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Author Topic: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions  (Read 4364 times)

libertyranger

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First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« on: October 06, 2012, 07:53:04 PM »
Hey Everyone,

So I'm about to buy my first portrait lens for my T3i.  I only have the kit lens as of now and always rent lenses whenever I do portrait sessions (fortunately The Lens Depot is five minutes down the road from where I live).  I've rented the new 40mm 2.8, the 50 1.4, and the 85 1.8.  I really enjoyed all of them, especially the colors of the 85 1.8.  However, it did feel a little long on my crop camera.  Overall, what are your suggestions for a good portrait lens.  I mainly do outdoor stuff and am not in the studio at all.  Here is a link to some of my previous work:

http://www.hankesphotography.com/f8874076

As of now, I'm leaning towards the 50 1.4.  Price-wise I'd like to stay under 500, yet there is a part of me that wants to save up for something nicer (like a 35L or 50L).

Mike

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First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« on: October 06, 2012, 07:53:04 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 07:58:25 PM »
Personally, I really liked 85mm on APS-C for outdoor portraits.  So much that I eventually replaced my 85/1.8 with an 85/1.2L II, then when I went FF, I got the 135/2L for equivalent framing.
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wickidwombat

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 07:59:15 PM »
the new sigma 50 f1.4 (smooth finish) is better than all the canon 50s IMO however since you dont have AFMA on your body i would buy from a shop so you can get them to send it back to sigma to recalibrate if the AF is off
its just and electronic recalibration and they can do the lens so it works on most bodies without the need to adjust
I haven't even done AFMA on my 85 since they re calibrated it

the 50 will give you 80mm effective length

I absolutely love the sigma 85 on full frame
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ickmcdon

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 08:33:54 PM »
50 1.4 or the 60 macro.

RC Photos

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 08:50:38 PM »
Canon 50mm 1.4, it is a great lens for the price and on an aps-c it gives a great field of view

libertyranger

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 10:02:34 PM »
Personally, I really liked 85mm on APS-C for outdoor portraits.  So much that I eventually replaced my 85/1.8 with an 85/1.2L II, then when I went FF, I got the 135/2L for equivalent framing.

Thanks!  I sure did like the colors of the of the 85 1.2.  I also hear great things about the 135L and it's color rendition.  Any thoughts?  Or perhaps too long on the crop camera?

crasher8

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 10:05:48 PM »
If you go for a 50, the Sigma is amazing in low light and wide open. The Canon 1.4 is much better at f/8 and up. So if it's all about bokeh and dim shooting, go Siggy. The 85 is a great head shot lens on a crop but not so versatile. I'd try or rent the 35 f/2, various 50's, and maybe a combo lens like an EF-S 60 Macro (very sharp)

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 10:05:48 PM »

robbymack

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 10:32:31 PM »
If you must stay canon I'd get the 85 1.8, the 50 1.4 isn't a bad choice either, but on crop the 85 was my favorite portrait lens. It does suffer a bit wide open just make sure you stop down to 2.2 or smaller and you'll be golden. If you'll be outdoors mostly you could also look at the 100 f2.  If you'll be indoors with little room most if not all the time then maybe the 50 is a better choice.

neuroanatomist

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2012, 10:37:12 PM »
Thanks!  I sure did like the colors of the of the 85 1.2.  I also hear great things about the 135L and it's color rendition.  Any thoughts?  Or perhaps too long on the crop camera?

I think 135mm is too long on APS-C for most portrait uses, but on FF it's a wonderful lens!

Here are a few shots at 85mm on APS-C, the first with the 85/1.8 and the second/third with the 85L.


Rebel T1i, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, 1/2000 s, f/1.8, ISO 100


EOS 7D, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, 1/2000 s, f/1.6, ISO 100


EOS 7D, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, 1/1250 s, f/1.6, ISO 100
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revup67

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2012, 11:02:29 PM »
Great shots Neuro..I have the 100mm L IS USM Macro and love this for portraits on a FF.  It is so sharp and holds up extremely well against the 200mm F2 which is roughly $4800 vs. $929.  I mention this only because others have stated the non L version of the 100mm is equally as sharp and the price is roughly $549.  Additionally, if you ever think you may graduate to a FF camera this lens will work on both crop or FF.  If your shots are outside (portrait) then you'd have the room to use the 100mm.  I am using the 200mm 2.8 and the 100mm 2.8 in a garage and both work well with sharpness and bokeh.  I also own the 50mm 1.4 though a fun lens it is rather soft.  According to a calibration I did with Focal 1.5 the software claims after running aperture sharpness tests that 1.4 is the worst aperture and F10 is the sharpest thus I am not thrilled with this lens.  The 1.2 version didn't fare much better on the-digital-picture.com.
Thanks
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CharlieB

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2012, 11:02:44 PM »
I'm a huge fan of the 100/2.0 - - - even though I'm using the 100/2.8macro

Had the 85/1.8... never really cozied up to it, but that was FF, not crop.

I think if I was shooting all crop sensors, the 85/1.8 might be worth another look.

I like the foreshortening that the added length gives.  For me, on FF, a 135mm is about the best for portrait work, but camera-subject distance becomes a problem indoors many times.

The one and only "fashion" shoot I did, was with an F1 and 200/2.8 back in film days.  It did GREAT because the entire shoot was in a silk top courtyard.  Add a little fill for specularity sake, and whammo... done deal!

libertyranger

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 11:45:13 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies.  I'm think I'm leaning towards the 85 1.8.  I had a good experience with it during my rental.

Neuro, those 85L images are amazing.  The sharpness on that lens at those low apertures is amazing.  Wonder if I can convince my wife it would be worth the investment  ;)

gmrza

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 03:35:37 AM »
If you must stay canon I'd get the 85 1.8, the 50 1.4 isn't a bad choice either, but on crop the 85 was my favorite portrait lens. It does suffer a bit wide open just make sure you stop down to 2.2 or smaller and you'll be golden. If you'll be outdoors mostly you could also look at the 100 f2.  If you'll be indoors with little room most if not all the time then maybe the 50 is a better choice.

Aside from not being the optically best lenses, what the 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8 have going for them is size.  The Canon 50 f/1.4 is small enough that you won't think twice about putting it in your bag.  The same cannot be said about the 85 f/1.2L!

If you are on a budget, I would start with the 50mm f/1.4 and/or the 85mm f/1.8.


I do agree with Neuro that the 85 f/1.2 makes a great lens for outdoor or tightly cropped portraits on a crop sensor.
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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 03:35:37 AM »

IIIHobbs

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2012, 09:28:14 AM »
On a crop body I enjoyed the 50mm focal length most shooting portraits indoors. Outdoors, I preferred the 85mm as it afforded a bit more working distance and better subject isolation.

wickidwombat

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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 04:41:52 AM »
Thank you everyone for your replies.  I'm think I'm leaning towards the 85 1.8.  I had a good experience with it during my rental.

Neuro, those 85L images are amazing.  The sharpness on that lens at those low apertures is amazing.  Wonder if I can convince my wife it would be worth the investment  ;)

seriously have a look at the sigma 85 f1.4

at f2 to f2.8 it is super sharp, blows away even the 70-200 mk2
wider than f2 the 85L wins but the sigma is faster to focus on a non 1D body and costs 2.5 times less
value for money it cant be beat
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Re: First Portrait Lens, Need Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 04:41:52 AM »