Lens for portrait photography

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by triggerhappy, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. triggerhappy

    triggerhappy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm using a Nikon D70 and am after a lens for portrait photography (bet you didn't guess that :D ). Any suggestions?
     
  2. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Land of 365-day Winters:North West England :(
    On a 35mm SLR I'd suggest a prime or zoom with the range of 70-135. If the magnification-factor of the D70 is 1.5x like it is with most DSLRs then you're looking to get a lens with a focal length of about 45-90mm.

    The reasons many photographers use a medium telephoto for portraits is they give you a narrow DOF, really good bokeh and - I think the most important - flatten perspective a bit, which is often flattering to the subject (no huge sticky-out noses etc)
     
  3. triggerhappy

    triggerhappy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks Jon, I had in mind the Nikon 50mm or 85mm f1.8. I'd prefer the 85mm but it's about 3 times the price and I'm not sure that its worth it.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    If you are going to do a lot of portraits then it is worth investing in a good lens.
    Standard lenses are OK but sometimes you end up getting a bit too close and you can get in the way of the light.
    I used to like using an 85mm lens for 35mm. Alows you to stand back a bit, and doesn't introduce too many telephoto nasties.
    My favourite was a 105mm for 6x6.
    I would suggest that 135mm on 35mm is at the limit of usefulness for portraits - sometimes you can't get back far enough to get the framing.
    Standard lenses tend to be cheaper as they make so many of them.
    I would go for the 85mm - it'll be worth the extra cost in the long run.
     
  5. triggerhappy

    triggerhappy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks hertz. Distance from the subject wasn't a problem that had really occured to me until I took this pic with my 24mm lens.
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15512

    To get the shot I had to stand too close for the diffuser to work properly.

    I think I'll take your advice and start saving for the 85mm.
     
  6. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Messages:
    8,115
    Likes Received:
    64
    Most people I know (not a great many) use a longish lens. Around the 100mm mark.
    The problem with using a lens wider than 50mm is that you have to get so close and that it introduces distortion. That can be great when you're going for a specific effect, but not when you just want a head shot.

    Take a look through this guys photos. It contains nudity now and then. He normally lists the focal length of his lens under each shot. He's a really nice guy to.
    http://www.doorhof.nl/models/
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

favorite lens for portrait photographer