October 24, 2014, 11:14:50 PM

Author Topic: Help me choose a camera & lens combination for beauty/fashion headshots  (Read 8819 times)

surfbum

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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.

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RLPhoto

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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.

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I'd also recommend FF plus a 135mm L.  A used 5D or 5D MK II plus the 135mmL!

surfbum

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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?

RLPhoto

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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 $$$.

surfbum

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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

And-Rew

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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.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 09:09:02 AM by And-Rew »

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Nitroman

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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.  ;)   

pdirestajr

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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.
7D | 5DII | EOS-3 | Nikon F3 | Mamiya 645 Pro-TL

leGreve

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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.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 04:27:14 PM by leGreve »
5D III -  Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4 ~ 24-70 2.8L II ~ 70-200 2.8L II IS USM ~ 100 2.8L IS USM Macro ~ 16-35 2.8L II ~ Canon Extender 2x III

dhofmann

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How about a refurbished T2i ($480) + 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.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 05:41:21 PM by dhofmann »
t2i

Hesbehindyou

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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

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.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.

AdamJ

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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".

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DavidRiesenberg

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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

AdamJ

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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.  ::)

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