So, is there a point...?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Destin, May 14, 2017.

  1. Destin

    Destin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Currently my main portrait lens is my 70-200 2.8, and I love it for that purpose.

    I've always wanted an 85mm prime to use for portrait work, and I currently have a chance at a good deal on one.

    Is there a point to buying one when my 70-200 covers that focal length, and produces results that are plenty sharp? Is the descreased DOF worth it?

    Anyone have both, and use both regularly?
     
  2. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    i owned both when i shot Nikon.
    honestly, i rarely shot wide open unless absolutely necessary. if you are talking staged portrait work with lighting, there isnt a significant difference.
    i mainly used the 70-200 for that. for weddings where lighting was more of an issue, and my wife was already using the 70-200, I used the 85mm.
    its a great lens and certainly something to have in the bag.
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I do almost all of my portrait work with an 85mm AF-D 1.4. I also have a 70-200 f2.8. I prefer the 85, which I almost always shoot at between f5.6 and f8, for two reasons: (1) Always using the same focal length ensures a more consistent look to my work; and (2) after an hour in the studio, that 70-200 gets really, really heavy!
     
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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I dunno...I've continually owned an 85/2 or 85/1.4 or 85/1.8 since 1982, sometimes both...I tended to use the 85mm f/1.4 AF-D only for "big assignments" for a long time, but I sold it to a TPF member this February. I still have the 85/1.8 G and my long-time 85/2 Ai-S.

    I dunno...the 70-200 VR, the first one, had/has superb bokeh, plus VR, plus focal length flexibility. The main advantage I see to a prime lens 85m is the lighter weight and less wrist-strain from the smaller,shorter, lighter 85mm prime lens. Some people swear by the 85mm length, but I prefer longer (105-120-135-180-200mm), and the zoom lens gives you that longer length advantage if you want or need it.

    The prime 85mm lens does offer those wider f/stop options, like f/2.2 or f/2.5, with good sharpness, but I seldom shoot people pics at such f/stops...I prefer f/7.1 and studio flash for many pics, so for me, the zoom makes plenty good images, and I see little real, significant advantage to the 85mm lens for portraiture. The 85 however, is a very good lens for events where the light sucks, and you need to shoot at f/2 or so just to get a good pic.

    A modern 70-200/2.8 Nikkor, or the 80-200/2.8 AF-S Nikkor, both are very,very good, versatile lenses, and you have the option of going short, medium or long, all from one camera placement...that's something that NO prime lens can do!
     
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  5. Destin

    Destin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The more I think about it, the more I think this is just GAS. I don't feel like the 85mm can do anything for portraits that my 70-200 can't, as even when I'm looking for the creamy OOF background I still tend to shoot at 3.2-4.

    The lighter weight would be nice for longer sessions, but I'm used to the 70-200 and it never really seems heavy to me.
     
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  6. bluewanders

    bluewanders TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    If you've got some time before you have to make your decision I'd suggest considering a rental, Or borrow one, Or ask to try out the one you buy. Take it for a spin... You might find you like the feel of the prime and the way it renders. If not, you aren't out much.

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Own both, use both.
    Main reason I got the 85mm 1.8G was the sheer weight of the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC, awesome lens but its just too heavy to work with for a long photo session, the 85mm lens is perfect for that.
    Now I use the 85mm also in my bride prep shots and in wedding when I need to get close to bride and not have the huge Tamron stuck in her face, each lens has its place for me, love them both and I plan to keep using both.
     
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  8. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you do a lot of portrait work, especially studio type work where the subject already feel that they are under a microscope, the 85mm is far less intimidating than a 70-200. That, for how I shoot, would be the biggest difference.
     
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  9. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Err ... zooms can be very sharp, yes. That hasnt been the issue of zooms. Since many decades now. I own an AI-S 80-200mm f4.5 "N" from around 1980 and even that manual focus zoom is already *plenty* sharp.

    The reason why all my favorite lenses are prime lenses is because they have the superior image quality, and image quality is far, far more than just sharpness.
     
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  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My 70-200 f2.8 is for those occasions I really need the convenience of a zoom. When I don't the 85 f1.2 is my go to portrait lens.
     
  11. beagle100

    beagle100 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That will work if you have 30 feet of shooting room in your studio.

    Good little chart on portrait distance/ sensor size and focal lengths.
     
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