85mm: too close??


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Mar 27, 2007
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Occoquan, VA
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So I just recieved my 85mm f/1.8 lens. I love it, except I feel like I have to stand so effing far away to get the shot I want. It's like I am taking an extremely zoomed in shot. I heard that this is a great portrait lens, hence the reason I purchased it. But when trying to take pictures of my 10 month old niece and nephew, I have to run practically to the other side of the room to get the shot filled, and by then they are crawling away!! Any suggestions? Should I trade it in for a different one? I am so bummed about this!! Thanks guys
I have the same feeling with my 50mm f/1.8 (on digital body). Personally, I feel if you're not happy with it, and won't use it much, then trade it for something else.
I got a 50mm 1.8 and had the same problem.
I think we hear about the 'primes for portrait's' from people that shoot in controlled environments, ie. studio.
IMO, if you want candid shots of kids or pets you need a zoom.
I went back to using the kit lens(28-135) and am looking into a 17-50ish 2.8 zoom for chasing around my 2 year old daughter.
If you genuinely feel the focal length is too long for you, then yes, trade it in for something more usable. Maybe a 50 ?

The 85 is meant to be very good though, and will give a pleasing perspective i'd imagine (i haven't used one).

Is your camera body using a cropped sensor ? 'Cos that's something to take into account when picking focal lengths.

Hope you sort it out :D
It's a trade off.

Longer focal lengths usually make for more flattering portraits because they tend to compress features.
However, you need to be farther back from your subject when shooting with a telephoto.

You could use an 18mm lens to photograph your kids and be very close to them, but the wide angle distortion might make them look funny or weird.

Maybe try a 50mm lens.
Hey, I just noticed you're in Woodbridge.. WOOT!
Small world.
I grew up in Montclair. :cheers:
REPREZENT!! :lmao:
I'd be willing to let you use my 50 to see if that's what you want..
I'm in Falls Church.
The argument has been made for decades weather to use the 85 or 105 for portraits when shooting full frame (film). I suspect the same argument well go on about the 50 and 85 when discussing portraits when shooting with the clipped chip. It all comes down to personal preference.
I'd suggest to stick with it a while longer and use in different environments, such as outside. It is a very nice lens (for me). I can get a tight head shot without getting up someones nose and nice "other" types of subjects from a distance where the 50mm is too wide. It is fast focusing and at f/1.8 low light shots are easily had.
The 85 is PERFECT for headshots
So what everyone seems to be saying is if you want something more than a headshot go with the 50. The 50 works great for my 2 year old if only he would quit running at the camera ever time he sees it.
So what everyone seems to be saying is if you want something more than a headshot go with the 50...

Well... Not exactly. At least that's not what I'm saying.

Before digital, I always used a "twice normal" focal length whenever possible.

kundalini mentioned outdoor settings. I would use a 180mm on my RB for family group sessions. That lens would be double the "normal" focal length for that format. Shooting at f 8, it achieved very nice separation from the background giving the image a deep look.
If after you keep it a while and then decide to trade it in you could also check out the 30mm lens. I have the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which I like very much. It is about as close to a 50mm film lens as you can get. It also has a nice lens hood for head butts!! Its quite hefty and I think you will come out ahead until the terrible twos.
Sigma 30mm 1.4 is a nice lens... equates to about 47mm on a digital body.

Used it for the first time today at school.. awesome low light performance and its sharp enough for use wide open IMO.... i dont plan on blowing pics up past 10X8 anyway

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