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Gear Talk => Canon General => Topic started by: surfbum on July 07, 2012, 03:38:02 AM

Title: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 07, 2012, 03:38:02 AM
Hi, I’m seeking advice on suitable/K.I.S.S Camera and lens combinations for close-up beauty style Portraits to showcase make-up and I’m hoping some of the knowledgeable folk on here can help point me in the right direction

From my research I will need a fairly long (85-300mm) focal length to obtain the most flattening and flattering perspective and unless I instead get a macro lens will possibly also need to invest in some extension rings for the extra close shots.

My Budget is around $2500 and I have narrowed it down to the following options.

EOS 650D + 18-135 IS STM Kit  @ $1,300 plus 70-200 f4 IS @ $1,200 = total $2,500

EOS 5Dii @ $2,100 plus 85mm f1.8 @ $468 = Total $2,568
(I have been offered free, an old 28-105 EF lens that I can also use with this to give me more range)


In order of importance and usage
1.   60% Tight headshots
2.   10% eye/lip only close-up details
3.   10% head & shoulders
4.   10% video
5.   10% full length

Output suitable for :
 Advertising – web, brochures, magazine and ideally posters to about AO size. Photo sharing & Contra deals

Location:
70% inside salon on tripod with good light – mostly close-ups. I have 3meters max to play with.
30% outside &/or on location, backstage and behind the scenes – hand held, mostly wider action or full length shots but also some head and shoulders too.

Photographer:
I'm a Smallish (5’1”) female with small hands
At beginner+ level and upgrading from a Canon Powershot SX30

I would also love to here people's thoughts on which of these commonly mentioned and slightly contradictory statements would be more valid for my situation and budget?
1.   All things being equal, a superior result will be achieved using a full frame camera.
2.   It is better to skimp on the camera and get the best lenses one can afford

This has been driving me somewhat nuts and while I realise either decision is certainly not life and death and that I should be able to achieve a reasonable result regardless of which one I choose, I just can’t seem to press the button for either one. I have definitely, 100% made my mind up a dozen times – and then changed it :(

The 650D isn’t in stock yet locally so I haven’t been able to pick it up and have a play with it, which may make a difference.

Any advice at all is appreciated.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: RLPhoto on July 07, 2012, 09:39:35 AM
Hi, I’m seeking advice on suitable/K.I.S.S Camera and lens combinations for close-up beauty style Portraits to showcase make-up and I’m hoping some of the knowledgeable folk on here can help point me in the right direction

From my research I will need a fairly long (85-300mm) focal length to obtain the most flattening and flattering perspective and unless I instead get a macro lens will possibly also need to invest in some extension rings for the extra close shots.

My Budget is around $2500 and I have narrowed it down to the following options.

EOS 650D + 18-135 IS STM Kit  @ $1,300 plus 70-200 f4 IS @ $1,200 = total $2,500

EOS 5Dii @ $2,100 plus 85mm f1.8 @ $468 = Total $2,568
(I have been offered free, an old 28-105 EF lens that I can also use with this to give me more range)


In order of importance and usage
1.   60% Tight headshots
2.   10% eye/lip only close-up details
3.   10% head & shoulders
4.   10% video
5.   10% full length

Output suitable for :
 Advertising – web, brochures, magazine and ideally posters to about AO size. Photo sharing & Contra deals

Location:
70% inside salon on tripod with good light – mostly close-ups. I have 3meters max to play with.
30% outside &/or on location, backstage and behind the scenes – hand held, mostly wider action or full length shots but also some head and shoulders too.

Photographer:
I'm a Smallish (5’1”) female with small hands
At beginner+ level and upgrading from a Canon Powershot SX30

I would also love to here people's thoughts on which of these commonly mentioned and slightly contradictory statements would be more valid for my situation and budget?
1.   All things being equal, a superior result will be achieved using a full frame camera.
2.   It is better to skimp on the camera and get the best lenses one can afford

This has been driving me somewhat nuts and while I realise either decision is certainly not life and death and that I should be able to achieve a reasonable result regardless of which one I choose, I just can’t seem to press the button for either one. I have definitely, 100% made my mind up a dozen times – and then changed it :(

The 650D isn’t in stock yet locally so I haven’t been able to pick it up and have a play with it, which may make a difference.

Any advice at all is appreciated.

If your not doing a whole lot of video, which it seems. I would seriously look into a 5D series camera. Any of them are good for your photos. The MK1 is good if your on a tight budget, the MK2 if your willing to spend more. A mk3 is out of the budget.

I can recommend the 135mm f/2L. It's super sharp and not too expensive. It will be flattering for your subject matter.
If you can't afford that, the 100mm f/2 is another good option.

IMO, 85mm isn't enough compression for a tight headshot. I prefer 100mm and longer.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on July 07, 2012, 11:59:25 AM
I'd also recommend FF plus a 135mm L.  A used 5D or 5D MK II plus the 135mmL!
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 07, 2012, 06:38:44 PM
Thank you for your advice.

Re the very cheap 85mm lens, what you say has pretty much confirmed my suspicion that it would not be long enough. I guess I really knew this but conveniently ignored it's unsuitability to fit it into my budget.

The 135 f2.0 L looks wonderful but @$1137 would blow out my budget with the 5dii and would instead have to be coupled with the 650D. Also at that price it is close to the 70-200 f4.0 IS which I would prefer due to the extra range and IS function.

I see there is a 135 f2.8 Softfocus which I can get for $675. Is this a well regarded lens?
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: RLPhoto on July 07, 2012, 07:20:09 PM
Thank you for your advice.

Re the very cheap 85mm lens, what you say has pretty much confirmed my suspicion that it would not be long enough. I guess I really knew this but conveniently ignored it's unsuitability to fit it into my budget.

The 135 f2.0 L looks wonderful but @$1137 would blow out my budget with the 5dii and would instead have to be coupled with the 650D. Also at that price it is close to the 70-200 f4.0 IS which I would prefer due to the extra range and IS function.

I see there is a 135 f2.8 Softfocus which I can get for $675. Is this a well regarded lens?

The 5Dc is a better camera as you'll be shooting at low ISOs and it's FF. I'd choose that over any aps-c camera for the $$$.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 07, 2012, 09:06:06 PM
The 5Dc is a better camera as you'll be shooting at low ISOs and it's FF. I'd choose that over any aps-c camera for the $$$.
[/quote]

Yes the 5Dii would be my preference for  the body but that then only leaves me with $500 max for a lens.
I would have the offered 28-105 lens so perhaps even some cheap but good off-brand manual macro may be worth looking at for the close-ups. Though moving to manual focus/aperture isn't really following my intended KISS principle.

The 135 f2.3 soft doesn't look to be an option with it's poor min focusing distance/magnification
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: And-Rew on July 08, 2012, 09:07:21 AM
My two penneth worth  :)

The 5Dc (classic) is more than adequate for your photographic needs, hence it is still such apopular wedding togs camera for those who can't afford 5D2 or 5D3. Many of those togs still have their 5Dc as a back up to a 5D2.

It really does give a lovely look to a portrait, and especially those lovely head shots. OK, you can't buy them new, but you can still get them with low use and extremely good nick.

This would then leave you looking at getting that nice 135 f2 L which would compliment the kit altogether.

My other choice would be to get the 5D2 and the 100mm f2.8 macro which is also a stunning head shot portrait lens (though many think cos it has the word macro in its name that's all it is good for). From looking, i think that is just about in your budget range - and the 5D2 would also give you greater crop options and the macro facility would save you having to buy extension rings...

Good luck either way.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Nitroman on July 08, 2012, 01:01:55 PM
But just to confuse you more, the Canon 85mm f1.8 would also be a lovely 'portrait' lens on the 650D. Being APS-C, and having a crop factor of 1.6, it makes the 85mm similar to a 136mm f1.8 lens. It would give slightly more depth of field as it's a smaller crop sensor, but you won't notice a great deal of difference at such close range - lots will still be out of focus.  ;D

You could also get the 650D with the kit lens 18-135 IS STM. This would be perfect for full length portraits. It also has a 0.39m close focus. Not sure if this is quite close enough for you, but if not, just buy some cheap extension rings / tubes to extend the magnification and close focus distance. Canon rings are more expensive than Kenko so I'd get the Kenko.

You'll also love the IS for any handheld video work. The 650D and 18-135mm IS STM are a new camera and lens combo that allow autofocus whilst shooting video which could be a bonus too.

The Canon 100mm f2.8 IS Macro is also a good lens and ok for portraits. If you bought this instead of the 85mm lens, you would no longer need the extension rings.   

I have four full frame Canon cameras - the 5D, 2 x 5D2 and a 1Ds3 but i think you'll be happy with the above kit for the price. The new equipment will also hold its value well if you eventually decide to upgrade to full frame.  ;)   
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: pdirestajr on July 08, 2012, 02:46:39 PM
I'd suggest a 5D or a 5DII refurb and a 100mm f/2.8 macro.

The macro will allow you to basically have no MFD when shooting, so you can get super close for details like eyes and lips. The 85 & 135 while great lenses, will keep you at a distance and force you to crop more for those detail shots.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: leGreve on July 08, 2012, 04:24:17 PM
I just did the photo below with a 5D mkII and the 70-200 2.8L

Often I find myself playing around with rings so I can fill the frame with more face. That would especially be interesting for you with the lip shots etc. You don't need more than the smalles Kenko ring to get in real close.

Of the 2 options I would hands down choose the 5D package. It's a superior housing and you can always invest in more expensive lenses down the road.

When doing stuff like this I never stop below 5.6... shooting 2.8 or 1.8 is just stupid. People seem to automatically think that because their lens can go wide open that they should... /facepalm.

Beautyshots should stick around F8 imo... The one below is F 9 or something. Remember, when using rings you get more field of depth and if shooting 1.8 you could literally render yourself an area of sharpness within a centimetre or so. That really sucks in beauty photography....

Just bring lights, and you'll be fine.

EDIT: Oh forgot to mention... I shot this at 114mm or so. Length is good, but an 85 should also by ok. I honestly don't know it's quality vs. the other option, but I know my 5D and I love it.... It's just that some of the lower end zooms aren't really that great.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: dhofmann on July 08, 2012, 05:39:28 PM
How about a refurbished T2i ($480) (http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_267071_-1) + 85mm f/1.8 ($390) for the head shots + 100mm f/2.8 macro ($520) for the close-up details + 50mm f/1.8 ($110) for the head and shoulders shots + EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM ($735) for full-length shots and video? Total price: $2,235 + tax & shipping.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Hesbehindyou on July 08, 2012, 07:39:24 PM
I'm just writing this because I'm bored, rather than because of any actual experience in photography. I'm actually a civil war re-enactor and stumbled upon this site while looking for a new artillery piece.

Output suitable for :
 Advertising – web, brochures, magazine and ideally posters to about AO size. Photo sharing & Contra deals

Any current DSLR with do all of the above with ease (though not sure what you mean by photo sharing and contra deals), apart from A0 prints. This page is quite useful if you're worried about resolution of images for particular print sizes:  http://www.photokaboom.com/photography/learn/printing/1_calculators.htm#Print (http://www.photokaboom.com/photography/learn/printing/1_calculators.htm#Print)

Quote
Location:
70% inside salon on tripod with good light – mostly close-ups. I have 3meters max to play with.
30% outside &/or on location, backstage and behind the scenes – hand held, mostly wider action or full length shots but also some head and shoulders too.

Autofocus and exposure systems of any modern DSLR will cope with this easily. Low ISO images will also look great from any current DSLR. A zoom lens will be helpful for getting a mix of wide/full length and head & shoulder shots when you are time limited (i.e. when lens changes mean lost shots). Primes still have their place, however.

Quote
I would also love to here people's thoughts on which of these commonly mentioned and slightly contradictory statements would be more valid for my situation and budget?
1.   All things being equal, a superior result will be achieved using a full frame camera.
2.   It is better to skimp on the camera and get the best lenses one can afford

1. Meh, the big advantage of full frame is high-ISO performance and the capability to get a shallower depth of field. These are both things that you won't be using.  For you the difference is subtle and full frame vs crop should be based mainly on lens choice (because of the crop factor) and of course your budget/return on investment.

2. You'll be using lenses stopped down to f8 or so, so almost all current lenses will be sharp enough (the better lenses retain more sharpness as they open up, but most modern lenses will be of similar sharpness to each other a couple of stops from wide open)

3. LIGHTING LIGHTING LIGHTING is the technical factor likely to make the biggest difference and composition/posing likely to be the thing that is most difficult to learn.

Lenses: traditional head-portrait focal lengths are around 85 to 135mm (or 53 to 85mm on crop camera). The rule of thumb is the bigger the nose the bigger the focal length ;-) (the second link gives a few sensible points on why certain focal lengths are used)
http://www.petapixel.com/2011/11/07/a-striking-look-at-how-focal-length-affect-head-shots/ (http://www.petapixel.com/2011/11/07/a-striking-look-at-how-focal-length-affect-head-shots/)
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/focal-lengths-in-portraits-5687 (http://www.ephotozine.com/article/focal-lengths-in-portraits-5687)

Assuming it's for relatively light use (i.e. not a full time photographer) I'd go for a crop camera with 55-250 and a 60mm macro. Keep the 18-135 kit lens for when you need wider.  55-250 is sharp enough stopped down, and still good wide open. 60mm is razor sharp period. Relatively cheap, does the job well. Leaves plenty of budget left over for lighting and spending on fun stuff.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: AdamJ on July 08, 2012, 09:29:50 PM
I'm just writing this because I'm bored, rather than because of any actual experience in photography. I'm actually a civil war re-enactor and stumbled upon this site while looking for a new artillery piece.

Try googling "cannon", not "canon".
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: DavidRiesenberg on July 08, 2012, 09:30:22 PM
I'm actually a civil war re-enactor and stumbled upon this site while looking for a new artillery piece.

I suspect the other way around is a much more common occurrence.    :D
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: AdamJ on July 08, 2012, 09:55:36 PM
I'm actually a civil war re-enactor and stumbled upon this site while looking for a new artillery piece.

I suspect the other way around is a much more common occurrence.    :D

Yes. I'll be sure to impart what wisdom I can muster about Howitzers when I next find myself on a war re-enactment forum.  ::)
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: wickidwombat on July 08, 2012, 10:00:20 PM
the 5Dmk2 and the 85 f1.8 will be fine for starting out as its not too tight to still be able to shoot full body with out being a mile away
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: DCM1024 on July 08, 2012, 10:30:15 PM
My name is Debbie Moore. In addition to being a photographer, I am a licensed Cosmetology Instructor at a well-known school. I teach students how to apply makeup, eyelashes, cut, color, highlight, perm hair, etc. Based upon your budget and objective, I would go with 5d2, 100mm macro & 28-105. If your budget is tight, buy refurb from Canon. We've gotten "like new" gear that way. Rebel t2i can give superb results in good light - all professional models on my website shot with that camera and kit lenses, but 5d2 sharper, more detailed, better in low light. Good luck!
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Smith on July 08, 2012, 11:24:07 PM
Fashion and beauty are not usually very demanding on high ISO performance. This means that one of the benefits of using full frame is not even a necessity for you. You will mostly be shooting at base ISO with smaller apertures. The most important thing for you is the lighting. If you're serious about shooting beauty you need to budget for decent strobes and modifiers. Alien Bees / Einsteins are a popular place to start. The lighting and modifier will have much more impact on beauty pictures than any DSLR or lens. I would save the money by not buying FF for now and invest in great lights. You can easily upgrade the DSLR later but it's important to hone your lighting skills.

Also, although this is a Canon forum I would recommend that you also consider Nikon if you're starting a new kit. For your budget the Nikon D3200 might be a great place to start. Although beauty is not demanding on the sensor you will be doing a crazy amount of Photoshop work. You need files that can stand up to a lot of manipulation. For editing it's helpful to have files that have higher resolution and are free from pattern noise. You'll be doing a lot dodge and burning.

In the order of importance for beauty I would say it's

1) strobes / modifiers
2) Photoshop skills
3) lenses
4) DSLR

Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: unkbob on July 09, 2012, 01:58:15 AM
5D2 + 100L. You'll find the IS handy and it's a great lens for close-up and portrait work. A used 5D2 is within budget, and there are plenty out there due to people upgrading.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 09, 2012, 03:22:40 AM
Wow and I thought I was getting overwhelmed before!
All this helpful advice is awesome and so long as my brain doesn’t explode and make a mess everywhere is much appreciated.

It now seems that I vastly overestimated the capability of normal lenses for the taking of fine detail and tight headshots which would be a majority of my photos.
If  I understand correctly either extension tubes or a specialised macro lens would be essential.
I am however a little confused by the science of macro lenses.
If the increased magnification is a result of the much closer focusing distances possible with macro lenses, wouldn’t this then also give an unattractive perspective and/or distortion? (fine for a bug but not so much for a model)
If this is the case would a 150or 180mm Macro be if not a solution a better proposition.
Also along those lines I discovered a discontinued however still available Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Telephoto Zoom for $685.00
It looks to be very big and heavy with no stabilisation and non Canon which is a shame but is within budget and it would save getting and fiddling with two lenses or extension tubes. There doesn’t seem to be another lens like it either Canon or anyone else. It also doesn’t appear to be a 1:1 Macro which may or may not be a problem.

Also I’m sorry, I didn’t realise a 5Dc was the original 5D and not the 5Dii I will also consider that model however probably only if I can somehow get hold of a new one with warranty etc.

Thanks also for those great links – must study!
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: dhofmann on July 09, 2012, 03:37:04 AM
Macro lenses are all telephoto lenses, so the field of view is so narrow that distortion is not noticeable. What macro gives you beyond non-macro lenses is the added ability to get so close that an eyeball would fill the whole frame and still be in focus. Plus, macro lenses tend to be very sharp.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: koolman on July 09, 2012, 04:16:53 AM
Here is my 2 cents. For shooting in a well lit area on a tripod - the t2i should be more then enough. I would invest more in the glass then the body. The canon 85mm on the t2i - should be fine, as you need to stand further away and have the magnification of a 135mm lens.

So t2i + 85mm = < $1,000.

I would add the 50mm 1.4 - as it is also an excellent portrait choice.

So you can get the whole set for $1,500. Save your cash, and add as needed.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 09, 2012, 04:26:55 AM
Doh! I couldn't work out why my post hadn't come up till I realised there was a whole nuther page -  I think I need some sleep

OMG! lots more information too.

No pretensions about being a pro photographer more just to document various looks while I have girls in the salon. Unfortunately I wasted years and hundreds of wonderful clients  and creations by not photographing them. I started doing this last year and my clients and I love it.

I have found the flatter the light the better otherwise the make-up looks unbalanced and even different  coloured.
I use a fluro light box above and behind me and a reflector chest level in front of them.
I imagine getting a super close shot with a macro lens and not blocking the light will take some manoeuvring

I will study the comments some more, but first - must sleep!
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: kirillica on July 09, 2012, 05:33:44 AM
For those seeing no difference between crop and ff:
- difference exists, and it's huge: in DoF and DR/IQ.

If you want to start shooting fashion, you must have gear according to the fashion level you want to shot. If it's some school stuff, then it's Kiss camera. Going to pro means going to (at least) FF.

I would suggest kiss+85mm as starter level and 5dm2 or 3 + 100mm IS/70-200 f4 is as semi-pro/pro.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: koolman on July 09, 2012, 06:21:42 AM
For those seeing no difference between crop and ff:
- difference exists, and it's huge: in DoF and DR/IQ.

If you want to start shooting fashion, you must have gear according to the fashion level you want to shot. If it's some school stuff, then it's Kiss camera. Going to pro means going to (at least) FF.

I would suggest kiss+85mm as starter level and 5dm2 or 3 + 100mm IS/70-200 f4 is as semi-pro/pro.

Nobody said there is "no difference between crop and FF". The question was advice on a logical step up from a p&s on a budget. Sure for super quality on a full pro level the sky is the limit. For a person making their first step in the DSLR word, the t2i is a very good option.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: kirillica on July 09, 2012, 09:57:55 AM
For those seeing no difference between crop and ff:
- difference exists, and it's huge: in DoF and DR/IQ.

If you want to start shooting fashion, you must have gear according to the fashion level you want to shot. If it's some school stuff, then it's Kiss camera. Going to pro means going to (at least) FF.

I would suggest kiss+85mm as starter level and 5dm2 or 3 + 100mm IS/70-200 f4 is as semi-pro/pro.

Nobody said there is "no difference between crop and FF". The question was advice on a logical step up from a p&s on a budget. Sure for super quality on a full pro level the sky is the limit. For a person making their first step in the DSLR word, the t2i is a very good option.
BTW, that's what I'm talking about: amateur photographer for amateur fashion shots - rebel is the choice.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: RLPhoto on July 09, 2012, 11:35:10 AM
For those seeing no difference between crop and ff:
- difference exists, and it's huge: in DoF and DR/IQ.

If you want to start shooting fashion, you must have gear according to the fashion level you want to shot. If it's some school stuff, then it's Kiss camera. Going to pro means going to (at least) FF.

I would suggest kiss+85mm as starter level and 5dm2 or 3 + 100mm IS/70-200 f4 is as semi-pro/pro.

Nobody said there is "no difference between crop and FF". The question was advice on a logical step up from a p&s on a budget. Sure for super quality on a full pro level the sky is the limit. For a person making their first step in the DSLR word, the t2i is a very good option.
BTW, that's what I'm talking about: amateur photographer for amateur fashion shots - rebel is the choice.

Rebel Crop sensor with 18mp or A equally priced 5Dc with 12mp for fashion? I'd prefer the full frame option.

Full frame sensors will resolve more detail per MP than a crop frame. It makes terrible lenses look better and coupled with the 100mm F/2, would be a supreme setup.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: DCM1024 on July 09, 2012, 11:40:54 AM
Oh, I thought you were getting paid by someone else to take the photos. The T2i gives outstanding results in good light. All of the professional models on my website were shot with the T2i and kit lenses (18-55 and 55-250). If you want to see sample, please visit http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com (http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com) I have just upgraded to the 5D3 as I am now shooting alot of weddings and needed the low light capability.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: DCM1024 on July 09, 2012, 11:44:58 AM
Meant to say 5D2, we are waiting for a 5D3 eval unit from Canon to see if we want to add that as well.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 09, 2012, 05:48:41 PM
Thanks for your advice Debbie, I love your photos and website. I also occasionally teach classes and when they’re all enthusiastic and keen to learn, it’s fantastic. When the parents have paid and forced them to do the course out of desperation some of those teenage girls can be a nightmare. One or two with attitude can disrupt the whole class and make it such hard work. As you know I’m sure.

As it must be ok to post personal links here, please come by my facebook page to see what I’m up to.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kylies-Professional/105262239524864 (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kylies-Professional/105262239524864)

As I mentioned I have no desire to become a professional photographer, I already have too much to do and never enough time to do it. I do have a desire to take better photos however and believe moving to a SLR whether crop or FF is my next logical step.

I occasionally hire photographers and they hire me for hair and make-up. I’m discreet and they don’t mind me taking a few behind the scenes photos on shoots, some have even asked me for copies of shots of them working, which is pretty cool. I am a little worried their attitude may change if I am sporting a professional’s camera and big white pro L lenses  I have seen some get quite angry at other unofficial photographers, which I can totally understand.

Regarding the lighting which I have only just begun to appreciate and read somewhat. My salon environment is very cluttered with chairs, trolleys, steamers etc so I cannot get too fancy. My highest priority is to show off my make-up to best effect and I have found very flat, shadowless lighting seems to do this best.
I would love to get some of the recommended Alien Bees equipment and think that his ABR800 RingFlash and Moon Unit combo would be ideal for what I’m after. Though some of those ‘Moon Units’One are as tall as I am, which would make it interesting outside on a windy day.

I have found Tamron also do a 70-200 f2.8 Macro with supposedly better IQ though worse AF than the Sigma version. Smaller and lighter too though alas no stabilisation either. Also seems crazy cheap at around $700
I am surprised Canon is not bothering contesting this sector with macro also.  Perhaps they think it would cannibalise their Macro prime sales.

I had a play with a 5dii, the size and weight was a bit of a shock after my little toy camera. I didn’t get to try any of the big 70-200s on it but I don’t imagine I would want to carry that combo around for too long.
 Still no 650Ds or 18-135 STM lenses in the local shops to play and compare with so I will keep studying.

 Thanks everyone for the helpful advice, lots of good stuff to digest and confuse lol.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: RobertG. on July 09, 2012, 07:09:57 PM
Hi, for the light source a studio flash would be best but maybe a bit too big for your setting. Consider also a compact flash like the 430EX or the more powerful 580EX + a flash cable (at least 3') + a ring flash adapter like the Orbis for the flat even light.

Of course  ff camera would be the best choice but for the next 2-3  years the 600D or 650D + Ef-S 60mm macro + 18-135mm will do well for you. Better invest in a tripod, editing software and some training and/or good literature. A good camera alone doesn't maje good picture.

If you go ff, the 5DII + EF 100mm macro would be a great choice. BTW, there are good reasons why Canon doesn't make macro zooms: they worse than normal tele zooms and much worse than a proper macro lens.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 09, 2012, 11:26:39 PM
Thanks Robert

I recently got a coco flash adapter which is similar to the Orbis & RayFlash and I have use of an old canon 540ez flash (so no ttl metering) I have only tried some test shots so far but using the display histogram I can work out the best settings, distances etc for it.

I have a tripod which I find it essential as I can quickly and easily leave the camera to adjust a reflector, touch up make-up or remove stray hairs.

Yes while it's within budget and cheap I am also not that excited by the Tamron 70-200 Macro either due to it being heavy, non IS and of course non canon <IQ

The 5Dii & 100mm f2.8 Macro is clearly the popular recommendation so I am considering it very seriously.
My biggest concern with the 100mm macro is the distance I would have to be to fill the frame with their face. Neither of us would be comfortable if I must work 1 foot from their nose.
If someone could advise what distance I would be  for say mid neck to hairline framing (portrait on FF) for the 100mm Macro I would very much appreciate it.

Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: kirillica on July 10, 2012, 02:44:37 AM
Oh, I thought you were getting paid by someone else to take the photos. The T2i gives outstanding results in good light. All of the professional models on my website were shot with the T2i and kit lenses (18-55 and 55-250). If you want to see sample, please visit http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com (http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com) I have just upgraded to the 5D3 as I am now shooting alot of weddings and needed the low light capability.
To be honest, these photos are "so-so" (mostly flat & dull). And post-processing is not impressing at all.
I had 550D and thought it's an amazing camera. Before I 've started shooting with 5Dm2 and primes ;)
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 10, 2012, 06:44:50 PM

To be honest, these photos are "so-so" (mostly flat & dull).
[/quote]

Heh I swear I could hear the theme music to, 'The good, the bad and the ugly' when I read that :)

Sounds like you're wanting to show us what you've got Partner - cool!

Do you have any tight headshots?
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Kernuak on July 12, 2012, 04:28:22 PM
I'd suggest a 5D or a 5DII refurb and a 100mm f/2.8 macro.

The macro will allow you to basically have no MFD when shooting, so you can get super close for details like eyes and lips. The 85 & 135 while great lenses, will keep you at a distance and force you to crop more for those detail shots.
You can get around that problem by using extension tubes. With a set of Kenko tubes, the 135 is something like 0.45x (I haven't done exact calculations, that's from experience), which is plenty for closeups of facial features. The tubes will have an even bigger affect on the increase in magnification on the 85, although I don't know off hand how the native MFDs compare.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 12, 2012, 08:23:59 PM
A decision has been made! - well 1/2 a one anyway.

I'm going for Full frame and the the 5DII so at least that side of the equation is locked in.

This leaves me about $600 for the lens.

I have had a photographer friend test a 100mm lens and confirmed that the tight, just below chin to middle of forehead portrait that I'm after would require the lens to be about a foot from the persons face.
For 1 or 2 shots this wouldn't be such a problem but as it is the majority of shots I want then it would be a bit too (literally) 'In your face' to be acceptable.

Therefore I am now looking to something up to 200mm or perhaps even more, which with my remaining budget I'm having a hard time ignoring the non-canon options. I'm reasoning some of their latest higher end offerings should be better than canon's quite old low-mid range lenses in this same price sector.

I was hoping for a used Canon 70-200 f4.0 IS which has a reasonable MFD but they seem to fetch around $,1000 so not much cheaper than new anyway.
I also think stabilisation would be essential for me, especially at longer focal lengths outside, on the move. I have gotten quite spoiled by my little Powershots excellent IS.

PS. Kirillica, where are you? Don't be modest :)
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: wickidwombat on July 13, 2012, 01:50:02 AM
A decision has been made! - well 1/2 a one anyway.

I'm going for Full frame and the the 5DII so at least that side of the equation is locked in.

This leaves me about $600 for the lens.

I have had a photographer friend test a 100mm lens and confirmed that the tight, just below chin to middle of forehead portrait that I'm after would require the lens to be about a foot from the persons face.
For 1 or 2 shots this wouldn't be such a problem but as it is the majority of shots I want then it would be a bit too (literally) 'In your face' to be acceptable.

Therefore I am now looking to something up to 200mm or perhaps even more, which with my remaining budget I'm having a hard time ignoring the non-canon options. I'm reasoning some of their latest higher end offerings should be better than canon's quite old low-mid range lenses in this same price sector.

I was hoping for a used Canon 70-200 f4.0 IS which has a reasonable MFD but they seem to fetch around $,1000 so not much cheaper than new anyway.
I also think stabilisation would be essential for me, especially at longer focal lengths outside, on the move. I have gotten quite spoiled by my little Powershots excellent IS.

PS. Kirillica, where are you? Don't be modest :)

save another $300 and get the sigma 85mm f1.4 its flatout awesome on the 5Dmk2
ive pretty much stopped using my 70-200 f2.8 since i got the 85 The only lens ive seen sharper than this is probably the 85L at 1.2 and by f2 I think the siggy wins and obviously the 200 f2L

here is a 100% crop from the 85 on 5Dmk3

its only a casual shot at dusk using ambient light at either f1.4 or f2
only VERY expensive L glass beats this lens and this lens beats the 70-200 f2.8L IS II by a lot
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: DCM1024 on July 13, 2012, 03:17:08 PM
Oh, I thought you were getting paid by someone else to take the photos. The T2i gives outstanding results in good light. All of the professional models on my website were shot with the T2i and kit lenses (18-55 and 55-250). If you want to see sample, please visit http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com (http://www.debbiemoorephoto.com) I have just upgraded to the 5D3 as I am now shooting alot of weddings and needed the low light capability.
To be honest, these photos are "so-so" (mostly flat & dull). And post-processing is not impressing at all.
I had 550D and thought it's an amazing camera. Before I 've started shooting with 5Dm2 and primes ;)

You're right - I should re-edit these photos. Had not yet begun using levels when they were shot. It makes a big difference.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 13, 2012, 09:48:25 PM
save another $300 and get the sigma 85mm f1.4 its flatout awesome on the 5Dmk2
only VERY expensive L glass beats this lens and this lens beats the 70-200 f2.8L IS II by a lot

Wow that's impressive! I shudder to think what a photo of myself with that level of detail would look like. I don't think I have ever had that few wrinkles, freckles, blemishes etc.

Looking at over $1100 for that lens though so if I were going to blow the budget so spectacularly on one lens then it would need to be something with a bit more length and/or range.

I have been warned that I will blow the budget by at least $300 anyway with various, 'must have' and 'should have' accessories.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: Kernuak on July 14, 2012, 07:26:33 AM
A quick search on B&H shows that these are your options between $500 and $750.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Lens+Types+for+Full+Frame+Cameras_Telephoto+Zoom&ci=15492&N=4288584250+4291570227+4293918093+4109120007+4109120004 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Lens+Types+for+Full+Frame+Cameras_Telephoto+Zoom&ci=15492&N=4288584250+4291570227+4293918093+4109120007+4109120004)

And here's a range around the focal length you're looking for.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Lens+Types+for+APS-C+Cameras_Medium+Telephoto&ci=274&N=4288584247+4291570227+4109119982 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Lens+Types+for+APS-C+Cameras_Medium+Telephoto&ci=274&N=4288584247+4291570227+4109119982)

If you can find a good used copy of the 135 f/2 or even the 200 f/2.8, couple it with a set of Kenko extension tubes (very cheap in the region of $100), then you have a bit more versatility, as both will also take the Canon extenders if you need more working room for some shots.
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: surfbum on July 15, 2012, 06:54:55 AM
Thanks for the links Kernuak

The 70-300 looks wonderful with it's wide range and IS (cheaper & in budget too!)
but I don't think I should go past the 70-200mm f/4L
It seems to be a popular portrait lens and being an L series Lens should be easily worth the extra $130

I think we have a winner!
Title: Re: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots
Post by: dickgrafixstop on July 16, 2012, 02:03:32 PM
Look at the Rebel T3 package - it's 12 meg image (more than enough up to 16X20"), the kit lens 18-55, a 55-250, and a 13X19 printer
(the ipf9000 for about $600.  You can add either the 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.8 for less that $500 and still have a thousand and change
for a flash, studio lights, backdrop, tripod, bag, various filters (ND & polarizing for sure) and other unexpected expenses.  Don't rush into
full frame - just increases the costs with no relative image quality benefits for the stuff you want to do.  While the hardware is "sexy",
your best tool for image quality may well be photoshop and various add-in packages (onone, efx, others)  Unfortunately, all digital images,
no matter what camera you use is only the starting point for great photographs.  Good luck.