Need a portrait lens. Reccomendations?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by anubis404, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    So far I have a 50mm F1.8, But I want something a bit longer. I'm still going to keep the 50mm. I'm debating between a macro (Tamron 90mm, Tokina 100mm, or Sigma 105mm. Whichever is better) or the Nikkor 85mm F1.8. The extra aperture is nice on the 85mm, but not my main concern. My main concern is image quality (mostly sharpness). Does a macro lens provide better IQ for portriture?

    EDIT: Don't know if this is relevant, but the portraits are going to be outdoor. I also have a flash.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For portraits, I like 85mm or longer.
     
  3. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    So, is that a vote for the 85mm over a macro?
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If only for portraits - yes.

    If this will be a multipurpose lens, there's nothing wrong with doing portraits with a macro lens. The 85 will probably be faster though, giving you better bokeh.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you want portraits of people's nostril hairs... I would say yes.
     
  6. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    Lol OK. I've been hearing a lot of people saying the Nikon 105 is one of the best portrait lenses. I assumed that would apply to its cousins.
     
  7. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Just curious here since I'm a Canon guy. While I love my 85 f1.8 there are times when I need a bit more reach and use my 100mm f2.8 marco. It is a marvelous macro lens. As a portrait lens I also find it outstanding as it is very sharp. Is the Nikon 105mm f2.8 not particularly suited for portraits or is it just a focal length issue?
     
  8. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    One thing to consider with a portrait lens is how many aperture blades it has. Some lenses have only 6 or 7. The best portrait lenses will have more. But anything in the range of 70 to 105 will work well. Generally speaking you will get a more natural looking portrait with the shorter focal length and a more stylized portrait with the longer one. Macro is generally better because you may need to focus closer. Sometimes you see something like an 85mm that won't focus any closer than about 3 feet, and that's really unacceptable. I use a 135 macro on my med format Pentax 6x7 for close portraits with the aperture near wide open and, even though it's only 67mm equivalent on 35 -- it's a very nice look with a very shallow depth of field.
     
  9. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    I can deal with focal length stuff. My main concern is IQ. There is not a huge difference between 85mm and 90mm or 100mm.

    I might buy another lens, and was thinking of a portrait. I just wanted to know why the 85mm was the same price as the macro lenses, but macro lenses having closer focusing and longer focal length. Is the aperture the only reason?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  10. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    The 85/1.2, considered by many people to be one of the most ideal portrait lenses, has a mfd of 3.2 feet. It has never been an issue for me for doing portraits of any kind. Any closer and you'd be dealing with distortion issues.
     
  11. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    So what would the cost of the adapter be for the OP to use this lens? :lol:

    Admittedly the 85 f1.2 is an outstanding portrait lens but it is a unitasker in the photo world. That is the reason I live with my 85 f1.8. Works well for portraits and the focus speed is fast enough for sports. If I was a studio shooter strictly then the 85 f1.2 would be outstanding. Does Nikon make a comperable lens to the 85 f1.2?
     
  12. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    Yep, they make an 85/1.4. I have no idea how it compares outside of aperture, though I know it is similarly sharp, etc.

    While the 1.2L is to slow a focuser for basketball, I've had a great deal of success shooting volleyball with it.

    [​IMG]
     

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