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Old 31-12-2012, 07:52 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Portrait lens?

I'm looking for a portrait/people-photography lens, reasonable price (not top of the range) has to be under $800 type of range.

I've got the 24-105 but it's only f/4 so not fast enough for what I want for shooting people.

I've got the 200mm f/2.8 which is great, but obviously fixed long FL not good for a lot of situations.

So I want f/2.8 or faster, I'm thinking something in the 50-85mm range. I'll use it on my FF 5D Mk 2, but will also need something that works well on a crop camera.

Suggestions?

Doesn't have to be a zoom lens, though obviously that would be more convenient at times.
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Old 31-12-2012, 08:37 AM
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For what it's worth, as a professional portrait shooter I use an 80-200 2.8 in the studio for most portraits.
Occasionally pulling out the 28-70 2.8 for 1/2 length daylight window portraits.
I shoot on a D700 so it's full frame.
The zoom range is very convenient.
It's well worth spending the money on the top end lenses, and
you can get great deals on decent 2nd hand lenses at the Camera Exchange in Melbourne.
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Old 31-12-2012, 10:13 AM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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Hi Mike,

I find my 70-200mm f4 (non-IS) on my 5D2 an absolute cracker for portraits! I know you mentioned you want f2.8, but I find within that telephoto zoom range and on full frame, you get really nice shallow DOF. Shooting at f2.8 is obviously more preferred but f4 on FF is no slouch. f2.8 leaves little room for error so you must nail the focus. Plus you can get it brand new for ~$650

If you can stretch the budget a little more ($860) you can get the king of primes 135mm f2 from DD Photographics. It also doubles up as a great astroimaging lens Otherwise the Canon 85mm f1.8 is supposed to be a great performer as well and for the price of under $500 you can't go wrong.

Hope this helps.
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Old 31-12-2012, 02:43 PM
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midnight (Darrin)
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Mike,

I'm no portrait photographer (more industrial) but may I suggest you look at the 85mm F1.8. It's not an L series but definitely within your price range. It was recommended to me by our wedding photographer a few years ago and I don't regret buying it back when funds were tight and I still have it today.

I would have to put it down as a close second to the 50mm F1.4 non L lense for "bang for bucks" considering it's performance.

Stopping down to 2.8 would help with full frame cameras.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaddah View Post
I find my 70-200mm f4 (non-IS) on my 5D2 an absolute cracker for portraits!
I agree. Many of the wedding photos were done with this combination.

Cheers,
Darrin...
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Old 31-12-2012, 07:19 PM
Kunama
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I second the 85mm F1.8, an excellent focal length on either full format or crop cameras. Extremely good at isolating the subject at 1.8, lightweight, fast focus and sharp.
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Old 31-12-2012, 07:41 PM
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acropolite (Phil)
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Mike, the 100mm F2.8 macro makes a decent portrait lens, plus you can take bug portraits as well. It wouldn't hurt to have something fast at the wider end as well, people too often underestimate the capabilities of wide angle lenses for portrait work. Not sure how well they perform but Canon have a 40mm pancake lens that is both inexpensive and fast, reviews tend to rate the pancake sharper wide open than either of the cheaper Canon 50's plus it has a 7 blade iris rather than the 5 of the Nifty 50.

Last edited by acropolite; 31-12-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 31-12-2012, 08:16 PM
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I think for portraits a focal length between 70 and 150 (in a ff camera) is preferred due to it yielding a more flattering perspective, wider lenses like 40 and less tend to make facial features stand out disproportionately.
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  #8  
Old 31-12-2012, 09:26 PM
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acropolite (Phil)
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Quote:
wider lenses like 40 and less tend to make facial features stand out disproportionately.
Exactly and sometimes that effect is desirable.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:33 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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85mm f/1.2L USM/85mm f/1.8 USM or death.

Those lenses are /the/ standard for head and shoulder portraits.

If you want a bit more than just the head and shoulders, then, the 135mm f/2L USM is unbeatable.

Versatility, the 70-200mm f/2.8L USM or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM are unbeaten.

The 85mm f/1.8 USM is just $350 and is the sharpest tool in my bag. You'll find high end fashion photographers who make covers for Vogue, and the like, use that lens.

For atmosphere, the 35mm f/1.4L USM... oh, my.

The 100mm f/2.8 USM or 100mm f/2.8L IS USM are also great portrait lenses; particularly for isolation of features.

H
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:46 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Some 85mm f/1.8 USM examples I shot (last!) year:

http://scratch.hqphotography.com.au/...p/IMG_0254.jpg
http://scratch.hqphotography.com.au/...p/_MG_7605.jpg
http://scratch.hqphotography.com.au/...p/_MG_7863.jpg

H
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:30 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Those examples are fantastic, H. Great lighting too!
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post
........

Versatility, the 70-200mm f/2.8L USM or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM are unbeaten.

..........
H
Perhaps the best zoom range / focal ratio and infinitely useable as a portrait lens.
My personal favourite is my AF-S Nikkor 80-200 F2.8 D
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:00 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Totally agree, Matt!

For fixed focal length, I love the 85mm. It just feels... right(?), if that makes sense.

H
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:22 PM
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Peter Ward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post
Totally agree, Matt!

For fixed focal length, I love the 85mm. It just feels... right(?), if that makes sense.

H
Yep...I'm running the 85mm f1.2...beautiful bokeh, yet very sharp at the centre of frame.

Not ideal for astrophotography as they have CA, but in normal lighting one of Canon's best.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:12 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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The 70-200 isn't cheap. The IS version is even more expensive!

The 85mm f/1.8 is good at $350!

I already have the 100mm f/2.8 macro and I agree is great, but might need something wider - especially for a crop sensor.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:12 PM
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LightningNZ (Cam)
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What about the Samyang 85mm f/1.4? Only downside is manual focus. http://www.dpreview.com/products/sam...samyang_85_1p4

Contemplating one of these myself.

Cheers,
Cam
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:57 AM
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If you can stretch the budget a little more,you should be able to pick up a good second hand Canon 70-200 F 2.8 non IS.

I really like the bokeh this lens gives,and enjoy the images I can get with it,I mainly bought it as a 'people' lens,but have used it out in the field for wildlife too,and been able to get paid usage request fees for images.

My son borrowed my copy on the weekend,to take some images for a 'Bond girl' photo competition,here is some at F 2.8,in natural light.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:27 PM
jamiep (Jamie)
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Mike,

if you're interested i'd be happy to send you my 85mm f1.8 for a couple of weeks to try it out? They are a great portrait lens, and for the relative $$$ hard to beat.

Drop me a PM if you're interested.

Jamie
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:41 PM
Kunama
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For the crop sensor I use the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 (75mm equivalent)
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:31 AM
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Samyang make an 85mm F1.4. I have a Samyang 24mm F1.4 I got for night time lapses. I had to send the first copy back as sometimes left was out of focus on stars with right in focus. I got another copy. So far it seems fine.

I compared it against my fabulous Nikon 24-70 F2.8 which I find superlative. It is very slighty better in landscapes and in panoramas. So that is a great result.

The Samyang 85/F1.4 gets a good review at photozone.de which I use to evaluate lenses.

I used a cheap Nikon 70-210mm F4 lens at Christmas for some portraits and I was very happy with the subject isolation and framing you could achieve with that lens. Its likely Canon also have an older version of the 70-200. F2.8 is probably not that important over F4. I researched this F2.8 versus F4 a lot lately as I am deciding on which lens to get in the future. F4 is fine with modern low light performance. Your 5D2 images fine at ISO3200 so F4 indoors should not be an issue. Canon 70-200 F4 is a famous lens. Weight and cost becomes an important factor in 70-200mm lenses. My little Nikon lense cost me a massive $160, has AF and is very very sharp on my unforgiving Nikon D800E. So there are bargains to be had.

My choice would be a 70-200mm F4 type for its versatility and subject isolation, low weight and portability and of course cost.

I have the superb Nikon 85mm F1.8g which is one of Nikons sharpest lenses. Its a new lense. I like it/don't like it. If you are a pro 85mm is probably great. For a walk around portrait lens I think you'd get way more keepers with the 70-200.

Perhaps a good 2nd hand famous Canon 70-200 F4 is the go. One with IS would be ideal. This lens is very well known. So much so Nikon just released a competing version as it was a reason some Canon shooters would not switch to Nikon because Nikon did not have a modern version of 70-200mm F4. Now they possibly have the best with a new generation of IS that is supposed to be 5 stops better. So that is my research on this topic. 85mm, 100mm, 135mm are the classic portrait lenses. F2 or better for subject isolation but 70-200 probably does that just as well and is more versatile. It can also double as a superb landscape lens (although it may not be that great for astro work).

Greg.
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