What type of lens for portraits?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by crowl31, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. crowl31

    crowl31 TPF Noob!

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    Most of the time I'm shooting portraits or candid shots at parties (like a wedding photographer during dance hour :lol:), I've been using the 50mm 1.8, but I need some range within the lens becuase i'm not always at a perfect distance either to close or to far away.


    Does anyone have a lens recomendation?

    I feel like i need guidence cause i don't know. ;)

    Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    What is your budget and what is your need or expectation of quality? Also, what brand of camera do you have?
     
  3. crowl31

    crowl31 TPF Noob!

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    Quality - Best I can get for the money
    Budget - Under 1k
    Camera - Canon XTI

    Thanks Mike!
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I got some great portraits with the Sigma 18-50 HSM F/2.8 lens. VERY sharp and very reasonable for the quality. It also comes with a very nice 3:1 macro feature!
     
  5. crowl31

    crowl31 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Jerry, Do you have any samples I can check out?
     
  6. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    Best you can get for under 1k in a zoom lens I would say is the 24-70mm f/2.8 L. It's going to give you a little more range, plus it still has a large enough aperture to be able to be effective in low light situations. You can usually find this lens for just under 1k at different places. For this range I'd say this is the best lens. There is also the 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens. It's ok, but that f/4 will kill you in low light. If you know you're shooting with flash most of the time, then I'd get it for the extra length. If you like ambient light, I'd stay away. Especially with the XTi, it doesn't have the best noise in higher ISO settings. I own both. The only reason I own the 24-105 is because it came with my 5D, and I think I may sell it for another 24-70mm f/2.8 L for my wife to use for candids at weddings that we shoot.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I should also have asked whether or not you are using flash. So are you?

    Your 50mm F1.8 is great because the large max aperture allows you to shoot without flash in less than perfect lighting. A zoom lens will have a smaller aperture which will make shooting without a flash, harder to accomplish.

    The better zoom lenses have a max aperture of F2.8. These are usually the best quality zoom lenses as well.
    I would suggest:
    the Canon 24-70 F2.8 L, it's one the the best lenses Canon has but it's a bit more than your budget and it's as heavy as a brick.
    Sigma also makes a similar lens that is almost as good but quite a bit less expensive.
    You could also consider a wider lens...something in the 17-50mm range. Canon has a great one, the 17-55 F2.8 IS, but it is also very expensive. Tamron has the 17-50mm F2.8 and Sigma has the 18-50mm F2.8.

    If you don't necessarily need an aperture as wide as F2.8, which is OK, especially if you are using flash...then there are plenty of options.

    Canon EF-S 17-85 F4-5.6 IS
    Canon EF 24-105 F4 L IS
    Canon EF 28-135 F3.5-5.6 IS
    Canon EF 17-40 F4 L

    There are a bunch of lower quality lenses as well but these are some of the best.
     
  8. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    well, can't feel too bad if I'm suggesting the same stuff as Mike. If you're willing to spend up to 1k, I'd honestly get the 24-70mm. However, you also will want to figure in the price of a decent filter. If you have to, save up another paycheck or two...it's worth it. And you'll probably get the L fever after that :)
     
  9. crowl31

    crowl31 TPF Noob!

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    I typically use the built in flash on the camera. (upgrading soon)

    The lens doesn't have to be canon I just want to get the best value and the most versitle for the money.

    Any feedback on this, Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 DC Macro HSM. IT seems to be comparable to the two that Mike mentioned (Tamron has the 17-50mm F2.8 and Sigma has the 18-50mm F2.8) but a little longer in length.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    :shock:
    In that case, scale back your lens bedget and get a flash. I'd suggest the Canon 430EX.

    I believe that the best value for the money may be the choices from Sigma or Tamron. The Canon lenses are the best, but the other ones may be 80-90% as good, for only 50% of the cost.
     
  11. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Well if 50mm is either too close or too far away, I'd suggest a 24/28mm to 70/75mm f/2.8 zoom. I know the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 has gotten a lot of rave reviews, so long as you get a good copy, and it's about $500 USD. A friend of mine has this for his Canon and loves it, but he ends up doing a lot of group photos where 28mm isn't wide enough so he traded it for the 17-50mm. I personally have a 28-70mm f/2.8 Tokina (old, used, discontinued) that cost me a whole $250 USD. At bit soft at f/2.8 at the long end, pretty sharp at f/4 but still a bit soft in the corners, and then sharp all over by f/5.6. f/2.8 is sharp at 50mm and less. The more you pay, the better image quality you get to the point where you're in the $1000+ range and the lens will deliver corner to corner sharpness at all focal lengths at f/2.8. The new Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 is supposed to be incredible (I realize you shoot Canon) and it's also $1800. :lol: I'm sure the Canon equivalent is about as good, and about as pricey too.
     
  12. crowl31

    crowl31 TPF Noob!

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    OK, I'm pricing the flash now. If I buy the flash, do i need to go with a fast aperature or will I be able to add more length?

    Why would the tamron 28 - 75 be cheaper then the tamron 17 - 50?

    Tamron Autofocus 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) - $350


    Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens with hood for Canon DSLR Cameras - $450
     

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