Camera/Lens for portrait work?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wannabephotog, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. wannabephotog

    wannabephotog TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone! Another newbie here to ask your advice. Please don't attack. I've spent quite some time here reading pages and pages of past threads and notice some of you get downright frustrated and nasty over newbie questions (even though this is the beginners section). I HAVE read the tutorials and bought and read books and read dozens of review sites and blogs; so I HAVE been doing my homework!

    Long term goals is to work in children's portraits (themed sets). I've previously owned a children's franchise and other businesses and would like to someday run a home based studio. I would like to purchase equipment with that goal in mind. I would prefer to buy camera/lenses that will not need upgrading any time soon. The prices for below models are doable, though the least I would need to spend the better knowing more $$$ needed for lights, backdrops, etc.

    I've narrowed down to the following:

    Canon Rebel T2i 18mp w/18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom
    Canon 50D 15mp w/ zoom 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6
    Or body only of either model with which lens(s)?

    I'm hung up on the lens choices knowing lenses are more important than camera. What is your recommendation for portrait work (full body plus head shots)? Also, assuming would need to print large sizes as part of packages is there a huge difference between 15 and 18 mp? Is the 50D outdated?

    Thank you for your expertise! Hope to learn much from you all.

    Sylvia
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I'd do a Nikon D90 or D200 body (if the D90 is too expensive) + 85mm f/1.8D and 35mm f/1.8G personally. Canon doesn't make a small, cheap 35mm 1.8, and the 85mm on DX is a good range for the tighter shots.

    the two zoom lenses won't cut it, they just don't bring in enough light and you'd most likely be shooting close to wide open anyway.
     
  3. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    I would get the 50d but its going to take some learning to take advantage of it. Also get a 16-50mm f2.8 lens. Or a 50mm f1.4 but this will not zoom.
     
  4. PJL

    PJL TPF Noob!

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    If you want to do a home-based studio, perhaps you should save up and get a full-frame camera. A gently used Canon 5D Mark I would be only a few hundred more than a new 50D.

    For lenses, I would personally go with primes rather than a midrange zoom, maybe a 100mm and a 50mm.
     
  5. wannabephotog

    wannabephotog TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys!
    Is full frame really necessary for portrait shots? Even with full body shots, we're talking little kid bodies, not like landscape shots where wide angle is a bigger factor. Or am I misunderstanding the point of full frame and wide angle?

    Also when shooting kids I didn't think switching lenses (primes) would be practicle.
     
  6. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    good question! i too am wanting to do alot of childrens portraits. I have the Nikon D90 and im using a 50mm 1.4 right now, i have other lenses but i prefer the 50 at this moment, lol, im always changing my mind, any advice on the nikon end of this question??
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    FF is nice to have because to get the same perspective, you use longer lenses, and the longer lenses give you more control over your backgrounds. FF is nice, but it's nowhere even close to being 'required'. it's one of those things where if you can afford it, do it. if not, don't sweat it unless you're always shooting at ISO 3200 or 6400.
    Well if you want better technical quality, you'd have to look into a D700. If you're happy with the technical picture quality of the D90, than i wouldn't bother.
     
  8. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    i spoke to another photographer in my town and she also suggested the d700, guess its time to sell my house! lol im happy with the quality for now, but i think your right, before i start my businsee im just gonna have to upgrade!
     
  9. Mtalicarox

    Mtalicarox TPF Noob!

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    The wedding photographer I just followed around @ my sisters wedding used a 70d, with a 35mm 1.4 fstop L series canon lens.

    it's all about the lens for portraits (i think).. I'm sure someone else can help. but that combo he was using was AMAZING.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Canon doesn't make a 70D. Was it a 7D? And 35 mm would have some not desireable distortion for portraiture.
     
  11. wannabephotog

    wannabephotog TPF Noob!

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    Original poster here...(my original questions and Amber's are getting confused).

    So, regarding prime lenses and shooting children - can it become a problem having to change out lenses considering kids' short attention span? Is it more practicle to use a zoom for these types of portraits (themed sets photos)?
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sw1tchFX had it right when he wrote, "FF is nice to have because to get the same perspective, you use longer lenses, and the longer lenses give you more control over your backgrounds." My feelings exactly.

    FF is not necessary, but it *does* help to make your pictures look much more professional. How? You get better control over your backgrounds with a FF camera. At typical flash f/stops in-studio, photos shot on APS-C or 4/3 typically have that amateurish look, with the background fabric or paper or wall showing in sharp, acceptable focus. When you shoot a group and need to stop down to f/11, with an APS-C camera, you're already into the deep depth of field no-man's land...enough DOF to pull a group 3-deep into focus and on APS-C, your background WILL be acceptably sharp,and distracting. With an APS-C camera, when you do shoot a full-length adult figure, in most studio rooms, you will need to use a short focal length, somewhere in the 35 to 18mm focal length range...which on APS-C will give you DEEP DEPTH OF FIELD AND a wide angle of acceptance BEHIND the subject.

    Get a full-frame camera if you want you people work to look even remotely professional. Studio work shot on APS-C looks like crap under quite a few scenarios. Unless you have a 60 foot deep camera room and oversized 10x20 backdrops, you do NOT want to saddle yourself with APS-C if you want professional-grade results...the higher-end shooters will be using full frame cameras.
     

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