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Author Topic: Portrait lenses  (Read 4807 times)

littlepilotdude

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Portrait lenses
« on: November 22, 2012, 07:10:10 PM »
Hello,

Is the 200mm F2.8 II a good portrait lens?
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Portrait lenses
« on: November 22, 2012, 07:10:10 PM »

pj1974

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 07:46:42 PM »
It can be on a FF (full frame) if you have enough working distance (ie space between you and the subject, to take the photograph). Even on a crop good portraits with this lens can be achieved (eg outside).

Generally 135mm (FF) or 85mm (on a APS-C / crop) is considered a more practical portrait focal length.  The 200mm is a sharp lens. At times you may want faster (that is, a lower f/ value aperture)... but f/2.8 at 200mm isn't bad! :)

However person to person style does differ. I don't take close up portraits often myself, so on my 7D (APS-C / 1.6x crop) - I like a fast 50mm - 60mm setting.

Best wishes.

Paul
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 08:15:13 PM »
It wouldn't be my first choice for a portrait lens, no.   I'd take 135mm or 85mm lenses, first.

But just about any lens can be used for portraits.  For example, the 600/4L IS II:
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bycostello

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 08:35:20 PM »
yes....


any where between 50-200mm is a good focal length... 

what camera do u use though as the crop factor maybe important too

littlepilotdude

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 08:57:57 PM »
yes....


any where between 50-200mm is a good focal length... 

what camera do u use though as the crop factor maybe important too

Hi,

I'm using a 5D Mark II, so no crop factor.
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littlepilotdude

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 08:59:42 PM »
It wouldn't be my first choice for a portrait lens, no.   I'd take 135mm or 85mm lenses, first.

But just about any lens can be used for portraits.  For example, the 600/4L IS II:

Hello,

If I were just starting out, and being on a  budget, would this be a good lens? I'm also thinking about the 135mm, but I here that it might be upgraded, so I'm not sure.

Thanks for your input  :)
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Zlatko

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2012, 09:17:03 PM »
Hello,

Is the 200mm F2.8 II a good portrait lens?
Generally speaking ... no (though of course there are exceptions and photographers who make it work).  It puts you so far away from the subject that it's not easy to communicate with the subject.  And while telephoto compression can be flattering, the compression of a 200mm can feel excessive, making the subject look two-dimensional.  The point of a 200mm is usually to get "nearer" to the subject than would otherwise be practical (as for sports) or strong isolation of the subject from other elements.

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2012, 09:17:03 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2012, 09:25:46 PM »
If I were just starting out, and being on a  budget, would this be a good lens?

In that case, I'd recommend the 85mm f/1.8 - in terms of IQ for cost, it's one of the best values in the Canon lineup, and it's a great focal length on FF for portraits.
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littlepilotdude

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2012, 09:30:29 PM »
If I were just starting out, and being on a  budget, would this be a good lens?

In that case, I'd recommend the 85mm f/1.8 - in terms of IQ for cost, it's one of the best values in the Canon lineup, and it's a great focal length on FF for portraits.

Hi,

I might buy the 135L. Do you guys know any people that use a 200L?

Thanks
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littlepilotdude

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2012, 09:57:28 PM »
It is funny, people pay nearly $6,000 for the 200 f2 and say it is the most awesome portrait lens ever with amazing compression and unmatched "look", same for the older 200 f1.8 at $3,000 secondhand, but when it is the more modest 200 f2.8 L suddenly the focal length is too long! And lets not forget all the 70-200 owners that end up with portraits from the 200mm end.

Indoors the 200, especially with a crop camera, can be unworkable, outside and/or with a ff camera the 200mm focal length can work very well, just look at the 200 f2 lens sample thread on this site for some examples.

As for holding off on the 135 for fear of updates, don't forget the 200 f2.8L is an ancient lens too.

Hi,

Thanks for that input, I thought that since the 200 II was a mark II version, I thought it was recent until I looked it up and it was released in the 90s. I might buy it because it is a cheap lens and I'm looking for a new L lens that is inexpensive.

Thanks


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verysimplejason

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2012, 10:10:10 PM »
It is funny, people pay nearly $6,000 for the 200 f2 and say it is the most awesome portrait lens ever with amazing compression and unmatched "look", same for the older 200 f1.8 at $3,000 secondhand, but when it is the more modest 200 f2.8 L suddenly the focal length is too long! And lets not forget all the 70-200 owners that end up with portraits from the 200mm end.

Indoors the 200, especially with a crop camera, can be unworkable, outside and/or with a ff camera the 200mm focal length can work very well, just look at the 200 f2 lens sample thread on this site for some examples.

As for holding off on the 135 for fear of updates, don't forget the 200 f2.8L is an ancient lens too.

Hi,

Thanks for that input, I thought that since the 200 II was a mark II version, I thought it was recent until I looked it up and it was released in the 90s. I might buy it because it is a cheap lens and I'm looking for a new L lens that is inexpensive.

Thanks



Must it be an L?  As Neuro said, 85mm F1.8 is one of the best even if it's cheap.  This is also workable in an indoor shootout.

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2012, 10:13:07 PM »
Yes but I prefer the 135L

littlepilotdude

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2012, 10:15:38 PM »
It is funny, people pay nearly $6,000 for the 200 f2 and say it is the most awesome portrait lens ever with amazing compression and unmatched "look", same for the older 200 f1.8 at $3,000 secondhand, but when it is the more modest 200 f2.8 L suddenly the focal length is too long! And lets not forget all the 70-200 owners that end up with portraits from the 200mm end.

Indoors the 200, especially with a crop camera, can be unworkable, outside and/or with a ff camera the 200mm focal length can work very well, just look at the 200 f2 lens sample thread on this site for some examples.

As for holding off on the 135 for fear of updates, don't forget the 200 f2.8L is an ancient lens too.

Hi,

Thanks for that input, I thought that since the 200 II was a mark II version, I thought it was recent until I looked it up and it was released in the 90s. I might buy it because it is a cheap lens and I'm looking for a new L lens that is inexpensive.

Thanks



Must it be an L?  As Neuro said, 85mm F1.8 is one of the best even if it's cheap.  This is also workable in an indoor shootout.

Hi,

It doesn't need to be an L, but since it is one of the cheaper L models, I am considering this and the 135L. I haven't looked at the 85 1.8, but I am going to take a look at it sometime.

Thanks
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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2012, 10:15:38 PM »

Zlatko

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2012, 10:22:43 PM »
It is funny, people pay nearly $6,000 for the 200 f2 and say it is the most awesome portrait lens ever with amazing compression and unmatched "look", same for the older 200 f1.8 at $3,000 secondhand, but when it is the more modest 200 f2.8 L suddenly the focal length is too long! And lets not forget all the 70-200 owners that end up with portraits from the 200mm end.

Indoors the 200, especially with a crop camera, can be unworkable, outside and/or with a ff camera the 200mm focal length can work very well, just look at the 200 f2 lens sample thread on this site for some examples.

As for holding off on the 135 for fear of updates, don't forget the 200 f2.8L is an ancient lens too.
It's generally too long, no matter which one you get or how much you spend.  Of course, beautiful & amazing work can be done at 200mm (or any focal length).  But my sense is that if someone doesn't know whether 200mm is a good portrait lens, then it's probably not the focal length they should start with.  I would start with any of the 85's or 100's.  The cheaper versions of those are excellent for someone with a limited budget.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 01:38:31 AM by Zlatko »

pwp

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 11:18:28 PM »
I've been monitoring the focal length used in my portraits shot with 70-200 f/2.8isII over the past month and it was instructive to me that an extraordinarily high percentage of the shots were in the 120-150mm range. If this is telling me anything, it's to go straight out and get a 135 f/2...regarded by many as the primo portrait lens.

There was a small percentage in the 180-200mm range, but they were generally not the strongest shots. The virtual absence of shots from the short end says that the Canon 85mm glass would be a wasted spend.

Plenty of other photographers are fans of the 85 as their go-to portrait lens. Very few will nominate a 200 as a primary portrait lens. But hey, apart from missing the bright f/2 max aperture of the 135, a 70-200 will earn it's keep every single day that you own it.

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Re: Portrait lenses
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 11:18:28 PM »