Serarching for Lenses for Portrait (n+1 thread)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cumi, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. cumi

    cumi TPF Noob!

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    The question is similar as here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85431

    but I need for portraits and I want something good. :mrgreen: The problem as always: budget, what is maximum 600 €. :grumpy:

    I own now D70s and the 18-70 lens. The 70mm seems to be very often a bit short when trying to capture my son on the beach or playground. Can not really shoot a "candid" photo. I have to come as close as 1,5-2m and that's a problem, too. I'm not really planning to shoot animals, birds, insects (macro) etc.

    Some of my shoots with current lens:

    http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i167/cumi76/Forum_And_Temp/Tmp_2007_06_12/DSC_2246.jpg

    http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i167/cumi76/Forum_And_Temp/Tmp_2007_06_12/DSC_2257.jpg

    http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i167/cumi76/Forum_And_Temp/Tmp_2007_06_12/DSC_2203.jpg

    I would be very-very happy to have the Canon 70-200 F4 for Nikon... But there are no analogue lens for Nikon, so I have to search for alternatives. I found following:

    Zooms:

    Nikon 55-200 VR (300€) - Minimum focusing distance is only 1,1m and that's cool. VR is also cool. Price also cool. SWM is fast. Currently this is my winner.

    Nikon 70-300 VR (500€) - quality is OK. A bit too long I think. Not sureif I would ever need 300mm. Minimum focusing distance is a bit much: 1,5m. Almost my winner.

    Nikon 80-200 F2.8 (900€) - pro lens, over my budget. I've tested the one-ring (older) version of this. The quality is very good, focusing speed is medium (for my taste). No VR. The max aperture is constantly F2.8, what is perfect for portraits.

    Nikon 70-200 F2.8 VR - hahaha!

    Sigma 70-300 APO Macro... (200 €) - in macro mode minimum focusing distance is 0,95m, that's very cool. No VR. Not sure about the quality.

    Sigma 70-200 F2.8 costs same as the Nikon one, so forget about this.

    Primes (no zoom, so that's isn't so cool, but let's take a look):

    Nikon 85mm 1.8 (380 €) - a bit longer than the end of my 18-70 and gives a very good quality.

    Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro (380 €) - even more longer. Some say, it's the best portait lens. Min focusing distance 0,29 (!!!).

    Any other lens maybe? Experiences?
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You have mentioned quite a range of lenses there all of wich (except for the 55-200) are excellent lenses. Of course you want to get the fastest lens you can afford but with the range you mentioned I think all of them are nice.
     
  3. cumi

    cumi TPF Noob!

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  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Well JIP said "excellent". Judging from some of his other posts I would say he has strong views on what constitutes good or bad lenses, but I too would say that the 55-200 is probably going to be "good", not "excellent". The primes you mentioned and the f/2.8 zooms, I would call very good to excellent.

    Personally if it's for portraits then I would almost certainly choose the 85mm f/1.8.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have the 85 1.8 and the 70-200VR 2.8 and I almost wish I had not pirchased the 85 simply because I could have saved the money I spent on the 85 (really only like $185) and bought a more useful lens that was not redundant as the 85 is. As far as the 55-200 goes I really am not a big fan of the VR either. You really are better off buying one of the 2.8 zooms or primes you listed. If you really want to save money you might want to buy one of the much ballyhooed 50mm 1.8 lenses http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/247091-USA/Nikon_2137_Normal_AF_Nikkor_50mm.html cheap sharp as can be and an excellent portrait lens.
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Considering the 1.5 X factor with our cameras, I would go for either a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, or the 85mm. I like the f1.2 version of the 85mm. In full frame work like 35mm film, the ideal portrait lens is considered either the 85 or 105 with the nod going toward the 85mm. A 50mm is right at the equivalent of a 75mm, and the 85mm is like a 127mm which I think is a little long for typical portrait work. The 60 Micro would be equal to about a 90mm. Either of the 50mm or the 60mm are outstandingly sharp lenses. For straight portrait work, it would be hard to beat the results with either of these. With the longer lens you mentioned, to get far enough from your subject to frame correctly, you will most likely need to move outdoors. Not to mention they won't be quite as sharp or fast as either of the primes listed above.
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are shooting in low enough light to need VR, chances are your model won't stay still so you can remove the 70-200VR from the list and stick with the 80-200 f/2.8 nikkor.

    Also you can eliminate any lens that isn't at least f/2.8. FOr modelling you want the ability to go with the largest aperture to allow you to eliminate dof.

    I'd vote for a fixed focus at f/2 or f/1.8. The length is up to you, but remember this isn't a sporting fixture. You have the ability to zoom just by getting closer. While fixed focals can be a pain for nature photography and urban photography, portraits is one area where they are needed IMO.
     
  8. cumi

    cumi TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys for your replies. Some notes:

    - I am by far not a portrait photographer, I just try to shoot nice portaits of my son that will be developed and gived to grandparents...

    - hence I don't shoot under controlled circumstances (studio)

    - I know the 85mm 1.8 is a good lens, surely, I would like to have it, but I'm afraid, I will often miss the possibility for zooming.

    - of course, the 2.8 zooms are my favorites. Just like a Ferrari. But, I can not really afford them. As written before, I tested the older one (80-200 2.8D ED - one ring) from a friend and it was great (but a bit slow in focus). He wants to sell it to me for 500 € (a new one cost here in EU 900 €).

    - the 50mm as a focal length is covered by my 18-70 and it is not the quality the problem

    P.S.: in my tests (and calculation) the DOF is a square-root function of the focal length and a linear funtion of the aperture, so more focal length brings much less DOF than small aperture...
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not a matter of the 50mm being covered or not. I too have the 18-70mm, it's the lens I use most, but I always carry my 50mm around with me for the ability to use f/1.8 and get the depth of field up AND be able to photograph in low light situations.

    Try and find out how much zooming really means to you. Walk around one day with your lens set only at 50mm, or only at 38. And dont touch the zoom ring. I know 2 people who don't even own zoom lenses. Just about 5 fixed ones.

    Also it is not really possible to apply mathematics to photography. Yes the DOF calculation is true, but this formula should not be applied. EVER. The choice of focal length an aperture should come from choosing the amount of perspective distortion you want, and the DOF or capturing the light provided. Remember a 70mm photograph from across the room looks different to a 12mm photograph standing right next to the person. The choice is ultimately a creative process not a mathematical one.
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. cumi

    cumi TPF Noob!

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    Yeah yeah, I saw it on european ebay too, but I was not sure if it was an auto or manual focus lans. And, what I found were not constant F4-s, but F4-5.6 ones, like this:

    http://cgi.ebay.at/Nikon-AF-Nikkor-...ryZ80389QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    or these:

    http://foto.search.ebay.at/70-210_N...ZC12QQfromZR40QQsacatZ80385QQsatitleZ70Q2d210

    OK, I found one:

    http://cgi.ebay.at/Nikon-AF-Nikkor-...ryZ80389QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    But, I thing it's not an "D" version, so it could be a problem when using with iTTL flash (SB600). Is there any D version?
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't believe they made "D" versions but that really isn't a problem as you should expect to have some trade-offs when you have to consider price. The "D" on the lenses are for distance Not digital because they read the distance on the lens when it was focused to help set the flash. You are unlikely to be using flash when zoomed to 200mm.

    The lens comes in both auto and manual focus and you can read about it here...
    (if you have never had the opportunity to read this guy, he is very opinionated but generally near enough to right -imho- to be worthwhile)

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/70210f4.htm

    HTH

    mike

    P.S. the f4/5.6 is a really good lens if a bit slow. I have one- the cheaper non-D, and I use it more just knocking around than my f2.8. For $50- $100 it can't be beat!
     

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