What type of lens for portraits/prortraiture

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Kross74, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Kross74

    Kross74 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys...

    I went with the canon rebel xt...I'm still in the learning stages.

    I'll like to know some information about lens without it getting too confusing for me...
    What lens is best for taking portrait/portraiture shots? From my understanding, I need a 75/300mm. Is this correct?

    If yes, I've noticed a lot of 75/300mm some with Af, some macros, and some I have no clue about. If you guys could please provide as much information as possible.
    As far as macros lens, isn't that what the telephoto len is for 75/300mm close-up? What would use the macro len for?

    Also what is the 28/90 mm used for?
    what about wide range lens?

    The goal is to take portraits/portrature shots...That's the goal..
    Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is no 'best' lens for anything really. You can take portraits with a 10mm lens or a 600mm lens. Of course, a wider (shorter) lens will have more distortion...which usually isn't good for making people look normal. The usual recommendation is that you should use a lens that is longer than 50mm...somewhere around 100mm. You can go longer, but then you might need to back up quite a bit when shooting...and it's hard to interact with your subject...if you even have the space to back up.

    75-300 is a range that is typically associated with cheaper 'consumer grade' lenses. They get talked about a lot because they are cheap. The have a big disadvantage is that they almost all have rather small maximum apertures. This makes it hard to get fast shutter speeds and it makes it hard to blur out the background with a shallow DOF.

    When I think 'lens for portraits'...I usually think of a 'fast' prime lens. That would be a lens with a fixed focal length (no zoom) and a wide aperture (fast). Something like F1.8 or F1.4.

    What's your budget? The 50mm F1.8 would be a good choice in the low budget range. It's very affordable and optically quite good. The 85mm F1.8 is also affordable and is a great lens.

    Telephoto (long) and macro are both about magnification...but they are not the same thing. A Macro lens allows you to focus on something that is very close to the lens....while a typical telephoto lens has a minimum focus distance of several feet at least. Note that many lenses have 'macro' in their name...but few are actually true Macro...which is 1:1 magnification.

    It could be used for anything. That is about the 'normal' range on 35mm cameras. 50mm is about the same view as the human eye...so this range would cover a bit wider and a bit narrower (longer) than that...the 'normal' range.
     
  3. D40

    D40 TPF Noob!

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    If I may drop a question in here:) Between the 50 and 85mm prime lens, is there an advantage in portrait work to either as far as the range. Odviously with the 85mm lens you can get closer shots with out getting in someones face. To me it seems like the 85mm would work best??
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If not being 'in some one's face' is an advantage for you...then it's an advantage. On the other hand, you may find yourself in tight spaces where backing up is hard to do...and you can't get their whole body in...or whatever. It's six of one...half dozen of the other.

    Typically, longer lenses are more flattering because they compress features where as wider lenses will accentuate features or appendages etc.

    If we are comparing the Canon 50mm F1.8 and the 85mm F1.8...I believe that the 85mm is a significantly better lens because of it's build quality and USM focus motor.
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My portrait kit includes the following lenses.

    28mmf1.8
    50mmf1.4
    85mmf1.8
    100mmf2.8 macro
    135mmf2.0L
    24-70mmf2.8L
    70-200mmf2.8L

    My favorite portrait lenses are the 85mm and the 100mm with the 50mm a close third, but each of my lens has it's place. I am old school thus a real lover of prime lenses. Primes usually will have the sharpest optics and because of their fast speed usually provide a more manageable DOF and good Bokeh. Since you are shooting digital it is easier to get a softer look in post processing if you desire too then to try and sharpen a slightly soft image.

    If it was me I would take a good look at the 85mmf1.8.
     

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