II. My Flickr


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    1/ Leica R 180/2.0 (on Canon FF body)
    2/ Leica R 80/1.4 (on Canon FF body)
    3/ Contax 135/2.0 (on Canon FF body)
    4/ Various enlarging lenses on a helicoid such as TTH (Taylor, Taylor & Hobson) Ental 3.25" F4, Schneider Xenotar 80/2.8, Meopta Meogon 80/2.8, mainly for their harsh bokeh and the interest they add. It's not everyones taste.

    None of the above (or probably any other manual focus primes for that matter) have any 'flexibility' in that you have to use them the way each lens needs to be used for best performance, be it Bokeh, wide open sharpness, minimum focusing distance or perspective that each lens imposes. Some people like long tele's for portraits, others like relatively normal focal length's. It comes down to preference, not right or wrong.

    If you want 'flexibility' then use a 24-70/2.8 zoom, that's what I tend to do. Optically it's a fine lens and the fact it's a zoom and has AF are both a bonus. Even if the resulting images don't stand out, they are none the less excellent.

    Regarding sharpness, you already have all you need from the 100 Macro in your sig. Sharpness isn't everything, especially in portraits, although I do prefer to have razor sharp wide open performance in a lens, especially at portrait distances.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 07-01-2012 at 10:40am.

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    Thanks JJ, I don't think I can afford the 24-70 f/2.8. My budget is $1000. My 100mm is awesome for portraits I agree but outside only. I would like something for inside that is not 50mm as I really do not like the length at all.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    The problem with inside is if 50mm is not of your liking, and 100mm is too long you are left with either the 24-70 or an 85mm. In some cases the 85mm is too long and this is where I definitely pick up my 50mm. I have the 85, 50 and the 24-70 and I use them in that order for portrait work inside. If you only have the one lens for inside then you are going to need a zoom. The other alternative is the 24-105 but at f4 it is very limited what it can do inside.
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    On an EOS 450D and within a Budget of $1000, my favourite Portrait Lens, for use inside would be the EF35F/2 (new) or, preferably the EF24F/1.4L, if possible to get in good condition for $1000, second hand.

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbat View Post
    Would love to hear your favourite for flexibility and sharpness.
    My 85/1.2L II is my main portrait lens.

    If I want a longer lens, I tend to use my 135/2L.

    If I want to shoot a wider, environmental portrait, I'll use my 35/1.4L.

    (I shoot with an EOS 5D Mark II.)

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    I don't have one, but I think you would be hard pressed to do better than the 85mm f 1.8 USM
    Have a look at some of these shots, not all portraits though.
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...40371&page=486
    The age of entitlement isn't over, it's just over there where you can't get to it.
    When several possibilities exist, the simplest solution is the best.
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    Quote Originally Posted by agb View Post
    I don't have one, but I think you would be hard pressed to do better than the 85mm f 1.8 USM
    Having owned both the 85/1.2L II and the 85/1.8 previously, in my experience the 85/1.2L II is a huge leap ahead of the 85/1.8.

    However, I do agree that the 85/1.8 is a great lens. It is very sharp and fast to focus, and won't disappoint.

    For the budget-minded, it is an excellent choice.

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    Thanks everyone, I think the 85mm f/1.8 is too narrow for inside work particularly on a crop sensor? Perhaps a zoom might work better?

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    Having owned both the 85/1.2L II and the 85/1.8 previously, in my experience the 85/1.2L II is a huge leap ahead of the 85/1.8.

    However, I do agree that the 85/1.8 is a great lens. It is very sharp and fast to focus, and won't disappoint.

    For the budget-minded, it is an excellent choice.
    Especially since his budget was $1000, so the f1.2 is out of the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agb View Post
    Especially since his budget was $1000, so the f1.2 is out of the question.
    Very true
    If only I had unlimited budget, that would be bliss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    Having owned both the 85/1.2L II and the 85/1.8 previously, in my experience the 85/1.2L II is a huge leap ahead of the 85/1.8.

    However, I do agree that the 85/1.8 is a great lens. It is very sharp and fast to focus, and won't disappoint.

    For the budget-minded, it is an excellent choice.
    Especially since his budget was $1000, so the f1.2 is out of the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agb View Post
    Especially since his budget was $1000, so the f1.2 is out of the question.
    Missed that.

    In that case, the 85/1.8 would be an excellent choice, and falls well short of his budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbat View Post
    Thanks everyone, I think the 85mm f/1.8 is too narrow for inside work particularly on a crop sensor? Perhaps a zoom might work better?
    85mm on your camera provides the equivalent of 136mm framing in the old money.

    It can be too tight for interior work, but it all depends on the distance.

    In this case the question isn't whether to choose a prime or zoom; it's what focal length would be most suitable for the environments in which you wish to shoot.

    Certainly a zoom which includes 85mm (eg, a 70-200) will be more flexible, but it all does depend on the distance.

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    As I mentioned in a previous post, I really am not sure that the 85mm is the best choice for inside shots. The inside I'm thinking of is a house where I take photos of my son/family. But it is definitely within my 'her' budget and something I will keep in mind.

    I was thinking sub 50 in terms of zoom. I already have a 100mm (great) and 55-250 which give good results. My 18-55 not so much inside but ok with good outside light. The 50mm is ok but I'm not a fan of the length. I'm not sure if the 1.4 would be any better but I'm thinking it still might be a bit tight.
    Last edited by rbat; 09-01-2012 at 11:51am.

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    If you have no immediate plans to go full frame, the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 would be worth a look. They are just under $1k on some grey market sites. There are quite a few glowing reviews of this lens around.
    Canon 50D - Zuiko 28/2.8 50/1.8 100/2.8 - Tokina 11-16/2.8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbat View Post
    As I mentioned in a previous post, I really am not sure that the 85mm is the best choice for inside shots. The inside I'm thinking of is a house where I take photos of my son/family.
    Unless you have a very large room, you'll probably struggle to get anything below the chin, and that's with your back to the wall.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbat View Post
    I was thinking sub 50 in terms of zoom. I already have a 100mm (great) and 55-250 which give good results. My 18-55 not so much inside but ok with good outside light. The 50mm is ok but I'm not a fan of the length. I'm not sure if the 1.4 would be any better but I'm thinking it still might be a bit tight.
    I hear you re 50mm. It's a focal length I cannot stand and do not even have.

    As far as focal lengths, it seems you've already got the focal lengths that will work for indoor portraits with a crop camera.

    You'd simply be buying a sharper and faster lens if you opted for a 50mm prime or the 17-55/2.8 IS that Terry mentioned.

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    If you are happy manually focusing, then the Voightlander 58mm f/1.4 is a great choice. There isn't a lot between 85mm and 50mm. I use a Tamron 60mm f/2 macro at the moment but will be getting a 85mm sometime. If common sense prevails, the f/1.8 will do nicely but if the ego gets in the way, it will be something faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    I hear you re 50mm. It's a focal length I cannot stand and do not even have.
    Actually it is an excellent indoor portait lens on a cropped sensor camera giving an effective focal length of 80mm on a Canon cropped sensor. Cheapest way to f/1.4 or faster.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    ...I hear you re 50mm. It's a focal length I cannot stand and do not even have...
    And I have more than a few. Each to his own.

    JJ

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