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Author Topic: Want to buy a portrait lens  (Read 3935 times)

Nice Guy

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Want to buy a portrait lens
« on: October 23, 2011, 07:15:21 PM »
Hello
Recently i felt in love with taking portrait shots and have used my friend's 50mm f1.8 for some shots.
I really want to get a portrait lens myself so i have been looking and doing some research..

The canon 50mm 1.4 and the canon 85mm f1.8 (the reason im thinking about this one is i saw on a post saying how 50mm on a full frame is too close or "too in ur face" shot) are the ones that i have set my eyes on. i wish i can afford the L lens version of both lens but sadly im still a student =D~so i wanted to ask you guys which one is better?? or should i just buy a cheap 50mm1.8? I did also look at sigma's 50mm but i heard really bad focus from the reviews...
 I have a 5d mark 2 that i paid with from my scholarship if that helps anything...
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 08:11:20 PM by Nice Guy »

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Want to buy a portrait lens
« on: October 23, 2011, 07:15:21 PM »

TexPhoto

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 07:38:45 PM »
It helps a great deal to say what camera you have, but also lenses.  I have the Sigma 50mm 1.4 and find it awesome.  I've never had any focus issues with my 5DII or 7D.

The Canon 85mm f1.8 is a great lens and if you want to go a little longer than 50, and still have a large aperture, that's your best choice.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 07:45:31 PM by TexPhoto »

recon photography

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 07:59:56 PM »
if your on a crop sensor just get the 50mm f1.8

dstppy

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 08:19:46 PM »
You have a 5D MK II . . . so the 85mm f/1.8, hands down, all day, every day is going to be the best prime (not just portrait) for your money.

Better primes exist, but on FF, that is just a fabulous lens.

I use my 50mm f/1.4 on my 60D, but I have to say, if I had a FF, I'd use my 85mm more.

Good luck :)
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Cregg Annarino

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 03:45:11 PM »
The 50 1.4 is an awesome versatile lens. You can do 3/4 portraits and some closer headshots, but for the closer shots it will distort the persons face. You may like the look of the them, but there will be some distortion. It's a good lens for children too.

But the 85 would be a better choice along with the 135 2. The 135 will allow you to do tight headshots.

ianhar

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2011, 06:46:19 PM »
There are a lot lens that could be use to take portrait. Any lens that you use to take portrait is portrait lens. But usually when people talk about portrait lens, you are seeing lens at the range of 35-135. From that range we have

35 1.4
35 2.0
50 1.8
50 1.4
50 1.2
85 1.8
85 1.2
100 2.8
135 2.0

These are some of the few lens in that range and dont forget you still have the option of using zoom. For outdoor portrait, 70-200 will be useful.

For a start, 50 1.4 is good. It even focus faster than the 1.2 version. Same goes to the 85 1.8 and 1.2. I remember i once start with a 50 1.8. I was new to photography and really want a new lens apart from the kit lens. I dont have the money to buy a more expensive lens. So i bought the 50 1.8 and it became one of my favorite lens until it was replaced by 1.2. The 50 1.8 is a very good lens for its price. But if you feel you need more light, than go for the 1.4 version.

papa-razzi

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 08:54:42 PM »
I don't know if my experience is going to be helpful, because I mainly use my lenses to shoot indoor sports on a 7D.

I have both the 50 f/1.4 and the 85 f/1.8.  I find the 85mm to be sharper wide open and it focuses much faster.  My copy of the 50 needs to be stopped down a bit before it gets similar sharpness to the 85mm, which for me defeats the purpose a bit (since I need it as open as I can get).  So since I got the 85mm I don't use the 50mm near as much as I used to.

I love my 85mm.  I don't have a FF camera, but imagine it would be in a very good focal length on a 5DII for portraits.
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EF 35mm f/2 | EF 50mm f/1.4 | EF 85mm f/1.8

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 08:54:42 PM »

ianhar

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 09:42:10 PM »
I don't know if my experience is going to be helpful, because I mainly use my lenses to shoot indoor sports on a 7D.

I have both the 50 f/1.4 and the 85 f/1.8.  I find the 85mm to be sharper wide open and it focuses much faster.  My copy of the 50 needs to be stopped down a bit before it gets similar sharpness to the 85mm, which for me defeats the purpose a bit (since I need it as open as I can get).  So since I got the 85mm I don't use the 50mm near as much as I used to.

I love my 85mm.  I don't have a FF camera, but imagine it would be in a very good focal length on a 5DII for portraits.

Have you tried af microadjustment? I know the fact that a 1.4 len has a thin layer of dof but on cropped sensor it wont be that thin and it should be fine. If i were u, i would try to do the af microadjustment if the softness persist.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 10:40:17 PM »
For a full frame 5D MK II like yours, 85mm and 135mm are classis portrait focal lengths.  100mm is ok as well.  As the focal length gets longer, it tends to flatter a face, while wider angles must be used with care to avoid having noses look too large.

Even 200 and 300mm lenses are used by for portraits, you just need to get way back.

My favorite is the 135mm L, but I have room to move back from the subject most of the time.  Otherwise, 85mm is a good choice.


ryanandrewbruce

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 11:56:11 PM »
Definitely go with the 85mm 1.8.  I shoot headshots for a living and I love the 85mm 1.2L (and I mean LOVE) and the 135mm 2L, but with your restrictions I think the 85mm 1.8 is definitely your best bet.  A great prime for the price and I personally think the results are significantly better (for portraits) than the 50mm 1.4.

DavidD

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 12:08:25 AM »
"I have a 5d mark 2 that i paid with from my scholarship"

Whoa - now here's a new photographer showing promise and passion.

Sacrificing a scholarship to get a high quality camera !

Seriously - lets give him a round of applause.

Three cheers,

-David

ianhar

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 12:12:38 AM »
"I have a 5d mark 2 that i paid with from my scholarship"

Whoa - now here's a new photographer showing promise and passion.

Sacrificing a scholarship to get a high quality camera !

Seriously - lets give him a round of applause.

Three cheers,

-David

Just make sure he does not spend it all and dont have any money left to eat

Nice Guy

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 12:58:10 AM »
thank you guys, i definitely  have my eyes set on the 85mm! just sad that this time's rebate doesnt include the 85mm 1.8 ><..and yes after buying the camera..had to sacrifice something to pay for school..but i think it is worth it in the end ^^

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 12:58:10 AM »

Blaze

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 01:50:22 AM »
I'm with papa-razzi on this one. I also shoot indoor sports (among other things) on a 7D and I'm not very impressed with my Canon 50mm f/1.4. It's quite soft wide open and auto-focusing with it isn't terribly accurate. I've tried the micro-adjustment a few times without much luck. Even using live view contrast focusing zoomed all the way in for maximum accuracy still yields rather soft images unless I stop down the aperture a bit.

I've not tried the 85mm f/1.8, but I rented the 85mm f/1.2 II once for a wedding and it was amazing.

Old Shooter

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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 05:06:34 AM »
For a full frame 5D MK II like yours, 85mm and 135mm are classis portrait focal lengths.  100mm is ok as well.  As the focal length gets longer, it tends to flatter a face, while wider angles must be used with care to avoid having noses look too large.

Even 200 and 300mm lenses are used by for portraits, you just need to get way back.

My favorite is the 135mm L, but I have room to move back from the subject most of the time.  Otherwise, 85mm is a good choice.

Exactly right!  Portrait photographers, eons ago (right, Mt. Spokane?), determined that a mild telephoto (80mm-120mm) was just about ideal for photographing the human face.  They offer just the right amount of compression to flatter the average face.  Have great portraits been taken with a 50mm?  Sure!  How about a 200mm?  Yes again!  But you can never forget that you are dealing with human subjects; and they might not all be family and friends...  To get a nicely composed head shot with a 50mm, you're really into someone's personal space.  You can get a nice, tight shot with a 200mm; but you're so far back you're practically yelling at your subject to get them properly posed...  I like the 85mm because it gives you some room to work, but still keeps you close enough to communicate...  Don't forget to microadjust the AF if you like the wide-open, limited DoF look...  And if you put a UV filter on for protection, don't buy cheap glass...  Hope this helps!  :)
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Re: Want to buy a portrait lens
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 05:06:34 AM »