Portrait lens recommendation/Canon

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by natc143, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    Hey Everyone!

    I'm considering purchasing a portrait lens and read excellent reviews about the Canon 70-200 IS 2.8, which is about $1600.

    Can you recommend another portrait lens in the mid-range and lower range? Budget is flexible... somewhat (might consider the 70-200).

    Also, does anyone own the 70-200? If so, is this truly the BEST available portrait lens?

    Thanks in advance!
    Natalie
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not know which one is the best. But 70-200 f/2.8 lens is a popular lens for Portrait. At this moment, I am looking at a cheaper lens, the EF 85mm F/1.8. Around USD$360. Of course, Canon has a 85mm F/1.2L which cost a lot higher.
     
  3. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    70-200 is overkill as far as I'm concerned. An 85mm prime would be a fine choice. If you really want a zoom for using outside the studio how about the 27-70mm 2.8f L. I adore that lens, it's super sharp, and zoomed in at 70mm is I think pretty good for portrait photography.

    EDIT: You asked about what the best portrait lens is. Afraid I don't feel qualified to shed any light on that - but I'm betting it's a prime L series. The 85mm must be a strong contender...
     
  4. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    The 85mm was another consideration... I was thinking I might rent the 70-200 to see what I thought of it first. Perhaps I'll consider renting the 85mm.

    Thank you BOTH for your feedback!! Much appreciated!
     
  5. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    I'd suggest looking at a used 85 1.2L mark I. They're going for around $1400 in brand new condition. An 85/1.2 really is the end-all-be-all of portrait photography, though it can be nice to pair it with a wider prime like the 35/1.4.

    Here's a good random example:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. ChrisOquist

    ChrisOquist TPF Noob!

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    I have a 70-200mm f4 L and love it. Great portrait lens, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 (link is to a review I just wrote of it.)

    It costs $80 (!!!) and can be insanely sharp. Using it on a camera with a 1.6 crop factor gives it an effective focal length of 80mm, perfect for portraits. Here are a few recent shots I took with it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you have money to burn, skip the 85mm f/1.2 and go with the 85mm f/1.8. Well known to be an optically excellent lens.
     
  8. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Which body are you planning on using it with?
     
  9. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    I have the canon 20d and 580exII speedlite. I plan to buy the 5d in the future... but figured I could use the 20d for now.
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On a cropped sensor body, you will find even the 85mm tight unless you have at least 15-20 feet or more to move back. The 70-200 is better in some ways (less distortion at higher focal lengths, and 15mm less zoom to get a little closer to your client to, more versatile) and the 85mm is better in other areas (also very little to no distortion, sharper and better in low light, but nowhere near as versatile).

    Depends on what and where you shoot.

    For me, I wanted both, so I got the best lenses that Nikon could offer me in both ranges (Nikkor 70-200 VR F/2.8 and the Nikkor 85mm F/1.4). My wallet may be a little lighter, but the smile on my face just doesn't fade anytime either is on my camera. :D
     
  11. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Jerry... and thank you to everyone else for your feedback =)
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've never really understood why people say the 85mm is a bit too long for portraits on a crop body but the 70-200 zoom is ok (but that's just me).

    If 85mm is too tight for you on a crop body, then another lens to consider is the 50mm f/1.4. Another lens perfect for portraits as well.
     

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