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Author Topic: Portrait Lens  (Read 8141 times)

bendobb

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Portrait Lens
« on: September 30, 2012, 01:15:48 PM »
I know there are many great lens for portraits, but due to price and other lens I've decided my next purchase will be either the 24-105L f4 or a 100L f2.8 macro.

I guess the decision will mostly come down to whether I value to versatility of the zoom, or the bonus of macro.

But what I wanted to ask on this site, is will there be much difference in the quality of portrait shots, taken at the same focal length, at say f5.6 and above?

Thanks everyone.

Ben

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Portrait Lens
« on: September 30, 2012, 01:15:48 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 01:20:07 PM »
Probably not. In a studio setting, where I have control over lighting and background, the 24-105L is a great portrait lens.  But when I don't have control over the background, the wider aperture makes a huge difference - the ability to blur out the background to isolate the subject is why the 'classic' portrait lenses are fast primes like the 85/1.2 and 135/2.
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Zv

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 01:27:07 PM »
I've heard the 100 macro is razor sharp and great for portraits but if your stopping down to f5.6 it would be a bit of a waste. perhaps the 24-105 would prove more useful in the long run if you don't need the larger aperture, it also covers a good range of portrait focal lengths. Its ideal to have a fast prime in there too, have you considered the 135L? Or the 85s?
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bendobb

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 01:42:37 PM »
Thanks for that advice.

I'm an amateur who takes quite a wide range of subjects (landscape, street, portraits). I can only spend this sort of money on one lens unfortunately!  I like the idea of having a fast prime, so that I've got a go-to lens when quality matters - and if I'm buying one of them, it seemed a good choice to get one that also does macro, as that's something that would be fun to experiment with.  But I would probably use the zoom more.

Argh - decisions!

robbymack

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 02:09:25 PM »
Since you shoot a wide range get the zoom, it's probably the best general purpose zoom for ff, then look at the 85 1.8 for portraits. If you have a crop sensor camera also consider the 17-55 2.8 or 15-85. IMHO macros aren't the best for portraits as you want something sharp, but not so sharp you see every wrinkle on grandmas face or every imperfection in a brides skin.

Albi86

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 03:43:20 PM »
People always forget the 100/2. It's a very good lens, even slightly better than the much more famous 85/1.8. And quite affordable too.

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 05:06:29 PM »
I don’t want to be off topic since you are very specific, but in my experience the Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 is sharper at f/4 than the Canon 24-105mm is at f/8. Given the praise the latter has gotten over the years, I might have had a bad copy. Then again, I would look into the Tamron, because you could get that as well as the 85mm f/1.8 for less than the 24-105mm. You do lose some of the wide angle, IS and weather sealing, though. The Tamron does have MACRO written on it, but its more of a close focusing thing, at 0,33 meters (1,08 feet). Worth looking into.

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 05:06:29 PM »

dirtcastle

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 05:23:57 PM »
One of my main reasons for getting the 85mm f/1.2 was that I was disappointed with the 85mm f/1.8 performance @ f/1.8. I found myself reaching for the 50mm f/1.4 before the 85mm f/1.8. I can nudge the 50mm f/1.4 up to f/2 and get better sharpness (and still have that nice bokeh). Maybe I got a crap copy of the 85mm f/1.8. But it seemed to follow the same stopping-down pattern as the 50mm f/1.4, which is that it's soft until you stop it down a bit.

If I hadn't been able to afford the 85mm f/1.2, I would have opted for the 100mm f/2.8L or a 24-70mm f/2.8. But because I also shoot the 135mm f/2, 85mm is definitely a key length for me. And that's how they get ya!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 05:31:20 PM by dirtcastle »

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 05:46:37 PM »
One of my main reasons for getting the 85mm f/1.2 was that I was disappointed with the 85mm f/1.8 performance @ f/1.8.
.....
Maybe I got a crap copy of the 85mm f/1.8.

or maybe.. just maybe.. a 2000$ lens is just better then a 350$ lens...  ::)

the 85mm f1.8 is not razor sharp at f1.8 every review will tell you that.

dirtcastle

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 06:28:56 PM »
One of my main reasons for getting the 85mm f/1.2 was that I was disappointed with the 85mm f/1.8 performance @ f/1.8.
.....
Maybe I got a crap copy of the 85mm f/1.8.

or maybe.. just maybe.. a 2000$ lens is just better then a 350$ lens...  ::)

the 85mm f1.8 is not razor sharp at f1.8 every review will tell you that.

True. But the Canon 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.8 L, and 135mm f/2 are all stellar, and they cost < $1k. So price isn't always commensurate. I'm sure there are people who rate the 50 f/1.4 as an equal performer to the 85mm f/1.8, but that wasn't my experience. I'm definitely cool with the 50mm f/1.4 for now. 85mm was the only length in Canon's lineup where I felt like I needed to pay that embarrassing amount.  :'(

spinworkxroy

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 08:18:19 PM »
I know there are many great lens for portraits, but due to price and other lens I've decided my next purchase will be either the 24-105L f4 or a 100L f2.8 macro.

I guess the decision will mostly come down to whether I value to versatility of the zoom, or the bonus of macro.

But what I wanted to ask on this site, is will there be much difference in the quality of portrait shots, taken at the same focal length, at say f5.6 and above?

Thanks everyone.

Ben

I truely understand where youre coming from.
But before that…you didn't state what camera you're using and what lenses you currently have. That will matter on what lenses you get.

From my point of view, don't worry too much about people saying this lens is not that sharp wide open at F1.2 etc…if budget isn't a problem, i'm sure everyone would get every prime L Canon made…and i'm sure you have a budget, like almost everyone else :)
Also, it isn't often you're going to shoot wide open for portraits for starters…shooting wide open is more an "art" that will come much later so don't worry too much about wide open and bokeh madness for now.

If you don't already own a good walkabout zoom, then definately the 24-105 will be fantastic for you. You'll use it not only  for portraits but also for almost everything else.
If you're using a crop camera, than the 100 becomes 160mm which might be too much for portraits.
True, the 85 f1.8 isn't fantastic at f1.8 but at 5.6 which you are going to use alot in portraits, it's almost identical to the 85L and definately alot better than the 24-105L.

Personally, i shoot 90% portraits and of those portraits, 70% of them are at f4-f5.6 only.
And when i started out, i used the 24-105 all the time on a crop body and it was great.
However, now on a FF, the 24-105 isn't sharp enough at the corners.
I've since switched to the 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8, yes both NOT the L versions because well, i can't afford both of them. I would like to but i can't and at f.4-5.6, there's really not much improvements between them..and you can grab a used copy of those lenses for much less than 1 L lens.

So yea, for a start, get the 24-105…it'll be a lens for everything until you get more comfortable and know which focal range you want and what lens to get ultimately in the future…but the 24-105 will always be a handy lens to have to whatever reason.

elflord

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2012, 09:42:33 PM »
I know there are many great lens for portraits, but due to price and other lens I've decided my next purchase will be either the 24-105L f4 or a 100L f2.8 macro.

I guess the decision will mostly come down to whether I value to versatility of the zoom, or the bonus of macro.

But what I wanted to ask on this site, is will there be much difference in the quality of portrait shots, taken at the same focal length, at say f5.6 and above?

Thanks everyone.

Ben

Get a general purpose zoom like the 24-105 as your general purpose lens, then get a fast (f/2 or better) non-L prime as your portrait lens if you want a portrait lens. If you want to do macro on the cheap use some extension tubes with your portrait lens.

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 01:52:54 AM »
If you are an amateur and take pictures for your own pleasure and to show to your friends and family, then go ahead and get either the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 or the Canon EF 100mm f/2. Yes you cannot probably use them either at f/1.8 or at f/2 respectively, but you can use them just slightly stopped down. You won't regret. Both of these will give you some purple fringing in extreme light to dark transition lines. But just try to answer the following questions and decide. How often do you face that type of lighting and how often do you notice that in 10x8 prints? Have you looked at each of your current photographs (the keepers) with whatever lens you have now to see whether they have any colour fringing or not? And how many of your photographs have you printed at bigger sizes than 10X8 to be worried about issues of colour fringing?

Of course none of them will give you what 100mm L macro, 135mm L, or 85mm 1.4 sigma or 85mm L will give you. I have used the first and it is amazing. I have heard the other three are amazing. But then again both of the two lenses I mentioned in paragraph one cost around half of each of the four lenses I just mentioned.

24-105 is a very good lens. If you are not using a full frame camera (which you have not stated) then you will be wasting your money on it. If however you shoot a full frame camera it is probably the best general purpose zoom available. If you want macro there is also the far cheaper but still wonderful 100mm non-L macro.

Ahhhhh... too much useless stuff I have written.

The best that you can do is rent (if you have the option) both 24-105 and the 100mm L (if you so want) and see which one you like. But the versatility of a good zoom can never be overestimated.
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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 01:52:54 AM »

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2012, 03:53:36 AM »
I have both the 24-105 and the 100L Macro
I absolutely love the 100L - but still take many more pictures with the 24-105

If I had to get one, it would be the zoom, even though I prefer the 100L

Northstar

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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 05:02:52 AM »
I have both the 24-105 and the 100L Macro
I absolutely love the 100L - but still take many more pictures with the 24-105

If I had to get one, it would be the zoom, even though I prefer the 100L

Everything he said.
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Re: Portrait Lens
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 05:02:52 AM »